Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

I wish to all organizers of Forgotten Diaries, to all our readers, to every partisipant of FD....I wish you a HAPPINESS...

Season's Greetings
Many Happy Returns of the Year
Wishing a Successful and Fruitful New Year
May 2009 bring the best in all our plans and goals to be achieved...

Happy New Year... :)

Grozny is ready to meet 2009 year

Winter has come, New Year is coming soon...

Hello, dear FD. Hello to readers and of course to my colleague Arpik)) Hope everything is OK with you. As for me, this month was a little strained – the term began and yesterday I passed the last test… Ole-ole-ole!)) Actually it’s early to be happy as after New Year holidays examinations will be continued. But as used to say a main character from “Gone with the Wind”: “I’ll think about it tomorrow”. And today I suggest you to dip into Chechen Republic’s life just for several minutes.

The spontaneous markets’ age is over

The large-scale operations for the elimination of the illegal spontaneous markets have begun in Grozny (the capital of Chechen Republic). The works are carrying out in all four districts of the capital.
“Heretofore there were many illegal elemental markets on which its sellers didn’t follow to any standards - non sanitary code, non standards of fire safety. This must be determined”, - said a deputy town clerk Khuseyn Betiev.
According to his words the problem must be solved in the shortest time.
For the first day of work there were eliminated several markets on which people sold food, clothes and building material. Several cars, from which people were selling goods, were arrested.
The works for the elimination of the illegal spontaneous markets is doing by administration of Grozny in close collaboration with departments of interior and representatives of Tax Service.

Molodejnaya smena, December 2008

Number of books will grow up.

Department of Culture of Grozny has got 16 900 books from Moscow for libraries.
“With such help of our Moscow friends we’ll be able to step on new level of development of public libraries, that will promote a common cause of development of library system of Russian Federation”, - said the head of the Department of Culture Grozny city Dagman Bersanova. According to her words due to this action library stock of Grozny will be filled by asked-for economics, medicine, history and literature books.
This action was organized by publishing group “Grand-Fair” and publishing house “Molodaya gvardia” with partnership of Grozny administration.
Nowadays there are 16 libraries in Grozny with common number of books about 100 000 books.

Molodejnaya smena, December 2008

Balance of the year

The administration has summed the results of 2008 year. About it says “Financial economics messenger” (December, 2008). As it’s written there, 3667 objects were restored and put in commission. An abandoned village Khoy was revived too – there were built Mosque for 100 people, 10 cottages and almost 12 families have returned to the village.

Token events happened in Grozny – there were built Central Mosque called after name Ahmat Kadirov (father of the present president Ramzan K.) and reconstructed central street which was renamed after ex-president of RF Putin V.V.

In the next year -2009- Grozny airport will get an international status. About it said Chechen Republic president. As he said, Prime minister of Russia Putin V.V. promised that he’d help our republic in this issue.

I think this would be very good and comfortable, because many people of here earn money by selling goods in the market (as the level of employment is 70%, no jobsite and people have to become vendors), and the goods are importing from Turkey and other countries. So an international status of the airport will make the procedure of importing easer. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

about "Manana" youth educational-cultural center (Armenia)

Yesterday I went to the opening of the photo exhibition of "Manana" youth educationa-cultural media center's students at Naregatsi Art Center.

"Manana" center is my native organization. 10 best years of my life were connected to it :) first, I was a student of the journalism, photography and filmmaking clubs, then - a teacher of Web design and computer skills.

"Manana" non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1995. The center brings together people of different ages and interests, who are all educators, irrespective of their main profession, and are deeply concerned with children's issues. Throughout these years Manana has been working towards the spiritual, intellectual and physical development of the children. Different years there have been Journalism, Photography, Film making, English language, Painting, Animation, Handicraft, Computer skills, Web design and Debate clubs...
The Center started its activities literally from nothing. It began in a one-room apartment where the first classes took place on the floor. There was no in-kind or financial support, and no expectations to ever acquire any. The deep awareness of the importance of this new undertaking, and the sheer enthusiasm of the teachers, were the basis of everything. The Center's most valuable resource today still lies in its talented and devoted members, volunteers, parents, and students, whose numbers grow each year.
As for me, the uniqueness of Manana is that it's not just teaching-learning like courses of journalism, etc. It's a learning-by-doing method with elements of peer-to-peer education. The kids have opportunity to publish their works, so they are working on the "products" themselves.
For example, they need to publish a newspaper. Apart from writing articles, stories, interviewing different people and making the photo & graphic illustrations for own articles, they are also learning how to make the layout of the newspaper, how to publish them on the website, how to translate etc... same with the films and other products.

The teachers are mostly the alumni of Manana. Like me :) This fact makes the classes (club meetings) more comfy and effective. The kids see that we are enthusiastic for helping them in their learning and they help us too.

The children of Manana have the unique opportunity to develop their talents and to realize own capabilities. They get the opportunity to participate in many international & local events, travel, explore and experience things that are usually not available to average Armenian schoolchildren.
Manana is open to youngsters from 8 to 16 y.o. that can contribute their time and skills. Clubs' meetings take place in the afternoon, after the kids come from their schools. Each club usually meets once a week, for 1.5 hours. For some years, I used to be in "Manana" for almost everyday after my classes, participating in all clubs' works.

"Manana" is non-commercial and the participation in the clubs is free, so it's accessible to kids from families with limited possibilities. Currently "Manana" is being funded by Tufenkian Charitable foundation and Paros Foundation, and throughout the years it has received support from different individuals that were helping to get the needed technical equipment - computers, cameras, editing hardware and software etc...

I like it also that there's always a very cozy and nice atmosphere... always lots of work, lots of upcoming events and achievements. It's difficult to name all the awards, certificates and recognition that "Manana" has gained throughout these years since it's a veeeeeeeery long list!
We have participated in numerous film festivals, photo exhibitions.. stories have been published in many magazines and websites...
"Manana" is a full member of European Youth Press, CIFEJ.

Our old website with the works is here: ("Mi ban asem" means- "I got to tell you something")

Just the fact that Manana is more known abroad than in Armenia is a bit confusing...

I can definitely say that if not my involvement in Manana, I won't be the same person. I learned so many things, met so many people and seen so many things there that I just cannot describe my gratitude... it's simply invaluable.
As you can guess, there are so many things you can live in 10 years... but imagine when it's so active, different, interesting and fun?!
I have a huge collection of photos of Manana....I want to share with you some of them...

 My first months in Manana. 1997
my fav. room in Manana. children working on collages. 2004
trip to Dilijan/Haghartsin 2004

On Aragats mountain. 2005

Sunday, 14 December 2008

«Respectable girl of the Cheche State university»

Hello, my dear FD. As I promised you before, I'll tell you about life of mine, my people and youth.. I can't say that everything in our republic is ok, that there's no problems and all people are living happy lives... But we know, nothing happens at once... And I'm glad I can tell you about events like those which follows below... ;)
«Respectable girl of the university»

Beginning from 2007 year in our university takes place a contest called“Университетан сийлахь йо1» («A respectable girl of university»). It’s a kind of “Miss University”, but besides an intellect, oratorical skills and beauty of participants a jury, which consisted this year of 5 persons, have to evaluate their knowledge of Chechen traditions, language and women national dress called “G1ably” (read “G” as “R” in German).

At the 22th of November 11 beautiful girls were struggling for the right to be called the most respectable girl in the Chechen State University. During the competition they had to pass 5 trials:

1) Acquaintance (or introduction) in original form
2) Singing
4) Chechen traditions’ beauty
5) Chechen dance

After almost 2 hours of performance we found out who is the best (among the girls J). Her name is Arsanukaeva Kometa and with the title «Respectable girl of the university» she got a large TV-set LG (as she’s “the best” she can spend time just watching TV J… of course, I joke) … And those who took 2 and 3 places got a microwave and an electric meat chopper…
The contest was organized by Chechen State University and The State committee on youth affairs.

On the picture you can see participants in Chechen national dresses…

Friday, 5 December 2008

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Armenian chess players won Gold at the Chess Olympiad 2008!

We won! Moreover, we defended our chempion status ! (Armenia won Gold the previous Chess Olympiad 2006 in Torino too).

photo from
Here's our team:
  • Levon Aronyan
  • Vladimir Hakobyan
  • Gabriel Sargissian
  • Tigran L. Petrosyan (who was my classmate for some short period)
  • Artashes Minasian
During the final round, Armenia's only win came on board four where Tigran L. Petrosyan beat Chinese Li Chao.
Thank you Tigran and others!

And here's a nice photo report from the finals.

...and if you watch statistics of winners by each year in the wikipedia, you'll notice that USSR and post-soviet countries were almost in no competition for the recent decades.

For the second consecutive Olympiad, top-seed Russia failed to take a medal. From 1952 to 2004, they (and their predecessor the Soviet Union) never finished below second place.  (Guardian)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Hello, my dear Forgotten Diary. Hope, you’re not angry with me for the word “forgotten” has taken a literal meaning to you. Actually, I didn’t forget about you. There were some reasons that made me silent. Some events that unsettled me so strong that even writing here was hard for me… I was “Far away” ( Apocalyptica’s melody has the same title and mood). The place I’ve been called “depression” The deepest one…)) But now I’m here again, with you, ready to overcome any hardships of this life and tell you about my life, life of my people, youth and city. 

Let me tell you everything in course. You know where I’ve been, but don’t know why. And my return I’ll begin with “The story of my life” (in brief) 

Knock…knock…knocking on Heaven’s door…

All we are dreamers. Even realists and pessimists are dreamers from time to time. What is important for us is what we dream about and try to reach. And it depends on us whether our dreams will stay just dreams or will we make aims of them and try to reach them. “Nobody promised it would be easy”.  

From my childhood studying comes first in my life after my family. I believe I must thank for that my father. Looking through my diary covered with red writings and repetitive number “five” (the highest mark in the RF Educational system) he used to say: “You must study, Amata. Do your best all the time. A one who doesn’t study becomes a slave of this life”. I remembered these words for the rest of my life. 

When I was at the 10 form my dad left this life…the real meaning of the words: “when there’s no father to support you” - I understood two years later. Dad wanted me to continue studying in Moscow at some acknowledged, strong institute of higher education where I’d get a good knowledge. In addition, father’s brother lives in Moscow so it seemed quite possible. I wanted it more than he did and this was something I lived for… 

Two years passed by – the gloomy ones - and I was staying at the school’s exit with a certificate dreaming about the future, of course, it was connected with Moscow. But a house of cards was going to ruins while at another end of line I heard my uncle’s voice: “I didn’t promise anything… Moscow is a large city… You are young, you are a GIRL… It’ll be hard for you to live here…” – the voice from the phone was saying something else but I didn’t hear what…my feet didn’t feel the ground. At that moment I lost something very important... more than just a chance to study where I dreamed. At that moment I lost a sense of my life, my future life as I believed. It was my luck I was in sunglasses and nobody saw my red eyes and heavy shower of tears on my way back home from a public telephone. 

Yes, I am a GIRL, but as far as I know there is no any religion, or rule, or custom that prohibits a man - no matter who he is a man or a woman, – forbids him/her to study, to look for knowledge. 

Well... Do you think I was broken? Hurt? Disappointed? Unsettled? - EXACTLY! For 17 years old girl it was hard.  And the only person who cheered me was my mum ( “Mother is a human that can replace everybody but there’s nobody who can replace her”).  

Those year – in 2004 the Moscow State University (MSU) gave an opportunity to enter their university to passing 2 exams instead of 3 for those who won at the regional Olympiads. And as I was one of those winners in the English language Olympiad I had a delusive hope that I’d pass and enter the MSU at the Faculty of foreign languages. (At the 10-11 forms I was fond of English, England and everything that connected with it. Besides I liked mathematic and informatics. So before my own “Apocalypses” I wanted to bind these subjects in one what was possible only in Moscow)… So… My mum supported me and we went to her relatives in Moscow to haв a trial. I was intensive making preparations for the Judgement day (examinations). But as I’m not a genius and there were lots of clever school-leavers and winners of the Olympiads (why not to confess, some of them were really smarter than me and it wasn’t strange as they had studied in strong schools in Moscow, not postwar ones. Shortly, I didn’t pass…and had to return to Grozny and enter our university at the same faculty. 

If I say I forgot about my “own Apocalypses” in short time I’ll lie. It’s really painful when your dream vanishes in two steps from you. And somewhere inside the wound is still bleeding. I know well that my little tragedy which I call “Apocalypses” is nothing in comparison with grieves that happen in this life. It’s nothing in comparison with war and deaths… Nothing in comparison with hunger that many African people suffer… Yes…And I thank God for everything I have today… For I know how it is painful to lose near and dear people… But still fact is a fact – it is difficult and painful to realize that things in which you believed for so long betray your trust in them. 

So this is a prehistory (happened 4 years ago) of “The story of my life ” and events that unsettled me once more began in this year and words “studying”, “England”, “GIRL” inseparable from it.

Part 2: “history repeats itself” or “how they touched my fighting spirit”))

This year the government of Chechen Republic launched a new project – “Studying abroad”. According to the project every year about 100 students of our institutes of higher education will be sent to German and Great Britain for studying. A selecting began in summer and consisted of language test and interview with representatives of foreign educational organizations (StudyGroup, INTO, DAAD). More than 300 students were waiting for the results… For me this project was like a sunbeam in the dark… a chance to compensate last unsuccessful attempt.  

And after two long months of waiting the results (which I could compare with 100 years) it appeared that the government decided not to send GIRLS to Great Britain (there's no any girl among 45 selected students).  “It’s not efficiently to spend money for girls’ studying” – they day. – “If they got married they’d leave a career, job”. So the suggest a girl – no matter how clever she can be – to sit at home and don’t mind businesses like studying, job, politics and so on. Well, of course, family is very important in a man’s life… But let us chose by ourselves… 

I can understand those of our government who scare of spending money “for vain” for the girls studying. Yes, it’s true that for many Chechen girls home and family are the only things they care about. But take a look around: at the institutes, at schools, at different establishments women work and do their best. Our republic is not exclusion. And also, it is mother that brings up children and if she’d be uneducated, unwise, and sorry for that word – foolish – what will get our society at the end? FD, why don’t they understand it? Why?

Yes, I we are GIRLS, but as far as I know there is no any religion, or rule, or custom that prohibits a man - no matter who he is a man or a woman, – forbids him/her to study, to look for knowledge. 

So this was the second beat of life in the same wound and this unsettled me (I’m ashamed for that – for I took it to the heart again - but I’m just a man which’s learning to be strong… have to be otherwise I won’t survive).

So this is the reason of my silent: first - hard waiting, second – “girls, girls, girls”… 

But it’s in the past now and we are optimists. Right? Right! 
All hardships of this life we should consider as trials, examinations that make us stronger. I’m not gonna give up.  

There is a huge book on my shelf called “OXFORD advanced learners dictionary”. A year ago I looked at it and thought: “In my future life)) I’ll be an Oxford university student”… Now I know I’ll be in this life! With God’s help.  

Never Give Up!
Your Amata

Monday, 3 November 2008

Ice skating show with the famous stars in Yerevan

On October 31 I attended the opening ceremony of the newly reconstructed "Sport & Concert complex" (SCC) of Yerevan.

It was under construction since 2005. The SCC has one of the biggest concert halls Yerevan (with 2000 seats) and has the biggest  ice for hockey and skating (for about 8000 attendees). It can also host mini-football and volley-ball games.

SCC was built in 1983 and is named after Karen Demirchyan (former leader of Soviet Armenia of that times and former parliament speaker of independent Armenia). The building itself reminds of the Sydney Opera House.

The newly reconstructed complex was opened with the presence of the president of the Republic and many state officials.
The show was called "Ice age" and was something like the popular show "Ледниковый период" on Russian TV where famous stars of ice skating are showing sport and dancing tricks.

Some of the most famous stars of ice-skating were invited. Olympic champions, World championships multiple champions like Irina Slutskaya, Alexey Yagudin, Maria Petrova & Alexey Tikhonov, Tatiana Navka & Roman Kostomarov, Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas, Tatiana Totmianina & Maxim Marinin and it was hosted by Ilia Averbukh and Armenian singer Emmy. Some of the performances were breathtaking and the lighting in the hall was wonderful. I fully enjoyed it !

and the final fireworks :)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Global Innovation Forum on Education and Development in Yerevan

Everything started from the very day I got an announcement from ARMACAD Yahoo Group about the UN Global Innovation Forum on Education and Development in Yerevan. I decided to apply and as a result, two weeks later I was notified that was selected as a participant.
The Global Innovation Forum on Education and Development in Yerevan took place from October 21-24, 2008 in Armenia Marriott Hotel. The four-day interactive event consisted of keynote presentations, expert panels, informal discussion sessions, and group breakout sessions. Each presentation was followed by question and answer periods to ensure the program provided opportunity for dialogue between panelists and participants. The organizers of the event were UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID), UN e-Leaders Committee, Athgo International, and Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia
The Global Innovation Forum in Yerevan was a follow up engagement to last year’s Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development held in Geneva, Switzerland in September. UN GAID, ITU, Athgo and many other partners brought together over 600 young people from around the world to have an open discussion on technology’s role in advancing people’s lives. The Global Innovation Forum for Education and Development provided a platform for several hundred young people across the globe to advance their causes toward achieving the MDGs through ICT. The program was set to encourage young people to get engaged in, and develop and propose new ICT initiatives that innovatively advance local communities in various emerging regions. All 18-35 year old participants were assigned to small groups during the event. Every group had to draft and submit a social business venture that presented an innovative approach to one of the program themes. On the final day of the Forum, each group was supposed to present its social business venture on one of the Innovation panels. Our proposals had to discuss and include purpose, goals and objective, business case, sustainability, results and measurability practicality, etc.
The forum was concentrated on the basic tools that facilitate the creation of innovative solutions, particularly, systematic and quality educational opportunities. Currently, proper education is not widely available in developing regions, thus slowing innovation and hampering the implementation of existing ICT. Consequently, the forum was focused on ways to improve educational opportunities and quality through ICT, specifically focusing on building ICT skills among young people. To this end the impact of access, connectivity, private and public partnership and relevant local content in meeting educational and analytical needs were examined and methods to overcome the obstacles discussed and presented.
Participants had the opportunity to engage policy makers, experts and his/her peers during an informal discussion session to draft innovative solutions to ICT development and implementation challenges. On the third day, all the participants, guests and staff were taken to the sightseeing, particularly Zvartnots, Echmiatsin Cathedral and Oshakan Church. Later we went to Ashtarak Gorge restaurant, where all of us independently from nationality, ethics and religion danced and had fun together. On the final day, the young participants showcased their plans in innovation panels. The proposals were evaluated by leaders in government, the private sector and civil society.

Honorary guests and speakers for the Global Innovation Forum included
H. E. Cheick Sidi DiarraUnited Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
Tigran SargsyanPrime Minister, Republic of Armenia
H. E. Mr. Nerces YeritzyanMinister, Ministry of Economy, Republic of Armenia
Dag NielsenDirector, Ericsson Response
Dr. Armen OrujyanFounder and Chairman, Athgo International
Sarbuland KhanExecutive Director, UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies Development (GAID)
Hayley AlexanderChief of Party, USAID Competitive Armenian Private Sector Project (CAPS)
Dr. Andrey KorotkovProfessor, Head of the Department of Global Information Processes and Resources, Moscow State Institute of International Relationships
Kamran ElahianChairman, Global Catalyst Partners


Sunday, 19 October 2008

a new park in Yerevan

On the background of the disappearing parks (pressed by countless cafes) in the center of Yerevan, this is a big event !!! We have a brand-new park! On the place of the former "Pushkin park" located on top of the "Marshal Baghramyan" metro station (where my granny used to take us for carousels in my early childhood), a new one was built, with totally new landscape design. It was under construction since 2005 and the opening ceremony took place on October 17 with the participation of the president of Armenia and many foreign guests. Now it has a new name - "Lovers' park".
As the official site states:
The Lovers’ Park Landscaping and Design Project is an initiative undertaken by the Boghossian Foundation in collaboration with the Armenia Fund. The project is not merely a reconstruction initiative; it is a renovation project which also insures the sustainable maintenance of the park.

Japanese traditional landscaping has been a major source of inspiration for the Lover’s Park Landscaping and Design Project.

The design for the reconstruction of the new Lovers’ Park has been created by Pierre Rambach, a well known landscape architect based in Switzerland and the author of many books and articles on Japanese and Eastern gardens.
The best lighting specialists have worked on the park. As well as general lighting throughout the park, there will be decorative lighting to highlight stone compositions and sculptures.
Some facts and figures.
The park has:
  • 4 waterfalls
  • 370 trees
  • 16 felled trees (3 dried trees have been kept for decorative purposes)
  • Amphitheater with 215 seats
  • 26 stone compositions
  • 214 lights
  • 83 garbage bins
  • 5 shaded pavilions
  • A public toilet
  • A small pool for kids
  • The park has been designed with the needs of physically challenged people in mind.
I was walking there with my friend, exploring the park, noticing details and trying to criticize. Both me and my friend have been to different parks in Europe and have been dreaming to have something similar in Yerevan too. One of the shortcomings is the restriction to step on the grass. We would like to be able to sit or lay there and read a book!
We were walking there around 7-8 in the evening and while it has been already quite dark for half an hour, the lights weren't still on, I was even wondering if they had the lights there at all, since they weren't noticeable. But when we were about to leave it, they turned them on! It was very beautiful, as you can see in the photos. Luckily I took my tripod so I was able to make these shots.
Also, we didn't like the fact that it was too much crowded and it was hard to walk there. Well, it's understandable - only the 2nd day, and the rumor had it. Hopefully the crowd will decrease in the upcoming weeks. One more thing is that, in my humble opinion, it wasn't that "green". I would like to see more trees there, bushes, flowers... as it has a lack of privacy for lovers :)
However, this is a very nice park to come sometime in Sunday mornings and have a small picnic with friends :) (at least)
I Yerevan !