Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
The World National General Assembly continued its meetings and deliberations, directing its focus to Christian and Armenian education. The Assembly welcomed voices of experts and guests that addressed the issues and challenges facing each subject, allowing the Assembly to offer its thoughts and suggestions. Christian and Armenian education is a top priority for the Catholicosate and one that requires special attention by all the Prelacies.
Participating panelists provided their viewpoints on the current state of Armenian education within our Prelacies. Participants were Mher Karakashian (Canada), Vartan Tashjian (Cyprus), Anahid Hagopian (Adrbadagan), and George Arabatlian (Kuwait).
The session stated that there needs to be strong emphasis on strengthening and developing how we educate our youth; not only teaching them our Western Armenian language, but also rooting them in Armenian culture and traditions by encouraging their everyday practice. The successful result of this is the responsibility of the families, schools, and communities.
Despite the large population of Armenian children in our Diaspora, we do not have as many Armenian every-day schools to accommodate these growing numbers. However, despite that, the majority of those students do not attend Armenian schools. We need to turn to other teaching methods, including the use of technology, as a new means to teach all areas of Armenian life. We also need to rely more on professional educators to maintain the integrity of our language, was stated in the session.
It was noted that it is often difficult to practice our Armenian life in foreign countries, such as the Middle East. That said, we are witnessing our youth assimilate and distancing themselves from their Armenian culture and need to refocus their attention on preserving their Armenian identity.
Regarding this, His Holiness Aram I concluded the session by encouraging the self-evaluation and self-criticism of our institutions in order to determine how we reproach Armenian education and implement successful programs. As we find ourselves living in a cyber world, we need to be less of an institutional center and more of functional center and use new tools, new ways, to teach and practice.
Participants were Janine Tanielian (Lebanon), Rev. Father Datev Mikaelian (Syria), and Deaconness Ani Chrsitine Manuelian (Tehran).
The session discussed the importance of manifesting and practicing beliefs and values of our church rather than be only knowledgeable in them; It is not enough to send our children to Sunday Schools, where they are simply taught information. It is when they are living out those morals and values within their families that they will truly be educated and spiritually fulfilled.
His Holiness Aram I reminded the Assembly that the Haman Rights Convention was established based on Christian morals and values. It is with that notion that we make Christian education less about presenting facts and more about educating how to live out those values in our daily lives, His Holiness stated.