Ask teens what is most commonly discussed when meeting long-forgotten relatives and classmates and the answer is always: “Humanities or mathematics?” The stereotype is that if you’re great at math, then you hate reading, and if you like music, writing, and drawing, then you’re awful at arithmetic.
Such divisions are no longer relevant for the new generation growing up in Armenia. Today’s kids don’t believe in these limitations and choose what they like, even if they’re incongruent interests at first glance. This, in fact, encapsulates TUMO’s approach, which blends art and tech.
What if we talk about the marriage between religion and tech? Can you imagine a clergy-member who spends his free time studying coding? It turns out that’s also possible.
One of TUMO’s students, Tigran Hakobyan, also known as Deacon Tigran Hakobyan, has been with TUMO since day one. Although he’s already 24 years old and he envisions his future serving God, he hasn’t stopped attending TUMO. During breaks between lessons at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, Tigran rushes from Etchmiadzin to Yerevan and participates in TUMO workshops. He has already successfully passed levels in programming, web development, photography, new media and a number of other learning targets.
One of his coaches says, “Tigran announced on the very first day at TUMO that he has a great desire to study programming and web development. It didn’t seem strange to me, until he told me that he was serving in the church.”
Getting in touch with Tigran isn’t so easy at the moment. He volunteered for service at one of the oldest monasteries in Artsakh, and he won’t be returning to Yerevan for the next three years. Even so, not wanting to completely cut ties with TUMO, he’s taking a three-year sabbatical from TUMO to return to his second favorite “job” as soon as he’s finished his service. Imagine an Armenian clergyman in the 21st century who, while pursuing his spiritual calling, spends his free time developing the country’s IT sector. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?