Honorary Consul Alexan Ter-Minasyan, left, and Ambassador Matthias Kiesler

Germany Appoints Honorary Consul in Gyumri


By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

Special to the Mirror-Spectator


BERLIN — Gyumri has good reason to celebrate. One of its most prominent sons has been chosen as the honorary consul of Germany and this will bring relations between the two countries, on the political, economic and cultural level to new levels.

The official ceremony took place on January 26, when the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Matthias Kiesler introduced the newly appointed honorary consul, Alexan Ter-Minasyan, to a large group of well-wishers. Handing him the Consular License of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he announced the launch of the consulate in Gyumri.

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In his remarks, the ambassador said, “In Gyumri, there is already an Honorary Consul from Italy and for a long time there was a necessity that we had our permanent representative in the second largest city of Armenia for the further development of Armenian-German relations.” He also pointed out that the German Foreign Ministry places strong demands on those who are granted a Consulate position, demands that Ter-Minasyan will fulfill with pleasure. Mr. Ter-Minasyan, he said, has contributed to the development of the Armenian-German relations for more than 20 years, has supported the “Berlin” policlinic in Gyumri, and manages the Berlin Art Hotel, promoting and deepening the contacts between Armenian and German artists.

As the position of honorary consul will include the regions of Shirak and Lori, it was most appropriate that the governor of Shirak, Artur Khachatryan, was on hand. In offering his congratulations to the new consul, he said, “We are hopeful that Alexan Ter-Minasyan’s efforts will be directed to strengthening relations, especially with the establishment of new cooperation between Armenian and German businessmen. I assure you that the Shirak regional administration is ready to lend its support and we welcome all the initiatives that will contribute to the development of our country, particularly our region.”

In point of fact, the functions of the newly-appointed Consul will include economic ties, development and cultural programs, as well as advisory services.


Creative Diplomacy

The German Foreign Ministry could not have made a better choice. Alexan Ter-Minasyan is a most creative diplomat, a man who excels in the art of contacts. Already in 2014, then-President Joachim Gauck had decided to honor him with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his extraordinary efforts in developing German-Armenian relations. As was noted on the occasion of his receiving the award, on May 15, 2014, these efforts began following the tragic earthquake that destroyed large parts of the region in 1988. It was in that situation that the German Red Cross as well as Caritas arrived in Gyumri, and Ter-Minasyan was the key person in facilitating and supporting their work. He functioned as representative of the Red Cross in Gyumri, which set up a Center for Mothers and Children, and he handled the donations coming from Germany, with scrupulous honesty and efficiency. When the financial support from contributions no longer sufficed to run the center, Ter-Minasyan came up with the idea of converting part of the building into a hotel, and thus generated income to support the center. The hotel continues its support to the “Berlin” policlinic to the present day.

Topics: gyumri

Under his management, the Berlin Art Hotel has become a favorite residence for tourists, who can take advantage of the Shirak Tour agency there, to visit and learn the history, not only of Gyumri, the cultural capital of Armenia, but of the entire region.

The Berlin Art Hotel owes its name to the fact that it functions also as a gallery (Gallery 25), and a meeting place for artists, from all countries.

Ter-Minasyan is well-known as a networker, and has developed his contacts at home and abroad, especially in Germany, to organize art exhibitions, festivals and other cultural activities. Among them is the ARTbogen Center of German-speaking Cultures. A Gold Autumn festival organized at the Berlin Art Hotel features German films. In winter 2015, Gallery25 organized an art exhibition to commemorate the 25th anniversary of German reunification. As was mentioned during the award ceremony in 2014, “with his enormous knowledge of Germany, his excellent command of German and his social, charitable engagement, he has contributed greatly to projecting a positive, modern image of Germany.” On that occasion, he was hailed as Germany’s “secret Consul” in Gyumri; now it is no longer a secret.

(Material for this article has been taken in part from the website of the German Embassy in Yerevan: http://www.eriwan.diplo.de/contentblob/4228940/Daten/4257114/Laudatio.pdf and photos have been provided by the Berlin Art Hotel. The black-and-white photos are by Sona Andreasyan.)




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