Archive for May, 2010

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[Web Wrap]: Stressful Driving in Yerevan.

May 28, 2010

By Artur Papyan via The Armenian Observer Blog

I will have to say that the only time I seem to experience stress nowadays is when I am behind the wheel. With the supposed 400,000 vehicles on the road in Armenia, excluding countless vehicles registered in Georgia but constantly cruise Yerevan’s chaotic streets, it’s an ordeal to get around town, especially when no one watches where they’re going.

Drifting from lane to lane without signaling or looking in the rearview mirror is a normal thing. The only way to deal with it is to employ defensive driving. For some reason right turn signals have been installed at busy intersections, so now I find myself having to avoid getting into a collision with taxi drivers who drive recklessly, throwing caution to the wind by turning without looking to the left.

Please continue reading on The Armenian Observer Blog.

Traffic in Yerevan

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Credit: Armenian Reporter

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[Listening to Armenia]: Eurovision Tidbits.

May 28, 2010

By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

Yesterday, in the Eurovision semifinals, Eva Rivas wowed the audience with her talent and energy. Just when you think she reaches her pinnacle, she takes it to the next level!

It’s no wonder she’ll be performing tomorrow in the Finals. Here is a video of her ultra-successful May 27th performance from Oslo. (And, yes, those are apricot trees growing out of an apricot stone behind her at the end of the show!)

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[Listening to Armenia]: Ara Dinkjian’s 21st Century Oud.

May 27, 2010

By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

In a time when we are used to new gadgets coming into our lives on a yearly basis (iThis, iThat, iWant, iNeed), it is hard to imagine that our short insignificant lives characterized by the shortest attention spans ever known in human history have nevertheless managed to keep alive an interest in gadgets even older than the first popular PC (that would be the Altair 8800).

The Oud doesn’t come with any sophisticated apps, LED back-light display or even oleo phobic coating (that means no oily fingerprints!). But it does come with an extraordinary 3500+ year history of music making throughout the Middle East, just as alive today as it was deep in the BC years. And with the help of sophisticated players, like the renowned Ara Dinkjian, this fret-less ancestor of the Western lyre can quickly distract a 21st century iEquipped audience and hold them in a reverie.

Ara Dinkjian on Oud at Alwan for the Arts

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Credit: Calista DeJesus

In a recent performance at Alwan for the Arts in New York City, Ara performed with friends in a jazz-crosses-Middle-Eastern-folk set of works. New tunes and standards were weaved intricately with threads of improvisational turns passed between hypnotizingly expert players. Alwan’s unassuming gimmick-less 4th floor room was packed with a hooked audience either clapping to complex enlivened beats or leaning in transfixed to a sorrowful melody. We were captured in a timeless moment of old meeting new. We were living together the enduring musical expression of the human condition, BC through AD, sans iPad.

Of course, I wouldn’t necessarily give up the new gadgets just because the ancient are so engrossing. After all, without my PC, digital camera, and a little broadband, I wouldn’t be able to share this part of the evening with you, here. Along with Ara Dinkjian on Oud, the video features Tamer Pinarbashi (Kanun), Ismail Lumanovski (Clarinet), and Seido Salifoski (Percussion).

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[CSFC]: Child Protection Reaches 4,000 More.

May 27, 2010

Nearly 4,000 of Armenia’s children are now more aware of the hazards of cyber threats since FAR’s Children Support Foundation Center (CSFC) finalized its Safe Mobile Connection program this week. The program, which teaches children how they can protect themselves from becoming victims of such threats and attacks via the Internet or the phone, is funded by ArmenTel CJSC and was launched at the end of 2009. After going through the education program, children from the five marzes of Shirak, Lori, Gegharqunik, Tavush, and Yerevan, were asked to write essays on the existing risks and protection mechanisms. The winners with the best essays were selected and awarded during a ceremony held May 24 at the Marriott-Armenia in Yerevan, which was conducted by CSFC, the Ministry of Education and Science, and ArmenTel CJSC.

The center believes that children who are empowered to challenge any abuses of their rights will be stronger, more self-sufficient, and not exclusively reliant on adults to protect them. The program also teaches them to be open with their guardians about any potential risks. In turn, adults can better protect their children if they have open communication with them and are aware of what’s going on in their lives.

“Our goal is not to forbid children to use cell phones and computers, but rather to teach them protection mechanisms,” said CSFC Director Mira Antonyan. “One of the more effective ways of encouraging children to participate and believe in society is to first respect their rights.”

Child protection experts
Artak Poghosyan, Mira Antonyan, and Igor Klimko
discuss the hazards of cyber threats

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Credit: FAR Staff

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[Armenian Ad Watch]: Ararat.

May 26, 2010
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[FAR Schools]: Holiday in Yerevan.

May 26, 2010

Below are some photos taken by our staff at the Last Bell Holiday festival in Yerevan on May 21. Six graduates of the Hintlian School along with their teachers and parents were able to join in the fun thanks to the support of the Constantinople Armenians Relief Society (CARS) which helped to cover their travel expenses.

FAR in collaboration with CARS last year made major improvements at the Hintlian school, including providing stipends to children in need and also to selected graduates to help fund their college education.

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Last Bell Hintliyan School 2010 Graduates in Yerevan May 21.jpg

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Credit: Levon Lachikyan

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[Armenian Landscapes]

May 26, 2010

Buildings in Kapan

Credit: Levon Lachikyan