National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

The Armenian Reporter | February 28, 2009 5


The changing face of Armenia depicted in Ann Arbor lecture

Scholar addresses

language, culture,

religion and

minorities since


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The

current situation of minorities

in Armenia, and the religious,

cultural, educational, and linguistic

environment in the country,

were the subjects of a February

10 lecture by visiting scholar

Jasmine Dum-Tragut at the

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Speaking to a full audience as

a guest of the Armenian Studies

Program, Dr. Dum-Tragut stated

that there is no reliable census

of religious minorities in Armenia,

but in general the problem of

religious tolerance is acute. Time

changes, but the church maintains

its conservative ideology,

which adds to the atmosphere of

religious intolerance, she said. Yet

while there is a strong link between

Armenian ethnicity and

the church, she does not think

that the church is as strongly connected

to national self-awareness

as it was before 1991.

Dr. Dum-Tragut, who was a Manoogian

Simone Foundation Visiting

Scholar with the Department of

Near Eastern Studies at the University

of Michigan, sponsored by the

Armenian Studies Program, argued

that more than armed conflict and

economic crisis have shaped Armenia

since the end of the Soviet


Notably, language policy has

played an important role in

forming a new national identity

in independent Armenia, she

explained. The strengthening

of Armenian language use in

schools at the expense of Russian-language

instruction was

directed against Russian-speaking

Armenians, but had significant

demographic consequences

for minorities and many left in

the 1990s. Despite all these nationalistic,

pro-ethnic Armenian

moves, however, she argued

that one should bear in mind

that Armenia is perhaps more

heterogeneous in its ethnic, religious,

and cultural values than

ever before.

In response to a question

about the cultural importance of

the church since 1991, Dr. Dum-

Tragut argued that it is still important,

but many Armenians

are not practicing their religion,

even if baptized, so the role of

the Church is complicated. After

another question about what defines

Armenians, she responded

that the main features were origin,

religion, language, culture,

and territory, being born in Armenia,

and knowing the Armenian


Jasmine Dum-Tragut teaches

at the Department of Linguistics,

University of Salzburg, and is

head of the Department for Armenian

Studies, Mayr-Melnhof-

Institute for the Christian East,


She was awarded a Ph.D. in

general linguistics and Russian

philology in 1994 from the University

of Graz (Austria), after

having studied from 1988 to 1990

in Armenia and having obtained

Award-winning film Gyumri coming to Washington

there several diplomas in Armenian

and sociolinguistic studies.

Dr. Dum-Tragut has received a

number of grants for research in

Armenian linguistics and medieval

literature at a number of European


Starting from 2003 she has

been acting as scientific advisor

and project manager at the archaeological

excavations of the

University of Innsbruck (Austria)

in Aramus/Armenia; she is also

guest scholar at the Max Planck

Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

in Leipzig (Germany)

and at the Chair for Armenian

Studies at Leiden University (the


She has published more than 40

papers and 11 monographs referring

to Armenian studies and general

linguistics and lectured extensively


Generation born

since the 1988

earthquake is

subject of Czech


WASHINGTON – For nearly

20 years, survivors of the December

7, 1988, earthquake in northern

Armenia have been linked in

their attempt to come to terms

with the loss of their loved ones.

Most of the generation born in

the wake of the disaster bear

the names of deceased siblings

whom they have never seen. For

some parents, the younger children

have become a sort of substitute

for those who perished,

while the children continue to

believe that the souls of their

brothers and sisters live on with


The Czech film Gyumri, which

won the cult Award for Best

Documentary Film at the Rome

International Film Festival

last year, documents the heartbreak

and hope of the surviving

families in Armenia’s second-largest

city. Directed by

Jana Sevcíková, Gyumri will be

screened March 25, 8 p.m., at the

Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut

Ave. N.W. Czech, Armenian,

and Russian, with English subtitles,

97 min.


A still from the


film Gyumri.

agbu offers exciting summer internships in Paris and Yerevan

Some of the AGBU 2008 Yerevan Summer Intern Program interns tour the Noravank monastic complex in Armenia.

Application deadline

is March 15

NEW YORK – agbu is currently

accepting applications for

its 2009 summer internship programs

in Paris and Yerevan (psip

and ysip). The deadline for applications

for both programs is

March 15. College-age students

interested in gaining professional

work experience and cultural

exploration in an exciting

metropolis, side-by-side with Armenian

peers, are highly encouraged

to apply now.

Each summer, students are exposed

to the dynamic culture of

their host cities while working in

some of the leading companies,

organizations, and governmental


Students are also given informational

lectures on a variety of

worthwhile topics, like résumé

writing, interviewing, job networking,

and Armenian culture

and heritage from several prestigious

speakers. Interns also learn

to give back to the community

through planned volunteer service


The internship programs strive

to give participants not only a solid

professional foundation, but also

a sense of personal growth. Many

internship alumni continue to give

back to the programs and their local

Armenian communities in various


In addition to gaining professional

experience and making network

connections in their fields

of interest, interns also have the

chance to explore the unique cultures

of their host city.

Outings planned by agbu include

visits to the cities’ museums,

restaurants, performing

arts centers, parks and major


Apply today as the deadline for

psip and ysip is fast approaching.

All forms are now available online

at the agbu flagship website, , under the “Downloadable

Forms” pull-down menu.

Sponsored by agbu France District,

the agbu Paris Summer Intern

Program (

) was established in

2003, placing young aspiring Armenians

in seven-week internships

working for leading organizations

in Paris.

Sponsored by the agbu Central

Board of Directors, the agbu Yerevan

Summer Intern Program

( was established

in 2007, placing young aspiring

Armenians in five-week internships

in the corporate, political,

communications, and medical

fields of Armenia. In addition,

there is an all-inclusive agenda of

Armenian dance, language, culture

and history, plus weekend

trips to various regions around

the country.


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