Armenia’s Membership in The International Astronomical Union in Danger

By Chahe Tanachian, Montreal, July 2009
 

Please read Chahe Tanachian's plea "to make Armenia honorable again in the International Astronomical Union". There are times that people need to act beside hearing, listening and reading. This is one of them. Please act!! Only four days are left to make a difference. Keghart.com

Armenians sometimes refer to Viktor Hampartsoumian as the greatest Armenian scientist of the 20th century.

I believe we should refer to him as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century (in the world).

During the last year of the AGBU Manuel Keusseyan Armenological Studies, I spoke about Armenia’s situation as a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) whose President has been Viktor Hampartsoumian for many years.

Armenia has been unable to pay the membership fees for the last 6 years including 2009.

By Chahe Tanachian, Montreal, July 2009
 

Please read Chahe Tanachian's plea "to make Armenia honorable again in the International Astronomical Union". There are times that people need to act beside hearing, listening and reading. This is one of them. Please act!! Only four days are left to make a difference. Keghart.com

Armenians sometimes refer to Viktor Hampartsoumian as the greatest Armenian scientist of the 20th century.

I believe we should refer to him as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century (in the world).

During the last year of the AGBU Manuel Keusseyan Armenological Studies, I spoke about Armenia’s situation as a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) whose President has been Viktor Hampartsoumian for many years.

Armenia has been unable to pay the membership fees for the last 6 years including 2009.


The IAU has previously waived fees and granted extensions in order to give Armenia a chance to remain a member. This gesture of goodwill on part of the IAU is based on the fact that Armenian scientists have a very good standing in the field of astronomy and astrophysics and their work and expertise is highly regarded.

My efforts have been directed to raise the amount to pay the fees for one year. The yearly fee is approximately $3500 CDN.

The Director of the Byurakan Observatory of Armenia, Dr. Hayk Harutyunyan has sent me the latest letter they have received from the IAU dated June 2009 indicating that unless the membership fees are paid before July 31st 2009, Armenia’s membership will be suspended. If a suspension lasts for 5 years, the IAU can terminate the membership.

The situation is quite pitiful for a country and a nation that have given a genius like Viktor Hampartsoumian to the world.

Dr. Harutyunyan has confirmed to me that they’re working to get the Ministry of Science to pay for at least 3 years of membership dues.

I know that some people rightfully ask themselves how come the Government of Armenia or financially capable citizens of Armenia are not taking care of this issue?

I say let’s not forget that Victor Hampartsoumian belongs to all Armenians and we can’t stay inactive and irresponsible towards his legacy and memory.

This is about what we can do and how we can awaken others with our gestures and efforts.

Dr. Harutyunyan has promised to publish an article about our contribution and gesture in major newspapers of the country and to create awareness about this essential issue.

We can also agree to send an official letter to the concerned authorities and let them know our concerns and preoccupations.

For transparency purposes, we will directly pay the fees to the IAU through the A.G.B.U. Montreal Chapter.

Dear Friends, I truly believe that a collection of small gestures by small groups of people can make a difference in the life and history of a nation.

Please tell your friends and family about this initiative and encourage them to participate.

PLEASE CONTACT ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU ACCEPT TO MAKE A DONATION / JULY 31ST IS 4 DAYS AWAY.

Thank you,

Chahe Tanachian

 

19 comments
  1. Donation
    Mr. Tanachian:
    Thank you for your effort. I donate $50.00.
    Please, let me know how?
    Papken Hartunian

  2. Another Donation
    Anonymous contributor donates $ 100.00 and s/he will contact Mr. Tanachian.

  3. Mr. Tanachian, Thank you for
    Mr. Tanachian,
    Thank you for your efforts. I can donate $30.

    With regards,
    Anush Karapetyan.

  4. Armenia and IAU
    PLEASE MAKE AND SEND ALL DONATIONS TO AGBU MONTREAL:

    805, Manoogian Street, St-Laurent, QC H4N 1Z5 Canada

    PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL TO LET ME KNOW THE AMOUNT YOU PLAN ON DONATING.

    THANK YOU,
    CHAHE TANACHIAN
    chahet@videotron.ca
    514.802.3911

  5. Count Me In
    Count me in for $100.00
    Sending the cheque today to the said address.
    Shayen Tuntoglu TO, ON

  6. Shameful and outrageous!!!

    It is utterly shameful to the Armenian nation and outrageous that individuals will campaign and beg money so that Armenia’s membership in the International Astronomical Union won’t be canceled. This should be the concern of the bashibozuk authorities in the Republic of Armenia, who should pay this modest amount from the state treasury rather than sit idly, and steal millions of dollars from internal revenues and donations made by the Diaspora Armenians. HOW OUTRAGEOUS AND WHAT A SHAME!!!! 
  7. More Contribution
    Donation from Garbis Tomarci for $100.00 will be mailed today with mine.

    Shayen Tuntoglu
    Toronto,  ON

  8. STOP the Donations!

    Since our independence in 1991, we have yet to see any constructive acts by our ‘independant’ government!! 
    The Turkish side governs with budgets, proactive groups, organizations and results.  Let them be examples for our government to learn from!
    As Onnik mentioned, we should demand from the Armenian government to come-up with the money.
    Shame on the people here who are donating money for this cause. All what you are doing is spoiling the government and causing more corruption in Armenia.
    If our country is unable to come-up with a modest amount like this, then we don’t deserve to be in the IAU – PERIOD!

    STOP and retract your Donations now!

  9. Acting as a medium

    This is a copy of a brief exchange between a reader of Keghart.com and me. It is reproduced by his permission, but I shall name him "Toros" for reasons of privacy.

    "Toros" writes:

    Dear Dikran,

    Not many people will donate directly to AGBU. Many consider it illegitimate. I would rather contribute through xxx (name of a person) than an organization headed by Setrakian and Simone.

    Regards,
    Toros

    My reply:

    Dear Toros,

    I agree.
    I am acting merely as a medium, although it appears that I am in it through and through simply because Tanachian’s appeal was published in Keghart.
    It is Chahe’s initiative, and I’d prefer not to involve myself more than advertising the issue.
    Having said so, our community needs young people like him who seize the moment and act upon it. I wish there were more like him.
    He definitely will learn a few things during the process which may help him be more cautious, circumspect and mature.

    Dikran

  10. Donations
    Dear All,

    1- If anybody wants to donate through a different channel than the one proposed, please contact me directly since other means are possible.

    2- This initiative’s objective is to avoid Armenia’s suspension as a member of the IAU. Our aim is to help out Armenia and Armenian scientists by securing the funds for a portion of the total dues. It’s not targeted at paying the full amount of Armenia’s dues.

    Best regards,
    Chahe Tanachian

    chahet@videotron.ca
    514.802.3911

    1. Interesting…

      Very interesting reading those comments, indeed.

      I am willing to pay 5 x $3500 myself to cover future years as well, with the following conditions:

      1. Proof that this news is legitimate and not a hoax
      2. Proof that AGBU is unable to cover the expenses itself as an organization
      3. Proof that the Armenian government doesn’t have the resources to pay this membership fee

      If all of the above conditions can be met, then please contact Dr. Abrahamian (owner of this site) to contact me and arrange a meeting.  I will send him my contact information.

      Regards to all.

      1. We as a nation are the losers
        Dear H. Garabedian,

        Thank you for your generosity.

        Please accept my comments as my personal thoughts. They have no relation at all with anyone else or any organization. I don’t pretend to be an apologist or a protagonist, and the following are only intended for clarification.

        1. Mr. Chahe Tanashian, the author of this plea, has closely followed this issue for sometime now. I have no grounds to believe that this is a "hoax". I would urge people to appreciate this young man’s concerns about Armenia’s membership in IAU, irrespective of whether they donate, not donate or what they think of AGBU and the authorities in Armenia.

        2. This is not an AGBU initiative. I believe the only reason that it was mentioned was to provide an identity so that people may not think it was a scam – an individual soliciting for private purposes. I understand it only and only in that sense when I read Chahe’s following statement,  "For transparency purposes, we will directly pay the fees to the IAU through the A.G.B.U. Montreal Chapter."

        3. Whether the Armenian government has "the resources to pay this membership fee" is not for me to answer. However, this incidence highlights the institutional neglect that is rampant in Armenia. Not only Byurakan, but also a host of other cultural and scientific centres are subjected to such indifference. They are part of our heritage, and unfortunately we as a nation are the losers.
         

        Respectfully,

        Dikran Abrahamian

        1. What happened?

          I wonder what happened to this issue of Byurakan.  Is it still a member of the International Astronomical Union or is it out?

          In any case, we have so many organizations, wealthy individuals, celebrities, businessmen, etc.  any of them could have spared $3,500 easily, including myself.
          It’s a shame to see none coming forth!!  but I hope the issue is resolved, I hope Chahe Tanachian should let us know the outcome.

  11. You must be kidding

    Chahe, Armenia does not need Diaspora to collect the ridiculous USD 3250 to stay at IAU.  This amount is spent in a matter of 2-3 hours in a restaurant in Armenia by many officials and "businessmen". I agree with Dikran that  “our community needs young people like”  you but I will not give a cent. I have businesses in Armenia and I know the value of this amount for our corrupt “leaders”. It’s nothing for them. It’s not even a pocket change. It’s a one-visit bribe for the Nalogovi (Tax Collecton Agency). As Yeghish said here, “If our country is unable to come-up with a modest amount like this, then we don’t deserve to be in the IAU – PERIOD!” It is that simple.

  12. I fully agree with Yeghish
    I fully agree with Yeghish and Toros.

    How outrageous it is that the Armenian authorities with all their ill-gotten millions accumulated through an all-pervasive corrupt system, not to mention millions sent from the diaspora, cannot even pay a nominal fee to maintain its membership in IAU.  Frankly, there are far more important issues to be addressed within Armenia to first and foremost alleviate the hardships faced by large segments of the population, many of whom are either unemployed or under-employed and still others are subsisting below poverty levels, while the "fat cats" in government are not even the least bit bothered by the rampant and abject misery that exists in the country.

    I also think that AGBU, which has tarnished its reputation in the wake of their shameful decision to close down 80-year old Melkonian school in Cyprus, should not be involved in this affair if their only role is to remit the modest donations received from private individuals.  I’m sure if AGBU was as concerned as Mr. Tanachian about this issue, it surely could have underwritten these overdue membeship fees itself – chump change for an organization with the vast resources of AGBU – sometime ago.    

  13. IAU Membership Fee

    I have a suggestion as to how to cover the membership fee without begging for contributions from Diaspora Armenians. Let the Armenian government slap a $10.00 surcharge per person on the thousands of shameless Armenians who travel to Turkey for vacation. This will more than cover the former unpaid dues, the current one and the future ones.

  14. My two cents’ worth

    It is interesting to see the online debates that are going on this topic.  In a hope to clarify matters and set the record straight, I would like to add a few small comments.

    a) This initiative was originally launched during a lecture I delivered about Viktor Hampartsoumyan in April which is made available at the Keghart website.  Both the preamble and the conclusion of the lecture contain words by Chahe to this effect where he passes on various details about his project which was inspired by the work of Viktor Hampartsoumyan.  Refusing to participate is of course a valid option, but to deliberately undermine this initiative is at best misguided, and at worst is downright dishonorable. 

    b) As for the association with the AGBU, for the record, Chahe Tanachian is the director of the Manuel Kuesseyan Armenian Studies Program that has been running at AGBU Montreal chapter for over six years.  Chahe took over after its fournder Manuel Kuesseyan passed away.  I am a lecturer in this program and many of my online lectures were delivered there. The program has been running every Wednesday evening from November to June and has already delivered hundreds of academic and high caliber lectures.

    c) AGBU Montreal has taken the initiative to act as a channel only, as Dikran Abrahamian has pointed out.  This is for the interest of transparency and the initiative is driven by Chahe alone. I believe that any other organization that would like to come forward and act in a similar way would be equally welcome to do so. This is not about whether the AGBU or the ROA or our churches or anyone else can afford to pay this fee.  It is about a plea to save an institution and reputation built by some of the greatest Armenians of all times.  Let us ask ourselves the question, if the original manuscript of the Nareg was discovered and we needed to restore it otherwise it would disintegrate, would we collectively mobilize and try to pay this "ransom" and save it or would we simply argue as to who should be paying the amount?

    In the end, our inability to do anything is only a statement about our own collective impotence. Things are never about what we say, but always about what we do.  In other words, actions always speak louder than words.  Those who can act (no matter in what capacity) and refuse to do so, would be equally guilty in my book of undermining us as a people.  As the great Toumanian put it:

    Mart intch ani, iran gani. No matter what one does, one always does it to himself.

    Paregamoren

    Viken L. Attarian
    Mount Royal
    Quebec CANADA

Comments are closed.

You May Also Like