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The Inter-Diocesan Youth Conference of the Catholicosate of Cilicia concludes with the warning to use modern technology responsibly and constructively

20 July 2016

18 July 2016. On Saturday, the three-day conference under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness Aram I concluded its work in Antelias. Rev Bedros Manuelian opened the meeting at the “Cilicia Museum Hall.” He told the participants that the theme “Armenian Youth and Social Media” demonstrates the determination of the Catholicos to strengthen reciprocity between the youth and the church through the new technology. He then invited His Holiness to address the meeting.

 

Catholicos Aram I said that because modern technologies of communication have become very powerful, each user of social media must consider how he or she uses that power. He asked the participants to be aware when they write on social media, they have the potential to influence others. He cautioned them not to fall into the easy expressions of the dominant global culture, but rather to keep their identity strong and work to preserve Armenian culture and identity founded on the spiritual values of the church.

 

The sessions continued with formal presentations and dialogue in plenary, followed by workshops, and concluding with a statement.

 

Plenary presentations included: “Social Media and Education” by Mrs Shaghig Kandaharian-Khoudaverdian, “The Positive and Negative impact of Social Media” by Mrs Tamar Hasheolian, “Social Media and Identity” by Dr Antranik Dakessian. Three other speakers, Mrs Christine Arzoumanian-Ghazarian, Ms Araz Kojayan and Mr Aram Somounjian addressed the topics “branding,” “content creation,” “blogs” and “The art of photography.”

 

In the last plenary, participants heard a lecture on “Social Media and the Armenian Cause,” presented by Messrs Hrag Avedanian and Shiraz Djerdjian. Citing the example of the aggression by Azirbaijan on Karabagh in March 2016, the speakers addressed the misuse of the technology for propaganda purposes.

 

In the final Plenary the conference adopted a statement highlighting the following:

  • Modern communication technologies, including social media, accompany youth in all aspects of their lives. The conference calls upon them to think critically before making their choices of what to communicate.

 

  • New media could become a tool for youth to express Armenian identity through projects launched on the internet or through the organization of thematic fora.

 

  • Internet networks are developing with great speed; because it has become impossible for youth not to be involved, the conference asks them to use the media carefully.

 

  • Safeguarding Armenian identity in an age of globalization is a profound challenge. The conference calls upon the participants to work to strengthen the Armenian cultural heritage and their Armenian identity.

 

  • New media and Networking are new means for building solidarity, new friendships and virtual communities. The conference warns youth not to sacrifice their actual community for a virtual one.