Armenia’s Ministry of Education and Science and the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (the Matenadaran). The new venture will provide bright young researchers with the support they need to discover and help preserve some of the oldest manuscripts, books and documents in Armenian history.
Eight scholars were selected to participate in the AGBU-funded program, which will advance their studies in Art History and Theory, Historical Source Research, Historiography, as well as World History. The Matenadaran is the ideal site to conduct their work: it houses over 100,000 documents dating as early as the eighth century. Researchers and tourists travel from all over the world to see its national treasures, including the Gospel of Lazarus and Hakob Meghapart’s “Parzatumar,” one of the first Armenian books ever printed.
The scholarship initiative is one of the many ways AGBU has supported the Matenadaran over the years. Following Armenia’s independence, when the country was plagued by an energy crisis, AGBU and its benefactors helped the Matenadaran acquire the air conditioning, fire prevention and security systems that were vital to protecting its archives. AGBU has also sponsored a number of the Madenataran¹s publications.
The new program was inaugurated during a ceremony held at the institute and attended by several public officials. There to celebrate was Hrachya Tamrazyan, the Matenadaran¹s director; Manuk Mkrtchyan, deputy minister of Armenia¹s Ministry of Education and Science; Ashot Ghazaryan, vice president of operations of the American University of Armenia and former director of AGBU Armenia; Vardi Keshishian, head of the Matenadaran’s international relations department; and Vahan Ter-Ghevondyan, head of the Matenadaran’s Arabic manuscripts research department.
Hovig Eordekian, interim director of the AGBU Armenia Representation office, congratulated the students and addressed the crowd, remarking, “When the Matenadaran’s leadership first approached AGBU with the idea for this partnership, we did not hesitate to pledge our support. We knew it would strengthen an already productive partnership between our organization and the institute, one that is of strategic importance because it promotes the development of Armenian studies in Yerevan and globally.”
Upon receiving his certificate, scholarship recipient Hrant Ohanyan commented on the great impact that the program will have on him and his fellow academics. Holding his award, he stated, AGBU’s assistance is not merely financial. It signals to us that our work is critical to the Matenadaran and to the field of Armenian studies as a whole. We are so proud and excited that AGBU has decided to invest in us and our research.
The Matenadaran scholarship distribution comes days before AGBU announced support of another educational initiative in Armenia: a scholarship program developed with the American University of Armenia and Armenia’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces, which will serve soldiers and representatives of the military.