Leaders and intellectuals gather at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to discus future strategies for Armenians

LISBON — The Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation hosted a unique two-day seminar for Armenian leaders to discuss future scenarios. The gathering was a high-level forum where forward-looking strategic discussions took place in a private, invitation-only environment. It was held on 13-14 October 2014.”Armenians in 2115″ Strategy Seminar.

Participants reflected on trends that are shaping the Armenian world. Expert facilitators outlined certain key issues affecting Armenians, including developments in Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Europe, the Middle East, Armenia and the Armenian diasporas.

Questions discussed included the diaspora’s relationship with the Armenian government and civil society, engagement with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the sustainability of diasporan communities, and identity formulations. These were cross referenced with scenarios entailing Russian influence in Armenia, Turkey’s democratic development, the threat of war with Azerbaijan, the impact of the conflicts in the Middle East on Armenians, and dynamics within the EU.

Forty individuals took part in the seminar, representing the global Armenian community: Europe, North and South Americas, Turkey, the Middle East, Russia, and of course Armenia. Moreover, all major intellectual and community trends within the diaspora were present. Certain non-Armenian experts were also invited as discussion facilitators.

All the participants agreed that the meeting was of crucial importance and that the discussions must continue on a regular basis. There were suggestions to turn the initiative into a “Davos-like” series of meetings to debate strategy, coordinate activities and share information.

“It was a true privilege and rare experience to have such a select and diverse group of people gathered in one room to discuss the future of the Armenian people – homeland and diaspora,” said Martin Essayan, Trustee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and host of the seminar. “Many of the participants are eager to remain involved and commended the Foundation for its convening ability. The meeting was certainly indicative of the Armenian Communities Department’s new direction as an actor and convenor, rather than just a funder, within the Armenian world.”

The report of the proceedings of the seminar will be published.

The participants of the seminar were: M. Essayan and R. Panossian (hosts), N. Afeyan, P. Akkelian, A. Andonian, R. Ardhaldjian, K. Bardakjian, B. Busetto, A. Chalabyan, V. Cheterian, K. Der Ghougassian, D. Dink, Y. Djeredjian, O. Ghazarian, S. Ghazarian, F. M. Gocek, M. Grigorian, K. Hachikian, V. Hovsepian, J. Hughes, A. Ishkanian, A. Jilavyan, J. Karaaslanian, R. Kevorkian, J. Libaridian, R. Markosyan, S. Mironyuk, V. S. Marques, A. Nalci, S. Panossian, V. Papazian, S. Samuelyan, S. Simonian, N. Tavitian, H. Tchilingirian, H. Tchoboyan, K. Tololyan, R. Vardanyan, T. de Waal, Y. Zorian.

For further information contact: carmenias@gulbenkian.pt or +351 21 782 3429.

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