Program in Honor of Yerevan My Love Held at Buckingham Palace

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LONDON — Charles, the Prince of Wales, hosted an Anglo-Armenian charity event at Buckingham Palace on June 15. Project initiator and main benefactor Armen Sarkissian, former prime minister of Armenia and president of Eurasia House International, welcomed more than 250 guests to the program raising funds for the charity Yerevan My Love and Dumfries House.

Members of the royal family, dignitaries, political, cultural and civic leaders and business leaders attended this event. Prime Minister of Armenia, Tigran Sargisian, and mayor of Yerevan, Karen Karapetyan, were among the guests of honor.

“It gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to welcome you all to this very special occasion at Buckingham Palace,” said the Prince of Wales in his remarks and expressed his thanks to all the donors to Yerevan My Love and Dumfries House.

The evening started with a reception, followed by a concert, especially put together on this occasion. Soprano Renée Fleming and violin virtuoso and conductor Maxim Vengerov, took part in the program, along with the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) and the Bach Choir. In addition to Handel, the choir sang pieces from the Armenian liturgy, Surb, Surb andHayr Mer by Makar Ekmalian. Vengerov played Komitas’s Krung for the first time in his musical career, captivating the emotions of the audience. Fleming enthralled the audience not only with her mesmerizing voice, but also with her remarks. A banquet followed in the Picture Gallery of the palace.

Yerevan My Love is a heritage-led regeneration project dedicated to preserving architecturally-significant buildings in Yerevan and putting them to use to improve the lives of disabled children, young people and disadvantaged families. Following the successful fundraising in 2010, three buildings in the vicinity of St. Hovhanes Church in the Kond neighborhood of Yerevan are being built and renovated. Three additional architecturally-significant buildings will be rehabilitated in the Old Yerevan neighborhood as part of the second phase of Yerevan My Love project, supported by the fundraising this year.

In his remarks, Armen Sarkissian highlighted the role of every individual in the preservation of culture and heritage and the universality of culture. He said, “It is a privilege for me to thank each and every one of you for your contributions, for your support and, most importantly, for sharing a belief that culture and heritage are part of our soul and we have to pass it on to the next generation, to our children.”

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Prince Charles stressed that the evening was also an occasion to strengthen the ties between Armenia and the United Kingdom. He said, “I have long admired Armenia as the oldest Christian nation in the world, with its unique architectural heritage. It is so heartening that the Yerevan My Love project is preserving and continuing traditional Armenian architecture and craftsmanship.”

Dumfries House is a unique house in southwestern Scotland which had retained much of the furniture commissioned for it from Thomas Chippendale. A few years ago, Prince Charles forestalled the separate sales of the House and its contents to private bidders. He has since made sure that the House and its unique collection of furniture are preserved for future generations.

Sarkissian thanked Prince Charles for his leadership and foresight in architectural conservation. “We thank him for his full support and cooperation in making this night a very special occasion,” said Sarkissian. He pointed out that “the international array of participation is a wonderful example of global cooperation in charity and heritage preservation.”