Yevgine Gharibian: “The first and major precondition for preservation of the Armenian identity is to not lose the Armenian language in foreign countries”

The Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia always properly appreciates the pro-national activities of Armenians living in the Diaspora. Recently, the Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia granted the Mesrop Mashtots Medal to Director of the Armenian Independent Broadcasting of Boston, Mrs. Yevgine Gharibian, who talked about the radio show’s establishment, the activities carried out over the past 37 years and other issues in an interview with Hayern Aysor.

Karine Avagyan: Mrs. Gharibian, I congratulate you on receiving a medal for the pro-Armenian radio shows broadcast on the constantly broadcasting radio station established by you and your late husband, Jirayr Gharibian.

Yevgine Gharibian: I am more than grateful for your congratulatory remarks. I would like to thank Mrs. Hranush Hakobyan for this precious and binding award. The fact that it is named after Mesrop Mashtots already makes it very precious. In 2016, the Minister of Diaspora also awarded me with the “Ambassador of the Mother Language” Medal for providing significant services for the development of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership and for my great contributions to maintaining the purity of the Armenian language in the Diaspora. Of course, we work with pleasure and without expectations, but of course, it is nice to see that our work is appreciated in the Homeland.

Karine Avagyan: You are in Armenia on a major mission to participate in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference. Do you think this conference will lead to positive outcomes in terms of the cooperation between Armenia and the Diaspora and further development of the relations?

Yevgine Gharibian: I believe the results will be tangible. The conference was very well organized. I got the impression that everyone was participating in the conference with pleasure.

Karine Avagyan: Which topics were closer to your heart?

Yevgine Gharibian: The topics related to preservation of the Armenian identity were closer to my heart since this is an issue that is becoming more and more difficult to solve day after day. Parents of children living abroad want their children to know English well, and this is how Armenian families are slowly becoming English-speaking families. Armenian schools are not free of charge, and the tuition is expensive. This is why many Armenian parents send their children to study at American schools for free. The first and major precondition for preservation of the Armenian identity is to not lose the Armenian language in foreign countries.

Karine Avagyan: Mrs. Gharibian, let’s talk about how you settled in Boston, the history of your radio station and its longstanding activities.

Yevgine Gharibian: My husband was born in Iraq. In 1959, he moved to London to complete his higher education and graduated in 1964. Afterwards, due to his job, he traveled to Persia and actively participated in the efforts for providing the members of the junior units of the ARF-D with a national and ideological upbringing. He was the founding deputy editor-in-chief of Alik Youth newspaper. In 1975, he received an invitation to work for the Armenian Youth Federation USA Eastern Region and settled in Boston where he lived for the rest of his life. As for me, I was born in Persia and studied in London where I met my future husband, Jirayr Gharibian. At the time, there were not many Armenians in London, but we managed to become a good team and worked together to carry out activities for preservation of the Armenian identity. My father passed away in 1991, and I have been the director of the radio station for the past 26 years. My husband was not a journalist by profession, but in 1977, he got accepted to and graduated from the Department of Journalism at the University of Boston and obtained a Master of Arts. In October 1980, he founded the Armenian Independent Broadcasting of Boston, for which he created and hosted many programs. Jirayr Gharibian is also an author of books, poems, as well as several articles devoted to culture and politics. As far as our radio station is concerned, we have a five-member board and speakers. We have never had anything to do with finances. My husband didn’t like to have anything to do with that. We only created, prepared programs and broadcast them, and all this for free. Our home had become a studio that hosted everyone, including Hamo Sahyan, Silva Kaputikyan, Vahagn Davtyan, Hakob Karapents, singer Melanya Abovyan, reciter Silva Yuzbashyan and others. We have also hosted the respectable Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan. Our radio show, which is broadcast for one-and-a-half hours once a week, has a news section and features literary and artistic programs for children and youth. We can’t broadcast our programs with a greater frequency and for more hours because the rent is very high. I must say that 15 minutes of the one-and-a-half hours are in English so that we also introduce foreigners to Armenia and the Armenians through radio. Among the foreigners are many foreign nationals and several English-speaking listeners.

Karine Avagyan: How often do you visit Armenia?

Yevgine Gharibian: I visit Armenia once every two years. My late husband, journalist, editor and national figure Jirayr Gharibian is buried here. He would always tell us to bring his body to the Homeland when he died and said he wanted nothing but a wooden cross…We took Vahagn Davtyan’s advice and buried him in the Homeland. I have two precious values here – my Homeland and my husband’s grave.

Karine Avagyan: Well, dear Mrs. Gharibian, I wish the Armenian Independent Broadcasting of Boston success and longevity and hope your voice always keeps Armenians abroad awake and maintains the spirit of an Armenian. I also hope you show active participation in the next Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference.

Karine Avagyan

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