Outcomes of the 1st Convention of the Future Armenian

The first pan-Armenian Citizens’ Assembly – The Convention of the Future Armenian – was a landmark and unprecedented event addressing the multifaceted challenges and opportunities facing the Armenians both within the Motherland and the Diaspora. The primary objective of the Convention was to bring together individuals with diverse and often conflicting perspectives in a single venue, to facilitate a dialogue that would cultivate mutual understanding around the selected three Goals of the Convention.

In general, this was the first attempt in the region and in the whole post-Soviet area to form public discussions through a participatory democracy format. Previous endeavors, mainly in town-hall meeting format, to establish similar participative models in Armenia or its neighboring countries have met with limited success. Given these challenges, the Convention set out to engage a society that was nominally democratic and traditionally conservative, aiming to adeptly spotlight and address its issues within a distinctively and purely western format: Citizens’ Assembly. The Convention was not only an exceptional and unique event in the Armenian reality, but also in the context of the global experience of civic assemblies. In this regard, it is noteworthy to state the following outcomes on the first pan-Armenian Citizens’ Assembly:

Society Level
  • The first attempt at Pan-Armenian civic dialogue on the national agenda

The Convention marked a pioneering endeavor in Pan-Armenian civic dialogue, setting a precedent for national agenda discussions across the Armenian communities worldwide.

  • A platform to overcome the polarization of Armenians and to formulate systemic solutions

The Convention served as a unique platform through which, regardless of political views and socio-economic status, all participants were able to discuss our common challenges and together find concrete solutions.

  • An act and measure to eliminate the atmosphere of despair and reactivate the society

One of the Aims of The FUTURE ARMENIAN Initiative is to dispel the prevailing sense of despair, reinvigorate the Armenian community and support all the efficient ways to overcome the crisis. The Convention has vital importance for this stance as a platform for discussing questions of the pan-Armenian importance and deliberating possible paths of achieving successful solutions.

Diaspora Level
  • Unprecedented high participation, exceptional representation of the Diaspora and effective involvement of all groups of society

Unlike the number of Citizens’ Assemblies held in Western countries[1], the Convention not only ensured much wider and greater participation and public representation, but also went beyond the restrictive regulations of the chosen format, presenting the 200 Armenians both from Armenian and its Diaspora and engaging the brightest representatives of Armenian expert mind in the pre-Convention preparatory expert work.

  • Participation of key entities and structures of the Diaspora in expert discussions and public debate

The traditional institutions of the Diaspora were integral participants in the expert discussions and public debates, contributing valuable perspectives and insights. This engagement not only enriched the dialogue with a diverse range of viewpoints but also underscored the critical role of diaspora communities in shaping the discourse and outcomes of the Convention.

Expert Level
  • In-Depth deliberation by expert groups

Consisting of over 100 high-profile experts with diverse backgrounds from Armenia and the Diaspora to define main framework of the problems and framing question for discussions, help the learning phase and develop proposals.

  • Pre-designed materials

During the Convention, all participants received reports of the Expert Committees, as well as pre-prepared informative videos and background materials prepared by experts. On each day of the Convention, participants began by studying the provided materials, which allowed for informed and more productive discussions.

International Level
  • The first Citizens’ Assembly in the post-Soviet area

As the first Citizens’ Assembly of its kind in the post-Soviet space, the convention stood as a significant milestone in the region’s democratic journey. The success of the Convention reaffirms the capability of Armenians, both in Armenia and the Diaspora, to engage and address common challenges using the most sophisticated and efficient mechanisms of problem-solving characteristic of a modern civil society.

  • The first Citizens’ Assembly to engage Diaspora

The Convention of the Future Armenian marked a historic first as both Armenia’s and the world’s inaugural Citizens’ Assembly to include the Diaspora. This pioneering event brought together participants from Armenia and its global diaspora to collaboratively shape their future.

  • The first Citizens’ Assembly to be held in a country with an ongoing conflict

The Convention of the Future Armenian stood out as the world’s first Citizens’ Assembly held in a country experiencing an ongoing conflict. This groundbreaking event showcased the commitment to civic engagement and dialogue amidst challenging circumstances.

  • External and independent evaluation

Several partners provided support to the Convention with their expertise. Iswe Foundation/OSCA provided strategy and governance advice, high-level methodology and process design, process delivery observation and reporting.

New approaches
  • Random selection process

200 participants of the Convention were selected from almost 6 thousand initial applications by a transparent lottery drawing and representative sampling method.

  • Highly inclusive approach

The first citizens’ assembly embraced a non-discriminatory policy, ensuring diverse participation regardless of views on the Initiative, and provided transport and accommodation for non-Yerevan residents, with options to follow live or join discussions online.

  • Independent format

The Convention, free from political ties and external influences, featured a transparent, self-governed voting process where diverse representatives and experts as observers facilitated the approval of initiatives through collaborative discussions and free expression.

  • Open public observation of the process

The Expert Committees’ meetings and the Convention enjoyed extensive, unbiased media coverage, with live broadcasts and interviews involving participants, experts, and guests, ensuring unrestricted media access for comprehensive event coverage.

  • Collective decision-making, voluntarily participating in voting process design and initiating new voting programs

The oversight and voting committee, with elected members from each table, was central to the Convention’s governance, managing secret ballots, initiative approvals, and elections, while the coordinator’s daily updates ensured transparency and collective participation.


The Convention as a Manifestation of Collective and Future-Oriented

The Future Armenian Initiative is built upon the foundational concepts of collectivity and thinking of the future.

Collectivity emphasizes the process of making collective decisions on key issues, aligning collective thoughts and efforts towards shared objectives and goals.

Thinking the future underscores a dedication to the future, recognizing the importance of addressing and understanding imminent and upcoming challenges in the present to navigate them effectively.

These principles are deeply embedded in the philosophy and ethos of the Convention, showcased through collaborative discussions and the pursuit of future-oriented solutions to today’s challenges.

The Convention, being called and formed for the realization of this vision, exemplifies and advances the philosophy and mission of the Future Armenian: to be collectively and future-oriented.


[1] The number of participants in past Conventions in Europe were significantly different from the 1st Convention of the Future Armenian. In numbers:

  • Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly 2016-2018 on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (99 participants),
  • French Citizens’ Convention for Climate 2019-2020 (150 participants)
  • British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform 2004 (160 participants)
  • Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform 2006-2007 (103 participants)
  • Gdansk (Poland) Citizens’ Assembly 2016 (60 participants)
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