LISBON, Portugal—In 2014, the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation granted a total of 2,808,512 Euros ($3,037,757) to projects, schools and scholarships. The “Monitoring our Progress” section of the department’s website provides further details, including the names of recipients.
After a two year hiatus, in 2014 the scholarships program was re-launched based on new categories and principles. A total of 985,957 Euro ($1,066,436) was distributed to 177 Armenian students and Armenian studies students in 20 countries, as well as 415 emergency grants to Syrian-Armenians currently studying in Armenia and 28 other countries. During the 2013-16 period 500,000 Euro is being attributed to two other initiatives that support Syrian-Armenian university students fleeing Syria.
In addition to scholarships support, a total of 76 projects/initiatives were funded during 2014, with a total amount of 1,177,195 Euro distributed in 16 countries. The department continued to prioritize projects on publications in print as well as moving into new territories with digital publications and electronic learning tools. A major call for submissions was announced for electronic learning initiatives for the Armenian language, out of which eight were selected for funding. In order to increase the availability of Armenian in the digital world, support was given for the digitization of significant journal and newspaper collections, and the creation of websites for major diasporan newspapers. Ongoing activities in Armenia were developed through a “dual track” approach by supporting civil society organizations for their work on civic education and youth mobilization, as well as working with the Ministry of Diaspora to support some of its initiatives concerning Western Armenian. Grants were also given to Armenian-Turkish dialogue projects.
The first ever “Armenian Culture Week” was organized at the Foundation. The department took this opportunity to launch a high-level seminar Armenians in 2115. Subsequent seminars will focus on specific issues, including innovation in the teaching of Western Armenian in the diaspora and developments in IT and the Armenian language.
Alongside the supported projects, the department has started initiatives to improve the teaching of Western Armenian in diasporan schools. It is making the funding conditional on the schools’ willingness to evaluate, reform and innovate. This program was first started in Lebanon and will be expanded into other countries in 2015/6. In 2014, a total of 645,000 Euro was granted to 65 Armenian schools throughout 10 countries.