By Djoeke Altena.
Her Excellency Ms. Dziunik Aghajanian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia, invited fellow diplomats, officials and other honourable guest to a concert and reception on the occasion of Armenia’s 25th Independence Anniversary. The event took place at the Rijswijkse Schouwburg on 28 September 2016.
The program started with the Little Singers of Armenia choir, directed by Tigran Hekekyan, singing multiple songs from Armenian composers. The choir, 40 voices strong, travels the world to perform and participate in competitions. It was nominated as cultural ambassador by the European Federation of Choirs in 2001, and awarded the Leonardo da Vinci silver medal by the European Academy of Natural Sciences.
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After the first part of the concert Very Reverend Father Aren Shahinian, Vicar of the Patriarchal Delegation to Western Europe in the Netherlands gave his remarks, followed by the speech of Ambassador Aghajanian. In this speech she told about the history of Armenia’s independence.
“Those 25 years were not easy ones. When we started on the path of independence, we started at the lowest possible point. We had over 500.000 almost homeless people as result of the earthquake in 1988. At least one-third of the country devastated. We had over 400.000 refugees from Azerbaijan as result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
We faced total economic blockade as a result of the war going on because of the conflict, and we found the country in total standstill, because it was totally dependent on export. But we had to survive, because we had the dream. We had the dream of an independent and free country.
The people came together. The people from Armenia and Armenians all over the world, came together to fulfil a dream. A dream of 600 years. A dream of having your own homeland in your own hands and making decisions for yourself. We had to suffer a lot, but the Armenian courage and the creativity proved once again that we are able to overcome all difficulties when we have a goal and a purpose to be free.”
The Ambassador mentioned the opportunities for the younger generations to make Armenia a prosperous democracy.
Ending her remarks with the wish that this generation can “fulfil all the dreams that they have in their minds and hearts to become a very successful country, very successful people that will bring joy and happiness to everybody around them”.
The second part of the concert consisted of a combination of Armenian folk songs and works of composers such as Verdi and Claude Debussy.
After the concert there was a reception, where diplomats, officials and members of the Dutch-Armenian community where able to meet, while enjoying traditional Armenian food.