Meeting with the members of Armenian American Chamber of Commerce
Discussion date and time
July 6, 2021
The Future Armenian Initiative was launched in April 2021. Currently, the number of its signatories has exceeded 80,000 people from Armenia (the majority) and 95 other countries. The most immediate objective is to have 100,000 signatories by the end of summer. This will testify to the indifference of a large number of Armenians and friends of Armenia to the future of the country and the nation and will give us the opportunity to really discuss and form the future agenda, legitimize it in our society.
The number of challenges Armenia and Armenians face is so immense that no single state, institution, organization or Diaspora can solve them. And when we come to think and plan for the future, it is not about dreaming, instead looking at the present, to see what we have, where we stand, and where we are heading to.
Why now? Now is a unique time when Armenia needs to get out of a deep crisis. At such moments it is easier for people to unite and work for a common goal. And secondly, we live in a time of the 21st century where institutions need to work with the network. And we hope that Armenia can serve a unique role for the world as the country to overcome its challenges through the collaboration between the state, the institutions and the global Armenian network.
The Armenian Diaspora has a massive potential in all possible terms: financial, human resource, connections, network. And the format by which the Diaspora was a passive giver and had no say, the format that worked for the Armenian governments before, cannot function anymore. Diaspora-Armenia collaboration needs a global transformation. At the same time, the diasporic Armenians must not only receive the right to participate in the life of the country, but also take on certain commitments.
We believe in private-public partnership involving both the private sector working in Armenia and the diaspora and public organizations. It is possible to create a strong and effective network. It is not easy and requires alternative approaches, but in this area we have a competitive advantage based on our historical experience. The most important mission of the initiative is the state- and the nation-building in the face of a severe crisis of trust throughout the world and the threat of loss of identity hanging over many peoples – the key threat of the new millennium. Armenians, as many other people, have distrust towards their governments, especially after the most recent turmoil in the country. People do not believe in their own future and the future of their children in their native land, and we must reverse this trend as soon as possible.
Therefore we need to feel responsible, we need to own the future of our country and gain back the trust that the future is in our hands, in the hands of each one of us. It is good to be proud of ourselves, to know our history and culture, but we also need to learn to accept other cultures whose representatives will want to come to Armenia to live here and do business side by side with us, like the Yezidi and Russian communities in our country.
Many people ask if The FUTURE ARMENIAN initiative is a political organization. We make it clear that this is a misunderstanding of our initiative. We are convinced that we will be able to solve the problems we face only by joining the efforts of people in Armenia and beyond, who are ready to bear responsibility together with political parties, public and charitable organizations for building our future.
It is important to understand that we are not trying to find a single savior. That doesn’t exist. The objective is to bring people together by discussing, building agendas, strategies and partnerships. We are aiming to build our reputation with the help and support of many Armenians inside and outside Armenia.
Many of our problems are rooted in our mentalities. Changing the mentality is the toughest issue. It takes time and much effort. It takes good will and determination. And it takes patience, to wait and believe in the change. Sometimes policies come to help this process, sometimes policy and regulation is not enough, and then consistency in the implementation of the adopted laws and regulations is necessary, and most importantly, a change in the understanding of what is acceptable in our society and what is not.
It is very important to discuss the problem related to the Armenian language. It is necessary to make enormous efforts and invest considerable funds in the support and development of the mother tongue. At the same time, we need to be realistic, understand and accept that if we want to use the potential of more than 7 million Armenians living outside of Armenia, it is important to find a balance in this delicate issue together, since the overwhelming majority of these people do not speak Armenian at the level expected of them in Armenia. How else can we ensure the repatriation of tens of thousands of families that are vital for the construction of a new Armenia? How can international specialists in various fields move to Armenia if we cannot create a system that will allow them to quickly adapt and start working together with local talents?
We will have a separate and serious conversation about our national identity. What key values do we need to preserve to remain Armenians? Who is an Armenian? By whom and by what criteria the Armenian-ness is determined? We should not be afraid to discuss these and many other questions from this area and find answers to them together.