On May 13-14, the Museum of Art History in Vienna hosted the international conference and workshop entitled “Culture in Conflict: South Caucasus Today”, at the core of which were the issues and threats to the protection and preservation of the cultural heritage of Artsakh. The conference was organized by the blessing of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and the Austrian Committee to Artsakh Office for the Preservation of the Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Etchmiadzin Mother See.
International and Armenian speakers stressed that during the 2020 war and since November 9, numerous destructions and distortions of Armenian Christian culture by Azerbaijan have been registered in the occupied regions of Artsakh, which testify to the Azerbaijani state policy of eliminating the Armenian cultural trace.
Among the speakers were four participants from Armenia: Codirector at the Research on Armenian Architecture Foundation, Engineer Raffi Kortoshyan, Executive Director of the Cultural Heritage Development Foundation Ani Avagyan, and Senior Specialist of the Deparment of International Relations at Mashtots Matenadaran Sona Baloyan. The latter presented the programs implemented by Matenadaran in recent years aimed at preserving and propagating Artsakh’s manuscript heritage. Documentary film director Seda Grigoryan presented the documentary “Cultural Conflict”.
International speakers included researcher at the Art-Law Centre at the University of Geneva Francesco Romani, the organizer of the event Jasmine Dum-Tragut, military law expert of the Austrian Army Colonel Michael Pesendofer and Deputy Professor of the Section for National and International Public Law at the German Armed Forces University Lando Kirchmair.
An exhibition was held within the framework of the conference, which presented handwritten and printed manuscripts and other remarkable materials created in different times in Artsakh kept in the library of the Mekhitarist Congregation in Vienna.