Meeting with the UK Armenian Сommunity
Discussion date and time
July 3, 2021
This is the critical moment in the history of Armenia and Armenians that determines the future of the Armenian world. The “Future Armenian” initiative aims at gathering Armenians and friends of Armenia to a common table of discourse. 15 major Goals have been singled out, touching upon all necessary questions that need wise answers.
The initiative aims to convey the idea that it is our individual responsibility to engage and act. 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
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 commitments.
An important deliverable of the initiative is the repatriation of 50,000 Armenian families to Armenia. That will serve as a huge impetus for economic growth and change of mentality. A quasi-sovereign fund of $3-5 billion would be essential to the long-term infrastructure creation process. This will aim at improving the efficiency of doing business in Armenia. Another fund will support enhancing the Armenian language study. Armenia should work toward adopting three state languages, however, a special emphasis should be given to Armenian.
Investment environment – how to attract more investments into Armenia? This is an important issue that needs to be addressed carefully , but it should start on the mentality level. Significant amount of money enters Armenia annually but it is spent on consumption and is rarely invested in business or savings. This needs to be addressed. The industry in Armenia is on a very low level, there is not much production and the export is mainly based on molybdenum and copper. Therefore we need foreign players to bring their business mentality and change the business environment.
The solution will be to bring as many projects as possible, make them sizable and applicable for Armenia, incorporate the right managers and bring in the foreign managerial know-how, and run businesses.
During the unstable times that we live It is easy to think that nothing much depends on separate individuals with not much political power. Here is where Thinking collectively kicks in. We all have a share, we all are responsible for the future of Armenia. Therefore, by sitting somewhere in Paris, Moscow, or LA we cannot change things, we need to get together, come to Armenia, and act.
This collaboration needs to be mutual, transparent, without bureaucracy. Bridges will be built with the government to enable private-public partnerships.
After losing the war there is deep apathy and indifference in people. As a first step towards bringing people together, we should talk about the future without delving into who is corrupt or not. We have to step out of that discourse and bring everyone to the same level.
Where do we start from – we start by showing that we care. 100,000 people in the initiative would be equal to 100,000 people in the square (a reference to the 2018 revolution). The next step – 50,000 families move to Armenia during the next two years. And thirdly, honest, transparent, and straightforward discussion on who and what we have, where we are and where we are heading.
It will be important to study other countries’ examples of Diaspora-State relations and whether we can have a social contract between Armenia and its Diaspora. I can only say that our case is unique, of course, we can watch and learn, but we need to come up with our unique way of establishing relations with the Diaspora.
People involved in the initiative have some ideas and know some answers, but the idea is to open the floor to a broad discussion and give voice to numerous specialists of various fields, listen to more opinions and then arrive at a better decision.
Looking at the global geopolitical vision regarding green energy will help us define how Armenia can move forward. Energy and issues related to it are a big portion of the discussions within the Future Armenian initiative.
How to avoid populism during elections and in general is an important question. Security is a major question people want to have answers to. On the other hand, we need to be clear about what we want and what we are willing to do for that.