Podcast by Melik Buzand for the Telegram channel TOGARMA
May 27, 2021
The FUTURE ARMENIAN Co-Initiator
2020 was fatal for all. The pandemic worldwide, the war in Artsakh, and Armenia’s political instability are severe hardships that leave us with no other choice but to stand up and act. This is the critical moment in the history of Armenia and Armenians that decides the future of Armenia and the Armenian world. More than 8000 Armenians and friends of Armenia have already joined The Future Armenian Initiative. The future of Armenian-ness should be discussed widely, not only among the elite, not only among Armenians inside Armenia, but also among the Armenian Diaspora. This way, answers to essential questions can be found.
Whose responsibility is it? A person, a small group of people, one savior? The initiative aims to convey the idea that it is our collective responsibility. Through collective effort, we can achieve trust between the government and the public, the government and the Diaspora. The critical processes that happen in Armenia cannot and should not be reacted upon only by Armenians inside Armenia. Maximum use must be made of the advantages of the Armenian Diaspora.
How to build a proficient state and have sovereignty guarantees? How to make that state available for a broader scope of people to work and carry out their aspirations. Without global changes in the government system of Armenia (both the previous and the current governments have proven their inability), it will be impossible to do anything. We need strong candidates, but we also need solid national willpower. People should unite not around a person but around a vision and a model, which will be chosen as an outcome of the Future Armenian Initiative. This can become the new collaboration mechanism which imposes accountability on the government in the rule. This mechanism will also make better use of the Diaspora, turning it into a two-way partnership.
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. The loss in the war and its consequences in cultural and psychological impact cannot be overlooked. We can’t simply continue going to work, earn our living, elect leaders and put all the responsibility on them. It’s time to unite and act.
These are not the worst and the most challenging days in the history of Armenia. But our nation is a struggler. Mainly due to the vast number of talented, devoted and ambitious youth, we are sure that this initiative will succeed.
This is a vision where collective action is needed. Mass migration into Armenia is a significant portion of the solution to the problem. In this sense, Diaspora has no less responsibility.
A book called “At Crossroads” was being worked on by myself, together with Nune Alekian, Noubar Afeyan and many others. The book was finished in 2018 April and was widely published on open internet channels. Over 5000 people read and provided feedback. Many of them are experts across different fields. This way, we formed a group of people who are not indifferent about the future of Armenia. We used this pool of people during the preparatory phase of the Future Armenian Initiative as well. We sent the 10 Goals we had internally developed to 1200 people selected among them, and received feedback from 360. Discussions with them resulted in having the 15 Goals we have today in the Future Armenian.
To become a signatory, first of all, a person needs to be aware of the portion of the responsibility of a signatory and be ready to take it up. Afterward, be an active participant in the discussion sessions to be held from June onwards. Raise questions, find answers to questions, form groups, invite more people to join. The later stages will have well-formulated ideas and discussion results on all 15 Goals. As one of the initiative outcomes, we expect to have 50,000 families repatriate to Armenia from the Diaspora. Another outcome is the funds devoted to the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the Armenian-ness. Here people can go from sole theoretical discussions to projects on numerous platforms that will enable people worldwide to participate.
Restoration of the cultural and historical heritage of Western Armenia is one of the directions we put much effort in.
As non-politicians, our leverages to collaborate with the government are persistent, professional, massive and consistent influence and partnership. No government can withstand that. The solution to our problem lies creating public-private partnerships. This way, we can create a new ecosystem that cannot be developed by any one of the parties alone.
The new government needs to pertain to mutual responsibilities and mutual rights system. Public protests are not of much use here. Maybe they are a way to express emotions, but they don’t end in many results in the long run.
Discussions on Telegram channels and backyards need to convert to work. When I encourage people to act a certain way, I serve as a role model for them myself. My family and I do our share by getting Armenian citizenship by investing in Armenia, donating in Armenia, and serving Armenia.
The FUTURE ARMENIAN Initiative is represented by The FUTURE ARMENIAN Development Foundation. It is funded by Noubar Afeyan, Artur Alaverdyan, Richard Azarnia, Ruben Vardanyan.
All additional information will be forwarded to you in due course․ The list of new signatories is being updated on a daily basis.
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