Armenia’s Dilijan Selected as Part of UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

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By Siranush Ghazanchyan

(Public Radio of Armenia) – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized Dilijan, Armenia among its Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).  Dilijan joins a dynamic network of cities worldwide that support and accelerate the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s communities, while promoting policy dialogue and peer learning among member cities through forged links and fostered partnerships that promote the progress of the learning cities.

“It is a great honor for the all Dilijan residents to receive such a coveted recognition from UNESCO as Dilijan continues to offer pioneering educational programs for preparing our citizens for the 21st century learning,” said Dilijan Community Center Program Director Rubina Ter-Martirosyan who was instrumental in Dilijan’s selection as a GNLC.

“Dilijan has become the designated site for such local and international learning centers as UWC Dilijan College, Central Bank of Armenia’s Training and Research Center, American University of Armenia, Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, the Dilijan Community Center as well as many artistic venues which culminated in the launch of the first Dilijan Arts Observatory this year,” Dilijan Mayor Armen Santrosyan added.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Director Arne Calrsen commended Dilijan’s “vision, planning and implementation of the learning city concept” in a letter of recognition and expressed eagerness to learn about Dilijan’s future developments.

Veronika Zonabend, co-founder of UWC Dilijan and the Dilijan Development Foundation which supports Dilijan Community Center and other regional projects, stated: “The goal of our foundation is to return to Dilijan its fame and further develop it into an educational, cultural and recreational regional hub. And this international recognition is an important step towards this goal.”

Inclusion in the Network will help Dilijan achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education while promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all its citizens. Additionally, Dilijan will be listed amongst other world cities recognized as a UNESCO GNLC.

Gagik Adibekyan, co-founder of the Dilijan Development Foundation and founding-partner of UWC Dilijan College stated, “We live in a complex, fast changing world, in which the competitiveness and economic growth of the country depend heavily on the quality of education.  I am certain that Dilijan’s entry into the Global Network of Learning Cities will contribute to solving the important task of turning Dilijan into the educational hub of Armenia.”

Armenian Assembly of America Recalls the Destruction of Christian Armenian Cemetery, Monuments by Azerbaijan

Armenian Assembly of America Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) recalls the complete destruction of the Christian Armenian cemetery and related monuments in the historic Armenian city of Julfa (aka Djulfa), Nakhichevan in present-day Azerbaijan 10 years ago. The Ilham Aliyev regime of Azerbaijan is fully responsible but has escaped any accountability.

In 1998, UNESCO called on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop the demolition process, however, the Aliyev regime resumed the destruction in 2002.

Three years later, on December 10, 2005, Azerbaijan’s military completed destroying the remaining ancient cemetery with sledgehammers, bulldozers, and other heavy equipment. The cemetery originally consisted of 10,000 intricately designed Armenian stone crosses or “khach-kars,” an example of which is on display at the Unite Nations headquarters in New York. Azerbaijan’s military razed the site and put in its place an open-air shooting range for military use.

Details of the destruction were videotaped, showing clearly that Azerbaijani military personnel were responsible for the destruction of this historic site. Following a worldwide outcry, in February 2006, the European Parliament voted 85-5, adopting a resolution condemning the Azerbaijani government’s destruction of the Armenian cemetery in Julfa. The resolution also called on Azerbaijan to allow a delegation of European Parliament Members to visit the archaeological site at Julfa. In March 2006, the Aliyev regime banned the European delegation from visiting the historic site. That ban remains in place as officials from the United States, Europe, and other countries have not been allowed to visit the site for over a decade.

Details of the destruction were videotaped, showing clearly that Azerbaijani military personnel were responsible for the destruction of this historic site. Following a worldwide outcry, in February 2006, the European Parliament voted 85-5, adopting a resolution condemning the Azerbaijani government’s destruction of the Armenian cemetery in Julfa. The resolution also called on Azerbaijan to allow a delegation of European Parliament Members to visit the archaeological site at Julfa. In March 2006, the Aliyev regime banned the European delegation from visiting the historic site. That ban remains in place as officials from the United States, Europe, and other countries have not been allowed to visit the site for over a decade.

In July 2007, the Armenian Assembly submitted testimony regarding the willful destruction of the Julfa Armenian cemetery before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, in a hearing entitled: “Ideals vs. Reality in Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Cases of Azerbaijan, Cuba, and Egypt.”

On December 8, 2010, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reported that Azerbaijani authorities have completed a decades-long campaign to remove traces of the ancient Armenian presence in the South Caucasus, dating back thousands of years. Using advanced satellite imagery, the AAAS confirmed Azerbaijan’s state-sponsored eradication of the landmarks of Armenian civilization in Nakhichevan.

“The parallels between Aliyev’s destruction of Christian monuments and what the Taliban and ISIS are doing is undeniable, but the difference in reactions is striking,” stated Armenian Assembly of America Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “The difference can only be explained by the Aliyev regime and the Turkish government paying influence peddlers to cover up such crimes, and that cover up needs to stop,” they said.

A record of Azerbaijan’s destruction of Julfa and the Armenian Assembly of America’s actions are available on the Assembly’s website under the “Issues Center” tab entitled “Old Julfa Armenian Cemetery Destruction.”

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.