Haroutune K. Armenian: The Camino and Us: By the Footpath of Messenger

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YEREVAN, Armenia — September 28 and 29, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted AUA President Emeritus Dr. Haroutune Armenian at a painting exhibition of his artwork and presentation of his book at the Akian Art Gallery.

The exhibition displayed Haroutune and Sona Armenians’ pilgrimage through the 700 km route to Santiago De Compostela, the capital of Galicia, Northwestern Spain. For centuries, pilgrims from all over the world cross this unique European pathway following the Camino de Santiago (way of Saint James), which culminates at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, located in the namesake town.

“The Camino is not determined by the chosen pathway, nor by religion, language, or culture. The Camino is a self-sustaining structure, seeded by faith,” says Dr. Armenian,adding, “Everyone tries to build his own Camino… his own Camino, which never ends, and forces us to come back to it.” There are several European routes leading to the same destination. Haroutune and Sona Armenian have taken two of those: the French Camino (starting in France) in 2016 and the Portugal Camino (starting in Portugal) in 2019.

While the sights of these unique pathways are represented in the watercolor paintings created by Dr. Armenian during the journey, his thoughts and feelings reflecting the French Camino journey are portrayed in his book titled “The Camino and Us: By the Footpath of the Messenger.”

The speakers of the event were Lebanese-Armenian art critic Movses Hergelian and literary scholar and translator Felix Bakhchinyan. Reflecting on Dr. Armenian’s book, Bakhchinyan remarked, “There is a unique collective spirit in the experiences of millions of people who take the pilgrimage to the Saint James Cathedral bearing his name. Armenian vests his own insight into this collective experience and one that is aligned with the Armenian collective spirit. Throughout the whole pilgrimage and the parallel unfolding of his own bearings, he partakes in the collective experience that also has a common goal about which he says: ‘On this road, we must find our own path.’”

The participants of the event had the opportunity to acquire any of Dr. Armenian’s paintings by making a donation to the AUA Scholarship Fund. This third exhibit of artwork by Dr. Armenian is yet another way in which he leaves a lasting impact at AUA creating opportunities for more students to have the advantage of receiving a scholarship to get an AUA education.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research, and evaluation, health care delivery, and management.