Connecting Armenians through
culture, art, and achievement

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Introducing h-pem to the world

Photo credit: Norayr Kasper, "Residues of a Slogan." Fotoistanbul 2015.
The world can't wait to meet you
The stage is yours!

Join a network of enthusiastic volunteers who act as h-pem’s representatives. Engage with people from all walks of life and inspire them to explore Armenian culture in new ways. Appreciate what we offer and deeply believe in our mission?

Want to live a diverse Armenian experience while setting a positive stage for h-pem initiatives? We are giving you the ultimate stage to do so. Connect with like-minded people and help our platform radiate with new ideas and insights.

We want this project to be your project, too!

Passionate about arts?
Interested in linking Armenians together?
Join our movement

Become an ambassador
Vahe Tilbian

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Vahe Tilbian

Ethiopian-Armenian Vocalist

I am a fourth-generation Ethiopian-Armenian vocalist. I heard the call of the stage as a singer after I graduated from university in Vancouver, Canada, where I earned a BSc degree. I started my musical career by joining Z Beyaynetus, a cover band, eventually transitioning to supporting vocals and opening for well-known Ethiopian artists like Zeritu Kebede and Michael Belayneh as well as international artists like Joss Stone. In 2012, I released my debut album entitled “Mixology,” which incorporated songs in different genres in Armenian, Amharic, and English. In 2015, I was selected as one of six vocalists in Genealogy, the group that represented Armenia in the Eurovision song contest in Vienna, Austria. While living in Yerevan, I recorded and released an original song in Armenian, “Mot u Heru Im Hayastan," and also joined Syrian-Armenian vocalist Rena De with the acoustic group Extensions Acoustically, fusing Armenian folk and pop songs with mostly English, but also Ethiopian and Arabic songs. Besides music, I also enjoy dancing and used to be a competitive International Style Latin American ballroom dancer and later a Latin dance instructor. I am currently based in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

As an Ethiopian-Armenian, I have always been an unofficial cross-cultural ambassador, promoting Armenian culture, traditions, language, and arts to Ethiopia and beyond and vice versa (Ethiopian culture, traditions, language, and the arts to Armenia and Armenians!). I'm a  musician who enjoys fusing Armenian and Ethiopian music and I think h-pem is the perfect platform to promote this exchange of culture...

Aline Naccachian

Beirut, Lebanon

Aline Naccachian

Vocalist, Garabala (folk acoustic band)

Swimming in the worlds of psychology and education, I’ve always had a soft spot for identity, culture, and cross-cultural differences. I grew up trying to understand what makes a person and consequently what makes a person “Armenian.” I've always been fascinated by wellness and the psychology of education, particularly implicit teaching or the “hidden curriculum” that forms individuals. This led me to pursue a career in educational psychology and school counseling.

When I’m not using my voice in the world of education or counseling, I use it in the world of music as the vocalist of Garabala (Beirut-based Armenian folk acoustic band) to tame another obsession of mine! Quality music, new countries, good books, and dark humor always manage to tickle my senses. "Procaffeinating" is a guilty pleasure of mine and I never say no to dark chocolate!

H-Pem is a transition from the psychology of preserving to a psychology of creating—where the Armenian identity is not only "what once was" but also "what can be"—a tool for cultural growth, rejuvenation, and activism.

Arpy Katrjian

Toronto, Canada

Arpy Katrjian

Designer, Karagusi

Parev! I’m Arpy, but some know me as Karagusi. My first language is Armenian and my second is Architecture. I love games, puzzles, riddles—basically anything that challenges my mind. If I’m not designing, you will probably find me talking about it; and if I’m not talking about it, then I’m definitely thinking about it! Thinking about design alone makes me go through multiple existential crises a day; I’m going through one while writing this: Like, do you think h-pem would let me choose what font my bio appears in?

I’m currently completing my Master of Architecture in Toronto. Besides architecture, I find joy in painting and graphic design, particularly around the subject of culture. Within the Armenian Diaspora, there’s a looming fear amongst each coming generation that the Armenian culture will be lost, beginning with the dissolution of the mother tongue. As a response to this struggle, I often find myself constructing art with the use of the Armenian alphabet repeated many times over.

H-Pem is a community of the cool and the creative. Breaking the rules is encouraged.

Garin Bedian

Chicago, United States

Garin Bedian

Software Engineer

I am the great-grandson of a pandukht (sojourner) trying to find my way home. Living outside of our homeland has made me conscious of the difficulties of maintaining a culture and helping it flourish in foreign lands. I grew up in the Midwest of the United States and I have always worked hard to keep Armenian as my primary language despite the dominating presence of English in our day-to-day lives. I'm always doing my best to incorporate Armenian into my conversations, even if it’s just making a “bad language pun” (վատ «բան» մը... See what I did there?).

I went to university and obtained a degree in computer science because I heard you could work remotely and thought: How great it will be to live in Armenia one day while working in the U.S.?

My pleasures in life include reading Zartonk-era poetry, old issues of Armenian newspapers, and traveling to different Armenian communities around the world. Armenian communities are so similar yet so diverse and h-pem will serve to highlight the breadth of our culture.

H-Pem is a means for resisting the perils of assimilation in the 21st century. Through this virtual platform, we can expand our understanding of and relationship with Armenian culture and move beyond mere preservation. H-Pem can be a place where we can further the reaches of our culture and allow it to thrive. 

Kourken Papazian

Beirut, Lebanon

Kourken Papazian

TV/Film Major; Photographer

That’s me immersing myself in music, playing the Armenian shvi and harmonica, drawing, taking photographs, folk dancing (especially the “Yarkhushta”!), scouting, and organizing cultural events. I also have a couple of other obsessions, including managing several social media accounts at the same time!

Though it feels as though I graduated Djemaran (Hamazkayin’s Armenian Lyceum of Beirut) just yesterday, I will soon complete my BA in TV/Film at the Lebanese American University. My biggest (and almost only!) achievement so far has been a short video tackling the issue of violence against women. It won first prize in the competition organized by IWSAW. I was also the Director of Photography of Samer Beyhume’s “Maram,” a film about a refugee girl selling flowers in the streets. It participated in some 30 international festivals and won Best Documentary awards.

Fighting for freedom, equality, human rights (especially rights of minorities, oppressed peoples, and the poor and marginalized) and being proactive in helping the needy are my focus. My dream is to become a cinematographer and director contributing to efforts for achieving social change, both in Armenian and international contexts.

What do I love about h-pem? It will connect the Armenian youth of the diaspora and Armenia; it will give a chance to aspiring artists to present and promote their work; and through collaborations, it will encourage Armenian institutions and artists to join forces and promote Armenian culture. I believe in h-pem's mission. 

Helena Bardakjian

Detroit, United States

Helena Bardakjian

Human Resources Generalist

If we have not met yet, my name is Helena. Born in LA and bred in Detroit by Armenian immigrants from Syria and Lebanon (by way of Marash and Aintab), my story is one of many Armenians in the diaspora, searching for “home” away from the homeland.

From Hamazkayin to AYF, ARS to AGBU and ANCA, I immerse myself in as many Armenian organizations as possible, with the hope of strengthening and uniting our vibrant diaspora for the next generation—our generation. I’m usually the youngest (and loudest) person in any room and never pass on an opportunity to use these skills for the greater good!

After my 9-5 business job, you can find me at any Armenian event, trying to bring together our bright and talented youth with our experienced elders. Sometimes, I do this through leading workshops and team-building exercises; other times, I will sing and dance in front of large crowds to break the proverbial ice. As a (not-so-hidden) theater nerd and lover of the arts, I am so excited that a platform like h-pem will use this aspect to engage young Armenians from across the world!

H-Pem is such a fun platform to engage with other Armenians and learn not only about our history in the past tense, but also about the history that we are creating now! It is a platform where I can find funny articles or inspiring stories to share with all of my friends— not just the Armenian ones. It is a place where my two worlds collide, but in the best possible way.

Mathilde Palig Tachnakian

Paris, France

Mathilde Palig Tachnakian

Student, International Business

Bonjour tout le monde, or parev tsez if you rather! My name is Palig and I’m from the city of lights, croissant, cheese, and wine. I was born in Paris and being raised by Syrian- and Lebanese-Armenian parents has exposed me to an array of cultures, for which I am forever grateful. 

From a very young age, I have been immersed in Armenian culture through my metz mama’s (grandmother’s) delicious dishes, the songs of the great Harout Pamboukjian, my Armenian Saturday school, and my participation in the AGBU of France.  

During my school years, highlighting my origins, my culture, and the history of my people were top priorities for me. Throughout the years, I have done my best to show people around me that being Armenian is not limited to knowing about the Armenian Genocide. Instead, I would tell them about the beauty and rich history of our homeland. 

I try to immerse myself in the Armenian culture as much as possible by taking part in projects such as the Wikimedia Armenian Camp, the AGBU Summer Camp, and through my recent two-month internship in Yerevan. Soon, I will participate in a humanitarian project called Arménie Terre de Vie (Armenia Land of Life), with AGBU in Sarigyur near the Azerbaijani border. 

And now, here I am with h-pem... I couldn’t be more excited! 

H-Pem is an online platform that allows Armenians to connect with each other through different aspects of our culture. Here, we can do everything from sharing our own beautiful stories to discovering new Armenian artists around the world. Let's make a big h-pem a big virtual Armenian family!

Sarin Bayzar Arslan

Istanbul, Turkey

Sarin Bayzar Arslan

Medical Student; Nature-lover

Merhaba! (That’s “hello!” in Turkish) I’m Sarin, an 18-year-old first-year med school student who lives with her big Sasuntsi family in Istanbul. Last year, I graduated from Bolis’ historic Getronagan Armenian High School, where I learned how unique we are as a community and how we can create great things when we work together (cue h-pem!). I decided to go into medicine, partly because of a lifelong passion to help those in need. Thanks to my school and my family, I was given the chance to travel and meet different people from around the world, seeing diversity in all its forms. My other passions include reading, going to the theater, and listening to music. I also play the ukulele—it’s really fun and simple to come up with cute melodies on it! As a huge nature-lover, I do my best to be eco-friendly and spread the word to my friends and family!

Everyone has their own way to tell the same story. And I think it’s the same when it comes to highlighting our culture. We may all share a background, but the Armenian culture interests each of us from different angles. This is what allows us to be creative and to come up with something unique. What do I love most about h-pem? It gives a space for this uniqueness and presents our creations to the world.  

Nicole Burmeister

Boston, Mass., United States

Nicole Burmeister

Student, Illustration

Parev! I'm resident Hye-brid Nicole. I'm a rising junior in illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Not surprisingly, I'm most passionate about visual art, but I am also fascinated by Armenian and Ecuadorian art, music, folktales, ancient history, and traditions. Through my art, I try to illustrate the interpersonal themes that my mixed cultural heritage inspires. Though I was born and grew up in a very diverse South Florida, I was mostly alone in my feelings of being pulled between my mom's native Ecuadorian and my ever-complicated Western Armenian and American roots. When I was little, my family sponsored a young Armenian girl in a border village in Tavush. It was that experience that made Armenia much more real for me and I think that it's the reason I’m most passionate about portraying stories that can be personal, cultural, or both.

Through h-pem, I want to guide folks through the great rabbit hole that is Armenian art, music, and literature, and to present our heritage and Armenian artists who continue to create. I also hope to highlight the experiences of mixed Armenians and encourage others out there like me to also explore their Armenian side.