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Hrant Gadarigian

Diaspora Ministry’s Much Heralded “Virtual Museum” is a “Virtual Embarrassment”

I read somewhere that the 2012 budget for the RA Ministry of the Diaspora is 712 million AMD. That’s around $1.9 million, give or take. God knows what they do with the money...

I can tell you one thing for sure – they didn’t spend a dime on the newly released Virtual Museum of the Armenian Diaspora! The website is an embarrassment and should have never been launched in its present state.

I skipped through the English version – atrocious is the first adjective that popped into my disbelieving head. Grammatical mistakes, incorrect place names, poor syntax....where does one begin?

Who conducted the research? Who edited the text? The best one can say is that, in places, the Virtual Museum resembles an adequate copy and past job.

As to factual inaccuracies, well, the list is endless. Here’s a section on the Armenian community in the United States. Read and weep...

  • The Armenians who left for the U.S. settled in almost all states and there were nearly 20,000 Armenians living in the U.S. in 1900.
  • Among active dioceses are the U.S. Eastern (Prelacy is the St. Varian Church in New York, Prelate, Archbishop Khazhak Parsamian)
  • The first Holy Savior Armenian Apostolic Church in the U.S. was built in 1891 in Ustr and currently, there are nearly 90 churches...

I read that Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan noted the following to the press when the Virtual Museum was launched recently:

...creating such a museum requires serious professional work, and the Ministry of Diaspora did its utmost for the website to contain accurate information. More information will be added to the website in the course of time…

If we are to believe her words, then the Minister needs a serious wake-up call.

The Virtual Museum resembles a hastily concocted high school homework project rather than something emanating from a government ministry.

Minister Hakobyan also said that 6 million AMD ($16,000) was spent on the project.

The least they could have done was to hire a semi-decent translator/editor and a fact-checker.

Then again, there’s nothing “virtual” about the Virtual Museum. I mean, you can’t walk around in it.

I guess the million dollar question to be asked is - What was the ministry thinking in the first place?

Who came up with this idea and why?

Minister Hakobyan, during her press conference for the much ballyhooed museum, stated:

... The project is an attempt to integrate the Armenian Diaspora’s values with community and national values.

Could someone please translate this into English for me?

Someone has to be held accountable for this travesty. Such haphazard and unprofessional work cannot be tolerated.

The ministry seems incapable, or unwilling, to take itself seriously and this project merely underlines the point.

They should have used the $16,000 to compile a reading list of materials for those interested in learning about the “diaspora”; its origins, history, present situation, et al.

This is a line from Minister Hakobyan’s introduction when you enter the Virtual Museum:

Fortune disposed us, Armenians, to lose our Homeland and become refugees, to spread all over the world, to find a shelter in different corners of the world.


Please, go back to the drawing board and try again. 

Comments (8)

tuf raf
Levik, I dont know where you are getting your figures from but $ 16 k should get you a share of the company that designed the web site too.!!! And it probably wasnt just kebab dinners - try dinner overseas, cars, 'business trips etc etc. IS there any honest officials in the entire RA Govt and parliment?
tuf raf
Danny and Daniel, Daisporans and foreigners have come to Armenia to set up business - diasporans usually for patriotic and financial reasons, foreigners usually for financial gain to be honest and there's nothing wrong with that. I cant tell you how many story's I have been told of many of these decent people being screwed blind and loosing their businesses, savings and ending up in debt here through corruption and trust - so it is totally understandable why many people dont want to come 'home' or come to Armenia to invest their valuable time and energy - only to loose it to some form of criminal - whether official or otherwise.
I'm no IT specialist or a web designer , but $3,000 won't get you a quality site with quality content... Had there been a true sense of what the site needed to convey and why, then $16K might have covered the job. Who can say how many kebab dinners the ministry staff enjoyed with the money allocated them.
tuf Raf
IT is amazing how many English translations are shocking - a good example is the billboard for the Golden Tulip hotel near the airport ..... Welcome YOU - it should read ..... Welcomes You. There is a new mens club opened recently - it's called Gentleman Club - again should read Gentleman's Club. And dont start me on the menus in restaurants - they crack me up. With regards to the Diasporan Ministry - as Raymond say's they know everything already and dont want to listen to qualified advice. Money - well we all know what's probably happend to that!!!!
Guys, I think this is a perfect example of an IT project without a clear mission. I have personally met a few of the people at the ministry and I believe they genuinely believe in what they're doing. I wish that they had hired a decent project manager, who would challenge and question the purpose of the museum, and suggest an innovative ways to accomplish it...then of course a decent translator...hell I'd have done the whole project for $3000!
Our proud hyeastancis. Will never admit they have much to learn.
Sloppy work indeed.. I know for a fact that there are some 150 operating parishes of the Armenian Apostolic Church in North America (both Prelacy and Diocese). It only takes a few minutes to check their websites. Yet another syptom of a more major underlying fault that inflicts most government bodies in Armenia.
This type of unprofessional work ethic also reminds me of the Armenian Consul General's office in Los Angeles. Anytime they need a simple letter or article written in English, they post ads for students to volunteer and do the writing for them because their staff in not capable of simple tasks. What a joke these people are. Bunch of clowns in suits.

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