It is essential that young and intelligent people working at prospering Armenian companies and who conduct business of global importance know what kind of Armenia they would like to live in. Most of the smart Armenian youth nowadays are intentionally staying out of political processes in the country. Mainly because none of the political processes currently occurring in Armenia present any ideology for uniting people. This condition has created indifference and apathy: a normal counter-reaction to the loss in the war. Another big issue Armenians are facing is the lack of state mentality. Thus, there is a threat to Armenian statehood.
The “Future Armenian” initiative aims at gathering around it Armenians and friends of Armenia around a common table of discourse. 15 major Goals have been singled out, touching upon all necessary questions that need wise answers. There is much expertise around many of them. However, the critical point here is that we do not want to present our answers; we want to listen, find answers from among the broad public of smart, knowledgeable, caring people.
The three immediate objectives are:
- Have a finalized list of goals rooting from the 15 mentioned above by the end of July;
- Have over 100,000 signatories by the end of summer;
- Have a formed group of experts around each question/goal.
The 15th point in the list of the goals is talking honestly about us, our problems, how we face them. Being unrealistic about us and our reality harms us. We need to clearly assess where we are, what and who we are and where we are going.
A state-private collaboration is necessary. Armenia went through a massive crisis, and as practice shows, each crisis is an opportunity to rebuild, revive and stand up. The format that worked until now was as follows: since the Armenian government provides the security and the sovereignty of Armenia and Artsakh, the Diaspora is a passive giver, not getting involved in the political processes. However, that stopped being actual since December 2020. Losing the war and its consequences in cultural and psychological loss cannot be overlooked. The other face of the threat is the emigration not only from Armenia but also from the diaspora – Armenian-ness is being lost, only a tiny portion of Armenian Diaspora accept it, visit Armenia or care about it, as such. So, it’s high time the format is changed. It should not be somewhat like the Diaspora advising/overlooking the processes. The Diaspora should have an equal say, sitting there, being a part of the discussions that decide the country’s future. At the same time, having received the rights, it must take on some additional commitments. The network-government connection is the key. And it will work only when there is an ideology.
- The vision is as follows: if we have 100-200,000 signatories, it will give us legitimacy to speak on behalf of the nation. Whoever comes to power on June 21 needs to sit down with us and discuss a new agenda. The vast number of signatories will pressure the government to come to the discussion table. This is the time we bring an end to ignorance, bring them to learn to conduct a dialogue. We can no more afford to be patient and passive givers.
- Building a state mentality is vital; we should understand the value of statehood. Teamwork should be promoted and excelled. We need to learn to progress together.
- Ways to participate in the initiative are many. To name a few, everyone can be helpful by becoming a signatory and participate in the discussions; regardless of the profession and the specialty, every voice counts. Another way is the projects: there will be numerous projects running through the initiative, and more info will be available on the initiative’s website.
- There is no ready-made formula upon which we include, involve people or spread the word. There is still much to be learned from each other and done. All help is valuable.
- Some of the first steps the government should take have no cost: it needs to finally analyze the things that do not/have not worked. Secondly, we need to conduct an inventory of the entire Armenian space. A separate topic is the analysis of the effectiveness of the state apparatus: how many people work at which state institutions, their role, and their mission. There probably are positions we no more need or those that we need to have.
- The idea of being an Armenian is an exciting concept. There is a term, Armenian by Choice. Some are genetically and by passport Armenian, but they do not want or care about it; others, 1/8th Armenian or entirely from a different nationality, care and do much more for Armenia. And yes, these people are also involved and should be allowed to be involved in the initiative.
- There are various options of funding and fundraising within the initiative, starting from specific individuals taking up the responsibility of certain expenses/challenges and up to assigned funds for specific projects.
- The question with the government is put on the level that we call upon them to start collaboration. It is not a one-way work/ process. We need to join forces and collaborate. Collaboration is not like giving a donation or assisting in processes. It is a shared responsibility and shared ideology for a shared prosperous future.
- Alliance is a double-sided agreement. Before you think of who you should be allies with, you need to know what you can give in that alliance. We cannot demand and expect big countries to give something/protect or help us just based on the utter desire to help. It’s a giving and taking process. Therefore, before we understand who our allies should be, we need to know what we have and what we can give to that alliance.
- A vast population will not be reached the way we reach tech-savvy, well-educated youth through this initiative. But we take the initiative piece by piece, and when we overcome this stage, we will have “translators” who will use a simpler language to talk to the rest of the population. Nonetheless, I know that we are not going to have everyone on board.
- Education is a huge issue. There are 80 HEIs in Armenia with inferior quality of education that serve to give a diploma, but not education. This sector needs conceptual changes. The good news is that we have spectacular specialists of Armenian descent in education who would be willing to share their knowledge and skills with the Armenian education system.
- How we position Armenia in the world is very important. It needs a network approach. We could use numerous cultural and historic “landmarks” to brand Armenia; we need to be wise in this selection.
- There is no other way out, no other time and opportunity. This is our last chance to wake up and act. We should live not just to survive as a country but to prosper to the fullest potential – in Armenia and worldwide.