10, 2008

Convened the first meeting of the Commission on the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the introduction of printing

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The first meeting of the preparatory state Commission on the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the introduction of printing in Armenia convened today in Oshakan. The meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the Commission, the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan.

The President of Armenia stressed the importance of the fact that the first meeting of the Commission was taking place on a symbolic site – in Oshakan, and the day was a symbolic one too – Translator’s Day. Noting, that there were few nations in the world which paid that much attention to the translators and translation in general, the President of Armenia said, “This reiterates the desire of our people to learn about the world, get familiarized with the values and the achievements of the others, and, why not, to show our own.

It is no secret that we hold the book in high esteem and has, to some degree, turned into adulation. I put my words in the past since today the situation is different. Using the opportunity of the 500th Anniversary of the introduction of printing to Armenia we must be able to revive in our people, and first of all in our young people, the adulation for books.

I am sure many of those present would recall that many of us spent sometimes their last money to get books and, particularly, the required books, Today I think the problem is not only the inability of the people to pay for the books but also the limited number of the required books. With this regard, I think we should encourage translations, we should be able to provide more time and resources toward that end. Undoubtedly, we should be able to allocate more resources to publishing creative works, for the restoration of the book-culture, for the reestablishment of this advantage we used to have. Even though this is a common problem, I am sure that admiration and demand for books should increase. This task should be tied to our enduring perception that knowledge is the most important value for us and should be the source of a prosperous life. However, the knowledge is not exclusively about the professional abilities, the knowledge is also about knowing our national values, and the knowledge should be sealed with our spiritual values.

We should adopt new approaches, we should be able to use new forms along with the traditional ones so that books become important part of our everyday life. During these celebrations we should strive to make it one of our objectives. Using this great holiday, we should make ourselves more recognizable for the world, should be able to decently present us using this “passport” and say, “yes, we have letters which are millennia old, we have the literature, we have five hundred years of printing history, and all this tells something about us.

Four years before reaching 2012 should be used very efficiently. It must be the attitude of our state toward all those people who in the absence of statehood had been able to achieve so much.”

The Catholicos of All Armenian, His Holiness Garegin II said in particular that “the anniversary of the introduction of printing is the invitation and encouragement to the Armenians all over the world to be faithful to the spirit of our forefathers, to understand and appreciate their heritage, goal and endeavor which made it possible, which keep us alive and lead into immortality. The Armenian printing anniversary is a call to strengthen ardor for reading, to double the Armenian books’ printing which will serve a kind of tribute to our great statesmen, champions of the Armenian writing, it should enhance our national life and enrich of our culture.”

The members of the Commission presented their proposals for the glorious celebration of the anniversary. They concurred that the 500th Anniversary of the introduction of printing in Armenia should become a national holiday, a triumphant progression of reading, writing, literature, and knowledge. This occasion must be used in full to appropriately present Armenia to the world. The President of Armenia stressed the importance of working openly, listening to each and every proposal.

Serzh Sargsyan tasked to collect all the offered proposals and present their summary at the next sitting of the Commission.

After the meeting, the President of Armenia laid flowers on the tomb of Mesrop Meshtots.

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