On January 27, the RA Ministry of Diaspora and the Davitian and Mariamian Educational Institution of Glendale organized a subsequent teleconference, which was broadcast live on the Armenian AABC Hye Vision television channel in Glendale.
Among the participants from Armenia were RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan, RA Deputy Minister of Diaspora Vardan Marashlyan, Advisor to the Minister Stepan Petrosyan, Chief of Staff Firdus Zakaryan and other ministry employees. Among the participants from Glendale were Chairman of the board of the Davitian-Mariamian Educational Institution Vahik Tsaturian, board members, Armenian language teachers, Professor of the Naregatsi Department at the University of California Peter Kuon, as well as member of the Board of Education of the Glendale Unified School District Greg Grigorian, board coordinator Marine Avagian, Principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School Greg Musheghian and others.
The teleconference was devoted to the educational issues facing the Armenian community. RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan greeted the participants and congratulated them on the 20th anniversary of the formation of the RA Armed Fores.
Tsaturian briefly presented the educational issues of the Armenian community, as well as the goals and main directions of the Davitian-Mariamian Educational Institution. Currently, many Armenian schoolchildren in the United States attend American state and private schools due to financial hardships and lack of satisfaction of Armenian schools and don’t have the opportunity to learn the Armenian language and history. Nearly 10,000 Armenian children attend American schools in Glendale alone, and they are at a higher risk of assimilation. Since 1987, the Davitian-Mariamian Educational Institution has been organizing four-hour Armenian language and history courses twice a week for Armenian schoolchildren studying at 33 American schools in 10 different cities of the United States. Through the Armenian 50/50 Dual Immersion and Heritage Programs, which are successfully implemented at the Thomas Jefferson and R. D. White Schools of California, 50% of the instruction is in Armenian. The program is designed for 8-12-year old children and has sparked interest among foreign children as well.
During the teleconference, the participants discussed teachers’ trainings, the creation of textbooks and instructional-methodological manuals related to the key educational issues of the community, distance learning, Armenian students’ internships in the Homeland, the solution of educational issues of children born to mixed families, the sister schools program, the organizing of reciprocal visits of teachers, the licensing of Armenian language teachers that arrive in Armenia and meet the requirements of the American educational system, the need of creating an Armenian language course for parents and other issues.
Hranush Hakobyan and the Ministry’s employees presented the programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora in 2012 and answered the participants’ questions. The Minister particularly mentioned the “My Armenia” Festival, the “Diaspora” Summer School, the “Ari Tun” program and other programs, as well as the online projects of the RA Ministry of Diaspora.
Hranush Hakobyan presented the Gold Medal of the RA Ministry of Diaspora to President of the Davitian-Mariamian Educational Institution Vahik Tsaturian, and certificates to teachers Elmira Simonyan and Hasmik Khachatryan for their notable contributions to the preservation of the Armenian identity and to the sphere of education and discipline of the young generation of Armenians in the Diaspora.