How to preserve the Armenian language and make it the spoken language among the youth in the Western Diaspora.

The ARPA Institute had organized a round table discussion on how to preserve the Armenian language and make it the spoken language among the youth in the Western Diaspora. There were around 60 experts, teachers, community leaders, journalists, poets and other concerned Armenians present. Three presentations by Dr. Hagop Kouloujian and Dr. Shushan karapetian, both of UCLA and Ara Kazanjian, which was followed by ideas expressed by 25 individuals. The following is a letter from one of the ARPA representatives in Armenia, Madlene Minassian Ispirian, after she read the summary of the discussions:

The issue of speaking Armenian was resolved for me (and my children) when I moved to Armenia 15 years ago. I no longer had to be told to speak Armenian, it was my only choice in order to thrive in my new world. My children are fluent and very articulate. Through their studies, I immerse myself in the fables, literature, and intricacies of our beautiful language. For my family, our connection to Armenia was the solution. I am not proposing that everyone moves here (although I wish they would), but I feel a certain connection is a viable path to language preservation. Anahid Keshishian Aramouni’s intensive courses in Armenian this summer at AUA are a bright example. Birthright Armenia is another. I know that this does not address Western Armenian, for which I am very concerned. I also believe that this is the responsibility of today’s Armenia and not much has been done, and I am grateful this topic is being discussed and addressed.
I do know that with my increased Armenian skills a world was opened for me- one that I wish my friends that I grew up with in the United States knew- but am afraid most will never experience. I see this country’s development and success as the only means towards language preservation. Much rests on the advancement of our nation, but our Diaspora is not unified on this front and our Government and much of our population is just as detached. We need more fighters- and I am very grateful for ARPA Institute’s dedication to the advancement and development of our country- and thus our language.
Madlene Minassian-Ispirian

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