www.dorasakayan.com > press releases > Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Canada (2001)
Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Canada
7 Delaware Ave
Ottawa Ontario K2P 0Z2
Tel. (613) 234 3710
On June 28, 2001, Dora Sakayan, Professor of German Studies, McGill University, Montreal, was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her contributions to the research on and teaching of the German language and culture for 50 years, both in the former Soviet Union - particularly Armenia - and since 1975 at McGill University in Montreal. The Cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) was founded in 1951 by President Theodor -Heuss; it is the highest recognition granted to German and foreign citizens for services rendered to the Federal Republic of Germany in various areas of cultural, political, economic, and intellectual life.
On behalf of the German Government the highest distinction was bestowed upon Professor Sakayan by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Montreal, Dr. Helmut Göckel. The ceremony took place at a reception held at the General Consul's residence in honor of Prof. Sakayan. Present at the ceremony were the Consul of the Republic of Armenia and the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Canada, representatives of academic circles, the Armenian Apostolic Church of Canada, the Armenian communities of Montreal and Ottawa, as well as colleagues, friends and family members of Prof. Dora Sakayan.
In his introductory speech Dr. Göckel praised Prof. Sakayan for her outstanding role in the advancement of Germanistics and applied linguistics, emphasizing particularly her numerous and valuable publications in the area of DaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache = German as a Foreign Language). He stressed her merits not only as an excellent teacher of German but also as an educator who trained young specialist-germanists over the decades, both in Armenia and Canada. He indicated her diverse teaching-related initiatives, as for instance the improvement of the Curriculum in the Department of German Studies at McGill University. He also commended her for upholding close scientific ties with the academic world of the Federal Republic of Germany over the decades, even at times when this was not an easy endeavour in the former Soviet Union.
Responding to Dr. Göckel's speech and thanking him for the distinguished award, Professor D. Sakayan asked him to transmit her deep feelings of gratitude to the President of the Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau. She then gave a brief and emotional account of her journey that led her to this great moment paying tribute to people and academic institutions which played a decisive role in what she achieved. She concluded her speech with the words: "Looking back upon my professional life of almost 50 years, I can say that they have been a great source of fulfillment and gratification. Today's high recognition of my work by the German government, which I share with the Armenian people around the world, I would like to see as the crowning achievement of my career, which by no means is the conclusion of it. It will give me more enthusiasm and energy to continue my creative work in Canada, Germany and Armenia. Thank you very much: I will carry this Cross with pride."