BUENOS AIRES—Capacity crowds turned out at Armenian community centers in the capitals of Argentina and Uruguay to hear author-photographers Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian present Armenia as an eco-tourism destination and to celebrate Armenian heritage.
The authors illustrated their presentation with a photography slide show of the people, countryside, and historic sites of Armenia and Artsakh. The event in Buenos Aires on November 19 was held under the auspices of Argentina’s Armenian Embassy and the authors spoke on Avenida Armenia (Armenia Avenue), in the heart of the city’s “Little Armenia.” Armenia’s Ambassador to Argentina, H.E. Vladimir Karmirshalyan, attended the event.
Uruguay’s Liga de Jovenes (League of Youth) was the sponsor of the event in Montevideo on November 26.
Karanian and Kurkjian told the audiences in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in Montevideo, Uruguay, that the Diaspora’s continued support of Armenia and Karabagh is vital to the country’s success, and that traveling to Armenia also allows the Diaspora to understand its needs.
The authors discussed the state of conservation and environmental awareness in Armenia, including the steps toward the tentative recovery of the Lake Sevan ecosystem.
“Tourism to Armenia has increased every year for the past decade, and we’re expected to have more than a million visitors by 2020,” Kurkjian informed the audiences. Tourism is a good source of revenue for Armenia, but Kurkjian cautioned that it must be promoted in a way that is sustainable, in order to protect Armenia’s environment. According to Karanian, travel is also “a good way to invigorate” the Diaspora communities of the world, he said. Further, it brings Armenian hospitality and culture to non-Armenians who travel there.
And, Karanian said, “the Diaspora gets recharged” when its members visit Armenia and return home to share what they’ve seen and learned.
Kurkjian and Karanian are the creators of “The Stone Garden Guide: Armenia and Karabagh,” which is the first photography-based and conservation-themed commercial travel guide to the region. In addition to working on behalf of Armenia, Kurkjian is a scientist and Karanian is a lawyer, both in Pasadena, Calif.
“Armenia and Karabagh” has won three national book awards and has been one of the best-selling books on the subject of Armenia for the past several years. The book is available for purchase from independent Armenian booksellers such as Abril, Berj, and Sardarabad in Glendale, Calif., and from the Armenian Prelacy and the Armenian Diocese in New York City.
To order directly from the publisher with free Priority Mail shipping in the US and Canada, send a check for US$25 to Stone Garden Productions; PO Box 7758; Northridge, CA 91327 USA. As a holiday special, orders received before January 6, 2010 will be shipped with a free wall-sized color map of Armenia ($12 value). The book can be previewed online at www.StoneGardenProductions.com. Their photography can be viewed at www.KurkjianImages.com.