Working visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to Tavush marz
President Armen Sarkissian visited “UWC Dilijan” international college. It opened its doors in October, 2014 accepting 94 students and becoming one of 18 UWC college movement and the first international boarding school in Armenia.
The President toured the premise, familiarized with the learning and leisure conditions, inquired about the details of the learning process. A group of students from Russia, Georgia, and Armenia, who will start schooling in the new academic year in the college, at the Dilijan college attend an introductory course in the camp.
The President held a warm and candid conversation with the students and alumni, speaking in particular about Armenia’s development prospects and vision. “To push Armenia forward, we need a vision. A vision for one’s country forms also a vision for the whole world; you come to understand where the world is headed to. We need to be in harmony with the world, move in step with it,” President Armen Sarkissian said.
He underscored that it is necessary to have a program, a strategy, and a road map to achieve goals. “One thing is clear: a country like Armenia should be the best in everything it does. This is the formula for the future,” the President of Armenia said. In the conversation with the students, Armen Sarkissian spoke also of the necessity to be armed with knowledge in the new world. “Your life comprises a number of wonderful but also complicated elements. Knowledge is a must for becoming successful and creative,” he noted.
During his working visit to Tavoush marz, President Armen Sarkissian visited today Dilijan City Hall, met with the governor Haik Chobanian and Mayor Armen Santrossian. The President informed that French Chamonix town, where the prestigious Summit of Minds is held traditionally, has expressed wish to establish deeper friendly relations with Dilijan.
“Only days ago, I have been informed that Chamonix City Hall wants to establish friendly relations with Dilijan. The first step was made, of course, when the world-famous Summit of Minds, which is being held in Chamonix each year, now acquired a sister summit which will be held each year in Dilijan. The founders of the Summit agreed to give us their brand and cooperate with us. The Summit is held each fall in Chamonix, while we’ve decided to hold it in Armenia in late spring or early summer,” the President said and added, “Now I have even better news for you: Chamonix City Hall has decided to deepen cooperation with Dilijan. Chamonix is an interesting town, a classical example of how a small town can achieve great success.”
He noted that Chamonix, which is smaller than Dilijan, has a population of only 10 thousand people, each year receives 5 million tourists which come for skiing as well as cultural and conference events. “It is almost as beautiful as Dilijan. It’s an interesting town, located 1000-4000 meters above the sea level. An old town, like Dilijan. A proposal was made for representatives of Dilijan to visit Chamonix soon and discuss areas of cooperation. So, I congratulate you, wish every success and pass you the program. I will continue to assist you. I hope that this cooperation will serve the marz, the town, and Armenia. If the small Chamonix can receive 5 million tourists, why Dilijan cannot receive at least one million?”
The governor of Tavoush Haik Chobanian thanked the President for the initiative. “Thank you for this gift because we are positioning Dilijan as a town of intellectual, quality life, and tourism where the main topics are education, culture, science, and innovations. What you said, I believe, from the viewpoint of development of sister-town is a very important milestone for Dilijan. This is also an excellent news for our residents,” the governor said.
Mayor Armen Santrossian noted that Dilijan has a great experience of cooperation in the sister-towns format. “We have similar experience with several towns but in this format, when the President brings his mediation, has never been done before and for us it is more compelling: We need to manifest a more serious approach and achieve serious results,” the mayor of Dilijan said.
President Sarkissian welcomed the steps taken by the regional and municipal authorities which are aimed at restoring Dilijan’s fame as a cultural and touristic hub. “Dilijan has always been an old, beautiful town with traditions, which, although small, has always had urban culture. I believe for all of us, it is very important to have a clear vision for the region’s and town’s development, otherwise even the best of ideas will be unsuccessful, fall flat if not managed properly, according to a precise plan, with the exact knowledge of where we are going,” the President said and added that Dilijan should be a cultural, intellectual, and touristic town. “I will be glad to bring my contribution to that vision, design, and implementation of the program,” the President underscored.
He expressed confidence that cooperation with Chamonix would be efficient. The French side has already expressed readiness to host in the nearest future a delegation of the Armenian entrepreneurs. “I urge to do it as soon as possible so that this cooperation gets blood and flesh quickly,” President Sarkissian added.
He said that was planning to visit the region soon again. “It’s a great pleasure for me because I am rediscovering Armenia again. Visits to different regions of Armenia fill me with great vigor and give positive impulses. And I want to urge all our compatriots to do the same, to know better our Fatherland.”
At the conclusion of his working visit to Tavush marz, President Armen Sarkissian visited today the Haghartsin monastery compound. Accompanied by the Primate of Tavush marz Diocese Bagrat Bishop Galstian, the President toured the 10th century cloister, lit a candle, and listened to sharakan spiritual music.
In the yard of the compound, Armen Sarkissian conversed with the visitors and tourists, students of the Arevik social and educational center of the Tavush Diocese.
In his conversation with the journalists, President Sarkissian said that since young age his first teacher and guide in learning about the country was his father who was an architect, an expert of the ancient Armenian architecture.
“I visited this place for the first time when I was 4 or 5 years old. Each time I rediscover the same thing in a different way,” he said. Armen Sarkissian added that for him the compound was also a state symbol.
“This wonder has a special message for me, it’s a state symbol because it was not only a spiritual but also a state center,” the President said. “I believe it is significant for our young people not just memorize mechanically our history but feel and appreciate it. We need to understand that statehood was not created yesterday, or 30, or 100 years ago. We had statehood hundreds, thousand years ago, and it was a strong statehood. We all need to appreciate deeply our Church and our state. Our task is to carry on with that statehood in the 21st century.”
Responding to the question on what message he would like to convey to the young people of Tavush marz, Armen Sarkissian said in particular that his message is very simple, “Yerevan is certainly our capital but our Fatherland is greater than Yerevan, and each corner has its beauty, charm, value and importance.”
Bagrat Bishop Galstian welcomed President Sarkissian’s visit to Tavush marz and monastery compound and noted that each visit, especially of a high-ranking state official, is very inspiring because Tavush has a special role and significance in our country’s life. “These are the gates of our Fatherland that is why every soldier or civilian constantly needs inspiration and assistance. It is not about helping; it is about involvement. I believe this visit is yet another chance for our people to reassess and understand that they play a very important role in strengthening our statehood, in ensuring our security,” the Primate of Tavush marz underscored.
Later, at the reception center of the Haghartsin compound, President Sarkissian met with young people of the marz and had a warm and candid conversation with them. Armen Sarkissian responded to their questions, spoke in particular about the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in our life, national unity and national identity and shared his advice with the young people.