The Artsakh people have accepted us with open arms, providing us with every possible help to make Zartonk a success. The deputy minister responsible for Culture, Lernik Hovhannisyan, helped with issuing Visas for our Canadian, Belgian, and US faculty and staff as well as authorizing us with the use of the infrastructure we need, from the Sayat Nova Music College to the concert halls in Stepanakert and Martuni.
We also had the utmost honour to meet Artak Beglaryan, the Chief of Staff who is perhaps the most visionary Armenian alive today. During the turko-azeri invasion in 2020, he was the Human Rights Ombudsman and pled to the international community to take action against the genocidal turk. The response was, as we know, so-called balanced statements that only encouraged the aggressor to continue beheading Armenians. The international community remains blind; Dr. Beglaryan—the exact opposite! We also met the new Human Rights Ombudsman, Gegham Stepanyan, who agreed that what we are doing with Zartonk falls well within the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child: We are proving quality education, hope, and empowerment.
Other interesting events this week included the honouring with a medal of bravery to our faculty member, Sevak Avanesyan, for his efforts during the 44-day invasion. Indeed, a courageous man who risked his life on many occasions in those fateful months to try to defend his Nation. The press of Artsakh was all over us thanks to our wonderful Knarik Nersisyan, the Zartonk Media Relations Rep. There will be documentaries on Artsakh TV, articles, radio interviews, and more. Finally, we can mention the wonderful collaboration with TUMO and the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre thanks to our Zartonk staff from Canada Elize Bogossian, Senior Visual Communications Manager at Air Canada and her sister Alina Bogossian, professor at Université de Montréal and an expert on social work.