This is how was called the event organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia and the International Organization of the Francophonie within the framework of Armenia's rotating presidency of the IOF on the 27th of May at the French Institute in Bulgaria.

It attracted numerous Francophones at the "Slaveykov" Hall, including ambassadors, with the opportunity to get in touch with the French and Francophonic values once again, but from a different angle - that of the IT technology. Here was also H. E. Mr. Eric Lebédel, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic.

The evening started with the short video "Bienvenue en Arménie", which presented the beauty of Armenia.

Then H. E. Mr. Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Republic of Bulgaria, welcomed the participants and presented the achievements, challenges and perspectives of the Armenian Rotational Representation within the International Organization of the Francophonie and the development of the enhanced cooperation between the Francophone countries in the field of Information Technology:

Let me, first, briefly introduce to you the priorities of the Chairmanship and recent developments within its framework since the last year Summit of Francophonie in Yerevan, as well as the outlook of the IT development sector in Armenia with a concrete proposal for mutually beneficial cooperation in the field.

The principal priorities of the Armenian Chairmanship include cooperation in the field of human rights, in particular, in preventing and fighting violence against women, in cultural diversity, as well as cooperation between Francophonie and the regional economic organizations and initiatives. Within these priorities a number of events are scheduled to be held in Armenia by the end of 2020. Several art fests, concerts and exhibitions have also been organized within the attractive cultural calendar of the Chairmanship and many of them are still ahead.

In March this year the International Day of Francophonie was celebrated in Yerevan. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, in presence of parliamentarians and diplomatic corps from all over the five Francophonie Continents underlined the importance of the Yerevan Summit in increasing the visibility of the Organization and paving ways for multilateral cooperation among its member states.

On the other occasion the Minister dwelled upon the ways of putting into practice the outcomes of the Yerevan Summit, attaching special importance to enhancing of economic cooperation within Francophonie including through implementation of projects of common interest and participation in joint events within the Francophonie.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me at this point to come up focusing on the economic facet of cooperation with an outlook of the IT development in Armenia. 

The Information Technology industry is one of the most successful and fastest growing industries in Armenia, which relates to the relatively high level of the workforce, the number of companies in the industry and overall, high growth rate since the last few decades.

The constant growth of IT also comes from the technical and managerial qualities of the specialists. Armenian universities offer educational programs, which are designed to give high-quality professionals and do not have analogues in the world.

Among the numerous IT-companies which fully comply with international standards in the field of computer science, physics, and mathematics, are Synopsys with the biggest engineering office outside of the US, PicsArt with 100 million users on a monthly basis and investments from Sequoia Capital, Teamable with offices in San-Francisco and Yerevan working with clients like Spotify, Lyft, Robinhood.

IT sector, being one of the leading sectors in Armenian economy and ranking the 1st in the region, promotes technology innovation and productivity growth, focusing onto the development and implementation of software, outsourcing, and various IT-services. The Armenian IT companies are mainly specializing in software applications, while the majority of foreign companies are specialized in customized software development and outsourcing, chip design and testing, and networking systems and communications.

Armenia has been at the forefront of high-tech research, development, and production from the time of the Soviet Union. Since the beginning of the 1950s Soviet Armenia was a major center for critical research and development in a number of information technology segments, such as the development of industrial computing, electronics, semiconductors, software, and others. The country used to produce one-third of all military electronics during the Soviet period.

Then in 2000s, local as well as foreign IT companies, recognizing the need for concerted action and collaboration, established industry unions and initiated joint programs with educational institutions. These realities stimulated the government of Armenia to announce the IT sector as a priority at the end of 2000.

Presently there are over 12.500 software developers in Armenia. Around two thirds of Armenian IT output is exported to over 20 countries. In today’s Armenia, about 650 ICT companies are in active operation.

According to some projections on the growth of IT in Armenia, by 2025 the number of Software developers in Armenia will reach 30.000.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let mepresent to your kind attention one of the Armenian most original schools of its kind – TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. The school of innovative technologies opened its doors for children and teenagers in August 2011. Such a gift to the present generation of bright and motivated Armenians is a significant contribution to the educational fund of the country.

What is the goal of TUMO? The aim of the center, which attracts thousands of students from 12 to 18 years, is the fusion of advanced technologies and art, with the help of which teenagers – future experts in the fields of information technology, web design and graphics, programming, etc., will be able to realize themselves in the digital world and become competitive specialists.

TUMO has centers in Yerevan and some other Armenian cities, totaling 14 000 students. Two more centers are being currently created in Armenia. In 2018 the TUMO center was open in Paris. New centers are expected in Beirut, Moscow, Berlin and other foreign capitals.

In the sidelines of the state visit to Armenia in February 2018 H. E. Mr. Rumen Radev, President of Bulgaria, visited the TUMO center in Yerevan. "I am really highly impressed. Armenia is a state that thinks about future, and the future is our children", said the President.

And here is what President Rumen Radev said while delivering a lecture on "Socio-Economic Development of Bulgaria - Challenges and Perspectives" to the students of the Sofia University of National and World Economy on April 16, 2018: "I also want to give a somewhat later perspective to the education system. Out-of-school forms of education that can and should involve public organizations, parents, state. In February, during my visit to Yerevan, I took a look at the TUMO Creative Technology Center, created by public and private initiative, but with the huge support of the state. For me, it was a mixture of emotions. Admiration by the magnitude of the thought and actions of the hosts and a disturbance when compared to what we are doing here. Imagine an enormous beautiful building with halls filled with the latest generation of computer stations, cinemas and recording studios. And children, hundreds of children I saw that day, organized in groups and projects by young enthusiastic instructors.

And another important thing - part of the instructors were young Armenians who return periodically from the Silicon Valley, from Hollywood, from Google, from other world corporations, and with great pleasure share their knowledge and experience with these children aged 12 to 18 years. Such centers were already being built in otherArmenian cities as well as worldwide".

The President concluded with a need to build such a center "in any bigger Bulgarian city".

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With this encouraging message of President Rumen Radev, let me call upon the Francophonie member states and observers to consider the possibility of establishment of a Francofonie creative platform for mutually beneficial cooperation in ICT sector. In this context, I am sure that your valuable participation in the IT-related international events due in Armenia on the second half of this year will best contribute to this end.

Following the ambassador's speech, a video was presented, featuring the Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan, TUMO; a truly great achievement that the Armenians should be proud of.

The evening continued with a cultural program featuring Armenian artists and ended with a cocktail, at which everyone enjoyed the famous Armenian cognac "Ararat".

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum"

Above: H. E. Mr. Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Republic of Bulgaria, presenting the achievements, challenges and perspectives of the Armenian Rotational Representation within the International Organization of the Francophonie

Below: H. E. Mr. Armen Sargsyan. The famous Bulgarian-Armenian composer and singer Haygashod Aghasian performed the songs "To Armenia" and "The world is beautiful!". Alice Indjeian (vocal) and Velchan Velchanov (guitar) sang Champs Elysées and La vie en rose. Nara Arakelyan (piano) and Yervand Margaryan (trumpet) presented "You Must Believe in Spring" and "Autumn Leaves" (Michelle Legrain's music). The last two arrived the night before from Armenia exclusively for the concert that took place in Sofia under the patronage of the Armenian Embassy. It was organized by the Sofia Municipality and AGBU Sofia. H. E. Mr. Armen Sargsyan and Mrs. Sonia Avakian-Bedrossian, Honorary Chairman of AGBU Sofia; H. E. Mr. Armen Sargsyan with the musicians from Armenia.