On June 22, 2011 the Haigazian University of Beirut launched the 31st volume of the Haigazian Armenological Review. The Review was started in 1970 and has since provided an invaluable service as an annual forum for Armenologists from around the world. It is a bridge between Armenologists in Armenia and abroad. Its aim includes the promotion of original and unpublished research and scientific work in linguistics, literature, bibliography, history, culture, arts, medieval studies, social sciences, Christianity and international relations. Its international contributors hail from France, the UK, North and South America, Armenia and the Middle East, and have included many prestigious names in the academic field. The Review is a multilingual, yearly publication which accepts contributions in one of four languages: Armenian, English, French and Arabic. The current 31st volume is 764 pages.
Armen Urneshlian, member of the Editorial Board, welcomed the audience and noted that for the last twenty years the Review has been timely published on a yearly basis and the launching has been a gathering opportunity for intellectuals and interested individuals. Mr. Urneshlian noted that the Review is well recognized and respected both in the Republic of Armenian and the Diaspora due to set guidelines and principles which have to do with the definition of Armenian Studies, the age diversity of the contributors, the plurality of views and the scientific approach. Mr. Urneshlian reminded the audience that a bibliography of the 30 volumes of the Review has been recently published and also uploaded on the Haigazian University website. Mr. Urneshlian announced that on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the publication of the first Armenian book (2012), the Editorial Board plans to compile a bibliography of Armenian books published in Lebanon. He welcomed all those who could help in this regard.
The guest speaker, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, especially invited from the United States, assessed the record of the Review over the past forty years. He noted that delving into Armenian studies is a complex responsibility as it is the study of “an area and a people that existed even before the time of Sumer and has continued its historical existence till now. It is the study of the past and present of this area and people with a vision to the future,” and added that “we want to know who and where we were, who and where we are currently, and who and where we will be in the future.” Dr. Matiossian noted that the Review is one of the five Armenian Studies periodicals of the Diaspora that features research papers in Armenian and appreciated both its timely publication and its comprehensive approach to Armenian Studies. Furthermore he underlined the fact that for the last two decades the Review has been particularly committed to a multidisciplinary approach in its choice and assessment of articles.
Dr. Matiossian stressed that we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of conflict between classicists and modernists, as is frequently seen in Western scholarship, and that Armenian studies offer a continuous and overlapping record at multiple levels and in many disciplines with no time limitations. As an example, Dr. Matiossian referred to the table of contents of the 31st volume of the Review, underlining the diversity of disciplines, topics, contributors and timelines encompassed in the volume. Dr. Matiossian categorically rejected all attempts at politicizing Armenian studies and turning it into some kind of overarching field of national-strategic interest. He stressed that the current “witch hunt” carried out in some circles promises “no good at all” and that any definition of Armenian studies compartmentalized into “Armenian,” “European,” “American,” and so on is indeed groundless and divisive. Dr. Matiossian appreciated the outlook shown by the Editorial Board of the Haigazian Armenological Review and called for a more open, pluralistic and tolerant approach in Armenian studies.
Father Antranig Granian, editor-in-chief of the Review, highlighted the need for an accessible grand library that enables the researcher to save time and have at his fingertips the sources he needs for his comprehensive research. Fr. Granian noted that such a grand library could be established through the internet and called the audience to pay attention to the editorial in the current volume of the Review which stresses the need for such a website and everything pertaining to Armenian Studies. Finally, Fr. Granian called on the audience to take the pleasure in reading the 31st volume.
In his closing message, Haigazian University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, welcomed the audience and thanked the editorial board of the Review and all those who contributed to the birth of the 31st volume. Rev. Haidostian reiterated the need of preserving Armenian Studies in general as an appealing and important area for the future education of young generations. Finally, he announced that the Haigazian University would soon have its official Haigazian University Press registered at the Lebanese Ministry of Information.
At the end of the evening, Rev. Haidostian, Dr. Matiossian and the editorial board cut the traditional cake.