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News > UAE Armenians > Parev Emirates: Meeting with participants of the Historical Armenian Tour of India

Parev Emirates Event
Meeting with Helena Cray
(and other participants of the Historical Armenian Tour of India)
DATE: Wednesday, 19 November 2008
TIME: 09:00 pm
LOCATION: Coral Deira Hotel
Al-Muraqqabat Street, Deira, Dubai
Presentation, direct discussions and exchange of views
All participants will have chance to interact with the guests
It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and no member of the Armenian community wanted to miss it. Hundreds of Armenians from across the globe flew to Kolkata (Calcutta), to be part of the celebrations to mark the 300 anniversary of the Holy Nazareth Church on Armenian Street. Under "Parev Emirates" program, We will have the rare opportunity to see a newly prepared photo presentation about this event and meet several participants of this historical Indian-Armenian pilgrimage, which took place earlier this month. Prepare yourself to meet our guests in Dubai on 19 November 2008.
To have a general background about the subject you are invited to read:
Hotel Tel: 04 2128304 and map
Coral Dubai Hotel Map

Saint Nazareth Church in Kolkata

 Saint Nazareth Armenian Church in Kolkata (Calcutta), India
- How long did you stay in India and what can you tell us about ACPA life at your time?
I was born in India in 1957. I grew up in the school, although my parents lived in the city I lived at the school and went home on holidays only. Life in the ACPA was okay, not like it is now. We had more strict rules and regulations, we never got to go anywhere. The quality of our food was very bad as was the quantity. We went to bed hungry and could not concentrate on studying because hunger over took our minds. Our educators were underpaid so we did not receive the best education. We turned to one another for comfort and we grew up to become one large family.
No one was compassionate towards us, not the educators nor the committee members. The schools had a board of directors as did the church but we could not turn to anyone with our pain.
- What was your motivation to work in the tourism sector?
Upon visiting India after 23 years and after having lived a life of denial I realized I was wealthier than all the people I associated with. I had had the opportunity of living in a country that was rich in its cultures, they maintained their spirituality and were the most humble of all human beings. How could I turn away from such wealth. I witnessed the work that was being done by Deacon Tigran and Fr. Gulgulian and the efforts of the church wardens it was then that I decided to do something to spread the word. I felt a sense of responsibility and a sense of betrayal. My responsibility was to bring people to see for themselves what was being done. My sense of betrayal was that I had closed my heart and mind to the earth that had fed me and the air that I had breathed. It was my duty to showcase this and to bridge the communities of the West with the East.
- Do you believe that we can create Armenian tourism (that is tourism based on visiting Armenian sites) even outside Armenia? Can you explain us the case of the Armenian sites in India?
YES! we can - I firmly believe we can, it requires team work, people with the same goals and plenty of voices to spread the word. We need to make the internet our voice, we need the world wide web to spread our message. We have 5 Armenian Churches, two schools, plenty of properties and a community that is fading away. We can move the older Armenian people who are retired and living in countries where they are alone and have no financial support to Kolkata. They can volunteer their time and contribute towards the schools and the community. I am sure with a little work and research we can delegate somebody to approach the local Chairman and the wardens with this idea.
- Do you believe the above trend can cover other Armenian communities in the Middle East and elsewhere?
Yes I absolutely believe so! We need to come up with a great marketing plan and we can join as colleagues and try and do something. Count me in!
- Who are the clients for such tourist excursions? Can non-Armenian be interested in such tourism?
Currently I am targeting the Armenian market, but I am certain non-Armenians would also be interested.
- And now for a classical question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In five years I see myself, with the help of supporters leading thousands of people to various parts of the world introducing them to the Armenians and their ancestors in such countries. We have spent many years taking people to see the grandeur of current tourism but no one is making an effort to show people the old Armenian churches nestled in villages across the world, deteriorating with neglect. People do not hesitate to spend money to visit France, Greece, Italy and Spain ... We have our heritage that is being totally ignored.  
Published in Azad-Hye in April 2008 (link 


Helena Cray with Catholicos Karekin II

Picture of Helena Cray with His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians

What is Parev Emirates?

Parev Emirates is a program designed by Azad-Hye Group to welcome Armenians who arrive in the United Arab Emirates either for living there or on their way to other countries.   

This program is specially important as Dubai has become a rapidly gowing destination for job seekers and a hub for international travellers.  

We are in a lucky position to learn from the experience of the newcomers and those who pass by. 

Newcomers need a warm welcome in order to feel socially stable and confident in belonging or being attached to fellow Armenians in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai.  

Travellers who transit Dubai for their connection trip to other locations can share with us their experience and knowledge, especially if they have certain achievements in their field of profession or have insight related to Armenian issues.   

We ask therefore 1) recent arrivals and 2) passer-by compatriots to contact us in order to arrange a Parev Emirates welcome for them. This will certainly enrich all of us.  

P. O. Box 94670, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
You can contact us here
Do I need to confirm my attendance?
It will be very nice if you click reply to this email and confirm your attendance (just write your name and the words WILL ATTEND). This will help us adjust the seating reservations accordingly.  

Do not forget to reply to this email and inform us about your attendance 

Number of seats is limited

Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008 (7845 reads), comments: 0
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