February 16, 2019 - 10:48 AMT
President says has a mission to make Armenia a scientific country

During his working visit to Germany, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian visited the University of Heidelberg, one of the oldest universities of Europe, which has produced multiple Noble Prize winners. The President met the leadership of the oldest university of Germany, with the Rector, Professor Dr. Bernhard Eitel, familiarized with the educational programs of the University and discussed opportunities of cooperation with the educational institutions of Armenia.

In the library of the University of Heidelberg, where the President familiarized with the medieval books deposited there and works on their preservation, he spoke about activities and rich experience of Matenadaran – the Research Institute and Museum of Ancient Manuscripts in Yerevan and underscored that the two structures could jointly carry out significant programs.

In the afternoon, President Sarkissian made a presentation for the faculty and students of the University. In his remarks, the President of Armenia spoke about the trends existing in the contemporary world, development of technologies in the new world, and importance of innovations. “Armenia is on the crossroads of civilizations, and we have to face the fact that we are located on the boundary of different civilizations, destinies, beliefs, ideas, and religions.

"Now, in the 21st century, the world is changing dramatically. The 21st century will be a period of time when thanks to science, technologies, and new means of education the excitement regarding new inventions will be incredibly high and will reflect on the social and political life of the new world.”

The President underscored that in the new world, Armenia has an important role to play.

“We are a small but truly a global nation, very closely interconnected, a nation which has cherished education for centuries. We are the people who lived at the crossroads of different civilizations, cultures, and religions and were able to survive.

"This is another quality which is important in the 21st century. In our country, which has scarce natural resources, we have an excellent school of science and technologies which was developed more than one hundred years ago. We have a great cultural heritage, Christian heritage. We are a young nation and a young state, which has an excellent chance to build a new state in the new world based of the power of science, discoveries, innovations, and a high-quality education,” President Sarkissian said. He stressed the country’s traditions in the area of natural sciences.

“In the new Armenia of the new world, there are many ways in which we can work with Germany, particularly with Heidelberg. And in that cooperation we need to focus on the future, new technologies, and technological education. We have good mathematicians who can be helpful in developing artificial intelligence. We can conduct joint research in the areas of mathematics and physics. And in this context, you can use the Armenian global network since when we say Armenia, we mean not only Armenians living in Armenia proper, we mean Armenian researchers all over the world, as well as scientists and entrepreneurs.

I truly have the idea and the mission to make Armenia a successful scientific and technological country. In this, we need to move forward with our friends, and I view the University of Heidelberg as such a partner. I am looking forward to building bridges between the Armenian universities and Heidelberg,” the President of Armenia said. Later, the President of Armenia took questions from the audience.

Responding to the question on the steps, which the government needs to take so that small groups are more free and independent in their innovations, the President of Armenia said in particular,

“We need to understand how we can help young people. We need to create the environment which will allow them to reach success. Otherwise, they will leave. And this is true not for Armenia only. Great talents move to places where they can call to life their ideas and innovations. Since the world is a small place after all, it is not necessary to move physically to California or Silicon Valley. Living in Armenia, we need to be part of the processes going on in the Silicon Valley. This is what we need to accomplish in Armenia.”

Responding to another question, regarding the resolution of the NK conflict, Armen Sarkissian said, “The situation in the small place, which is called Nagorno Karabakh, which we call the Republic of Artsakh, unless it is managed properly, can be explosive as long as the frozen conflict is not settled. For me, there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Any other option will be disastrous for all sides. And in this case, it’s not important how powerful you are, or how much money you spend on weapons, or how large is your army. Different interests and challenges are present in this region. It’s truly a crossroad of civilizations. Look what’s going on: Syria, Middle East are not too far away, also Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Russia. Even the slightest destabilization will be devastating here. Thus, there is only one way – a peaceful resolution of the conflict. And I hope that the resolution of the conflict will be based on reason, on human values. I hope that the ultimate solution will be made taking into consideration the rights of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.”

On the question from the audience regarding the negative sides of the world’s interconnectivity and what the President of Armenia would advise doing to overcome the negative trends, President Sarkissian said, “The world is a complex place. As a global nation, we have a great number of Armenians who live abroad, outside Armenia, however, they have a great impact on the processes in Armenia. Interconnectivity has many sides, both positive and negative. Along with globalization, industrial and scientific revolutions, human creativity and educational import, there is an important factor which is called morality. In the absence of human morality, your technological advancement instead of a tool will become a weapon. All this has a chain interconnectivity. There is one simple truth: We are all humans and whatever we do should be done with human reason and morality, and with a certain soul in everything we do. Otherwise, we will be prone to bad things. It’s not important who you are, what’s your nationality, one should be just human.”