ArmInfo.After the forced displacement of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, more than 5,000 monuments and more than 20 museums have been faced with an existential threat in the territories under the control of Azerbaijan, Armenia's Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Zhanna Andreasyan said at her meeting with Mr Rafik Mansour, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Attending the meeting was also U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien.
Ms Andreasyan emphasized the importance of Armenian-American cooperation. "We have effective cooperation in various areas, there are also new programs, which demonstrates the quality of our partnership and the potential that can be used," the minister noted.
She, in particular, pointed to effective cooperation in protecting cultural heritage. The minister recalled the memorandum signed by the US Embassy in the Republic of Armenia in order to preserve and restore the Yereruyk Cathedral in Shirak region. Ms Andreasyan noted that such initiatives are very important.
"These days, the issue of preserving the cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh is especially important for us. We believe that in this regard there is a serious need for international instruments and efforts. Moreover, the problem concerns both tangible and intangible Armenian cultural heritage. The most important step towards preserving the tangible cultural heritage, an international fact-finding mission will be sent to the region, which will be able to record the situation with the monuments on the spot," Ms Andreasyan said, emphasizing that the problem worsened after the events of September 19, 2023, when the local Armenian population was forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh, as a result which put more than 5,000 monuments and more than 20 museums under threat.
According to the minister, since 2020 it has not been possible to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh, which could document the situation related to cultural heritage. Minister Andreasyan noted that it is necessary to increase international awareness of the problem.
The minister emphasized that the issue of preserving the rich intangible cultural heritage is also a serious problem, since forcibly displaced citizens from Nagorno-Karabakh have now settled in various regions of the Republic of Armenia.
Ms Andreasyan also touched upon bilateral cooperation in the field of education, noting that there are successful programs, the results of which are more than noticeable. The Minister pointed out the importance of the participation of US and Armenian citizens in educational exchange programs funded by the US government. "Last week we celebrated the 30th anniversary of one of the successful exchange programs - FLEX, which has had a significant qualitative impact on the lives of more than 1000 participants. I also emphasize our cooperation in the field of inclusive education, where we have very important results. I think there are excellent prerequisites for continuing our work in all these areas," the minister said.
Mr Mansour, in turn, noted that after his last visit to our country, he noticed a number of changes and positive trends. He welcomed the expansion of bilateral cooperation, pointing out much greater potential for development. He mentioned a number of jointly implemented educational and cultural programs.
The US Embassy in Armenia recently announced the launch of a new exchange program for Armenian journalists. According to Mr Mansour, under Armenian-American Journalists Professional Cooperation Program, 54 Armenian journalists will have the opportunity to visit the United States to participate in training programs that will improve their skills in eliminating disinformation and preparing quality journalistic publications.
Ms Andreasyan emphasized the importance of such initiatives, emphasizing that the role of media literacy is especially important from the point of view of the new state standards of general education, and this will undoubtedly contribute to the provision of quality media and professional education.
Mr Mansour also emphasized the importance of joining efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh.