The Hamazkayin Student Cultural Forum
The Hamazkayin Student Cultural Forum was incepted in 1994 by the second Hamazkayin General Assembly in Dzaghgatsor, Armenia. Its main goal is to bridge Armenian students from all over the world. It is aimed at bringing together Armenian students in an Armenian atmosphere, to convey the Armenian past and present, history and traditions, together with our complex existence, and our concerns and opportunities for preserving our cultural values. The Forum is also a medium where social and national problems are discussed, as well as the Armenian Student’s role in the current realities facing the nation.
Between 1994 and 2001, the Forum took place in Lebanon, as it is one of the centers of the Armenian diaspora. The organizers thought that the diasporan Armenian college student should get to know this central Armenian community and witness the productive cultural and educational activities of Hamazkayin. The historic site of Nshan Palanjian Lyceum (Djemaran) became a two-week enlightening center for the participants. There, beside the busts of Shant, Aghpalian, Varoojan, Siamanto, Ganachian, and Zartarian, the students bridged the past with the present. Each year, the students visited The Catholicosate of Cilicia in Lebanon and had interesting conversations with the Catholicos of the House of Cilicia.
Since 2002, the Forum has taken place in Armenia. The students are provided with a closer look into life in Armenia. They visit Etchmiadzin, cultural monuments, museums, and the Madenataran. They attend cultural activities and artistic performances.
Several famous lecturers from Armenia and the diaspora provide their input for the Forum’s academic programs. The lectures are based on the themes of Armenian history, literature, cultural wealth, folk traditions, music, and theater. Activities include Armenian folk dance, sculpture, and publishing. The students publish an information bulletin on their day-to-day activities.
The most important part of the Forum is the round-table discussions, during which the students discuss various issues and problems, thus creating a true bond among those coming from Armenia and the various communities in the diaspora.
The Forum’s organizers make an effort to create an amiable and active social atmosphere. They encourage young people from various countries to mingle and connect with the Armenian life.
The Forum is an excellent opportunity for many students from Armenia and the diaspora to meet, exchange their knowledge and experience, to develop close ties, and to enjoy unforgettable moments. When necessary, the organizing committee financially assists the participants. The Forum also creates an atmosphere where young people are trained as group guides and take on positions of responsibility. Lectures are often translated into foreign languages to be comprehensible by every participant.