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AGBU WebTalks

Expanding education on Armenian history and culture with videos by dynamic thinkers

Today’s generation of students is increasingly learning and communicating online, through social media and with mobile app technology in ways that have virtually eliminated the need to set foot in a library. The unprecedented growth of technological development has propelled not only the ease in which people can now access information, but its global reach. For an Armenian diaspora struggling to preserve its cultural heritage amidst a wave of globalization, the technology revolution represents a lifeline, a critical opportunity to rescue a largely forgotten history, rediscover ancient roots, reclaim a rich heritage and expand its sphere of influence.

AGBU is committed to enhancing education through innovation, creating innovative multimedia platforms that reach new audiences as it realigns its strategic priorities in the digital age. Among several new initiatives to expand its online presence and impact, AGBU recently launched its Web-Talks online video series, an easily accessible tool that provides a clearinghouse of knowledge from influential thinkers around the world on a wide range of Armenian topics that encourages audiences to learn more about—and engage with—Armenia’s rich history and culture.

“Every generation has its own approach to dealing with questions of identity and community. This multigenerational sharing and learning platform focuses on access, dissemination and preservation of the knowledge and insight of scholars, intellectuals, artists and many others on topics pertaining to the Armenian reality. The curated content allows individuals to navigate and explore their Armenianness through different perspectives shared by leading experts and opinion makers,” says Lena Sarkissian, AGBU Central Board member, co-liaison to the Alternative Education Department, and director of program development at the Zoryan Institute’s International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights.

With the increasing popularity of online seminars, podcasts and other digital learning resources, AGBU WebTalks is part of a broader global trend toward more accessible online education. Whether it is academic instruction from leading universities such as MIT OpenCourseWare, insights from industry leaders on, or lifestyle advice with Oprah’s Master Class, audiences are increasingly relying on digital technology to expand their horizons. AGBU WebTalks is intended for a general audience; its format is conversational and designed to engage the novice yet still interest the expert. The video segments range from two to eight minutes in length and have been broadcast in a variety of languages, including English, Armenian and French. 

As an invaluable repository of knowledge and reliable information, the online video series is not only devoted to providing Armenians with an archive of their history, but also promoting Armenian subjects to be used in non-Armenian universities and schools. AGBU encourages professors of art, architecture, history and linguistics to incorporate the Armenian story into their syllabi, providing a new platform to integrate Armenian history and culture in classrooms around the world. 

Professor Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, Darakjian Jafarian Chair in Armenian History, recently sat down with AGBU for a soon-to-be-released series of videos examining the role of Armenians in New Julfa. “AGBU’s Webtalks are very insightful,” she says. “I have shown a number of the videos in my class at Tufts University.”

Among the broad range of inspired thinkers AGBU WebTalks has featured to date, renowned British civil rights barrister and author Geoffrey Robertson discusses the subject of Free Speech vs Genocide Denial Laws; late art historian and critic Neery Melkonian examined the role of art in reflecting identity with an exclusive tour of the contemporary modern Armenian art exhibitions held at the 2015 Venice Biennale; and French journalists and authors Laure Marchand and Guillaume Perrier reflect on the life and legacy of courageous murdered Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, whom they befriended while working as foreign correspondents in Turkey. 

“The WebTalks series provides a unique repository of our distinguished minds as well as a living archive of our community activities. It is all about making connections—to knowledge, to leading experts, to one’s history, to one’s culture, to one’s identity, to being Armenian. In so doing AGBU is helping forge the future of the Armenian world,” adds Sarkissian.

Stay Tuned

Upcoming WebTalks to watch for include a look at the various phases of Armenian history from ancient to modern times, Armenia along the Silk Road, the life of pioneering woman writer Zabel Yessayan, the contribution of Armenians in Syria, ancient Armenian architecture, the Armenians of New Julfa and the Western Armenian language. 

AGBU WebTalks is part of a larger movement to enhance Armenian education with groundbreaking technology. AGBU Education Innovation transforms learning by harnessing new technologies to excite and encourage students of all ages to explore history, embrace language and discover identity in new ways. Having identified a gap in quality Armenian e-products, AGBU is actively working with experts, institutions and organizations to make innovative educational resources readily available to all. With new apps, e-books, travel tools, online language courses, AGBU WebTalks and more, the evolving landscape of Armenian education has never looked so promising.

Originally published in the February 2017 ​issue of AGBU Magazine. end character

About the AGBU Magazine

AGBU Magazine is one of the most widely circulated English language Armenian magazines in the world, available in print and digital format. Each issue delivers insights and perspective on subjects and themes relating to the Armenian world, accompanied by original photography, exclusive high-profile interviews, fun facts and more.