Language and Culture
To promote and contribute to the vitality of the Armenian language and culture in the Diaspora, particularly Western Armenian.
Western Armenian is an “Endangered Language” according to UNESCO, under the threat of disappearing if serious initiatives are not undertaken to reinforce it. The current generation of Armenians is probably the last generation that can arrest or possibly reverse this process of not-so-gradual loss of a language that was a vibrant source of identity in the Diaspora only half a century ago.
The Armenian Communities Department invests considerable resources in programming that enhances the vitality of the Western Armenian language and culture. These initiatives necessarily entail a wide breath of activities requiring a multi-pronged approach. Working on language means working with students, teachers, schools, intellectuals, creatives, IT programmers, authors and publishers.
Initiatives funded by the Armenian Communities Department support, for instance, language acquisition programmes for all ages. Projects that support cultural production and creativity are sponsored, as well as research on the Diaspora itself. Specific programmes for children are financed and assistance given to diasporan schools in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Our approach shuns the “preservation” model of the language and instead focuses on its revitalisation and long-term vitality.
Our programming in this domain includes the following initiatives:
- Supporting children and young adult-oriented summer language programmes that have proven to be very successful, as well as various adult language courses.
- Encouraging the creation of innovative pedagogic tools and materials, often acting as a catalyst for change.
- Supporting Armenian schools in the Diaspora.
- Supporting the digital and print publication of books, journals, newspapers, websites, podcasts and other media, in Armenian and about Armenian subjects, including the translations of important texts into Armenian.
- Supporting the digitisation of the very rich Armenian literary heritage.
- Supporting IT-based language tools such as spellcheckers, online dictionaries and smartphone apps.
- Supporting initiatives to create contemporary Armenian culture, particularly in Western Armenian.
- Encouraging research on Armenian-related subjects with strong emphasis on contemporary issues and on the Diaspora.
These activities are undertaken in partnership with Armenian educational and cultural organisations, universities, school boards, students, experts, teachers, publishing houses, technology experts and the Armenian Church.