LOS ANGELES–The fourth annual Hamazkayin Cultural and EducationalAssociation’s Summer Studies program–which is conducted in Beirut–came to a close last week with the departure of the more than 90 college-aged participants.
The program–sponsored by the Hamazkayin Central Executive–drew a record number of participants this summer–particularly from the western portion of the United States. Some 40 students from this region took part.
The next largest group of participants came from France–while Armenian college students also participated from Armenia–Iran–Belgium–Great Britain–Syria–and also locally from Beirut.
The Summer Studies Program participants were once again housed at the Nshan Palanjian Jemaran Armenian school–and their academic program was conducted at the renowned academic institution.
Upon their return–Asbarez had an opportunity to speak to four of the participants from the western US–including Vana Gitzinian–Arda Sarkis–Sarine Minassian and Monica Ghalian–and they releyed their experiences.
Perhaps the most striking experience for all of these participants was having had an opportunity to see first-hand what they had heard and learned from their parents about life in Lebanon. All four were quite taken with the Lebanese-Armenian community. Sarkis–a student at Campbell Hall High School–expressed her praise for the idea of bringing together Armenian youth from many locales of the world. Gitzinian–also from the same high school–spoke of her admiration for the strength of the Armenian community of Beirut. Galian–a Ferrahian student–was surprised at the level of reconstruction going on in Lebanon. According to her–the rebuilding of the country–contrary to her expectations–is in full swing–and the sense of renewal is also apparent in the daily life of the people. Fellow Ferrahian student–Minassian–also spoke about her pleasure at seeing a strong and vibrant Armenian community–particulary the active youth and students communities.
Participating as lecturers in the program were Drs. Richard and Vartiter Hovannisian–Harry Davitian–Armen Balian–Manoushag Boyajian–Garo Hovannisian and Hrand Markarian. Among the topics discussed during the seminars were the Armenian Genocide–the Armenian alphabet–Armenian music and composition–Armenian culture–as well as Western Armenia and Karabakh.
The group also conducted field trips to some of the most noteworthy locales of the region. Also–during visit with Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia–the participants received his blessings. Also taking part in many of the activities with the participants were the coordinators from the various regions–including Sella Tnjukian from the European region–Dzovig Kahwejian from Canada–Sonia Bzdigian from Eastern United States and Shooshig Arslanian from the Western United States.