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Pro Edvcatio Communique on Melkonian

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We, members of Pro Edvcatio International Worldwide, wish to bring to your attention issues relating to the Melkonian Educational Institute (MEI), in light of new events and announcements which have appeared recently.

Pro Edvcatio has been dealing with the MEI issues since the initial warning of a major administrative crisis was first issued, i.e. long before the declaration of 16th of March 2004 proclaiming the proposed closure of the MEI in June 2005, by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) – manager in trust of the Melkonian Funds.

Pro Edvcatio considered that the rights and duties of the AGBU with respect to the MEI entity ought to be clarified by the political and judicial authorities of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus – since the MEI is located in Nicosia-Cyprus. Consequently, together with various other groups Pro Edvcatio – relying upon the Testimonial official document of the MEI’s benefactor founder – have addressed requests to the President of Republic, to the Minister of Interior and the President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus. These letters focus on two interrelated aspects of this international issue:

– the need for clarification of the ownership of the MEI’s entity due to the Melkonian Funds, and

– the respect of the Human Rights, part of which are the rights to Education and the maintenance of Culture of Western Armenians Worldwide.

While we await the responses of the addressees, the Representative of the Cyprus Armenian Community in the House of Representatives, via a public statement – issued on the 10.02.2005 – mentioning his permanent and ongoing contacts at the highest levels within the Government of Cyprus, vis a vis the matters of the Cyprus Armenian Community, informs his fellow Armenians that “a meeting was held with the Director of The Ministry of Education for the creation of an Armenian Secondary School. This project will be implemented in case of the failure of Melkonian Alumni’s heroic efforts to save the MEI… The aim of this decision is to be useful to the children of our community giving them an Education…”

However this proposal of a secondary school purely for the Cyprus Armenian children remains questionable and doomed to failure when one takes into account the population dynamics, pyramid of ages and the geographic distribution of the Armenian community in Cyprus.

While laudable, it is certainly not possible to compare the proposed “solution” of the Armenian Representative, with the international realities of the MEI today. As a matter of fact the MEI has never been a parochial school of the Western Armenians’ Cyprus community. The MEI is and has been an international boarding high school not only for Cypriot Armenians, but Diasporan Armenians worldwide. Recently there has been an increasing uptake by Armenians who are also European citizens. At present the MEI is the unique establishment in its kind for the Armenian Diaspora. Closing this facility would infringe upon the Human rights of Diasporan Armenians in general, and Armenians who are EU citizens in particular to the right to an education in their own language and cultural environment.

The creation of a parochial secondary school would not address this issue. In this connection we remind the Education minister’s words of the Cyprus Government: “We want through education, to respect our cultural tradition, to promote peaceful and harmonious coexistence of persons and peoples, to cultivate European ideals and to shape tomorrow’s European and Cypriot citizen to be free, responsible and democratic”. The MEI also has the duty to remain an unquestionable component of the Educational system of Cyprus, enriching both the culture of the Armenian community worldwide, and the culture of Cyprus in general. Moreover, the MEI by its very international character can become a generator of human resources for the future Cyprus Institute of the Cyprus Research and Educational Foundation which aims to set up a world-class research Institute.

In fact the MEI, during 79 years, has proven its capability by supplying high quality human resources to many countries on all continents. Because of that Pro Edvcatio will continue to deploy its efforts to secure the continued existence of the Educational and Cultural activities of the MEI.

Tatiana Ferahian (Cyprus), Sabine Haas (Germany), Koharig Kevorkian (France), Saritha Sherstha (Nepal), Dr Bernard Andreassian (France), John Arrowsmith (U.K.), Hagop Arzoumanian (Argentina), Dr Edward Barsoumian (Japan), Xavier Coron (France), Edward A. Fisher (UK), Dr Karen Karapetyan (Russia), Kevork Kevorkian (France), Dr Art Maranci (USA), Philippe Mermod (Switzerland), Dr Nicholas Nicolaidis (Greece), Dr Vartan Ozinian (France), Souren Sarafyan (Cyprus), Haig Sarkissian (Armenia).

The complete list and the qualifications of signatories are annexed to the official requests addressed to the Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

Diffused from Paris 24.02.2005

 The P r o E d v c a t i o is a worldwide international f o r v m, which deals with educational matters – taking into consideration social – economic – political dimensions of the cultural dynamics – together with geopolitical realities and related strategies for the development of human resources, with respect to legitimacy and legal conditions.

For The MEI matters direct contact : Dr. V. Ozinian

Telephone : 33 1 42 24 79 03 . Fax : 33 1 42 24 46 39 . E-mail : proeducatio@aol;com

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