By Lilit Galstian
May 12, 2006

Ninety best students received awards in the framework of the
Armenian Relief Society's annual Best Student program. This
program was initiated in 1993 and aims at encouraging students from
socially vulnerable families studying as tuition-paying students
at universities.

ARS's Central Board provides six thousand dollars annually to award
100 dollar prizes to 60 students every year. However, as a rule,
the number of students receiving awards increases due to funding
provided by ARS's regional organizations. This year ARS's office in
Greece provided additional funding for the program.

The award ceremony was held on May 10. Armenian Revolutionary
Federation (ARF) Bureau member and Deputy Speaker of the National
Assembly Vahan Hovhannissian, member of ARF's Supreme Board of Armenia
and head of the Diaspora Department at the Ministry of Science and
Education Hrach Tadevossian, member of ARS 's Central Board Karine
Hovhannissian and other guests attended the ceremony.

"ARS is an organization registered as a charity organization under
the UNO.

The culture of charity is not adequately developed in Armenia.

What we usually see as charity - for instance a businessman renovating
the roof of a school, or repairing the roads in a village - this is
not charity in the classical meaning of the word. This is done to
gain political profit during elections. Meanwhile, ARS, and a couple
of other organizations, do charity proper, in the classical meaning
of the word. This is not the only program our organization implements.

Not many people know about ARS's orphan-care program. ARS has been
paying 120 dollars to 7000 children who lost their parents during the
war for the past 13 years. This is much more than our government can
do," Vahan Hovhannissian stated.

Hovhannissian stressed the importance of the Best Student Program
since it fosters the education level of the young generation. "The
money the students receive does not cover all of their needs. However,
this is an encouragement.

Tomorrow, many of them will become leaders of the country. We have
to motivate them to understand that fair competition should prevail
in education," Hovhannissian said.

Over 200 students from public and private universities of Armenia
apply to participate in the program. Even though applications from
private universities are also considered public universities have a
priority. Students in their second year and higher can participate
in the competition.

"We think that the tuition fees at public universities are higher this
is why we are trying to help the students at public universities. Of
course there are some exceptions because we really have many good
students," Karine Hovhannissian said.

ARS is implementing a similar program in Artsakh. This year the
program will be launched in Javakhq. Several students from Javakhq have
received awards every year in the framework of the program implemented
in Armenia. This year it was decided that 5 out of 60 awards will
be allocated for students from Javakhq studying in Armenia. Separate
awards are envisaged for students from Artsakh.