Hosting Thor Heyerdahl Junior

While the whole last week I spent on passing mid-trem exams, I was generally thinking what interesting did I experience this week, about what should I tell my readers. And then, here you come, I have experienced something, that really was amazing. I met a person whom I’d never thought I could meet. I mean obviously I have read and heard a lot about him and his family, but hearing those stories from him was very appealing. That person is Thor Heyerdahl Junior. He visited Armenia on his famous traveler father’s  100th anniversary. As he himself claims, that it’s a great experience to visit one of the most ancient countries in the world on 100th anniversary of his father.



Those who don’t know who is Thor Heyerdahl, let’s just have a quick review on his biography. Thor Heyerdahl Senior  is a Norwegian adventurer and archaeologist, who started a journey around the globe on a raft Kon-Tiki in 1947 and later wrote an international bestseller on his adventures. And not only him, but his wife and son also became part of his adventures, they have gone through all of that together. And today we hosted  his son Thor Heyerdahl Junior, his wife Grethe Heyerdahl and marketing manager Halfdan Tangen Junior from The Kon-Tiki Museum in our University after Valery Brusov. During the seminar Mr. Heyerdahl told us the story of his family and adventures that they had. Obviously I’d like to share it with you my dears.

Kon-Tiki stort

Famous raft Kon-Tiki

So, let’s start from the beginning, Thor Heyerdahl Senior was born in 1914 in Norway. He studied zoology at Oslo University. As his son claims, the adventurer spirit he has got from his mother’s upbringing, because instead of reading fairy tales for him, his mom read Darwin and evolution. In 1936 he left for the island Fatu Hiva in the Pacific, with his first wife. He spent a couple of years there studying the indigenous plants and animals. During the 2nd World War he served in Norwegian Military.  Mr. Thor Heyerdahl Junior recalls. “When my father  was leaving for the war, my mother told me, that this may be the last time I see my dad. We were not sure, will he come back, or not. But fortunately dad survived”.  After coming back from war, Heyerdahl built raft Kon-Tiki and together with his crew of five started his journey across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. They spent 101 day at sea, under the open sky. During this voyage they happened to face every kind of danger that man could come across in the sea. Later he wrote the book Kon-Tiki about his adventures, which became the bestseller of its time. And then the documentary based on the same journey won an Academy Award in 1951. By the way this film is the only Norwegian Oscar winning film.


Thor Heyerdahl Jr recalling his famous father

The next one was archaeological expedition in Galapagos islands in 1953 and the book The Secret of Easter Island, written in 1958 was based on this trip.  Then followed trips and explorations in Morocco, Bahamas, Egypt, Tucume Pyramid, Spanish island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, southern Russia and many other places.


HalfdanTangen Jr tells about Mr. Heyerdahl’s adventures

So I really feel lucky enough to hear much more of those adventures and stories from the first hand. Our students also were curious about our guests’ impression of Armenia during four days spent here. Mr. Heyerdahl Jr. told us that had many positive impressions, he did like the fact that Armenia is very ancient country and it’s difficult to describe what you feel here. In the end he told us “When I’m back in Norway, I’m going to be the ambassador of Armenia there.”


ArMania members with Thor Heyerdahl Jr and HalfdanTangen Jr


Besides he said that they are thinking about some projects in Armenia, which I think is going to be just as much amazing, many students even claimed the participation in possible projects. So obviously everybody is looking forward to see our dear guests in Armenia again and we hope that further cooperation will be very prosperous.

Caravan inside the needle

      A caravan of camels made of precious stones, placed in the eye of a sewing needle by Edward Ter Ghazarian the founder of miniature art.] The world renowned Armenian micro miniaturist Edward Ghazaryan is considered the founder of the unique art of micro miniature. In the 1950s the European press was abuzz about an Armenian man who claimed to create tiny works of art smaller than the eye of a needle. One German newspaper reader had his doubts and sent a letter of disbelief to the artist. Weeks later came the reply, hand-written on a human hair. Edward Ghazaryan has exposed his first invisible by the naked eye micro miniature works in Yerevan more than half a century ago. He created about 600 of such miniatures and granted many as tokens of friendship to prominent figures of foreign countries like Honaker, Queen of England Elizabeth II, Chrushev, Stalin, Janise Khaddar, Ho Shi Min, Rockefeller and many others.

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    His exhibitions have been shown around the world. In 1977 Eduard Kazaryan showed his work in Armenian pavilion of Soviet exhibition in Los-Angeles (USA). American visitors of exhibition called his works “the 8th world wonder”(Los Angeles Times Mon., Nov.21, 1977). As if this wasn’t enough, Edward also managed to create asynchronously moving micro sculptures that to date (over 30 years) have not been replicated. He demonstrated this for the first time in Moscow where a set of figures where performing a play inside a human hair. 


    Edward is a man of many phenomenal talents. Born in Yerevan he has received higher musical education and for many years was one of the leading musicians of the Philharmonic orchestra of Armenia. In addition to his micro-art and musical talents, Edward is an eminent violinist innovator, talented musical sculptor and an excellent caricaturist. His violins are owned by many prominent musicians. Each aspect of his life separately may serve as a biography of an outstanding artist, musician, doctor, ophthalmologist, cardiologist and a scientist. These are the many sides of Edward Ghazarian. The Camel Caravan inside the needle by Edward Ghazarian has been sold for €460000 at an auction in Cannes, France. 


The Roots of Armenian Education.


Every 1st of September all armenian families are busy preparing their children for school or university. White shirts, flowers, smiles , beautiful new haircuts, faces full of new beginnings will follow you this day.

We really value education and are taught  to study as much as possible from early childhood. We used to bye and have many books at home, parents always make presents to their children when they get high marks, in school meetings teacher always thank the parents, whose children behave good at school and  have high academic records.

Even high education is so popular among us, that after the school majority continue it’s studies at universities. It has  become a traditional cycle of study process.

Education was very valued also in past. Though before Mashtots armenians had schools and were using different languages / also possible another language not known nowadays/, after he has invented armenian letters, a lot of new schools were opened where people could start learning their new armenian letters and get  an education. Education became accessible for everyone. And what’s amazing that all these new schools were constructed and created within the churches and monasteries. Armenian Apostolic Church or Armenian Spiritual leaders become the initiators and promoters of education.


The first armenian school was founded at the Amaras Monastery  / in the 5th century/ in Artsakh by Mesrop Mashtots : clergyman, a leader, who had created original armenian alphabet of 36 letters.  Amaras had started a new era for armenian education, a spiritual and cultural corner for every armenian.


After Amaras another schools had been opened in Armenia: Vagharshapat Seminary- on which  basis, in 1870 founded the modern Gevorgyan Seminary.

Later, in the seventh century another bright character of armenian scientific and spiritual mind  Anania Shirakatsi initiated  a primary school. Ananiya Shirakatsi was anarmenian mathemat       ician, astronomer and geographer who helped improve education style and made his great input for it’s development.

Just 2 centuries after the Shirakatsi’s reforms the academy of Tatev founded. SO while visiting this beautiful monastery, you should know that it was a center of education in those times, imagine how many great minded it has created and encouraged.


This continuous developments of education made strong basis for armenian modern education type, though it has influenced by many factors, as soviet education style, modern integration with other institutions and different teaching models.

So what we have now is  secondary education consisting of primary, secondary and senior schools , primary, secondary and higher vocational education; post-graduate education, and retraining of specialists.

I don’t know if this type of education is right or not, but it seems like chain reaction of learning process: kindergarten, school, university, and MA, then PHD…

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Many people have different opinion of this education, though I would say that my Bachelor gave me  a lot, if I compare it with the other professionals in the world, I’ll have to underline that I’ve got really a good education.

What is the situation with modern education and the level of education, you should say, I will just remind that in Armenia  according to the 1960 literacy rate was 100 per cent.