YEREVAN.- Armenia's President Armen Sarkissian visited the Yerevan State University, his alma mater, today, to participate in the event marking the 50th anniversary of foundation of the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

The president delivered remarks, noting that he wants to speak not only as president, but also a graduate of the university.

“I’d like to speak to you about the future,” he said. “But, of course you can’t speak about the future without speaking about the past and the present. Our oriental studies past is very glorious, our oriental studies wasn’t created today or yesterday. Let’s not forget that the Academy of Sciences of Armenia was founded 75 years ago by an orientalist – scholar Hovsep Orbeli. And this proves where the origins of our oriental studies come from – they come from the sources of international, Russian oriental studies, and a bright example of this is Hovsep Orbeli,” he told students and the academic staff.

“During my university years the faculty of oriental studies was viewed as a living academic center, students and lecturers had contacts with many centers of the USSR,” Sarkissian said.

Sarkissian graduated the YSU’s Physics Faculty in 1976 and two years later earned a PhD in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics.

“I believe that the orthodox directions that we have in Arabic studies, Turkish studies and Iranian studies must be expanded – Indian studies, Chinese studies, and certainly, more enhanced studies on Central Asian and Eurasian regions are becoming a necessity. These are important for the Republic of Armenia, for science, these are natural communications, and if we go back to the Silk Road idea, all of these are actually oriental studies,” he said.

He described the past 50 years of the faculty as “brilliant”. “Brilliant 50 years, excellent result and I think a brilliant future,” he said.

“Armenia is once again the center of the Silk Road, Armenia is the cross-road or different civilizations, is the center of huge political events, and by being this center Armenia ought to assume its role, where oriental studies has enormous significance,” he said, congratulating all orientalists.