04, 2012

President Serzh Sargsyan participated at the official ceremony of declaring Yerevan the World Book Capital 2012

President Serzh Sargsyan and Mrs. Rita Sargsyan participated today at the official ceremony of declaring Yerevan the World Book Capital 2012, which took place in the vicinity of the Matenadaran – the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. The ceremony took place in the framework of the events organized by the State Commission for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Armenian printing.

At the ceremony, the Mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Makrin passed the World Book Capital title to the Mayor of Yerevan Taron Margarian.

The Secretary of the State Commission for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Armenian printing Vigen Sarkissian made welcoming remarks.


Welcoming remarks by the Secretary of the State Commission for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Armenian printing Vigen Sarkissian at the official ceremony of declaring Yerevan the World Book Capital 2012.

Dear Friends,

Our capital city Yerevan is a book which opens itself for the world, and whose ancient and modern pages have volumes to tell about most diverse areas and eras of the global civilization.

This year, because we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Armenian printing, we are highlighting and displaying especially those pages which narrate about the journey of the Armenian book and literature and their standing in our times.

A part of the manuscripts created by our people hundreds of years ago are exhibited in the Matenadaran’s compound which has been opened only months ago and now is rising magnificently in front of you. “Matenadaran is everything to us – our language, literature, history, science, our certificate of birth and curriculum vitae, the anchor of our future victories, our constant and everlasting starting point,” these are the words of President Serzh Sargsyan spoken at the inauguration of the newly constructed compound. It was through his initiative and active dedication that this new and splendid research institute of the ancient Armenian manuscripts was created. It feels the heart of every Armenian with pride and self-esteem.

It is a great pride and responsibility for me too to be present and participate at the symbolic ceremony of passing on the baton to Yerevan as the World Book Capital, standing right here, in front of this magnificent structure, next to the creator of our letters, in Sevak’s words, in front of the one who had formed and tempered our identity – Mesrop Mashtots, who “Brought ink against blood, pen – against sword, and resisted ambush with Matenadaran” and other great personalities of our education, writings and disciplines. All of us – the participants and friends, who have arrived to attend this event, are inspired and united by one main value – love towards books and enlightenment.

King Vramshapuh, feeling intrinsically the importance of the letters and writings was supporting greatly Mesrop Mashtots and Sahak Partev; later, in the 5th century letters and writings would bring the golden age of the Armenian literature.

At the dawn of the Bagratunis statehood, the Armenian King Ashot, though greatly valued one of his bodyguard nevertheless relieved him of his duties, “Exclusive handwriting is spiritual gold,” he said and encouraged him to spread the light of writing.

In the 10th century, a humble monk and genius poet Narekatsi through the lyrical lines he left on the scrolls for a thousand years has been an invariable companion to many-many generation on their way towards self-purification.

In the remote 1486, author Hovannes in his Hishatakaran was counseling not only to read but also to urge reading, viewing the reading as a blooming rose and gleaming flowerbed, water of immortality, bread of life and the curer of the souls. In the 20th century, Charents wrote:

“Each book is a world unique, and each of them speaks of the world.”

Dear Friends,

On this momentous jubilee and particularly, on the occasion of assuming the World Book Capital title, we have developed a comprehensive series of events which was approved by UNESCO.

A glimpse back into history has become a greatest impetus for the due presentation of our traditions of printing and the latest achievements registered in this area. If we go through the pages of the Armenian periodicals of 1912-1913, we can see that they are full of writings dedicated to the 1500 anniversary of the Armenian letters and the 400th anniversary of the Armenian printing and numerous pertinent events.

One feels immensely proud to see how enthusiastically the Armenian nation, which hundred years ago was yet stateless, was celebrating those historic jubilees.

From Constantinople to Tiflis and Baku, from Alexandropole and Shushi to Moscow, Petersburg and other place with the prominent Armenian presence, thanks to our authors and intellectuals books and literature were in the center of attention for two years. In the heart of different events there were to historical figures – Mesrop Mashtots and Hakop Meghapart. Precious names – first of them endowed us with the Letter, the second – with the Book.

The contemporary Yerevan is the heir to that legacy, and it compels us to bring together the efforts of the state and public structures to emphasize the importance of the letters and books to the utmost.

The World Book Capital title holds a great import for us. For us, the Book Capital first of all is a triumvirate the Capital of Authors, the Capital of Publishers, and the Capital of Readers. It means a capital, where the role of the author and the art of the publisher are extremely valued, and where everything is done to bring the created pieces of literature to the reader. All this translates into the ideology of developed programs, in which the programs for children have their special place, because our children are viewed as future authors, publishers and readers.

Thus, very soon we will witness a parade of successive events and will be greeted by His Majesty the Book, from parchment to electronic publications.

I cordially welcome our distinguished guests and congratulate us all on assuming the honorable title of the World Book Capital and wish you all interesting and exciting lives, full of letters and books.

Thank you.

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