In the 1970s, demand was high in Lebanon and other diaspora communities for teachers specializing in Armenian language, literature, and history. The Central Committee of Hamazkayin initiated the development of a higher institute of Armenological studies. For this purpose, a committee was formed and included Karekin Bishop Sarkissian (who later became Catholicos of the House of Cilicia, then the Catholicos of All Armenians), Vahe Setian, Hrach Dasnabedian, Shavarsh Torigian, Vahe Oshagan, and Yervant Pamboukian.
Based on the curriculum developed by this committee, Hamazkayin Higher Institute for Armenian Studies began its classes in 1974, with 15 students. But the Lebanese civil war interrupted the project’s high ambitions.
In 1979, the Institute gathered new students. In 1983, it presented its first graduating class of 21 students who had completed the four-year program.
At the end of the 2002-03 school year, the Hamazkayin Higher Institute for Armenian Studies presented its 21st graduating class, increasing its graduates to 146.
Over the course of decades, the Institute has made a constant effort to serve its mission. It created a young and dynamic resource of educators, editors, and dedicated professionals, who serve in the managing posts of various Armenian national institutions, in Lebanon and elsewhere.
The curriculum’s uniqueness posed a challenge for finding specialized lecturers. Some courses had to be produced for the first time in the diaspora. A large number of intellectuals in the Lebanese-Armenian community joined the teaching staff and provided their valuable input for the curriculum’s development.
Lack of financial means prevented the Institute from inviting specialized lecturers from other countries.
One of the significant dates in the Institute’s history was June 27, 1991, when the Institute and Yerevan State University signed an academic agreement. Because of that agreement, the Armenian Government recognized the Hamazkayin Higher Institute for Armenian Studies as a higher educational institution for Armenian studies and supported it.
As a result of this cooperation, 12 lecturers from Armenia specializing in Armenian literature and history lectured in the Institute. In the meantime, literary and publishing exchanges between the two institutions took place. An Armenian history textbook for the first year Middle school was prepared and published as a result of that cooperation. More than 30 graduates had the opportunity to complete their education at Yerevan State University.
Following five years of cooperation between the two institutions, the agreement was renewed in an official ceremony on December 4, 1996.
In the diaspora the Institute cultivated more faculty. Starting in the 2003-04 academic year, it organized qualifying classes for teachers, as well as deep specialization courses in various areas of the Armenian language.
Because of a lack of finances and the small number of candidates, the Institute stopped functioning in 2005.