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Gibrahayer Nicosia 27 December 2005: At a time when the question of the Nareg curriculum has been undergoing serious changes - triggering strong reaction by parents and interested parties - the students of the school held the Annual Christmas Hantes at the Nareg School Hall.
For the first time the Amanori Hantes in Nicosia was held over two days, which proved a welcome change as the Hall has always been too small to fit pupils, teachers, parents and community members.
The younger classes - as always - stole the show while the rest of the school presented songs and sketches in Greek, English and Armenian.
Gaghant Baba made his much awaited entrance amid "Gaghant Baba sarerou vrayen goukas" and distributed gifts, while eager parents tried to immortalise the happy moments on film.
A much needed and anticipated school break for students started last week, where 21st century home entertainment of video games, DVDs and cable TV will push and pin students into an unhealthy lifestyle without reading, exercise and socialisation.
We wish the School Hokapartsoutiun, administration and teachers the wisdom to sail through rough seas. The task of balancing three-language education in a diasporan Armenian school is no doubt a difficult one. It is the same challenge that all diasporan communities who attempt to run an Armenian school are faced with.
No doubt, we are not the only community faced with these difficult challenges, but it is up to us to set the standards the way we see fit.
What are our goals regarding education, how do we envisage the Armenian identity of our younger generation in years to come, what should be the emphasis and language orientation of our school and what are our new goals after the closure of Melkonian?
It is obvious that as a result of a lack of public dialogue, the decision-makers are unaware of what a sizeable proportion of the parents and community want. That is why it is important to bring together the concerned parties to determine where to go from here.
To view images of the Nareg Amanori Hantes please click here

your emails click here for all emails

Dearest Simon,
I would like to enlighten the public and Gibrahayer "Impartial" newsletter readers, that the whole issue regarding NAREG is nonsense and lacking seriousness, as some people who are really hurt and angry from other issues are trying to create a mess which never existed.Those are the same people belonging to the same political party who for 75 years were doing almost the same with MEI, by not sending their children to MEI and gossipping, throwing mud etc. to the school, came now or actually in October 2005 to be the savers of Melkonian.
As far as NAREG I did my homework and learnt out that categorically the Armenian structure of the school will remain as it was from the time Nareg opened, The English language will not be affected at all and the greek language standard will be elevated to proper standards as excpected from people living in this Island of Cyprus which we have to accept that is offering us unseen fascilities to maintain our language,religion and heritage.Since we are living in Cyprus and we expect proper jobs for our children in the future we can not do this without fluent Greek.
Now if for any reasons parents would like to send their children to foreign secondary schools and need more English or even Arabic for those going to Lebanese high school in Limassol or else should continue with private lessons as it is not a secret that almost all pupils at Nareg /and not only/ are doing some private lessons for private schools entrance examinations. At Nareg , the school cannot fasilitate all secondary schools...
To cut the long story short Armenian is and will be the prime language of our school, although some parents were over the years complaining about the old /chronologically/ Armenian language and history textbooks, the hokapartsioutioun , over the past 2 years is providing Armenian textbooks free to the students and also newer textbooks are being available.
Secondly english language is taught and will be taught without exception and thirdly greek will become stronger.
Parents should be proud by this and stop personal ambitions, political, personal and so on.
One other thing is that different parents are complaining about different issues,some about the Armenian being extinguished, some are saying the Greek is weak and others are saying that the school must give more importance to English.
Anyway it's only fair to say that the people who can afford and will send their children to Private schools, including myself, should not implement their wish and instead help the majority of people that can not afford private lessons and can not afford to send their children to Private schools(Melkonian being closed) to send their children to Cypriot Schools(Gimnasio etc).
Barrett Costanian

Editors note: Dear Barrett, I suggest next time you refer to my impartial newsletter you remove the inverted commas. If this was not an impartial newsletter, your letter would not have made it to this page as it has.

FACT:- Cyprus has three official languages.
Cyprus has three languages by constitution, which are the English, Greek and Turkish.
Nareg is a Cypriot Armenian school, which is recognised officially by the Cyprus government as an "Armenian school". That is the reason why it is the only school on the island that teaches the Armenian language as a mother tongue.
It's the same with the Greek Cypriot schools(as far as the government is concerned), their main language is Greek.
It's the same with the Turkish Cypriot schools(as far as the government is concerned), their main language is Turkish.
If, One wants his or her children to be "fluent in Greek............for a proper job" as Mr. Costanian explains, then they should send their children to a Greek school and leave us in peace without their Mushroom ideas.
If there are more people like Mr, Costanian (thinking the best for our children), let them fight the Government and not create problems within the Armenian community with their retarded and dumb ideas.
If we had, couple of more Mr. Costanian in the Cypriot Armenian community, then the Government would not need to put pressure on us about this matter.
Where is Mr. Atamian?
PS. I would kindly like to ask Mr. Baret Costanian, not to EVER write any more letters on the NET.
Kind regards - Puzant Nadjarian

Dear Simon,
Congratulations for raising yet another hot issue of the community. To give you an example from my daughter at Nareg. She came to me the other day and said: "I have too much homework today. I will leave Armenian behind. It's not so important". Well, assuming that she has not been influenced by something she heard at school from teachers or pupils, don't you think there has to be a special effort made by teachers, headmaster, school committee and, of course, parents to stress the importance of Armenian classes at Nareg?
With all the talk about reduction of Armenian classes on the time-table, NO WONDER we hear such comments!
A concerned parent preferring to remain anonymous.
Dear Simon,
You may have seen the recent trial in The Hague when a man was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for aiding & abetting in the killing of 5000 Kurds in Halabjah, 5000 out of 20 million +, this the British & USA Governments consider as Genocide,
BUT They say that the killing of 1, 5 million Armenians out of some 3 million is not Genocide!
Their moral decay & hypocrisy is awesome, how can anyone be sympathetic to their cause or take them seriously?
Then again this may be the start of their exclusion from the world stage as nations of significance & eventually consigned to the rubbish bin of history.
Ardavast V. Avedissian
What makes Nareg any different from any other Dimotiko?
-It is a school where the primary language is ARMENIAN;
-It is a school that according to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, as ratified by the Republic of Cyprus, provides Armenian children the opportunity to receive education IN their MOTHER TONGUE.
I am in favour of Greek being taught in Nareg, I am in favour of our children being able to compete in all aspects of Cypriot society, including secondary and higher education and employment.
But NOT to the expense of Armenian.
As I understand it, Nareg is the only place where the sense of Mother Tongue can be embedded into our children.
Yes, most of us did not attend the Melkonian.
Most of us might not have intended to send our children to Melkonian in the first place.
But no one, not our parents, not us, would want to make Nareg a Greek-speaking school where Armenian is taught as a second, or even worse, a foreign language.
We want ARMENIAN-Cypriot new generations, not Neo-Spurkahay-Neo-Cypriot-Charlie-like-speaking new generations.
Any parent that prefers his/her child to be taught Greek as a mother/first tongue, and just have knowledge of spoken or basic Armenian, can enrol their children in any public or private Dimotiko, and ask for afternoon "idiaitera" classes in Armenian.
Nareg has a purpose, and some parents are trying to twist things, and from what I hear, they have the blessing of certain Board members, and some other Board members have been kept in the dark about what is going on. I'm sure there are Board members who (if correctly informed) would have acted up and never allowed this discussion to be going on.
Here's the alarm bell ringing. We HAVE to act up and STOP this farce.
We just can't allow ourselves to just sit and watch Nareg drown.
I myself will not allow it.
I'm sure many many others will not allow it, either.
I even suspect whether the Government would be fond of allowing it.
Dr. Antranig Ashdjian - Nicosia


Regarding the Melkonian case, and in the light of the Kotchan copy enclosed.... If the title deed of the Melkonian is what we see, what is the sense of questioning a legal title deed of the Republic of Cyprus in court? Would any Cypriot court of Law ever pronounce a legal title deed as null and void?
Isn't this the whole essence of the Cyprus Problem? That the Property in the North cannot change hands, cannot be sold, because the rightful owners aren't selling it. So if a court precedent occurs, where a deed is annulled or declared as illegal, then we are serving the cause of the Turkish Cypriot side.
And a peculiar sign? A Turkish citizen, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, is suing an American organisation in a Cyprus Court.
IF the Patriarch wins (everybody wishes that), then I don't see no reason for the Turkish propaganda not to utilize this "victory" to their benefit. We'd have them digging up Ottoman "fermans" to challenge the title deeds (ALL title deeds) of the Republic!!
Baron Desaged

Dear Simon,
Being a regular reader of Gibrahayer Newsletter, which I appreciate a lot regardless of whether I agree with all the viewpoints or not, let me point out to you and all my fellow readers some facts about the curriculum changes regarding Nareg. First of all reading the complaint letters and hearing the various other opinions, you can see that it is very difficult if not impossible to achieve a result that would satisfy everybody. In your editorial you point out the fact that the school is losing its Armenian roots yet you fail to substantiate your claims as NO reduction in Armenian classes has taken place.
Secondly, my good friend Mardig, like many other parents, is complaining about the reduction in English classes and mentions nothing about Armenian language. Other complaints we received for years was that the Greek language taught at the school was very weak and our children were NOT able to apply for government, municipality,banks and many other positions where the Greek language is the Primary if Not the only language required.
These simple points just highlight the fact that there is NO consensus as to which direction the school should turn to. It is a fact that for many years we thought we were satisfied with what we had but the entry into the EU and the closure of Melkonian (irrespective of whether it will re-open or not) brought about new realities upon our community and we have to react fast to help our children in their future endeavours. The Ministry of Education, without being directly involved in the school's curriculum, has suggested that only Armenian and Greek should be taught, at least until the fifth class, as they claim that 3 languages taught simultaneously from such an early age creates what we call 'Jack of all Trades, Master of None' (something that the school board did not entirely agree). However it is a fact that most of us Naregatsi speak the 3 languages yet we graduate from Nareg without being fluent in any one of them. It is also a fact that each one of us have different aims and objectives for our children's future education, as some of us place greater importance to English, others to Armenian and others to Greek. There IS NO right or wrong. Whichever path we decide to follow there will always be complaints and the board's aim should be to minimise those complaints. By politicising the issue, we shall once again fail to achieve the desired objective, which is the best possible education for our children, and instead end up blaming each other and fail our children once again as has been done many times over in the not so distant past.
A healthy dialogue, with constructive criticism, together with good ideas is the ONLY way to achieve this. The school does NOT belong to AGBU, AYMA, Hamaskain, any political party,to the Hokapartsoutioun or to Dr Atamyan. It belongs to ALL of us in the Armenian community and our aim should be to improve the standards in order for our children to meet the challenges that lie ahead in this ever increasing competitive environment.
Yours sincerely,
Vicken Kesterlian - Member of Nareg Hokapartsoutioun

It is true that no reduction in Armenian classes has taken place, but it is also a fact that lessons such as Science, Geography and Maths are now being taught in Greek whereas before they were taught in Armenian and/or English. The necessary attention is not being given to the Armenian Education, and equally importantly, to the English language which has remained the only subject taught in English. So yes, there IS a reason for concern! It is of utmost urgency to gather all concerned parties together to discuss the matter fully.
Concerned Parents (Limassol)
tatiana's corner by Tatiana Ferahian
GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

news in brief
• Washington, 19 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S. development agency has agreed to provide Armenia with more than $230 million for programs aimed at reducing rural poverty. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), set up by the U.S. government in 2004, said that it hopes the five-year deal will help hundreds of thousands of farmers by improving roads and irrigation. However, the U.S. agency expressed concern about political rights and government transparency in Armenia in the wake of reports of irregularities in a referendum on constitutional reform held in late November.
• Disturbing Footage from Nakhichevan - Azerbaijani Soldiers destroying the Armenian cemetery in Djulfa (Nakhichevan) , ,
• Another video footage that a good friend of Prof. Pilikian - Paul Chaderdjian has sent to us at
• In an overlooked story, the Turkish press reported last week that CIA Director Porter Goss went to Ankara recently and informed the Turkish government that Iran already has nuclear weapons and they should be ready for "a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria".
• ARF Dashnaktsoutiun top man Hrant Markarian called president Kocharian to take tough action against widespread corruption and other injustice in Armenia, saying the authorities’ stated efforts to address these problems have largely been a gimmick.
• A gathering of linguists in Vienna, Austria - dedicated to the 1,600-th anniversary of creation of Armenian letters - has once again confirmed that the Georgian and Old Caucasian Alban scripts had been invented by Mesrop Mashtots, despite the counter-arguments of Georgian scientists.

from the pages of / more articles regarding Melkonian at
Nareg Curriculum Changes cause upset
Uproar has been caused in Cyprus at the news that the curriculum at the Armenian Nareg elementary school has been changed from a predominantly Armenian / English mix to one that concentrates on Greek.
What is most surprising is that none of our Cypriot compatriots saw this coming.
With the demise of the Melkonian, an Armenian school of international standards, what else could the Nareg authorities do?
Their job is to prepare the children entrusted to them for secondary education.
What did the parents, some of whom did little to protest at the closure of the Melkonian think would happen?
The Nareg authorities had no option and seem to have taken a pragmatic approach; prepare the students for a secondary education in the Greek secondary school system.
Now the true folly of closing the Melkonian, and in the process killing of the Armenian community of Cyprus is being seen.
And all this in the one country in the EU where the minority rights of the Armenians are protected by law.
Wake up people, you were happy to take the AGBU’s promises and blandishments at face value, now you see how you were all sold down the river.
What are you going to do about it? Probably nothing….

guidelines for Christmas wishes New Year comes prior to Christmas so make sure your wishes sound like this: "Happy New Year and Merry Christmas".

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine• Former world junior champion Levon Aronian of Armenia comprehensively defeated former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine 2-0 in the tie-break games of the final to annex the World Chess Cup.
• Cyprus tennis sensation Marcos Baghdatis - now ranked 55 in the world - was in Cyprus last week and took the opportunity to give a Press Conference and spend a day at the Cyprus Tennis National Center with junior players training in development programmes of the Cyprus Tennis Federation. Baghdatis - who had an exceptional run in 2005 that earned him US$ 250,000 in prize money alone - practised with the juniors, took pictures with them, signed autographs on caps and T-shirts and provided an afternoon that few of them will forget. Among the youngsters were Edmond Aynedjian and Kouyoumdjian brothers Mano and Yano. Picture on the right: Marcos Baghdatis with Yano (left) and Edmond (right).
• The Armenian Football and Futsal teams of AYMA / HMEM and Ararat / AGBU are on a holiday break. Games resume in two week's time. Both teams are ranked second in their respective championship race. We wish them all the best for better results in 2006.

Zaruhi Harutyunyan begins the 2006 calendar with three three ITF tournaments in Bangladesh. We urge our readers to give Zaruhi this opportunity.
With her kind of potential I am certain she will give back to her homeland what our homeland is unable to give to her right now.

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Christmas Wishes
Sireli Simon,
Nor darva yev Sourp dzenounti zouik donerou aritov, im chermakin voghchouinneres ge heghem kezi yev voghch Gibrahai hamainkin, maghtelov amenain parik yev shoudapouit loudzoum kaghoutahai khentirnere, manavant gabvadz Nareg varjarani yev amenian garevor Melkonian gertagan hasdadoutian shoudapouit verapatsoume.
Togh 2006 tevagan hede pere avedisner yev lav anagengalner.
Chermakin voghchouinnerov,
Avedis Diban - Yerevan - Hayasdan - 1994-i Melkonian gertagan Haysdadutian Sherchanavard
gibrahayer calendar
• Saturday 31 December, 2005 at 12 midnight. Welcome the New Year with prayers at Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church in Nicosia.
• Thursday 5 January, 2006 Christmas Eve at 5:00 pm Jamerkoutiun and Divine Liturgy.
• Friday 6 January, 2006 Christmas Day at 10:00 am Divine Liturgy.

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