05
10, 2021

State visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to the Italian Republic

At the invitation of the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and his wife Nouneh Sarkissian arrived in Rome on a state visit.

The delegation headed by President Sarkissian consists of the Minister of Justice Karen Andreasyan, the Chairman of the Central Bank Martin Galstyan, the Chief of the Staff of the President of the Republic Emil Tarasyan, and other officials.

At the Rome airport, Minister of Parliamentary Relations of Italy Federico D'Inca met the President of Armenia and his delegation.  

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The state visit of the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian to the Republic of Italy started today.

The official welcoming ceremony of the President of the Republic of Armenia took place at the Residence of the President of Italy, in the Quirinal Palace.

The military orchestra performed the anthems of Armenia and Italy. orchestra. The state flag of the Republic of Armenia rose on the Quirinal Palace, the Presidents of Armenia and Italy inspected the guard of honour and the military orchestra.

Presidents Armen Sarkissian and Sergio Mattarella wore the ribbons of the highest state awards of the two countries, the Order of Glory of the Republic of Armenia and the Knight of the Great Cross of the Italian Republic. They received those Orders in 2018 for their significant contribution to the strengthening and developing interstate relations between the two countries.

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The téte-á-téte talk of the Presidents of Armenia, and Italy Armen Sarkissian, and Sergio Mattarella took place in the Residence of the President of Italy, in the Quirinal Palace.

Presidents Sarkissian and Mattarella touched upon the centuries-old Armenian-Italian friendship, the strong interstate relations, which shaped over the past years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the perspectives of their development. They noted that the Armenian and Italian peoples, as bearers of the earliest civilizations of the world, have a rich chronicle of relations, based on close historical ties, and identity of Christian values.

The Presidents of Armenia and Italy also exchanged views on the agenda of bilateral relations, regional and international developments and issues.

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The téte-á-téte talk of Presidents Armen Sarkissian and Sergio Mattarella at the Residence of the President of Italy was followed by a meeting of the delegations in an expanded format.

A meeting of the delegations in an expanded format followed the téte-á-téte talk of Presidents Armen Sarkissian and Sergio Mattarella at the Residence of the President of Italy.

President Armen Sarkissian thanked the President of Italy for the invitation to pay a state visit and the warm reception, emphasizing that the reciprocal visits of recent years and the state visits of the two presidents testify to the high level of Armenian-Italian relations. "The friendship of our two peoples has a history of thousands of years. For the last two thousand years, it has been the relations between Christian Armenia and Christian Italy. However, we live in the 21st century, I hope that with this visit we will lay the foundations of a new relationship, perhaps for the next 2000 years, said President Sarkissian. "I would like to express my gratitude for your friendship, to the Governmenta and people of Italy, for the support shown to Armenia during the difficult days of COVID-19, which continues to this day."

President Sarkissian thanked President Mattarella, the Government and the people of Italy for their concern shown towards Armenia and the Armenian people, and the resolution adopted by the Italian Parliament on March 2 this year, which calls on Azerbaijan to release the Armenian prisoners of war. President Sarkissian also welcomed the documents that about fifty regional and city councils in Italy adopted in defense of Artsakh and its people.

Touching upon the 44-day war, its consequences and the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, President Sarkissian noted that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's status remains unresolved, and the solution is negotiations with the support of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. "We look to the future, hoping that the ceasefire will one day become peace, and together with our friends, particularly with Italy, we will engage in creative work, strengthening our relations politically, legally, financially, in new technologies, culture, science, education, and other spheres. I visited Italy for that purpose."

Welcoming the visit of the President of Armenia and the delegation headed by him in Italy, Sergio Mattarella particularly noted that he has warm memories of his visit to Armenia in 2018. "I am confident this visit will give a new impetus to their continuous development. This is the first time the President of Armenia is on a state visit at the Quirinal Palace. There is a long-standing friendship between Italy and Armenia, further strengthened by our personal friendship. I remember 2020. You called me in March, when Italy was going through a really critical period with the coronavirus."

"Armenia is a priority country for us. Today, we have allocated 45,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for Armenia. We were able to help each other during these tragic times," said President Matarella. The President of Italy expressed his condolences to the victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. "We are absolutely convinced that a final solution can be found through negotiations," he said. "It is necessary to build up a bilateral constructive atmosphere to settle the situation. The role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in resolving the situation is very critical. Armenia is a reliable partner for us in the region."

Issues related to the deepening and expanding bilateral relations in various spheres were also discussed at the meeting. The Presidents were unanimous in their opinions that the two countries have great potential to develop interaction, particularly in the fields of high technologies, artificial intelligence and food security, tourism, finance and banking, state-building, and strengthening democratic institutions.

They touched upon the potential and prospects of cooperation to develop scientific, technical and technological spheres. In this context, they spoke about the possibilities of implementing joint projects with Italian companies within the framework of the ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) Initiative of the President of Armenia.

It was noted that Armenia's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the Comprehensive Extended Partnership Agreement signed with the European Union, provide new opportunities for the expansion of cooperation between Armenia and Italy, especially in the economic sphere. Besides, by investing in Armenia, Italian businessmen will be able to enter the Eurasian Economic Union market without customs duties.

According to the Presidents, one of the commonalities of the two peoples is the existence of a large Diaspora. Emphasizing the effective use of the potential of the Diaspora, they stressed that the heritage of the Armenian community and the Mekhitarist Congregation in Italy promotes the two countries to interact more closely.

From the point of view of strengthening the historically friendly ties between the two peoples, cooperation in the field of education, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage was considered vital. President Sarkissian noted the continuous activity of the Chairs of the Armenian Studies in Italian universities, which will contribute to the development of Armenian Studies in Italy.

The President of Italy thanked President Sarkissian for the exhibition of valuable works of Armenian art at the Quirinale Palace.

Within the framework of President Sarkissian's state visit, documents on cooperation between the two countries in the fields of education, justice, healthcare and environment protection will be signed.

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The Presidents of Armenia and Italy Armen Sarkissian and Sergio Mattarella summed up the results of today's meetings with statements for the mass media.

The Statement of the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian.

"Honourable President Mattarella,

Dear representatives of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the President of Armenia, I am glad to be in Italy on a state visit for the first time; I express my deep gratitude to President Mattarella for his friendship, invitation, and this brilliant reception.

Shortly before, we had meaningful and fruitful negotiations with President Mattarella, which are a clear expression of the high level of Armenian-Italian relations.

We stressed the high level of the political dialogue between the two states and the mutual readiness to develop bilateral relations by Italy and Armenia.

In our negotiations, we also touched upon the commercial and economic relations between Armenia and Italy. I hope that these relations will soon reach the level of our dialogue.

Under the conditions of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trade turnover between Armenia and Italy declined in 2020, but it began to recover in 2021. I am sure that it will soon have a much higher level than in previous years.

Together with the President, we also attached significance to promoting the development of cooperation in modern industry, i.e. in the spheres of information technologies, biotechnologies, and artificial intelligence, in such modern areas, which are related to food security and communication systems, corresponding to the 21st century.

We discussed those necessary changes that could result in contributions to help prevent dangerous climate change.

We also touched upon the opportunities for cooperation in the development of scientific-technical and technological spheres.

I presented to the Honourable President the opportunities and directions of implementing joint projects with Italian companies within the framework of the Presidential ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) Initiative.

We attach great importance to bilateral human contacts and relations, particularly in the sphere of tourism. Both Italy and Armenia have a huge historical and cultural heritage. Mr. President and I also stressed the significance of preserving each other's cultural heritage.

We want Italy to be more involved in our education system, which will make our people more familiar with Italian identity, culture and history.

I presented my assessment of the situation around the settlement of the Karabakh conflict to my dear colleague, reaffirming Armenia's readiness to continue working for its peaceful settlement through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

In this regard, we duly evaluated the significance of maintaining balanced positions and approaches to the issues that are sensitive for each other.

We highly appreciate the willingness of the Italian Government to continue supporting ROKEMP (Regional Centre for the Protection, Management and Evaluation of the Cultural Heritage) program, and through it to promote the preservation of historical-cultural heritage in Armenia and elsewhere.

Armenia is grateful to friendly Italy for showing sensitivity to human rights issues.

We highly appreciate the resolution adopted by the Italian Parliament on March 2, which calls for the release of Armenian prisoners of war.

We also welcome the documents adopted by about fifty regional and city councils in Italy in defense of Artsakh and its people.

We attach importance to the participation of the mission of Italian specialists in the process of preservation of the Armenian historical-cultural heritage after the establishment of the ceasefire, as well as the direct cooperation with UNESCO.

One of the best examples of our strong cooperation and friendship is the joint efforts of Armenia and Italy for peace and security within the framework of the UN Interim Force General Command in Lebanon.

I cordially thank you for the decision of the Italian government to provide Armenia with vaccines at this difficult stage of the pandemic.

Armenia highly appreciates the multilateral cooperation implemented with the EU in such spheres as democracy, human rights, protection of fundamental freedoms, joint programs for sustainable development, and effective governance.

I am convinced that with the vision of the future, the dialogue and cooperation established between Italy and Armenia will continue; my visit will not only be the first historical state visit but also a basis for a closer and warmer relationship between Armenia and Italy in the decades to come.

In conclusion, I would like to thank once again my dear Italian friend, exceptional statesman, President Mattarella, who enjoys international prestige, for the warm reception given to the Armenian delegation, and to reaffirm my readiness as the President of the Republic of Armenia, and continue my efforts to expand cooperation between Armenia and Italy in all directions."

In his statement, President Mattarella particularly said:

"It is a great pleasure today to host President Sarkissian, his wife and the delegation on the first historical visit of the President of the Republic of Armenia here in the Quirinal Palace.

The visit is historical, as it coincides with the 30th anniversary of the declaration of independence of the Republic of Armenia, on which occasion I once again send my warm congratulations to President Sarkissian.

I am glad that we managed to carry out this visit, which was postponed due to the pandemic. This is the return visit of my visit to Yerevan in July, 2018, about which I still have vivid and warm memories.

Armenia and Italy can boast of great friendly traditions characterized by qualitative growth. We have several areas of cooperation. I thank Mr. Sarkissian for Armenia's involvement in the UN peacekeeping force. Our friendship re-established during the pandemic, when Mr. Sarkissian called Italy and expressed his concern about the difficult situation of the pandemic in Italy.

Our doctors collaborated with Armenian doctors shoulder to shoulder in Armenia.

We talked about our relations with President Sarkissian, I mentioned that Armenia is a reliable partner in the region for Italy."

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The President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, who is in the Italian Republic on a state visit, met with the President of the Italian Senate Maria Elisabetta Casellati.

Welcoming the President of Armenia on behalf of the Senate and on her own, Maria Casellati, once again noted with satisfaction the strong ties between the two countries. She said the state visit of the President of Italy to Armenia in 2018 and today, the state visit of the President of Armenia to Italy are a powerful incentive for cooperation between the two countries. Considering culture as an essential component for bilateral interaction, she emphasized the importance of the activities of the Italian Centre for the Protection, Management, and Evaluation of the Region’s Cultural Heritage opened in Yerevan in 2018.

Agreeing that historical and cultural ties are at the core of the relations between the two countries, the President of Armenia said that our peoples had historical ties for millennia, and for the last two thousand years, they have also had a common Christian history. "We are peoples who have always highly appreciated culture, knowledge, and art," said President Sarkissian.

The President of Armenia stressed the importance of meeting with the heads of the legislative bodies within the framework of his foreign visits, especially the significant role of the parliaments in developing interstate relations and forming an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding. "We are interested in seeing closer ties between the parliaments of the two countries, including in international organizations, and within the framework of inter-parliamentary assemblies," said President Sarkissian.

The interlocutors also spoke about regional developments and problems. President Sarkissian particularly touched upon the humanitarian issues, noting in this context that despite the efforts of the international community, Azerbaijan continues to detain Armenian prisoners of war.

They also touched upon the directions and prospects of cooperation between Armenia and the European Union.

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The President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, in Italy on a state visit, met with Roberto Fico, the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy.

Welcoming the state visit of the President of Armenia to Italy, Roberto Fico noted that it is a new opportunity to discuss bilateral relations and partnership between the two parliaments. "We highly appreciate the friendship with Armenia. I hope that our two parliaments will further strengthen those relations with their activity,” said the Chairman of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, noting that they are very interested in Armenia and establishing peace and stability in the region.

President Sarkissian stressed that Armenia attaches particular importance to strengthening interaction with Italy in all directions, considering inter-parliamentary cooperation an essential constituent of interstate relations. "I believe in the Armenian-Italian friendship and the real potential for the development of cooperation. I strive to work for the development of that cooperation," said President Sarkissian. "You have a parliamentary democracy with great experience in your country. Armenia is only a three-year parliamentary republic; we have a lot to learn from you."

President Sarkissian stressed the importance of cooperation of the National Assembly of Armenia and the two chambers of the Italian Parliament, and in this context, the planned visit of Roberto Fico to Armenia and the activities of friendship groups working in the parliaments.

The President of Armenia expressed his gratitude to the Chamber of Deputies for recognizing the Armenian Genocide on April 10, 2019, and Roberto Fico’s personal position on this issue. This fact best demonstrates Italy's commitment to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

During the meeting, President Sarkissian referred to the 44-day war in Artsakh, and the consequent situation in the country and in the region, especially the humanitarian issues. He recalled with gratitude the resolution, adopted by the Italian Parliament on March 2 this year, which calls for the release of Armenian prisoners of war.

The interlocutors emphasized the significance of the Armenia-EU cooperation, where Italy has a prominent role, as one of the pivotal directions on the agenda of bilateral relations. President Sarkissian noted that Armenia highly appreciates the multi-faceted cooperation with the EU in such spheres as strengthening democratic institutions, human rights, and implementing joint programs of sustainable development and effective governance.

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Within the framework of the state visit of the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian to Italy, under the auspices of the Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and the Italian Republic, the exhibition of works by famous Armenian painters Hovhannes Aivazovsky, Gevorg Bashinjaghyan, Martiros Saryan, Vardges Surenyants and Hakob Kojoyan opened today at the Quirinal Palace.

Presidents Armen Sarkissian and Sergio Mattarella visited the exhibition.

A similar but Italian exhibition, organized at the Residence of the President of the Republic of Armenia in September 2020, displayed canvases by the outstanding 18th-century Italian painters Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto), Bernardo Bellotto, Francesco Guardi, and Michele Marieschi where the artists depicted Piazza San Marco in Venice in their specific interpretation.

According to the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian, such exhibitions bear witness to both historical and current deep and close, friendly and warm relations between the peoples of Armenia and Italy. "Art unites peoples, which is more than obvious in the case of the Armenian and Italian peoples who have ancient roots of friendship. And this is exactly what is called a dialogue of civilizations and cultures, a dialogue of the inner world and talent of nations.”

The President of Armenia noted that the works presented at the Quirinal Palace are part of the rich Armenian cultural heritage, to which we have the greatest respect and which we wholeheartedly share with our friends. According to him, this talented constellation of Armenian artists: Hovhannes Aivazovsky, Gevorg Bashin Bashinjaghyan, Martiros Saryan, Vardges Surenyants, and Hakob Kojoyan, constitute an integral part of not only our national but also world art heritage.

At one time, some of these artists had fairly close contacts with Italy and Italian culture. According to the President, there is already a huge treasury of Armenian cultural and spiritual values ​​in Italy, represented by the heritage of the Mekhitarist Congregation on the island of San Lazzaro.

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Within the framework of his state visit to Italy, the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian met with the Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi.

Expressing gratitude for the hospitality and emphasizing that he came to Rome from another ancient city, Yerevan, President Sarkissian noted that the purpose of his visit to Italy was also the development of relations and cooperation between Yerevan and Rome. "I want to use this opportunity to say that we can do a lot together. We have a great potential for cooperation, especially in the preservation of cultural, educational, and historical heritage and in many other spheres.”

Mayor Virginia Raggi noted that they would be happy to deepen cooperation and friendship with Yerevan. "The millennial history of our peoples is a good basis for developing future partnerships." The Mayor said they are ready to share their experience and knowledge of preserving the historical heritage with their friends.

They focused on deepening cultural ties between the two capitals, implementing joint events and programs, and the need to intensify contacts.

The President of Armenia expressed gratitude to the Mayor’s Office of Rome for granting consent to the proposal of the Armenian side to install the bust of Hovhannes Tumanyan in the Garden of Sant’Andrea, located next to the Quirinal Palace; he also expressed hope that the bust of the great Armenian writer would bear witness to the Armenian-Italian friendship.

President Sarkissian also highly appreciated the unanimous recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Rome City Council in 2000. He stressed the importance of installing “Armenian Mother,” the bronze monument by Armenian sculptor Vigen Avetis, commemorating the 100 years of the Armenian Genocide, in the Armenian Genocide Park, adjacent to the Square of Augusto Lorenzini.

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Within the framework of his state visit to the Italian Republic, President Armen Sarkissian visited Piazza Venezia in Rome, where he was welcomed by the Minister of Defense of Italy Lorenzo Guerini and high-ranking military officials.

The President of Armenia paid tribute at the Altar of the Fatherland and laid a wreath.

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the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian visited the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Veneto. At the meeting, with the RA Ambassador to Italy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan and RA Honorary Consul in Veneto Gagik Sarukhanyan, they discussed issues, referring to the Armenian-Italian relations.

The Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia Gagik Sarukhanyan informed President Sarkissian about the Consulate's activities and work. He noted that President Sarkissian's state visit to Italy and bilateral commitment to develop relations will convey new strength and confidence to the Armenian community.

In the context of deepening the Armenian-Italian ties, they also discussed issues related to the preservation of the Armenian historical-cultural heritage in Venice. President Sarkissian expressed readiness to support, within his competence, the initiatives and programs directed to solution of those issues.

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President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, who is on a state visit to Italy,  held a farewell meeting with President of Italy Sergio Mattarella at the Residence of the President of Italy, the Quirinal Palace.

The Presidents once again emphasized the high level of the Armenian-Italian relations, and noted that both countries have many common interests, a great potential for cooperation and a great desire to continuously strengthen bilateral friendship.

After the conversation, an official farewell ceremony took place with the President of Armenia and his delegation.

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The President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, who is in Italy on a state visit, visited La Sapienza University in Rome.

La Sapienza, one of the leaders in Italy with a history of 700 years, is also one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe. In the international rankings, it is among the best educational institutions, especially in the fields of archaeology, classical and ancient history, art and the humanities, as well as physical-mathematical sciences and aerospace engineering.

During the visit of the President of Armenia, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and La Sapienza University, and it was officially announced about the launching of classes in Armenian Studies at the University. The document was signed by Armenian Ambassador to Italy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan and Rector of La Sapienza University Antonella Polimeni.

"Everything that is happening today is a big event. I am proud to say that Armenia is one of the oldest, and unique countries in the world, which has accumulated great knowledge during its existence of thousands of years, and it is our duty to share that knowledge with others.

In life, we ​​share knowledge, emotions, and love. Without it, we cannot be human," said President Sarkissian. I am glad to be here today, not as a president, but simply as an Armenian, as someone who considers knowledge, education and science vital, and believes that it is significant that there will be classes in Armenian Studies in the heart of Rome, in this university. Perhaps, at first, you will only learn the Armenian language, and then the scope will expand. This will become an essential link, a bridge not only between the present-day Rome and Yerevan but also a bridge in the history of our people who had interrelations thousands of years ago. I hope that this small start will be the beginning of a big initiative. And I can assure you that I will be one of those who will fully support this start.”

President Sarkissian and the Rector of the University Antonella Polimeni discussed the issues, related to the expansion and continuity of the course in Armenian Studies.

La Sapienza University has had a Chair of Armenian Studies since the early 2000s. Armenian Studies have deep roots and traditions in Italy. They were conducted in six Italian universities for many years. There are still Chairs of Armenian Studies in some of them. The Chair of the Armenian Language and Culture at La Sapienza University has been closed for the last ten years due to the lack of funding. Over the past year, and especially in Italy, the Armenian Embassy has worked hard to reopen the Chair of Armenian Studies, and owing to the efforts of both sides, teaching Armenian Studies will begin at the high-ranking Department of Classics and Ancient History.

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On October 8, the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and his wife Nouneh Sarkissian, on a state visit in Italy, visited Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, and the University of Bologna.

Founded in the 11th century, this educational centre in Bologna is the oldest permanently functioning university in Europe and has a significant influence not only in Italy but also throughout Europe. According to the accepted viewpoint, only here, it was possible to deeply study Roman law. The University is currently ranked among the best educational institutions in the world: it has ten research-training centres, about 88 thousand students, and 2800 researchers.

Today, the ceremony of awarding the President of Armenia with the highest medal of the educational centre "Sigillum Magnum" took place at the University of Bologna.

The Sigillum Magnum Medal is awarded to influential individuals in the fields of culture, politics, and science. The Sigillum Magnum Medal was first awarded to former Italian President Giuseppe Saragat in 1971, former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and other Italian scholars.

Welcoming the President of Armenia on behalf of the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Rector of the University, Professor Francesco Ubertini particularly noted: "Our university welcomes you not only as the President of the Republic of Armenia, and the first President to honour us with his visit but also as a university professor and a respected physicist.

Your theory of quantum politics is a true testimony to the scientific and political commitment - the unity you have been embodying since 2000.

This theory has also been expressed in your research activities, which you have brought to the international arena through various conferences, the book to be published in the near future, and articles published in various periodicals. Your theory allows you to look at today's political events from a different perspective.

As a diplomat, representing Armenia in the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Vatican, and the United Kingdom, you have made a special contribution to the development of cooperation between Armenia and Italy. I hope you will make such a contribution to establishing relations with Bologna."

Handing the honorary "Sigillum Magnum" Medal to the President of Armenia, Francesco Ubertini said: "We sincerely want to strengthen our friendship."

Anna Shirinyan, Head of the Chair of Armenian Language and Literature at the

University of Bologna, presented the history of the establishment of the Chair of Armenian Studies at the University, the Armenian-Italian historical ties and spoke about the significant Armenian trace in Italy. "Since the early Middle Ages, Armenians have settled in different regions of Italy, bringing with them various manuscripts. Armenian printing was born in Italy, and the first printed books were published in Italy."

According to her, various Armenian manuscripts and old printed books are kept in the University, which are currently being turned into catalogues. The University of Bologna is actively involved in the study of Armenian documents and manuscripts.

"The heritage we have received, the heritage we want to develop and enrich, has four directions: to promote Armenian studies, to train young researchers, to establish and develop communication with Armenian academic institutions, and most importantly, we want to emphasize the peculiarities of the Armenian people, people who manage to successfully preserve Armenian culture in any country where they lived and live today," said Anna Shirinyan.

Expressing gratitude for the appreciation, President Sarkissian particularly said: "It is a great honour for me to be here and receive the highest medal of this University, knowing that my name will be with the outstanding writers and figures, my good friend, the President of Italy Mattarella, the Pope, who have been awarded this medal," he said. "It is one thing to be a professor or an honorary professor in different universities, but to receive the Sigillum Magnum Medal of the University of Bologna, considered the mother of all universities, is beyond imagination for someone who has dedicated a small part of his life to science and education."

President Sarkissian noted that this event has a special significance for him. "Back in the mid-1970s, when I was a young researcher, I had the honour of being invited by a famous Italian physicist to visit the University of Bologna. I was a citizen of the Soviet Union at the time, and that invitation was rejected. As it was the first invitation, it left a big mark on my heart. Standing here today, I want to thank you for honouring me, my compatriots, and my country."

President Sarkissian briefly presented his new book to the participants of the event, which refers to the quantum world, particularly noting: "Quantum world is about creating a new world order that is not what we all think it is. It is very different, as in today's world everything is interconnected, and developments take place in another way. ”

After the ceremony, President Sarkissian and his wife Nouneh Sarkissian visited the university library and got acquainted with the unique specimens of the Armenian literary heritage kept there. Professor Anna Shirinyan presented the unique copies of the first Armenian printed books, as well as the original (1691) of the famous map of Armenian monasteries and sanctuaries by Jeremiah Çelebi Kyomurchyan.

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The President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian visited the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Veneto. At the meeting, with the RA Ambassador to Italy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan and RA Honorary Consul in Veneto Gagik Sarukhanyan, they discussed issues, referring to the Armenian-Italian relations.

The Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia Gagik Sarukhanyan informed President Sarkissian about the Consulate's activities and work. He noted that President Sarkissian's state visit to Italy and bilateral commitment to develop relations will convey new strength and confidence to the Armenian community.

In the context of deepening the Armenian-Italian ties, they also discussed issues related to the preservation of the Armenian historical-cultural heritage in Venice. President Sarkissian expressed readiness to support, within his competence, the initiatives and programs directed to solution of those issues.

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Within the framework of his visit to Italy, the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, together with his wife Nouneh Sarkissian, participated in Aurora Award Ceremony 2021, in one of the most outstanding centres of Armenian cultural and spiritual heritage, on the Island of San Lazzaro in Venice.

The annual Aurora World Humanitarian Award was presented to Human Rights Defender Julienne Lusenge during the sixth annual Awards Ceremony.

During the official dinner following the award ceremony, President Sarkissian thanked the founders of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, noting that just a few years after its launch, Aurora has become not only a significant event but also an important institution.

"I express my gratitude to the people who started this idea and turned it into a great achievement. The establishment of Aurora is already a great achievement," said the President. "I am also proud that three Armenians: Ruben Vardanyan, Nubar Afeyan and Vardan Gregoryan, founded the "Aurora" movement. They have attained a lot during their lifetime, but they have done a unique job by founding Aurora."

President Sarkissian spoke about Vardan Gregoryan, noting that he passed away in 2021, but his legacy lives on and will continue to live.

Speaking about holding the award ceremony in San Lazzaro, President Sarkissian said that this place is vital and symbolic for our people. "More than three hundred years ago, a small group of Armenians settled here to avoid Ottoman persecutions, without anything. But they were Armenians, strong survivors, said the President of Armenia. "Coming here, they did the incredible. In a way, it might be said that they created the first "offshore zone" in the world, which served the people; they did it by uniting educated people, creating means, and developing Venice and the Congregation. And as a result, here in the Congregation, we have one of the richest collections of Armenian manuscripts and exceptional works of art."

President Sarkissian considered the appreciation of books and knowledge one of the most prominent features of our people. He noted that in memory of Vardan Gregorian, the co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, long-time President of the New York Public Library, and President of the Carnegie Charitable Corporation, one of the halls of the Residence of the President of Armenia will be turned into a library and will bear his name.

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