Cafesjian Family Foundation Boosts Independent Newspapers in Armenia

YEREVAN–The Cafesjian Family Foundation gives the independent press in Armenia a major boost on September 15–2000 as it awards licensed software packages to 18 newspapers in Yerevan. The Cafesjian donation is an essential component of a countrywide effort to promote the independent press in Armenia. The nationwide project–the Media Strengthening Program (MSP)–is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by the Eurasia Foundation.

The award packages distributed today contain licensed editions of the computer graphics software Adobe PhotoShop and page layout software QuarkXpress–high-capacity Zip disk drives and disks–and licensed Armenian font sets. These cutting-edge technology packages will dramatically increase the production efficiency and quality of independent newspapers in Armenia–raising their operations to international standards and allowing them to remain competitive in a challenging media market.

"This is the first time that newspapers in Armenia are provided with licensed software and fonts," explains Ashot Hambartsumyan–Manager of the MSP. "This step symbolizes a turn from piracy legality in the Republic’s software market for newspapers."

The Cafesjian software donation is the culmination of a training program that began last fall. Also funded by the Cafesjian Family Foundation–the training taught the newspaper staff how to use the page layout and graphics software. The 18 newspapers the completed the training–selected in an open competition conducted in Yerevan–are receiving the award packages today.

The Cafesjian donation is part of the larger MSP in Armenia–which is funded by USAID and managed by the Eurasia Foundation. Through the MSP–the Gind Printing House of Yerevan obtained the first privately owned rotary printing press with full-color printing capacity in Armenia. Launched in 1997–the MSP seeks to modernize independent newspaper operations by establishing an alternative–state-of-the-art printing press and the training of newspaper staffs to produce more modern–higher-quality publications.

"In Armenia today–much hinges on the success of independent newspapers," says Charles William Maynes–President of the Eurasia Foundation. "Visionary institutions like the Cafesjian Family Foundation understand that free speech is one of the bulwarks of any society–particularly in a young republic like Armenia. We are committed to supporting the country’s independent press–and we will continue to explore new ways to ensure the free flow of information and ideas."

The Eurasia Foundation is an independently managed grant and loan making organization headquartered in Washington–DC With an open-door policy designed to encourage initiative at the grass roots–the Foundation responds to funding needs by providing financial support to local organizations for economic development–civic reform–educational advancement–and promotion of independent media.

In Armenia–the Foundation’s efforts to build long-term stability and foster economic growth are bolstered by a significant partnership with the Armenian-American community. Concerned donors–including the Cafesjian Family Foundation as well as the Lincy–Manougian Simone–Izmirlian and Dadourian Foundations and Armenian-American individuals–continue to contribute generously to a shared vision of helping Armenia’s help themselves.

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