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