The RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan, the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan, the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Atrpatakan, Bishop Grigor Chiftchean, the director of the RA NAS Institute of Oriental Studies Ruben Safrastyan, the Professor of Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Studies of University of California Los-Angeles (UCLA) S. Peter Cowe, the Vice-Rector for International Cooperation and Public Relations of YSU Arthur Israelyan, the Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies Professor Ruben Melkonyan, the head of the Chair of Iranian Studies Vardan Voskanyan, lecturers, students of the chair, foreign scientists were present at the conference.
Greeting those present the head of the Chair of Iranian Studies Vardan Voskanyan presented the role of the conference and noted that it one of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of YSU.
The RA Minister of ESCS Arayik Harutyunyan said in particular, “Today’s conference is dedicated to the one of the most significant centers created by our nation during centuries-to the history and culture of Salmast”.
The Minister attached importance to the fact tat the conference was organized due to joint efforts of the RA NAS institute of Oriental Studies, YSU Faculty of Oriental Studies and Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Studies of the University of California Los-Angeles (UCLA).
“The Government of the Republic of Armenia carries out activity aimed at making it possible to combine our scientific potential and encourage different directions of Armenia-Diaspora scientific cooperation including Armenian Studies. We have a lot to be doe in this direction”, said the Minister noting that the Ministry is working out a new concept of development of Armenian Studies, and those present will have their contribution in this issue.
The High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan greeting those present, said, “The history of Salmast province, its ethnographic uniqueness and its role throughout centuries are invaluable”.
He also noted tat Salmast, or Zarehavan has a centuries-old history, in the 9-6 centuries BC it was a part of the Urartian Armenian Kingdom, then was included in the kingdoms of Artashessians and Arshakunyats.
Zareh Sinanyan presented the main points of Salmast history, then added, “ I’d like to mention that the Velvet Revolution certainly had its positive role on the interaction between Armenia and Diaspora giving that interaction a wonderful opportunity to get a new quality and level. The office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs tries to create a new collaboration of Armenia and Diaspora based on mutual trust to discover the potential of the Diaspora and to get to know it in its whole complexity”.
The Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Atrpatakan, Bishop Grigor Chiftchean addressed is blessing to those present and wished success to the conference.
The head of the Chair of Iranian Studies Vardan Voskanyan presented the goals of the conference. “Salmast is a highly important centre, a really important region where the unity of three scientific establishments can give exciting results”.
According to him, another goal is that there is great cultural heritage in Salmast state, and its care, study, research and presentation to the world are to be implemented not only by the Armenian community of Iran but also by Armenians worldwide. So, undertaking the cultural role is another important aim of the conference. “It is highly important to restore the role of a bridge as is it vital for the progress, development of Armenian people and strengthening our statehood in this region. Historically, Armenia has always been a bridgebetween various cultures, centres, people. The initiative of the three-party conference is somewhat a cultural mission aimed at strengthening the scientific, cultural, academic relationship between different scientific centres”, said Mr. Voskanyan.
The director of the RA NAS Institute of Oriental Studies Ruben Safrastyan noted that the scientific life of the Diaspora should involve the Republic of Armenia and out country must become a scientific centre.
The Professor of Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Studies of UCLA S.Peter Cowe expressed gratitude to the guests and spoke about the importance of participation of foreign colleagues in conferences.
Professor Cowe introduced the scientists studying Salmast and the sponsors of the project.
He noted that for centuries Salmast has been surprising the researchers wit its cultural peculiarity, its churches, temples,castles.
After the opening ceremony the scientists went on their activity. Reports were made on the regional archaeology, dialectology, architecture, as well as on the documents referring to Salmast preserved in Iranian archives.