Meet the faces behind h-pemPhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "Residues of a Slogan." Fotoistanbul 2015.
Our hands-on team—working behind the scenes
The world is our բեմ/p(/b)em—our platform! A platform based on inspiration from the rich tapestry of the Armenian world.
We immensely enjoy what we do: setting the scene for an Armenian cultural and artistic haven. Oceans apart, we have had an amazing journey coming to where we are today. What binds us is Hamazkayin’s vision of a virtual platform to bring Armenians close to each other and our belief that the best work comes from genuine relationships.
Each of us takes pride in making this magic happen, bringing a unique set of thoughts, experiences, and knowledge to the project.
Here, we share our authentic selves…
I thrive on unpredictable perspectives. Growing up in a warzone, I had the privilege to walk out of my confinement and dwell in Armenian books, where images like the sower’s fist “opening upon the fields like a dawn” fueled my imagination. Eager to find out how poets inspired an unconquered nation, I pursued a degree in English Literature, only to dabble in writing, and spend a good part of my life as a translator and cultural editor at Aztag. My translation of The Crossing Place: A Journey among the Armenians was an homage to its British author for making me fully appreciate my Armenian identity. Even then, I was obsessed with cultural diversity, darting into creativity unfettered by conventions, traveling to find out how nations generate their “offline” cultures–no joke here! What makes me tingle are old towns, street art, Geghard, Venice, natural reserves, and every museum in between!
Joining h-pem is like crossing a mountain pass to see the other perspective; unearthing antidotes to cultural doldrums; and embracing the challenge of regenerating Armenian culture through online collaboration.
Assistant Project Manager
I love to dive off the deep end. Growing up as one of just a few Armenians in my suburban town, I learned to ride the crests and dips of a dual identity like an ocean wave, never hovering over one extreme for too long. That is, until a serendipitous internship at an Armenian newspaper in college showed me new ways to approach the diasporan experience. After a degree in Human Rights from London and bouts at the United Nations in Switzerland and an HIV clinic in NYC, I returned to the diving board to re-immerse myself in cultural and historical discovery. From LA to Sasun and Paris to Hartford, I thrill at the prospect of meeting other Armenians who do not neatly fit into any given mold. And in-between, I delight in hiking New England’s trails, dancing around bonfires, all things Celtic, and any movie starring Saoirse Ronan.
At a time when trolling and cyberbullying have overtaken internet lingo, h-pem is our fortress into the bustling, dynamic world of Armenian culture, where alliances are built among strangers and friends, who cultivate dialogue and creativity, and where every member is respected for their role in this virtual community.
Editor; Content Manager; DPO
If there is one thing I love more than drinking coffee (piping hot; black as can be), it’s probably immersing myself in the multifaceted world of Armenian culture—which is one of the reasons I've never been able to stay put in one place for too long! Though I was born and raised in Toronto, I have visited Armenian communities around the world, always exploring and striving to learn more. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time in Armenia, where my better half Araz and I hope to relocate to in the near future. I'm a proud alumnus of the ARS Armenian School and the University of Toronto, where I studied History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. Most recently, I served as the editor-in-chief of one of the longest-running English-language Armenian publications. While there, I also translated a 75-year-old long-form Armenian poem into English with my friend and mentor Tatul.
The Armenian language is—without a doubt—central to our cultural identity; but what is also vital is that the many facets of the Armenian culture be experienced—whether in Armenian or English, or any other language, for that matter. Through h-pem, we hope to bring our culture to the English-speaking world.
Management Assistant; Social Media Strategist
In my 20 years of life, I’ve come to realize that no culture should be left undiscovered and no country left unvisited. I’m particularly passionate about European/Eurasian linguistics and history, but living in a region like the Middle East, political and social consciousness is crucial. That is why studying at the Lebanese American University and Sciences Po Paris has been a blessing. Coordinating large-scale organizational tasks for projects, from Beirut to NYC, has helped me appreciate cross-cultural communication and dialogue, while representing certain entities at conferences in different regions has developed my management and research skills. Like any good millennial, I’ve grown up on Harry Potter books and Disney movies, and I still love them dearly! I enjoy wine-tasting and try to be as vegetarian as possible, but sometimes manti and kofte are way too hard to ditch!
H-Pem can be anything you'd like it to be. It can be an artistic alternative to LinkedIn; an Armenian version of BuzzFeed; a talent hub that could connect us outside of the vastly-scattered world of social media; and a place where we can establish everlasting ties with fellow Armos who live thousands of miles away through what we're best at: art, music, and uncovering hidden talents!