The UCLA Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies in collaboration with the Melkonian Global Overture is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the chair’s founding with a program of events under the general rubric Living Diaspora.
The program will foreground the chair’s achievements in Armenian instruction and its initiatives directed at revitalizing the language among a younger generation of speakers in the Diaspora with a view to developing Armenian’s potential as a vibrant, relevant, contemporary means of communication and creativity.
The events are scheduled at various campus locations on Saturday, January 19, 2019.
The Narekatsi Program in Armenian Language and Culture at UCLA is currently the largest of its kind outside the Armenian Republic. Its faculty comprising Prof. S. Peter Cowe, Dr. Anahit Keshishian Aramouni, Dr. Shushan Karapetian, and Dr. Hagop Gulludjian provide instruction on all major standards of the language from Classical Armenian to the modern Eastern and Western forms. UCLA also features the Richard G. Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History held by Prof. Sebouh D. Aslanian, and the Research Program in Armenian Archaeology and Ethnography and Chitjian Archive at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology as well as an introductory course in Armenian Music offered in collaboration with the Music Department.
The Narekatsi Program is also unique in its efforts to expand the creative employment of Armenian under diaspora conditions. Analyzing the particular profile of diasporic heritage language speakers, it reviews its theoretical basis in international conferences, devises curricula to enrich students’ potential for self-expression in a wider range of language contexts, and offers a nurturing classroom ambience for hands-on experimentation.
Over the last years the Melkonian Global Overture (MGO) has been active in securing the viability and self-sustainability of Armenian institutions identified as being of historic and symbolic value. Its president Mrs. Arsine Shirvanian also remarked that MGO tries to foster those institutions’ functionality by material means and to assist them adjust most effectively to the demands of the 21st century through financial consulting. Shirvanian declared that her organization’s motto is “recognize, restore, revitalize”, mainly by finding innovative and immediate solutions to current challenges, while at the same time stimulating and empowering young people to realize their full potential. Apart from the above institutions, she stated “our targets are primarily the youth and education.”
Short Film Award Ceremony
A public screening will be held in Melnitz Hall (3:30-4:30 p.m.) of the ten best award-winning entries to a competition for short films.
Contestants, especially young people, are encouraged to submit their entry with a duration of up to three minutes in either the documentary or fiction category on the general topic “Armenian roots and language: connections, disconnects, aspirations, potential.”
Authors of the three best films will receive awards in the sum of $1000, $750, and $500 and consultation on film production. In addition to screening in the Living Diaspora program, authors of the ten best films will be invited to a special Masterclass with world-famous director Albert Kodagolian.
Entries should be sent to [email protected] by the December 1, 2018 deadline.
Living Language: a Roundtable Discussion led by Razmik Panossian
The second public event on the program Living Diaspora is scheduled 5:00-6:30 p.m. in Melnitz Hall.
Participating in the discussion will be faculty and students of the UCLA Program in Armenian Language and Culture and invited guests. Dr. Razmik Panossian, Director of the Armenian Section of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, will steer the conversation on the subject of how to teach and disseminate Armenian in the Diaspora, and especially in the West, as a living organism, countering tendencies gradually emerging as the norm whereby the language is reduced to fulfilling purely ceremonial functions.
Concert of Contemporary Armenian Music
The Living Diaspora program concludes with a concert in Royce Hall at 7 p.m. The concert includes a fifty-piece orchestra specially assembled for the occasion, performing modern and contemporary arrangements of traditional music. The concert will showcase the talents of a range of young musicians and vocalists. Tickets are available from [email protected]. For further information on all the events on the daylong program, please call (818) 642-7787.