Welcoming speech by the head of the Iranian Studies Department of YSU, Vardan Voskanian to the participants of the “Third International Conference on Talyshi Studies”

Respected colleagues, scholars of Talyshi studies, Iranologists, Orientalists, honored guests and participants, ladies and gentlemen.

Today is a critically important day. The third “International Conference on Talyshi Studies” is taking place in Yerevan already, which is in itself an indicator of the academic successes of Armenia in the field of Talyshi studies, as represented by, in particular, those of the Department of Iranian Studies of Yerevan State University.

Armenia is the only country in the world, where the Talyshi language, history, culture, and literature are taught in accordance with the highest scholarly and educational standards. This is not coincidental, since as much as the Armenian people have placed importance in the sword to achieve their sacred national goals, they have equally valued the pen. Yes, the pen and the sword, for it is not in vain that the creator of the Armenian alphabet, St. Mesrob Mashtots was a soldier, a scholar, and a clergyman.

In this vein, Armenia and the Armenian people have historically always considered it a very important part of their regional philanthropic mission to provide cultural and intellectual support to neighboring friendly nations and peoples – utilizing the Armenian mind and pen to serve friendly peoples.

We have traveled along the same historical path with the Talyshi people, living as neighbors and complementing each other culturally, starting from the Cadusii and Median periods, up until the creation of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As a result of the latter’s inept and inane politics, the Talyshis and other indigenous peoples were pulled into a war against their will and sadly forced to be “cannon fodder” for Baku. At the same time, these same peoples were being forced to assimilate into the Azerbaijani Republic, losing access to their basic human and ethnic rights.

Today, in Yerevan, the realization of this exceptional academic event through the efforts of the YSU Department of Iranian Studies and our friendly Talyshi scholars is clear evidence of the fact that Armenian and Talyshi scholars, as well as public and cultural figures, are not only ready for close cooperation, but also for ensuring an auspicious framework that will support all the indigenous peoples in the region until the consolidation of adamantine friendships. This has been the natural state in our histories for millennia, in opposition to all inhumanity.

In the name of hospitable Armenia, I wish you all a successful and productive conference, for the glory of scholarship and the Armenian and Talyshi peoples.

I wish us all a wonderful time.