RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan received Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Rafik Mansour.

ESCS Deputy Minister Arthur Martirosyan, and U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien also attended the meeting.

Zhanna Andreasyan welcomed the guests and highlighted the importance of Armenian-American cooperation: “We have effective cooperation in various areas, and there are also new programs: this illustrates the efficiency of our collaboration and its potential to be used.”

The Minister referred to the signing of a Memorandum between the US Embassy in Armenia and the ESCS Ministry aimed at preserving and restoring the Yereruyk Basilica in the Shirak region, highlighting successful collaboration in the field of cultural heritage preservation. Zhanna Andreasyan stressed the importance of such initiatives and expressed gratitude for the continuing activities and cooperation in this direction.

“Nowadays, this is especially important for us, given the issue of preserving the cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh. We believe there is a serious need for international tools and efforts in this regard. At the same time, the problem concerns both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The most important step towards the preservation of tangible cultural heritage will be the sending of an international fact-finding mission to the region, which will enable to record the situation with monuments on the spot,” noted Zhanna Andreasyan emphasizing that the issue worsened after the events of September 19, 2023, when over 5,000 monuments and 20 museums in Nagorno-Karabakh were threatened following the forced displacement.

The Minister stated that it hasn’t been possible to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh since 2020 to document the situation with cultural heritage. Zhanna Andreasyan outlined the necessity of raising the issue's visibility and awareness on a global scale.

The ESCS Minister stressed that the issue of preserving the rich intangible cultural heritage is also a serious problem since the citizens forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh have now settled in different regions of Armenia.

Zhanna Andreasyan also touched upon bilateral cooperation in the field of education pointing out that there are productive initiatives with very apparent outcomes. The ESCS Minister stressed the importance of the participation of US and Armenian citizens in the US Government-funded educational exchange programs: “Last week we celebrated the 30th anniversary of one of the successful exchange programs, FLEX, which has had an important qualitative impact on the lives of more than 1,000 participants. I also consider our collaboration in the field of inclusive education to be significant, where we have achieved very important results. I believe there are excellent perspectives for furthering our work in all of these sectors.”

Thankful for the reception, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Rafik Mansour noted several improvements and encouraging developments that he had observed since his previous visit to our country.

“I am glad that the cooperation between our countries has significantly expanded. However, there is much greater potential for their advancement,” said Rafik Mansour and emphasized the significance of several collaboratively executed educational and cultural projects.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs stressed that the U.S. Embassy in Armenia recently announced the launch of a new exchange program for Armenian journalists. He claims that, as part of the “US – Armenia Professional Partnership in Journalism” program, 54 Armenian journalists will be able to travel to the US to participate in training sessions that will enhance their skills in detecting disinformation and preparing journalistic publications.

The ESCS Minister emphasized the significance of these initiatives, underlining that the new state standard for general education places a strong emphasis on media literacy, and this will undoubtedly contribute to ensuring a high-quality media field and professional education.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Rafik Mansour also emphasized the significance of joining efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of Nagorno Karabakh.

During the meeting, the parties also considered other issues of bilateral interest, expressing their willingness to continue joint program initiatives for the benefit of further strengthening and advancing relations between the two countries and peoples.