Nazareth Seferian is a repatriate Armenian living in Yerevan. He was born in Canada to Lebanese-Armenian parents, and then moved to India, where he grew up with his two brothers. In 1998, Nazareth, having just graduated from high school, came to Armenia to study medicine at Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU). Afterwards he specialized in Public Health at the American University of Armenia, followed by a distance learning program for Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge, UK.
At the family home, the Seferians always spoke Armenian. "When I moved to Armenia, my knowledge of the language improved immensely and I also learned Russian," said Nazareth. "However, during my time in Armenia, I had little chance to do any formal studying to improve my knowledge of my country."
Although he had a few hours of Armenian class as a student at YSMU, his program there did not have a course in the Armenian History. That gave him a sense of "missing something"as he did not know much about the prominent names of his country and the major events in the history of his homeland. When the opportunity to learn Armenian History presented itself through the Armenian Virtual College (AVC), Nazareth grabbed it wholeheartedly, and started with two courses at once.
Of all courses at AVC, Armenian Language, History and Culture, Nazareth selected the one on Ancient Armenian History. This was an area where he felt he knew very little. His choice was driven also by his great interest in history in general.
"The courses I have taken at the AVC History Department have definitely given me a very good understanding of the Armenian history and I feel a lot more confident now in conversations that involve references to Armenian history," said Nazareth. "I have been struck by the parallels that exist between the events of then and now - history definitely repeats itself. I have gained a greater appreciation for independence and having our own Republic of Armenia, with or without shortcomings. The AVC courses also inspired me to do a little research on my own and to read more into our history," he added.
Nazareth states that the courses he has been taking at AVC give him a complete understanding of the major events in Armenian history. He is also certain that future courses at AVC will add to his knowledge of Armenian literature. Nazareth believes that AVC can be a powerful tool in the hands of Diaspora Armenians, especially the youth, in order for them to better understand their homeland and its culture. It is this strongest belief towards that stimulates Nazareth to recommend AVC to his Diaspora friends.
The positive experience of Nazareth sets a good example for every Armenian living in the Diaspora or in Armenia to improve knowledge about her/his history, identity and culture. "I hope AVC helps me become a better Armenian, giving me knowledge that would be useful for me while I live and work in Armenia," he said.
by Harout Ekmanian