The 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference took place in Yerevan September 18-20, 2017. The conference was held under the slogan “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility” and brought together 1500 participants from 70 countries, including church leaders, representatives of pan-Armenian structures and community organizations, journalists and other prominent individuals.
In his speech during the plenary session on the preservation of the Armenian identity, Dr. Yervant Zorian, the Founding President of the Armenian Virtual College, addressed the issues of the Internet and Armenian identity, based on the AVC experience.
For many decades, the key to preserving the Armenian identity was having strong Armenian communities in the Diaspora. Recent global trends and other objective factors resulted in smaller communities, with weakened ties and community structures, putting our national identity at risk. Reaching out to the 95-99% of children and young people, who live in the places with no Armenian schools, became an imperative. “The Internet and today’s technology gives us a tool to preserve these communities,” Dr. Zorian noted.
According to Dr. Zorian, we need to deliver the knowledge about our language and history, faith and culture, our land, national symbols, heroes and all the values that constitute the national identity. Delivering that knowledge is only part of the problem. Another strategic task is to establish a worldwide communication between Armenian communities and individuals.
“What we did through the virtual college, is not only an Armenian educational program, but a strategic tool for preserving our national identity. Its strength is in its innovative approach, its flexibility and availability worldwide,” said Dr. Zorian. He also spoke about AVC’s virtual classes, hybrid programs, e-books, educational apps and other online learning features.
A special stand was set up at the conference venue, where the AVC team presented the Virtual College’s e-learning options and tools to the guests and participants. Many of the visitors found them very interesting and effective and signed up to receive the news on the AVC activities or wished to continue the communication after the conference.