Joined UNESCO: 09/06/1992

Head of State and/or Government

President of the Republic of Armenia: H.E. Mr Armen Sarkissian
Prime Minister: Mr Nikol Pashinian

Permanent Delegation to UNESCO

H. E. Mr Charles Aznavour
Ambassador, Permanent Delegate (10/01/1995)

Permanent Delegation of Armenia to UNESCO
Ambassade d'Arménie 9, rue Viète 75017 PARIS

National Commission for UNESCO

President: Mr Edward Nalbandian *

Secretary-General: Ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan

Armenian National Commission for UNESCO
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government House 2 3, Vazgen Sargsian Street 0010 Yerevan Armenia
(374-10) 62 00 00 (Ext. 502)
(374-10) 62 00 62
v.kazhoyan(a) (SG); L.Terzikyan(a); a.karapetyan(a); g.yedigaryan(a)

Read more National Commission for UNESCO

Participation in subsidiary organs

Organs elected by the General Conference

Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)

Other intergovernmental organs

Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Member (Term expires : 2020)
Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
Member (Term expires : 2021)
Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (UNESCO, Paris, 1970)
Member (Term expires : 2015-2019)

Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference

36 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received

35 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“(…) I would like to congratulate Ms Irina Bokova, on her election as Director-General of UNESCO. I am confident that with her leadership this distinguished forum will make a remarkable step forward in achieving major goals of this Organization. I am also honoured to express my sincere thanks to Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, the outgoing Director-General, for his dedicated work for the last ten years.”
“We welcome the policy of the Organization in the context of overall UN reform, to bring its offices close to the regions it deals with and become a more active member of the UN country team in the implementation of “One-UN” concept. The conclusion of the UNESCO Country Programming Document of Cooperation between UNESCO and the Republic of Armenia in March 2008 provides with ample opportunities to extend its activities in Armenia by developing inter-sectoral country programs linked with and complementary to the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).”
“Armenia has developed vast cooperation with UNESCO in all areas of its interest implementing multiple programs and initiatives. This November, the Armenian National Commission together with the Ministry of Culture is organizing under the auspices of UNESCO a regional conference entitled “Cultural Policy and Policy for Culture”.”
“Armenia is a country rich with cultural monuments dating back to 4th millennium BC. As of today there are nearly 33,000 historical and cultural monuments in Armenia under state protection, included in the State Register of National Heritage. For centuries, the Armenian people have erected numerous and diverse cultural monuments most of which, due to known historical events, are currently located outside the borders of the present-day Republic of Armenia. (…) As a result of the policy of destruction of the Armenian historical heritage, thousands of cultural monuments that were of universal value have been lost forever.”
“(…) Damaging or destroying cultural or religious memory intentionally, consistently, repeatedly, must be condemned with the same resolve and determination as violence aimed against people. Unfortunately, with Azerbaijan, efforts to do away with Armenian heritage go unabated despite the continuous alarm rang by Armenia. A painful proof of the monument demolition that has been in process for years, is the annihilation of the centuries-old Jugha (Julfa) Cemetery in Nakhichevan with its tens of thousands unique cross-stones dating from the 9th to 16th centuries, that bore to the talent and the artistic skill of the masters of Jugha.”
“Armenia’s commitment to protection and promotion of human rights and cultural diversity is very real. Both cultural diversity and the protection of monuments are especially significant for nations which have monuments beyond national borders, indeed in countries around the world and particularly in our neighbourhood.”
“We do believe that this Organization would be able to stand up to the challenge of unabated violation of cultural rights and thus bring its contribution to enhancing intercultural dialogue and tolerance all over the world.”

34 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Vartan Oskanian, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The areas of competence of [the] Organization – science, culture, education, information […] are important for […] more equitable globalization [leading] to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and also for peace and prosperity.
“We welcome UNESCO’s intention to expand its operations in Armenia. As a country that has been experiencing economic growth for the past seven years, we are engaged in deep economic reforms. […] These also will include the areas within the competence of UNESCO.”
“Through the Bologna process our students now enter yet another phase of transition, so that they will have a better access to international educational systems. Our educational and scientific establishment is also going through reforms so that they will have better access to the global programmes.”
Armenia welcomes UNESCO’s efforts to protect humanity’s cultures and is committed to this cause.
“We need to break the barriers of the past, because it is important for cultures and societies to engage in dialogue and understanding.”
Armenia, due to its geographical position, was always on the crossroad of cultures and religions. Therefore, and as a result of its history, Armenia is engaged in international exchanges and promotes dialogue and understanding. This aspect of international relations is very important to the country.
Armenia requests UNESCO to pay attention to attempts to destruct the cultural heritage in the region. Indeed, Armenian monuments are continually destroyed in different regions and it is an attempt to rewrite history. Armenia urges UNESCO and other Member States to send a mission in order to investigate these crimes and protect cultural sites.
Armenia respects the cultural heritage of different minorities living on its territory and prepared proposals on related properties for the inclusion on the Tentative List of the World Heritage. For example, the non-Christian cemetery and the Yerevan Mosque are mentioned, as well as the Silk Road project.

Celebration of anniversaries

150th anniversary of the birth of Soghomon Soghomonian, known as Komitas Vardapet, composer, ethnomusicologist, researcher and singer (1869-1935) (Armenia with the support of France and Germany)

Komitas, pseudonym of Soghomon Soghomonian, (1869-1935) was an ethnomusicologist and composer who created the basis for a distinctive national musical style in Armenia.
Orphaned at age 11, he was sent to study liturgical singing at a seminary in Vagarshapat (now Ejmiadzin) in Armenia. He graduated in 1893 and adopted the name Komitas that of a seventh -century Armenian hymn writer. He had already become interested in Armenian folk songs as well as church music, and he began composing his own music on Armenian motifs while studying composition in Berlin in 1896-99. Upon his return to Armenia, he began collecting Armenian folk songs in earnest, and he eventually accumulated several thousand of them. He also published numerous papers on the subject and sang Armenian songs himself at concerts he organized in Western Europe, arousing international interest in his compatriots’ music.
Komitas’ activities have had both regional and international significance. He did much in collecting and researching the music of the region. Komitas was the most important collector of Armenian folk songs, and his exact and detailed researches established Armenian musicology on a scientific basis. His own folk-based songs and choruses and his liturgical chants are still popular among Armenians, many of whom regard him as their foremost composer.

150th anniversary of the birth of Hovhannes Tumanyan, poet, writer, translator (1869-1923) (Armenia with the support of Georgia and Russian Federation)

Hovhannes Toumanian was an Armenian author and public activist who is considered by many to be the national poet of Armenia. He was born on 19 February 1869 in the village of Dsegh, which was part of the Tiflis Governorate of the Russian Empire, and is now located in Lori Province of Armenia.
Largely self-taught, he emerged as a poet of great directness, simplicity and lyricism, with a universal appeal. Especially valuable is Toumanian’s contribution to Armenian epic poetry. Based on several versions of the Armenian epic he wrote the “David of Sassoon” epic poem, which today is still considered the best artistic adaptation of the Armenian national epic. The latter was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012. Toumanian also wrote stories and folk-tales.
He engaged in numerous public activities and proved to be an accomplished critic and historian of literature. He contributed important critical work on literature, art, language and Armenian culture. Toumanian considered the supreme goal of art to be the bringing together individuals, peoples and nations.
Toumanian’s work gave inspiration and rich material for the Armenian stage and musical arts. His works have been staged in various theatres and portrayed by painters. They inspired Armenian composers who wrote music of different genres based on the motives of his works – from songs to opera to ballet. (CLT)

200th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Aivazovsky, painter (1817-1900) (joint nomination by Armenia and the Russian Federation, with the support of Italy) (2017)

Ivan Aivazovsky (Hovhannes Aivazian) is considered one of the greatest marine artists in history. Having Armenian origins and education in the Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg as well as several years’ experience of studying in Europe, Aivazovsky influenced Russian, Armenian and world Art. During his sixty-year career, Aivazovsky produced around 6,000 paintings. He is best known for his paintings of seascapes and coastal scenes, which are symbolic and allegoric. Depicting waves, clouds and airspace the painter emphasized the light, which is the interpretation of the light of the creation. He also created a number of works about important events of Bible and Armenian history as well as works depicting oriental scenes and portraitures. Aivazovsky held an unprecedented number of individual exhibitions and contributed to a number of exhibitions in Russia, Europe and the United States.
The celebration of the anniversary will support UNESCO’s objectives of strengthening intercultural dialogue for the rapprochement of cultures, promoting of heritage and fostering creativity, as well as disseminating and exchanging information from local to global level.

350th anniversary of the first printed Bible in Armenian (Amsterdam, 1666) (with the support of France and Netherlands) (2016)

For the first time, the Bible was printed in Armenian in Amsterdam in 1666 by Voskan Yerevantsi, with illustrations and decorations by Christoffel van Sichem (1546-1624). It includes an alphabetical glossary of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words and names occurring in the Bible. This edition was printed from a single manuscript dated 1295 A.D., adjusted in places to the Latin Vulgate. Printing the Bible in Armenian was a tremendous event for the Armenians, enabling generations of Armenians to continue reading, exploring and becoming familiar with Christianity and Christian values through Armenian language.
The jubilee celebration of this event, having a relation to 500th anniversary of Armenian book printing, is the vivid expression of the maintenance of printing traditions of the world cultural heritage, and, therefore, it will contribute to the UNESCO's mission of protecting and promoting cultural heritage.

200th anniversary of the establishment of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages (1815) (Armenia with the support of Russian Federation) (2015)

The 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages (1815) will provide a valuable opportunity to promote UNESCO’s ideals and mission in the fields of education, culture, social and human sciences, and communication and promote tolerance, the ideals of peace, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding among peoples.

150th anniversary of the birth of Toros Toramanyan, architect and archaeologist (1864-1934) (2014)

Architect and founder of scholarly studies of Armenian architecture, Toramanyan had a significant influence on the development of culture in Armenia and Europe. He worked on studying the remains of medieval Armenian architectural monuments, such as the monuments of secular and church architecture of Ani. His treatise “The Church of Zvartnots” (1905) laid the foundation of the scholarly architectural literature in Armenia.

400th anniversary of the birth of archbishop Voskan Yerevantsi (Voskan Vardapet) Ghlichents, publisher and linguist (1614-1674) (2014)

Voskan Yerevantsi has several professional qualifications, however his contribution to the Armenian-language book and the development of Armenian publishing is one of utmost importance. He published the Bible in Armenia and has published over 40 Armenian books. Voskan Yerevantsi has actively participated in the development of Armenian printing in the world.

1,650th anniversary of the birth of Mesrop Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian alphabet (c.362-440) (2012)

The Armenian alphabet is widely known by Armenian speakers (in Armenia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Georgia, Lebanon, etc.) as well as by polyglots and linguists for its long history and originality.

300th anniversary of the birth of Sayat-Nova (Harutyun (Arutin) Sayatyan), poet and musician (c.1712-1795) (Armenia, with the support of Georgia) (2012)

Sayat-Nova (1712 or 1717-1795), traditional musician and poet, wrote poems in various languages, which he sang accompanied by a musical instrument. His verse is renowned throughout the Caucasus. His musical and poetic genius represent the height of the art of minstrelsy.

500th anniversary of the first printed Armenian book (1512) (2012)

This printing of the first Armenian book has undeniably contributed to the documentary heritage of mankind, transmitting collective memory to future generations. It therefore can be considered as part of the Memory of the World.

1,400th anniversary of the birth of Anania Shirakatsi, scientist (612-685) (2012)

Anania Shirakatsi was one of the eminent scientists of the Middle Ages, especially in arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. When he was young, he left Armenia and travelled abroad for eleven years in the hope of getting a better education. Soon he met and fell under the tutelage of a renowned Greek scholar who spoke Armenian, Tychikos, and spent eight years learning mathematics with him in Trebizond, in the Byzantine Empire. He returned to his homeland in 651, determined to spread his knowledge among his fellow Armenians. Anania’s school was established at a time when the study of mathematics was waning. Few years later, he had gained a famous reputation throughout Armenia and abroad. He was a pioneer in several fields in science; in particular, he was the founder of exact and natural sciences in Armenia, and developed good theories in the field of astronomy.

800th anniversary of the birth of Toros Roslin, manuscript illuminator (1210-1270) (2010)

Toros Roslin (c. 1210-1270) is a prominent Armenian scribe and miniature painter of the Middle Ages and is the most famous representative
of the Cilician school. With the appearance of Toros Roslin, the art of
Armenian book illustration and especially 13th century Cilician miniature painting was characterized by a new aesthetical comprehension of the world and new ideas. In his miniature paintings Toros Roslin concentrated on the artistic experiences of the past, both of his own and of other peoples; he opened new horizons and opportunities for future painters. The most significant innovation in Roslin’s art is the individualization of human faces. In medieval art the distinct, differing from each other and non-idealized portrayal of the human face begins in the second half of the 13th century. In this sense, Roslin must be considered among the most progressive artists of that period. In addition, he revived the genre of royal portraits, the first Cilician royal portraits having been found in his manuscripts. His style is characterized by a delicacy of color, classical treatment of figures and their garments, an elegance of line, and an innovative iconography. He drew up and illuminated numerous manuscripts, but currently we have information about only seven: they were realized between 1256 and 1268 and are kept at depositories in Yerevan, Jerusalem and Baltimore (USA). Toros Roslin has become the very
first Armenian universal artist, as he preserved the Armenian ethnic art identity by observing and following Armenian iconographic and ornamental-decorative tradition used previously by Armenian predecessors, being at the same time “Byzantinian” in concept and technique, a “Renaissance artist” and a precursor of Giotto and Duccio in his painting equilibrium, balance, harmony, rich colors, multi-level and multi-dimension compositions. More precisely, he was the originator and founder of the First Universal Christian Religious Art and is called, “virtuoso of ornamentation” by specialists.
Photo legend: Epistle of Eusebius to Carpianos. Gospel. Scribe and painter Toros Roslin, Ms. 10450, 13th century.

1600th anniversary of the birth of Movses Khorenatsi, historian (c. 410-493) (2010)

Movses Khorenatsi (c. 410-493), called the Father of the Armenian historiography, is the greatest Armenian historian of the Middle Ages. Poet, translator, philosopher and theologian Movses Khorenatsi's works hold particular significance because they record the old oral traditions of the Armenian people during its pagan era and, more importantly, traces Armenian history from Khorenatsis' days to its origins.
The masterpiece of Khorenatsi is the “History of Armenia”, which covers a time-frame from the formation of the Armenian people, i.e. from the 10th century B.C., to the fifth century AD. It contains the richest and most unique material on ancient Armenian legends, the pagan religion, the internal and economic life of the country, its social and state structure, juridical system, and its relations with the world. It also contains plentiful data on the history and culture of neighboring people, their interrelation, in particular, about Persia, the Byzantium, Assyria, Georgia, Albania and others, thus being an indispensable source for the study of their historical past. The first time in the Armenian historiography, Khorenatsi introduced the idea of timeline.
In the 2nd and 3rd books of the “History of Armenia”, along with the dates of the reign of the Armenian kings and Catholicoses, he mentions the reigning years of the rulers of the neighbouring Persia and Rome. First edition of the “History of Armenia” was published in Amsterdam, 1695; the second in London, with a Latin translation, 1736; the third in Venice, 1752; it was translated into French (Venice, 1841), Italian (1841, 1950), German (partially, 1869), English (1979), Russian (1809, 1858) and other languages. Having worked for more than six years in the famous Library of Alexandria, Movses Khorenatsi got acquainted with the works of antic authors and used works of Greek and Syrian authors, quoting from them. Some of them are world-known only thanks to the works of Khorenatsi. Most of the works of Movses Khorenatsi that are known to us, such as 1) History of Armenia; 2) Treatise on Geography; 3) Letter on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 4) Homily on Christ’s Transfiguration; 5) Oration on Hripsime, an Armenian Virgin and Martyr; 6) Hymns used in Armenian Church Worship; 7) Commentaries on the Armenian Grammarians; 8) Explanations of Armenian Church offices; 9) Geography (“Ashkharhatsyuts”) - description of the World with maps; 10) Treatise on Rhetoric hold particular significance because he elaborated not only on the Armenian history, culture and traditions, but also of the people at the regional and universal level.
Photo legend: Movses Khorenatsi and the Prince Sahak Bagratuni.
History of Armenia, Ms. 2865, 13th century.

100th anniversary of the birth of Victor Hambardzumyan, astronomer and astrophysicist (1908-1996) Supported by the Russian Federation (2008)

Victor Hambardzumyan was one of the pioneers of theoretical astrophysics who worked on the cosmogony of stars and galaxies, stellar dynamics, and gaseous nebulas. In 1947 he discovered stellar associations. Victor Hambardzumyan was the first to suggest that T Tauri stars are very young and to propose that nearby stellar associations are expanding. He also showed that evolutionary processes such as mass loss are occurring in galaxies; he also worked on interstellar matter, radio galaxies, and active galactic nuclei.

100th anniversary of the birth of William Saroyan, writer (1908-1981) (2008)

William Saroyan was an American author, novelist and playwright of Armenian origin, whose stories celebrated optimism in the middle of trials and difficulties of the Depression era. Several of Saroyan's works were drawn from his own experiences, although his approach to autobiographical facts can be called poetic, therefore many of his plays and short stories are about growing up impoverished as the son of Armenian immigrants. These stories were popular during the Great Depression. Saroyan grew up in Fresno, the centre of Armenian- Americans in California, where many of his works are set. He worked tirelessly to perfect a prose style that was full of zest for life and was seemingly impressionistic. The style became known as "Saroyanesque". Among Saroyan's best known plays is “The Time of Your Life” (1939) which won a Pulitzer Prize. Saroyan refused the honour but accepted the New York Drama Critics Circle award. The short story collection “My Name is Aram” (1940) is an international bestseller. It has been translated into many languages.

100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Carzou (Garnik Zoulumian), painter (1907-2000) (2007)

French artist of Armenian descent, painter of landscapes, portraits, still lifes, ceramics, Carzou held over 100 individual exhibitions in Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Yerevan, Moscow, and participated in many international exhibitions. He designed and decorated many sets for various theatres of Paris. Member of the Academy of Fine Arts of France (1971), Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (1990), he received a great number of awards, including the National Merit of France medals and was also conferred the title of Knight of the French “Legion of Honour”. His works of art are a claim against war. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Guernica, the tragedy of Armenians in 1915 and other human disasters arising from war are omnipresent in Carzou’s creations. For him, art is a way to express a deep conscience of violence and the lack of humanity, which led to two World Wars in the twentieth century. In this sense, Carzou is considered a humanist and engaged artist for peace.

  • 100th anniversary of the birth of Norair Sisakyan, scientist (1907-1966) (2007)armenia_Sisakyan

  • Norair Sisakyan contributed to the development of fundamental and applied research in biochemistry, being one of the founders of space biology. His work played an important role in the development of molecular biology, radiobiology and space biology.

  • 1,600th anniversary of the creation of the Armenian alphabet (2005)

  • The Armenian alphabet encompasses its culture as a whole, mainly its religious dimensions (liturgy, patristic writings, palaeography, codicology, etc.). In this connection, the creation of the alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots, is a reminder of the fact that Armenia was the first Official Christian Kingdom and because of its very strong cultural and spiritual identity, Armenia was able to keep its culture while being strongly influenced by the Byzantine and Persian cultures, in particular in the arts and architecture. This celebration would involve also the Armenian Diaspora spread throughout the world.

  • 1000th anniversary of the creation of Grigor Narekatsi’s “Book of Lamentations” (2003)

  • The “Book of Lamentations” is a monumental literary monument (more than 11,000 verse lines) in which the Armenian eleventh century’s realities are masterfully depicted. In this poem – “remedy of life” – Grigor Narekatsi searched ways for saving the whole of Christian humanity and expressed universal human values. More than 60 editions of the manuscript of the “Book of Lamentations” exist in the world. This immortal lyrical-philosophical work has been translated into French, Russian, Arabic, English and other languages.

  • 100th anniversary of the birth of Aram Khachaturyan (2003)

  • Aram Khachaturyan (1903-1978) is an outstanding composer of the twentieth century. He is best known for his Piano Concerto and his ballet Gayane which includes the popular, rhythmically stirring Sabre Dance. He is an author of numerous symphonies, chamber, instrumental and vocal compositions. His influence on contemporary composers, choreographers and musicians is enormous. Aram Khachaturyan’s musical creations constitute a contribution to the world musical heritage.

  • One thousand seven hundredth anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as the State religion in Armenia (17 June 2001)

  • This proposal follows on from 28 C/Resolution 3.9 inviting the Director-General to accord the patronage of UNESCO to this anniversary and include it in the list of anniversaries with which UNESCO might be associated in 2000-2001.

  • Seventy-fifth anniversary of the birth of the Armenian artist Sergei Paradjanov (9 January 1999)

  • Paradjanov was a versatile artist (painter, musician and film producer) of renown in the world of the cinema; his works display poetry, lyricism and aesthetic judgement, and indeed he was awarded the El Mar del Plata Prize and the British Academy Prize.
    Through his masterpieces and his new themes of creative expression, Paradjanov contributed a great deal to the development of the cinema throughout the world. His life and works make him the very model of an artist with liberating and novel ideals; he belongs to the galaxy of eminent figures whose influence extends worldwide.

  • Centenary of the birth of the Armenian painter and sculptor Ervand Kotchar (1998).

  • An eminent Armenian painter and sculptor, Ervand Kotchar, greatly contributed to the development of the artistic avant-garde in the twentieth century. The earlier period of his painting was influenced by French modernism and especially impressionism. During the period 1923-1936, while living in Paris, Ervand Kotchar used a wide range of media and styles, such as symbolism seen in ‘Family-Generations’ (1925), and analytical cubism and surrealism as in his painting ‘Man and the City’ (1933). One of his world famous and remarkable artistic achievements was ‘Paintings in Space’, in which he worked on hardened pieces of cut sheet-iron in a style reminiscent of the French sculptor,
    Jacques Lipchitz.
    The famous monument to David of Sasun in Erevan, inspired by the Armenian heroic epic of the same name, is a masterpiece of monumental public sculpture.
    His works portray the values he had towards love of the motherland, freedom, brotherhood and humanism, a classical example being his highly emotional artistic protest against aggression and war, as seen in his painting ‘Horrors of War’.
    The artistic legacy and great merit of Ervand Kotchar is recognized by the masters, specialists and historians of modern art all over the world, and his works are a precious part of Armenian, European and world culture.