YEREVAN — The 5th Armenia-Diaspora Conference kicked off at the Alexander Spendiaryan National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet on September 19. The conference is organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora.
The event has brought together more than 1,000 representatives, including 741 leaders and representatives of Armenian structures and organizations from nearly 60 countries around the world, a 20-member delegation from Artsakh, as well as 310 state, political, cultural figures, scientists and journalists from the Republic of Armenia. There are many Armenian participants from Russia (129 participants), Syria (103 participants), Lebanon (74 participants), USA (77 participants), Georgia (45 participants), France (31 participants), Iran (25 participants) and Canada (22 participants). There are also delegates from distant countries, including Australia (15 delegates), Argentina (11 delegates), Chile (3 delegates) and the South African Republic (1 delegate).
The plenary session began with opening remarks by RA Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, who particularly mentioned: “It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome you in this warm atmosphere. The conference serves as an opportunity for us to appreciate the power of the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora triumvirate in Armenia. We are strong when we stand united as one. Armenia is strong with its two “wings”-the two Armenian States and the Diaspora. All Armenians share the same interests.”
The RA Prime Minister stressed the fact that a new qualitative stage of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership began with the establishment of the RA Ministry of Diaspora. “It’s a pleasure to see how the RA Ministry of Diaspora managed to establish contacts with Armenian organizations and representations in all four corners of the globe,” Abrahamyan mentioned.
In his welcoming remarks, President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan mentioned the following: “The holding of the 5th Armenia-Diaspora Conference goes to show that it has already become a traditional event. We must do everything possible to make sure the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora triumvirate remains strong and helps strengthen our two countries. Our coordinated efforts, the high level of readiness of Armenian soldiers and our will during the tension on the border between Karabakh and Azerbaijan in the summer made the opponent fail.”
His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians brought his blessing to the participants of the conference from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and mentioned that all the previous conferences have also been successful in terms of the strengthening of bonds between the Homeland and the Diaspora.
The Catholicos attached importance to the growth of Armenian families ahead of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The Catholicos also mentioned that since the very first days of the Syrian crisis, the Church and the State have taken all measures to raise the issue at the international level so that the displaced people, particularly the Syrian-Armenians are able to return to their homes.
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia gave his blessing to the participants of the conference, regretted to talk about emigration and the issues of Artsakh that remain unsolved and mentioned that the Diaspora also faces challenges. “The capacities of our communities are becoming insufficient compared to our needs. We don’t have the right to show a circumstantial approach to issues of national concern. As we approach the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, we don’t have the right to stay indifferent toward the destroyed assets of our nation. It is every Armenian’s duty to make a contribution to the sincere and righteous struggle for recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and elimination of the consequences,” Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia stated.
Patriarch-Catholicos Nerses Petros XIX of the Armenian Catholic Church gave his blessing, attached importance to recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Armenians’ claims and considered the potential of Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora and the unity of religious organizations necessary in order to achieve the goal.
Opening remarks were also delivered by representative of the ARF-D Bureau Hrant Margaryan; Chairman of the Central Committee of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Hagop Dikranian; Chairman of the Central Committee of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) Mike Kharapian.
The second plenary session included speeches on four main topics by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan (Current Priorities and Future-Oriented Objectives of the Armenia-Diaspora Partnership); Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, secretary for the State Commission in charge of Coordinating the Events Dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Hayk Demoyan (On the Organizing of Events Dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide); Head of the Task Force in charge of Coordinating Activities with Syrian-Armenians, Chief of Staff of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Firdus Zakaryan (On the Key Issues of Syrian-Armenian Refugees in the Republic of Armenia) and President of the Coordinating Body for Pan-Armenian Forum of Journalists (on The Role of Armenian Media in the Globalizing World).