Armenians, Autism and the Emirates

YEREVAN — It was February 17 in Zvartnots airport, and two young men shared the stool at the red piano and played with energy and passion. It was before the Coronavirus pandemic had brought international travel to a halt, and they were expressing their excitement about their imminent flight.

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Armenian Cultural Encounters in Berlin

Neukölln is a district in Berlin whose very name is synonymous with internationalization, immigration and cultural diversity. The district is home to first-, second-and third-generations of Germans whose forefathers came from many different countries. A large percentage of the population has Russian or Turkish roots, others Arab, as well as Kurds, Roma people and still more.

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Germans Adopt Armenian Digital Education Model

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Armenia in August 2018, she was impressed by the innovative spirit pervading the country. Not long before her arrival, Armenia had gone through a “velvet revolution,” which reminded many Germans of their own peaceful revolution that replaced the East German Communist regime in 1989. It was not only in the political and social realm that fresh winds were blowing; also in technology, Merkel encountered creative new approaches.

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Alain Altinoglu Comes to Frankfurt

The Frankfurt Radio Symphony orchestra (hr-Sinfonieorchester) will welcome Alain Altinoglu as its new music director, beginning with the 2021-2022 season. The French-Armenian musician was born in Paris in 1975 and, since completion of studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, has taught there, leading instruction in conducting since 2014. He has been music director of the Brussels Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie since 2016 and in 2017 had a successful debut at the Berlin Philharmonic.

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Komitas Celebrated in Berlin and Halle

The Mesrob Armenian Studies Center at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg celebrated its 20th anniversary in the academic year 2018-2019 with three international conferences, an exhibition on Levon I and two concerts. The festivities concluded in October with an academic conference on “Komitas and his Legacy” on the occasion of the 150th birthday of the Armenian musicologist and composer, a symbolic figure for German-Armenian relations.

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Armenian Research Center Established
in the Polish Academy of Sciences

As a gift to the Mesrob Center on its jubilee, Prof. Armenuhi Drost-Abgarjan received an invitation from the president of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof. Jan Ostrowski, to participate in the academic board of the Research Center for Armenian Culture, which was formally inaugurated at the Collegium Majus (Jagellon University Kraków) on September 2.

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Armenian Pianist Celebrates the Schumanns

My name is Clara, Clara Wieck.” She stands in center stage, her hands clasped, dressed in an elegant blouse and long skirt, her dark hair pulled back to accentuate the fine features of her oval face. She greets the audience with a bright, wide smile and rushes to the grand piano, takes her place, raises her hands gracefully and plays a piece by Robert Schumann, her beloved Robert, whom she will marry. She is the 18-year-old Clara Wieck playing Schumann. She is Lusine Khachatryan playing Clara Wieck playing Robert Schumann.

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Memoirs of an Orphan

In the extensive literature of the Armenian Genocide, memoirs of single survivors play a special role. Each story is different, and yet all share certain characteristics; the trauma of the events, separation from loved ones, uncertainty and fear regarding the future. Among the survivors are many whose names have gone down in history. At the same time, there were hundreds of thousands of orphans, many of whom ended up in Turkish families, and their identities were lost in time. The more fortunate managed to retain their identities as Armenians, and to find new homes abroad.

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‘My Way’ Center for Autistic Children Celebrates Expansion

YEREVAN – There had been plans and revisions, deadlines missed and newly defined. The second building of the My Way Socio-Rehabilitation Day Care Center for people with autism was to be reconstructed, its spacious classrooms and facilities would provide the framework for vocational education of young adults. Through training programs led by professionally qualified instructors and assistants, the students would acquire skills in a variety of fields, which would enable them to find meaningful employment and thus the means to carry out independent lives.

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Ecumenical Commemoration of Genocide Victims

The Armenian Genocide was not only Armenian; what unfolded in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and continued for years was a genocide perpetrated by the Young Turk regime against Christian communities. The Promotional Society for the Ecumenical Monuments for Genocide Victims of the Ottoman Empire (FÖGG) has always stressed this fact, which its Altars of Remembrance in the Evangelical Luisenkirchhof in Berlin bear witness to.

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Armenians in Berlin

“Berlin ist eine Reise wert” – that’s a saying every German knows and few would disagree with; yes, it is always worth it to take a trip to Berlin. I realized this once again last week when I went for a few days, just to visit friends I hadn’t seen for a long time. Among them, Bea Ehlers-Kerbekian, an Armenian actress and teacher who invited me to join her at the Academy of Arts, in the beautiful Pariser Platz, to attend a book reading on August 29.
It was the premiere of the novel, Hier sind Löwen (There are Lions Here) by Katerina Poladjan, who was born in Moscow and has lived in Germany since 1979.

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Armenian Artists in Research and Dialogue

BERLIN, August 8, 2019 — Websites and blogs are generally the voice of an individual. This one speaks for a family, three generations, all of them artists of renown. The Galentz Research Center, launched by third generation artist Archi Galentz, is a blog platform — in Armenian, English and Russian — and a meeting place for persons active in the cultural realm. Especially those interested in Armenian visual art and its history are welcome visitors.

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Young Talents Honor
the Memory of Genocide Victims in Berlin

The date was, as always, April 24, and the venue had not changed: the French Cathedral in Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin. But the organizers were many, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany and the Central Council of Armenians in Germany, in cooperation with the Armenian Church and Cultural Community as well as the Armenian Community, both of Berlin; and Kammerton, a music initiative.

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Artists Launch Creative Fundraising in Istanbul

People with autism require very special care, and there are precious few facilities providing adequate facilities and personnel to deal with their needs. Armenia is fortunate to have one such establishment; however, being the only one, not only nationally but in the entire Transcaucasus region, it is limited in resources to meet the actual needs of the community. Located in Yerevan, “My Way” Socio-Rehabilitation Day Care Center for Children and Teenagers with Autism provides education, care and therapy for youngsters all day every day during the week and for free.
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Vigil and Commemoration in Berlin

A central feature of the events organized every year by the Armenian community on April 24 is the demand that Turkey acknowledge the genocide.
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Old Yerevan and Young Voices Clash

YEREVAN — It was a bitter cold evening in January 2019. The noise emanating from the construction site in the center of Yerevan during the day must have been deafening: heavy pounding of steam shovels against the ground, whirring of earth moving machinery, and workers’ voices seeking to make themselves heard above the fray. That evening, without forewarning, came the sound of something massive, crumbling, smashing down onto the earth, while brown-grey clouds of dust and dirt rose up from the ground, obfuscating the view. The wall had come down and by a stroke of fortune none of the people inside were hurt.

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Armenian-Art-Critical-HistoryScholars in Venice
Conduct a Journey through Armenian Art

Venice has a long history of relations with Armenia, which most people associate with the Mekhitarist monastery on the island of San Lazzaro, with its imposing church and magnificent library. But Venice also hosts an important center of Armenian studies, at the Ca’ Foscari university, which has a Chair for Medieval Art History and for Armenian Language and Literature. On February 21-22, the university, in collaboration with the Center for Studies and Documentation of Armenian Art and the Association Internationales des Études Arméniennes, hosted an international conference on “Armenian Art: Critical History and New Perspectives.”

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Memoirs of an Armenian in Germany

Lisa Berkian-Abrahamian has always lived with books; she has worked as a librarian, a newspaper editor, translator and author. Born in Armenia, she came to Germany in 1992 to live with her husband, Ara J. Berkian, and after his untimely death in 1994, remained here, carrying on his work and her own. In September 2014 she published a book in Armenian on her husband, which is not only a complete appreciation of Berkian as doctor, engineer, architect and writer, but also contains important material and letters from his archives, pertaining to German-Armenian relations.

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Pashinyan Visits Germany

When Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his wife Annas Hakobyan paid an official visit to Germany last week, their first stop was not the capital city but Cologne. This may have come as a surprise to some, but there were good reasons for it. As Pashinyan explained to a gathering of members of the Armenian community on January 31, “Cologne is the capital of the Armenians of Germany, and it was not accidental that we started the official visit here.” The meeting took place at the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is the seat of the church in Germany.
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Rediscovering Armenian Heritage in Turkey
after Hrant Dink

“The question of whether after such a complete elimination, after the almost total expulsion and forced expatriation of survivors in the successor state, the Republic of Turkey, an existence as an Armenian, subjectively and objectively, is at all possible, has been my concern as a human rights activist for decades.” This is how Tessa Hofmann, genocide researcher and chairwoman of the Arbeitsgruppe Anerkennung e.V (AGA: Working Group for Recognition; Against Genocide, for Understanding among Peoples), opened a commemorative event in Berlin on January 19, the 12th anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink.
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A Happy Musical New Year for Dilijan Students

Students at the State Art College of Dilijan are ringing in the New Year with music, and with brand new instruments, thanks to the initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Relief (FAR). FAR, established in 1988 as a relief effort after the earthquake, has continued to raise funds for economic, social and educational programs in Armenia and cooperates with other foundations on specific projects. One of them focuses on music education. Read the Article...

Armenian Artists Come to Austria

Thirty years ago, Gyumri was almost totally obliterated by an earthquake that devastated nearby Spitak and other cities of the Shirak region. Slowly the city, known as the cultural capital of Armenia, has been rebuilt and its artistic community again flourishes. Not only are the new music schools filled with eager students, but painters and sculptors are continuing to generate works of beauty.
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The Visit of Erdogan

One might have thought the Queen were coming in Berlin, what with all the media coverage, the background reports and the talk shows, the editorials and interviews. For well over a week before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in Berlin for a three-day state visit, the event dominated the political debate. Read the Article...

A Balancing Act in the South Caucasus

While on tour in the South Caucasus last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was walking a tightrope, in an attempt to carefully balance geopolitical, economic and human rights concerns. Though some critical commentaries greeted her on return to Berlin, the overall evaluation of her trip was positive, and for good reason.
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Merkel in the South Caucasus:
A Thorny Diplomatic Agenda

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Armenia at the end of August as part of a regional tour that will include Georgia and Azerbaijan. She is expected to arrive in Yerevan on August 24 (after press time) for a two-day working visit, during which she will meet with both Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Armen Sarkissian. Following her talks with the former, which should deal with bilateral relations, economic issues and the European Union, the two are scheduled to hold a joint press conference.
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Armenian Musician Emmanuel Tjeknavorian
Celebrated in Germany

Among the many special cultural events held in Germany during the summer, the Rheingau Music Festival is perhaps the most famous, not only for its location in the magnificent castles and basilicas of the Rhine valley, but also for the world class performers it invites. Among them this year is the 22-year-old exceptional violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian. Read the Article...

Two-Week Immersive Armenian Course Big Success with German Students

Young people engaged in Armenian studies who want to learn about the country first-hand can take advantage of one of the many programs offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Read the Article...

Young Armenian Musicians
Delight Audiences in Vienna and Berlin

Music lovers in Europe are not surprised when they discover an Armenian or two among the performers in the orchestra or chorus on stage at a classical concert. Now and again there are special guest performances of soloists, or dancers that tour Europe, like the famous Geghard dance ensemble. But it is highly unusual to attend a concert of young Armenian children. Read the Article...

Towards Transnational Remembrance and Reconciliation

Arrmenians who gathered in Frankfurt’s historic Paulskirche this year for the traditional commemoration of the 1915 genocide were among the first to join in prayer with the new Primate of the Armenian Church in Germany, Archimandrite Serovpe Isakhanyan. He was elected as the successor to Archbishop Karekin Bekjian on April 15, and confirmed by Catholicos Karekin II on April 19. Another novelty was the presence of two representatives of the Armenian youth community. And a very special guest was Hrachuhi Bassenz, world famous opera singer.
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From Berlin to Yerevan — Direct

The revolutionary developments in the Republic of Armenia have sparked enormous interest in Germany and a new air link between the two capitals promises to fuel that interest even more. Germania, an independent German airline, has proudly announced that its first direct flight from Berlin to Yerevan took place 16-17 June.

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Between Remembrance and Expectation

This year’s commemoration of the genocide was different in Germany. To be sure, there were speeches recalling the dark and tragic events of 1915, and there were demands for progress in implementing the measures contained in the genocide recognition resolution passed by the Bundestag (Parliament) in June 2016. There was magnificent music performed by talented young Armenians, and the ceremonies concluded with solemn prayers for the souls of the victims.
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Journalist Can Dündar in German Exile

It is well known that Germany has received the largest number of refugees in Europe over the last years. But few realize that in addition to those fleeing war and terrorism in Iraq and Syria, are increasing numbers of Turks, fleeing Erdogan’s regime. They are diplomats, military personnel, opposition figures and journalists seeking asylum. Can Dündar, formerly editor of Cumhuriyet, is a member of this new Turkish guest-worker community, here in exile.
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Armenia Honors Ozdemir, Kantian

BERLIN — The evening was both solemn and festive, as diplomats, German political figures and members of the Armenian community gathered at the Armenian Embassy on March 23. Ambassador Ashot Smbatyan presided over the ceremony, during which he presented the State Award of the Armenian Republic to two outstanding individuals. The order of merit, which is a high honor, was conferred on Cem Özdemir (Right), Green Party member of the Bundestag (Parliament), and Dr. Raffi Kantian (Left), Chairman of the Deutsch-Armenische Gesellschaft (German-Armenian Society). Özdemir was selected “for his extraordinary services in the international recognition of the Genocide against the Armenians,” and Kantian, for his “special services in deepening German-Armenian relations.” A full story will appear next week.

The Plight of Afrin Reverberates Across Europe

On March 18, the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) carried a bold banner headline: “Battle for Afrin Now Also in Germany.” That night, television news reporters announced the fall of Afrin. And the violence on German soil has not abated. Over recent years, German politicians have increased their warnings that the political conflict inside Turkey, between AKP loyalists and opposition groups, could spill over onto German soil. Now it is the warring parties in Syria whose proxies and sympathizers are clashing here.     Read the Article...

Educators and Parliamentarians in Talks on Education

Berlin played host last week to a group of teachers from Armenia and Georgia, who had come to learn more about the education system in the German Federal Republic. Their visit was arranged by the German-Armenian Forum (Deutsch-Armenische Forum), an initiative launched in May 2015 by Albert Weiler, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member of the Bundestag (Parliament), along with more than 30 private individuals, MPs and representatives of business, scientific and cultural institutions.  Read the Article...

Ecumenical Altars of Remembrance in Berlin

It was a bitter cold day in mid-February, with a strong wind that chilled to the bone. As we walked from the bus stop and entered the Luisenkirchhof III cemetery through the huge gate, I thought about the women and children being deported from their homes in Ottoman Empire over a hundred years ago, and what immense suffering they must have faced as they wound their way through inclement weather, on their march toward death.

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Germany Appoints Honorary Consul in Gyumri

Gyumri has good reason to celebrate. One of its most prominent sons has been chosen as the honorary consul of Germany and this will bring relations between the two countries, on the political, economic and cultural level to new levels. The official ceremony took place on January 26, 2018. Read the Article...

MurielDink1Carrying On Hrant Dink’s Legacy

On the 11th anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink in front of his Agos office in Istanbul, Turks and Armenians and Germans gathered in several German cities, not only to commemorate his passing but to celebrate his life’s work, with a pledge to continue his struggle for equality, dignity and reconciliation. Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne were among the several venues for events on January 19-20, where speakers from the Armenian community joined with Turkish intellectuals, journalists and artists — many in exile here — and German human rights activists.                          Read the Article...
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Erdogan’s New Year’s Resolutions

January 1 is always a good time for pledging better behavior. It is a time for political leaders to reflect on the outgoing year and project plans for the immediate future. Turkey was no exception. In his New Year’s Eve address, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that after a hard year, he was looking forward to being a friend of Europe again. His country would like to minimize the number of its enemies and increase the number of its friends, he said. There were actually no problems, he continued, with European countries, like Germany or the Netherlands; indeed they were old friends.

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Martin Luther and the Armenians

This year 2017 Germans celebrated the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Dubbed as “Luther Year,” it hosted hundreds of commemorative events, lectures, special church services, festivities, concerts and exhibitions throughout the country.
Few would have thought that “Armenia in Luther Year” could have been among the celebrations. And yet...

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Wolfgang Gust
Honored in Berlin

The German-Armenian Society (Deutsch-Armenische-Gesellschaft, DAG) has announced “with joy and satisfaction” that it has conferred an honorary membership on Wolfgang Gust. In accepting the honor, Gust wrote that he has appreciated the DAG’s efforts for many, many years.

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Turkey Frees Some Hostages

The news on October 26 that a Turkish court decided to release German human rights activist Peter Steudtner from prison, and even allow him to leave the country, was not expected and was greeted by sighs of relief. But it is by no means the end of the story.

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Writers from the ‘Other’ Turkey Speak Out in Frankfurt

If France was the Guest of Honor this year at the celebrated Frankfurt Book Fair, then Turkey — that is, the official Turkey — might well earn the title of the Guest of Dishonor. Taking part in the innumerable interviews with authors, round table discussions and special exhibits were leading Turkish personalities from the book world, who presented their recent works and engaged capacity audiences in heated debates about the current, sad state of affairs for intellectuals in their country. These were the voices of the “other” Turkey.

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Armenia and Germany Celebrate
Quarter Century of Diplomatic Ties

By all accounts, it was a wonderful celebration. Ambassador Ashot Smbatyan, who together with Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dr. Dietmar Woidke, hosted the ceremony, welcomed the numerous guests for an evening of celebration, reflection and anticipation of future developments. Music and art framed the event, along with a fine cuisine.
“Twenty-five years ago the Republic of Armenia and the Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations — again,” said Rosa Eisen in her program notes.

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Wiesbaden Musician Renews Ties to Armenia

On Sunday, September 17, solo clarinetist Heiner Rekeszus performed in a farewell concert in Wiesbaden, before going into retirement. The 65-year-old musician was co-founder of the Chamber Music Association of the Hessen State Orchestra in Wiesbaden, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
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Hostage to Erdogan

When Turkish authorities arrest German citizens they are not taking prisoners, but rather collecting hostages.
What was mooted as a hypothesis months ago has been confirmed by the detention of two more individuals holding German passports. Read the Article...

Erdogan's Extraterritorial Ambitions:
The Case of Dogan Akhanli

Deciphering the behavior of the President is a challenging task, and not only in the United States. Narcissism, paranoia and megalomania are the terms the psychiatrist would use to describe the brand of personality disorders driving the erratic behavior that has become routine not only in the White House but also in the thousand-room presidential palace in Ankara. And the clinical diagnosis would be on the mark. That said, it fails to explain the political calculation that the affected subject has contrived to rationalize his outrageous actions. Yet, no doubt, there must be a method to the madness. The actor is after all a political animal.
Consider the recent moves by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with regard to Germany, which, from any sane objective standpoint, he should consider his closest European ally and trade partner. Read the Article...
Deutsch-türkisch-armenische Freundschaftsgesellschaft e.V.
Feierliche Gründung der deutsch-türkisch-armenischen Freundschaftsgesellschaft
mit anschließendem Konzert

Am 1. Juli 2017 um 19 Uhr findet die Gründung der deutsch-türkisch-armenischen Freundschaftsgesellschaft e.V. im Radialsystem V in Berlin statt. Das Projekt hat prominente Unterstützung von Dietmar Bartsch (Fraktionsvorsitzender der Linken im Bundestag), Wolfgang Gust (Historiker), Cem Özdemir (Bundesvorsitzender Die Grünen) und Varujan Vosganian (Autor), sowie von zahlreichen armenischen, deutschen und türkischen Künstler*innen und Wissenschaftler*innen.



The Debate about Culture and the Culture of Debate

The website of Aravot reported on February 21 on the visit of Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, to Switzerland and the surprise that she brought with her. The surprise was her declaration that Armenia would once again amaze the whole world, this time with post-revolutionary achievements. Armenia is to become one of the most prosperous nations in the world, absolutely comparable to Switzerland
Hakobyan supported Pashinyan during the revolution not only visibly and with extensive media coverage, but she is also now leading several charity organizations and is assuming serious representational duties.

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German-Armenian Forum Marks Anniversary
as Azeri Lobbyists Face Legal Trouble

On January 29, members of the German-Armenian Forum gathered in a room at the Bundestag (Parliament) for their annual meeting. The Forum, which will celebrate its fifth birthday in May, was founded upon the initiative of Bundestag member Albert Weiler (CDU), as a vehicle to promote dialogue between Germany and the Republic of Armenia at all levels. This includes exchange programs and visits of persons active in the political and economic realm, as well as teachers, academics and students. The aim is to increase knowledge and understanding about the two nations, their history, culture and current political activities.

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Germans in Dialogue with Armenia

When the German-Armenian Forum came into being in 2015, the founding members stressed that its purpose was to help Germans and Armenians become acquainted, and to learn about their respective history, culture and country. CDU parliamentarian Albert Weiler launched the initiative with the idea that people from the two countries should meet at all levels — from political leaders, to legislators, university students, pupils, musicians, artists, people from all walks of life.

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Armenian Little Singers

Armenia’s Cultural Ambassadors Celebrate with Music

It was the 28th anniversary of independence for the Republic of Armenia and the 150th birthday of national composer and musician Komitas Vardapet. To celebrate, the Little Singers of Armenia, a world class children’s choir, travelled to Lithuania and Germany, performing in some of Europe’s most famous concert halls. In Lithuania they appeared at the 700-year-old castle on Trakai island, at the Church of St. Francis in Kaunas and in the Culture House in Vilnius. The church of St. Catherine in Vilnius hosted a gala concert, attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, statesmen and cultural figures. At the conclusion, they joined with the Lithuanian choirs Azholukas and Ugniale to perform Erebuni-Yerevan composed by E. Hovhannisyan.

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Goethe, Poetry and Truth Honored at Weimar Ceremony

If today’s cultural context is besieged by “deliberate attempts to mislead” and to cut off meaningful discussion, if it is a context in which unfounded opinions enjoy the freedom of unfettered movement, then it is necessary to juxtapose with such “hideous developments” an understanding of Truth and Fiction.
Thus Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, President of the Goethe-Institut, presented the motto of this year’s award ceremony of the German cultural institution. Dichtung und Wahrheit is the title of one of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s major works, and it symbolizes the idea behind the selection of the three winners of the Goethe Medal, presented in Weimar on August 28, the 270th birthday of the national poet.

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Dogan Akhanlı Receives
Goethe Medal for Cultural Exchange

If there is one name that calls to mind the conflict-laden relationship between Germany and Turkey, it is Dogan Akhanlı. The Turkish-born German writer has lived in the Federal Republic since 1992, after he fled political persecution in his homeland, and received asylum, then citizenship. Since then, several of his books have been published in German translations, and have received literary prizes.

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Yerevan Music Students Win in Rimini

Everyone was amazed at the excellence displayed by the young musicians from Armenia. They participated in the International Artistic Days Italia, a festival and contest held in Rimini from June 24-27. The youngsters from Yerevan won several prizes in the competition, four first prizes and seven second prizes, to be precise.

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Armenian artists in Belgrade

The site was the National Gallery in Belgrade, Serbia and the exhibit featured young talents from many countries.

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Özdemir Receives Wallenberg Medal

Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of Jews and others during World War II in Nazi-occupied Hungary. A foundation named after the humanitarian promotes educational programs and organizes public awareness campaigns focused on the values of solidarity and civic courage embodied in the activities of Wallenburg and other Saviors of the Holocaust.

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Teaching Genocide:
Where There’s a Political Will, There’s a Way

The resolution passed in Berlin in 2016 recognizing the Armenian genocide was a watershed. Not only did the Bundestag (Parliament) take the final step in acknowledging that what occurred in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 was a genocide, but it outlined provisions for educating the population on this crucial chapter in modern history. … What has occurred since then? At public events commemorating the victims of the genocide on April 24 each year, speakers have lamented the fact that very little has changed.

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Levon I and the Kingdom of Cilicia

Eight hundred years ago Levon I, a king who left an indelible mark on Armenian history and culture, with respect to relations with other powers, temporal and religious, died. The German city of Halle marked the anniversary with a series of special events, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the cultural agreement signed between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Armenia.

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3-PerspektivenThree Artists Exhibit in Netherlands, German

Two years ago, a group of six young Armenian artists came to Wiesbaden, Germany to exhibit their works at the Haus der Heimat. Now, two of the six have returned, this time with a new colleague, for a show in the Netherlands and a brief visit again to Wiesbaden.

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Young Musicians Prepare for a Better Future

During a trip to Armenia in early April, my husband and I were able to witness this once again, as we visited four music schools that our small foundation has been associated with.
Gyumri, the cultural capital of Armenia and its second largest city, has more than one music school, and boasts a long tradition of musicians, composers and graphic artists. At the Octet School, destroyed in the 1988 earthquake and rebuilt in 2013 thanks to the efforts of Ian Gillan and his Deep Purple music ensemble, together with the Mardigian Foundation and the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), we met Manya Hovhannisian, the new director, who told us there are 224 students receiving instruction there this year. In fact, they were in the last stages of preparation for a concert of instrumental and vocal music.

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Armenian-German Relations
Move Forward: Mirzoyan in Berlin

Following Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s recent state visit to Germany, the process of intensifying contacts between Yerevan and Berlin continues apace. On the invitation of German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of the Armenian Parliament Ararat Mirzoyan began a five-day visit to Germany on March 17. In the capital he was received by the President of the Bundestag (Parliament) Wolfgang Schäuble, and was scheduled to meet with parliamentarians, including Petra Pau, Bundestag Vice-President, and Johannes Kars, head of the German-South Caucasus Friendship Group.

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Symposium: Life After Babylon

People of Jewish or Armenian heritage know that they share a painful history, one that deprived them of statehood and forced them into life in the diaspora over centuries.
In view of this shared, but differentiated experience, the European Center for Jewish Music (EZJM) and the German-Armenian Society (DAG) joined to organized a symposium at the Cultural Center in Hannover, from February 24-27.

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Justice for 1.5 Million plus 1

On January 19, Germans, Turks, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and others gathered in several German cities to render homage to the memory of Hrant Dink, on the 12th anniversary of his death. In Frankfurt, a demonstration took place at a central location near the historic St. Catherine’s Church. Members of the Soykırım Karsıtları Dernegi (SKD), the Society against Genocide, organized the vigil which gathered a hundred people. Under the slogan, “Justice for 1.5 million victims of genocide, justice for Hrant Dink,“ the demonstrators carried photos of the murdered AGOS journalist as well as other activists currently jailed in Turkey. Candles and flowers lay on the ground among the photos and texts.
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The Turks in Germany Who Defeated Denial

Since June 2, 2016, the German Bundestag (Parliament) has been counted among those political institutions worldwide that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The names of the parliamentarians associated with launching the initiative and organizing the political muscle to force it through are known. But if those individuals served as midwives, they were not the ones to conceive the idea. In the beginning was a small group of Turkish citizens living in Germany who came together in an association called Soykırım Karsıtları Dernegi (SKD), the Society against Genocide. At the beginning of December, they observed their 20th anniversary in Frankfurt and they had good reason to celebrate.
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Armenian Artist Hosts Student Exhibition

Nona Gabrielyan is the proud representative of an Armenian family that has produced four generations of artists (so far). This is not only in Armenia; in Germany, where she has lived with her artist husband Van Soghomonyan for the last quarter of a century, she has also been midwife to a generation of German artists. On November 24, she presided over the vernissage of an exhibition of works by a group of her students. Held at the Haus der Heimat (Homeland House) in Wiesbaden, the show entitled “Exhibition 1 + 9” features the creations of 9 of her students together with some of her own. It is the third such show of works done by several of the 55 aspiring artists who have taken lessons from her over the past twenty years in her Wiesbaden atelier.
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‘Ex Occidente Lux!’ Armenia and the West

“Since the early Middle Ages, since the invasion of the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century, the Armenians have been fighting for the restoration of their independence in their own land — with unshakeable hope. In this they have traditionally expected aid from the Christian West. Germany has had an important role in this context.”
Thus reads the text of an invitation issued for an event held recently in Bochum, a city in the Ruhr region. The timing could not have been more opportune; since last May, friends of Armenia abroad have been following the developments associated with the Velvet Revolution with keen interest. Where is the country going? What are the models — if any — that the new leadership looks to for inspiration? And for support? What will the response of friendly nations and trade partners be to the new course charted by Armenia?
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Saint Gregory of Narek’s Book of Prayers

Casa Armena Welcomes Guests from Yerevan

MILAN, Italy — On November 17, members of the Armenian community in Milan delighted in the music offered them by two young sopranos visiting from Yerevan. Lusine Arakelyan and Amalia Baloyan sang arias from Italian composers Verdi and Bellini, as well as works, by Komitas, B. Kachean, Dolukhanyan, A. Babajanyan. and others. They were accompanied by pianist Marina Vardanyan. In the photo, from left to right: Amalia Baloyan, Marina Mavian, president of the Casa Armena, and Lusine Arakelyan.

Two Decades of Armenian Studies in Germany

It is a unique institution in the country, the only center specializing in Armenian studies, Armenology. When the Mesrop Arbeitsstelle für Armenische Studien (Mesrop Center for Armenian Studies) at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg observed its 20th anniversary on October 18-19, it celebrated the special role it has played in bringing knowledge of the Armenian language, literature, culture and history to not only academic circles but also the broader public. Much has been achieved, and the potential for development is even greater. Since the Bundestag (Parliament) passed a resolution in June 2016 recognizing the Armenian genocide, interest in Armenia has expanded immensely. For many Germans that political act opened the door to discovery of a hitherto unknown people and their culture. Several new studies, especially of the history of the genocide, have appeared and been well received. But there is more to Armenia and Armenians than the genocide.
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The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall

When on August 27 of this year, a four-meter-high statue, bundled up like a mummy in white wrapping, was transported to the German Unity Plaza in Wiesbaden, Germany, as one of the exhibits making up the city-wide Wiesbaden Biennale for Contemporary Art, no one knew the identity of the being concealed inside the packaging.
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Behind the New Threats to Iran

There can be no doubt that there is a new, immediate threat of destabilization, if not war, against Iran. As reported in major media and detailed in several articles on this website, the Trump administration, in tandem with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, has been signaling its bellicose intentions loudly. The cancellation of US participation in the Iranian nuclear deal and the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were the stepping-stones towards subsequent threats of “CONSEQUENCES…” twittered by the rowdy US President. Read the Article…

Gratitude from the Diaspora

Last month a leading Armenian association made headlines in Germany, after it was formally announced that Armenian philanthropist Noubar Afeyan was donating 200,000 euros from the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative to a project to reconstruct a historical church now lying in ruins. The Court and Garrison Church in Potsdam, as its name betrays, is a church constructed originally for members of the royal court and military to worship. It was built by architect Philipp Gerlach from 1730 to 1735, on orders of Friedrich Wilhelm I, who was known as the soldier-king. He and his son, Friedrich the Great, were buried there. Read the Article...

Turks Go to the Polls in Germany

By all forecasts, the outcome of the parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey will be close, so close, some say, that there could be a runoff for the presidency. If Recep Tayip Erdogan does not receive a clear majority in the first round on June 24, he could face a candidate backed by a coalition of opposition parties. Two weeks later, a runoff would be called on July 8 (from June 30 to July 4 for voters abroad). And in that case, the votes cast by Turkish citizens living outside the country, who make up an estimated 5 percent of the total electorate, could prove decisive.

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German Officers’ Role in Armenian Genocide Explored

Retired Brigadier General Eckhard Lisec delivered a lecture at the Lepsius House in Potsdam on May 17, on “The Armenian Genocide in World War I — German Officers Involved?” Read the Article...

Armenia Seeks Foreign Policy Balance  

In the current Cold War climate in East-West relations, exasperated by the British-Russian crisis around the Skripal affair, it has become increasingly difficult for smaller nations to maintain an independent stance in the interest of protecting friendly relations with both the West and Russia. No one knows this better than the Armenians. Thus, when Ambassador Ashot Smbatyan was invited to speak at the Lepsiushaus in Potsdam on March 22, he faced an audience of intellectuals, political figures, diplomats and members of the Armenian community, eager to hear his views on “Armenia and Europe: Taking Stock, with a View to the Future.” Read the Article...

Weaving Close Ties between Germany and Armenia

BERLIN — “Wisdom is the art of considering things from all sides.” The saying is by Nerses Shnorhali and it was printed in Armenian and in German on the invitation issued by the Armenian Embassy in Berlin to a ceremony on March 23. And it fit the occasion: we were invited to attend an event honoring two outstanding individuals who might be considered practitioners of the “art” in the political and cultural realm. Read the Article...

Self-Defense or Violation
of International Law?

Turkey's offensive in northern Syria is coming under growing censure throughout Europe. It will be high on the list of foreign policy challenges facing the German government which has just come into being. Under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, a new version of the grand coalition made up of her CDU and sister party CSU, together with the Social Democrats (SPD), was officially constituted in mid March.  Read the Article...

German Intellectuals and Artists in Defense of Afrin

As the Turkish military offensive in Afrin has escalated, the caretaker government in Germany has come under growing pressure to intervene to stop the bloodshed. Since Germany has supplied Turkey with military equipment, its role has been subject to harsh criticism. Photographs of the Turkish actions aired on television confirmed suspicions that German tanks were indeed involved in the aggression against the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militias, who have been battling IS. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared that any decision regarding modernization of Turkey’s military — an item which had been discussed at the beginning of the year in bilateral meetings — would be put on ice, and deferred to the new government.

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Turkey Releases
One More German from Prison

One by one, and at a painfully slow tempo, German journalists and intellectuals unlawfully imprisoned by the Turkish authorities are being released. On December 18, it was the turn of Mesale Tolu, a translator and journalist who had been held for seven months.

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Armenians Hold Aurora Dialogues in Berlin

It was a refreshing change to see such an initiative in the German capital. As Aurora Humanitarian Initiative cofounder Ruben Vardanyan remarked, participants “were happy to see the representatives of a developing country thinking about universal humanitarian values and expressing concern about dangerous processes unfolding today around the world.” The developing country in question is the Republic of Armenia.

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Small Town Politics in Germany Raise Diplomatic Fuss

Pohlheim is a small town in Germany, near Giessen in the state of Hessen. But a local initiative has attracted the attention and protest of a high-ranking Turkish diplomat. The city council had agreed to a proposal presented by the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Socialdemocrats (SPD) for a “Monument Commemorating the Victims of the Genocide against Christians in the Ottoman Empire 1915 – Remembrance and Admonition.”

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Ecumenical Leaders
Offer Prayers for Christians in Middle East

Among the hundreds of commemorative events organized to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation over the past year — “Luther year” in Germany — was a special gathering from October 18 to 21 in Berlin. On the invitation of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), four of the highest representatives of the Eastern Orthodox churches met in the capital for a series of meetings and religious services dedicated to the situation of Christians in the Middle East today.

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Armenian Literature in Translation Promoted in Frankfurt

“World poetry is world reconciliation.”
This line is from a poem by the German poet and philologist Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866), whose greatest gift to future generations was his immense translation work. By the end of his life he knew 42 languages, and had dedicated many years to translating works of poetry and prose, especially from the Orient, into German.

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The Great Azerbaijani Land Grab

Friday, October 13, started out as a normal day at the Armenia stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair, with little indication of trouble. The books had been carefully arranged on the shelves, the banner was hanging in full view, and two young women were on hand to present new books to visitors and answer whatever questions they might have about the country and its literature. Then, suddenly...

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Workshop on Armenian and Turkish Scholarship
Organizing Committee –  Lepsiushaus Potsdam

Turkish government harasses
international scholars in Berlin

pdf   PRESS RELEASE Berlin, September 17, 2017


German Troops to Leave Incirlik

When Turkish government officials repeated to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel their refusal to allow German parliamentarians unconditional access to their troops at Incirlik base, it was the proverbial straw that broke that suffering camel’s back. Gabriel had travelled to Ankara on June 5 in a last-ditch effort to reach a compromise solution to the conflict that has strained relations, both bilateral and within NATO, to an unprecedented degree. After talks with both Foreign Minister Mevlùt Çavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gabriel made clear that Germany would have no choice but to withdraw its troops and relocate them.

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Genocide Commemoration after Recognition in Germany

Since the German Bundestag (Parliament) passed a resolution on the Armenian Genocide last year in June, the focus has shifted from the demand for recognition to other concerns; on the one hand, there has been further study of the role of Imperial Germany in the Genocide and, on the other, there are efforts underway to introduce the theme in history lessons in German classrooms. This shift in focus was perceptible in the commemoration held in Berlin on April 24, where several speakers, remembering the past, looked to the future.

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Turkish Referendum: The Price of Winning

The “Yes” vote in the Turkish referendum may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Not only was the reported margin in favor of the constitutional changes far slimmer than Erdogan’s AKP party and pre-election polls had expected, with only 51.4 percent of the vote, but the political fallout in Europe may be profound.

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Cloak and Dagger in German-Turkish Relations

The news that the Turkish intelligence agency MIT was not only spying on German citizens in their home country, but had requested help in this pursuit from the German intelligence service BND, signaled a new low-point in Berlin-Ankara relations. Relations had already been poisoned by wild accusations made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was “Nazi-like” and “using Nazi methods.” The resulting controversy regarding whether or not to allow AKP politicians to campaign in Germany for a “yes” vote on the upcoming referendum ended in a decision, by Ankara, to cancel all such planned events. That seemed to lower the political temperature.

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Analysis: The Sick Man on the Bosporus

The ostensible casus belli in the escalating conflict between Turkey and Europe, especially Germany, is the April 16 referendum on the introduction of a presidential system which would grant the Turkish president powers so vast as to eliminate checks and balances on the part of other institutions like the judiciary and parliament.

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Poland Welcomes Promising Armenian Vocalist

“Incredible Lusine Arakelyan gave a great New Year’s concert at the Warsaw concert hall in front of 1,200 guests. Her beautiful voice and great musical experience are unforgettable. The audience gave her several standing ovations. The orchestra conductor also praised her voice and performance.” This is how singer and music critic Kristina Sulzichka put it in a review of the event.   Read the Article…

Architecture as Witness to Genocide

For almost a decade, a photographic exhibition on the “Nakba,” the expulsion of the Palestinians from their lands in 1947-48, has been travelling around Germany, and in virtually every site, the organizers from the Association of Refugee Children in Lebanon have run up against opposition. Pro-Zionist groups have mobilized to have the exhibition rooms — often in universities — cancelled, arguing that the exhibition is anti-Israel, or even anti-Semitic.    Read the Article…

Friendship Between the Rhine and the Arax

Germans celebrated national unity on October 3, not only in Dresden but also in Yerevan. Most appropriately at the center of the festivities was the presentation of a new publication detailing the history of German-Armenian relations. Entitled Between the Rhine and the Arax: 900 Years of German-Armenian Relations, the volume published by TIGRAN METS in Yerevan, is the Armenian translation of a work issued in German in 1988, by Enno Meyer and Ara J. Berkian. Lisa Berkian-Abrahamian fulfilled her late husband’s desire by translating it into Armenian. Read the Article...

Freedoms Are Not Relative

DRESDEN, Germany —On October 3 Dresden hosted the celebrations for the Day of German Unity, the reunification that was forged in 1990. Bundestag President Norbert Lammert expressed optimism and pride that “We are living together today in a way that generations before us could only dream of: in unity and justice and freedom.” A day later prosecutors announced a decision that made clear that “freedom” includes freedom of speech and opinion, freedom of the press and of artistic expression. It was not a good day for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Read the article…


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Wolfgang Gust zum 80.Geburtstag
„Was hat der Mensch dem Menschen Größeres zu geben als Wahrheit?“
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Al Arab review of "Madmen at the Helm"

The London-based Arabic newspaper Al Arab published this review of the book, "Madmen at the Helm: Pathology and Politics in the Arab Spring."
Germany Buchbesprechung "Madmen at the Helm: Pathology and Politics in the Arab Spring" in der Zeitung Al Arab aus London: