Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Hye Sharzhoom is a supplement of The Collegian and the newspaper of the Fresno State Armenian Students Organization and the Armenian Studies Program and is funded by the Associated Students. Articles may be reprinted provided Hye Sharzhoom is acknowledged. Hye Sharzhoom welcomes prose, poetry, articles and other material from its student readers.

For further information concerning the newspaper or the Armenian Studies Program:

Armenian Studies Program
5245 N. Backer Ave. PB4
Fresno, CA 93740-8001
Telephone (559) 278-2669

Current issue
Hye Sharzhoom

Armenia Featured in Fresno State International Coffee Hour

Barlow Der Mugrdechian
Left to right: Ani Sargsyan, Izabella Papikyan, speaker Harutyun Amirkhanyan, Alec Karayan, Karina Messerlian, Simon Zhamkochyan, Armand Karkazian, Simon Sislian, and Hannah Paloutzian.

On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, the Fresno State International Coffee Hour invited international student Harutyun Amirkhanyan to discuss Armenia and its history. Each month, the International Coffee Hour holds an event highlighting a different country in order to engage students in the wide range of cultures that Fresno State students come from. Everyone is welcome to attend International Coffee Hour events to gain more knowledge on various countries.

Amirkhanyan discussed the many aspects of Armenian history and culture for a diverse audience. He is currently a junior studying Business Administration at Fresno State and is originally from Yerevan, Armenia.

Amirkhanyan’s presentation began with the story of how Armenia came into existence thousands of years ago, when the Patriarch of the Armenians, Hayk, fought against the tyrant Bel, and emerged victorious. The Armenian word for “Armenia,” “Hayastan,” is derived from the name Hayk. Amirkhanyan then discussed how Armenia became the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity in 301 A.D., and is today, still the national religion of Armenia, 1700 years later. He also discussed the development of the Armenian alphabet, created in 405AD by St. Mesrop Mashtots. The Armenian alphabet is a unique alphabet that Armenians still use today.

Amirkhanyan then spoke about the Armenian Genocide and explained the horrors that the Armenians experienced as 1.5 million lives were lost at the hands of the Ottoman Turks from 1915-1923. He explained why the Armenian Genocide commemoration is held on April 24 every year, as it represents the date in 1915 when over 200 Armenian intellectuals were killed in Istanbul (Constantinople) by the Ottoman government.

Amirkhanyan than talked about Armenia while it was a part of the Soviet Union and the various advantages and disadvantages of that period. He explained that “there was economic and physical safety, but people were not able to outwardly express their Armenian patriotism.”

Armenia declared independence from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991, a significant date in the history of Armenia. There are many symbols of Armenia, such as Mount Ararat, which many associate with the land of Armenia, as well as its connection to the Bible and Armenia’s long-standing faith, as the first nation to adopt Christianity.

The Armenian Martyr’s Monument, constructed in 1967, is a monument dedicated to the 1.5 million Armenians who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. An eternal flame burns in their honor, to symbolize that they will never be forgotten.

Amirkhanyan spoke about the contributions of musicians such as Komitas and System of a Down, as well as Fresno-native author William Saroyan.

At the end of the presentation, Amirkhanyan shared a very descriptive and emotional poem which he wrote, regarding his homeland and growing up in the city of Yerevan. The audience was able to ask a few questions about the presentation and Armenia, which Amirkhanyan and Armenian Students Organization President, Alec Karayan, answered. They both gave updates regarding the Artsakh War, as well as answered questions about Armenia’s agriculture and educational systems. Amirkhanyan and Karayan also discussed why it is important that knowledge about Armenia and recognition of the Armenian Genocide are known worldwide.

The International Coffee Hour was a great event for people to come and learn about Armenia from not only a Fresno State student, but also a citizen of Armenia.

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