Did you know that the Gandzasar Monastery has never been conquered by enemy forces? During the Karabakh War, the Monastery remained largely intact. Bombs dropped by an Azeri helicopter fell in the vicinity of the Monastery without destroying it. To date, you can see an unexploded (neutralized) bomb on one of the Monastery walls.
Artsakhtsis are not only hospitable, optimistic and brave, but also very ingenious. Their creative approach to problem solving led to military successes during the War. In one of the fierce battles, acknowledging that the enemy outnumbered them, Artsakhtsi soldiers tricked the enemy by pouring flour on them from a helicopter. Azeris mistakenly thought that the Armenian side was using chemical weapons, and retreated hastily.
Ecole Professionnelle Yeznig Mozian (The Yeznig Mozian Vocational School)
Build it and they will come. That’s the mantra that has been adopted by the Ecole Professionnelle Yeznig Mozian (The Yeznig Mozian Vocational School), a brand new French technical institution that is currently in the last stages of construction in Shushi. Named after Yeznig Mozian, a French Armenian who believed that a person who possessed concrete technical skills could do anything, the school is an homage to his vision. The program is a one-of-a-kind curriculum where students from Karabakh and beyond can receive a comprehensive education in electrical work, carpentry, metalwork, construction technology, and machinery operation, among other subjects.
We met with Vaspourak Karapetian, the Director General of the school, and his colleague Iza Nazaryan, who gave us an all-access tour to the institution. As we walked through the large building, with workers around us adding the finishing touches, we witnessed what would soon become an advanced modern school heralding in a new age of technical education. Vaspourak explained that the school was free of charge, and that students would attain both a theoretical and real world education in their three years there. The program functioned in cycles, with one week focused on theoretical education, the next on hands-on workshops, and the last two on substantive experience in the field doing actual construction work. This cycle would then repeat itself throughout the year. The fist two years of the program focused on this curriculum, with the third and final year reserved for students to take on a particular specialization. We were all particularly impressed by how sharp and modern the school was, and it was evident that it would provide a degree of construction education never before seen in the region. The quality of the work that will be provided by the school’s students will no doubt substantially contribute to the development of Karabakh. Construction on the school will be finished by mid-August 2015 and its inaugural class begins its studies in September. The school will also have a booth at our festival next week in order to reach out to potential new students.