I'd ask that waste management be considered as part of the overall plan.
Trash and litter fit on the top-ten list of initial impressions about Armenia, important to consider when we want people to return here.
Our beautiful marzes are lined with discarded bottles and bags. Trash dumped into gulleys leads to toxins carried by small streams into rivers and ultimately to farms. Batteries and fluorescent bulbs leaching metals into our water can cause neurologic problems that will certainly be a challenge to diagnose.
Currently there is paper, glass and plastic recycling available. We should push for battery, fluorescent and e-waste recycling.
Jerry M., USA
Հայոց ցեղասպանությունը պետք է դիտարկել որպես Հայկական հարցի՝ Հայաստանի և Արցախի հարցերի անբաժանելի մաս։ Հայկական հարցը միայն անցյալի մասին չէ, այլ նաև մեր ներկայի և ապագայի, որի շուրջ ամենօրյա աշխատանք է պետք տանել։
There is a shortage of Armenian teachers in Armenian schools abroad. I think low pay is also one of the reasons. Armenia is obliged to take care of that. It is possible to send teachers for a certain period of time and provide them with a place of residence and a salary.
First of all, I salute this great work of analysis and reflection that you have carried out.
Here are my brief remarks:
Tourism. Indeed, the near absence of direct flights and at "comfortable" times is a real brake. Moreover, there is a lack of translated Armenian literature and tourist guides about Armenia in European bookstores. There is an obvious lack of general knowledge about Armenia (culture/art, architecture, music, cuisine...) and its history. It is necessary to publish books for potential tourists who are looking for original and authentic destinations.
Tourism that includes the discovery of Armenia's rich biogeography should be developed (in addition to ecotourism and cultural and religious tourism).
Agriculture: some serious questions to be asked. I will be very cautious with the proposal of intensification in the agricultural field (fertilizers, chemistry/phytosanitary and especially, the seed!). This orientation presents strong environmental and human health risks, as the European experience has shown. Armenia is not an agricultural country that can "feed the world", but it has undeniable assets because Armenia represents a "Hot-spot" of biodiversity and endemism. Thus, more than productivity, it is the promotion (and conservation!) of endemic and local species that should be put forward. Moreover, it would be necessary to think about "seed banks of crops and "wild" plant species" to be developed or to enrich the existing world collections. I see Armenia as a country where organic agricultural production would be largely dominant: these are modern "trends" that can bring a real added value to our agricultural or natural products without such a significant harm to the environment and health of intensive and technological agriculture. The world is in full restructuring and abandonment of intensive agricultural production: we must join this movement and preserve our small country.
" The use of advanced seeds and agricultural technology” - concretely, what are we referring to (not the "Monsanto" type approach, I hope)?
Focus on production of essential products (grains, fodder, pork) to achieve self-sufficiency and food security. Expansion of exports to target countries (Russia, Ukraine, UAE, Saudi Arabia), including fruits, tobacco and wine products.
Why focus on pig farming? One of the most problematic breeding from an ecological point of view! - Only "traditional" extensive breeding, in semi-freedom (like in Corsica or Spain: food by the big oak trees, etc.) could be suitable, in my opinion. Ex. sheep and goats in mountain pastures, etc.
We could promote/export cheeses, dairy products (matsoun type, etc.) in Russia and elsewhere; our canning factories (vegetables, fruits) are famous...
Eventually, "local" spirits.
Reclamation of fallow lands to expand land use by encouraging consolidation to increase production
Attention should be paid to soil depletion (a big problem in the world) and in Europe at present, while Armenia does not have large cultivable areas (except for the Ararat valley).
It is necessary to think about the establishment of the units of treatment - valorization of manure / dung / organic waste in general. Currently, there are organic fertilizers production units (humic and fulvic acids, etc.) which are not very energy consuming and should be installed near the farms/sources of raw materials.
Use of high technologies in agriculture: yes (e.g. use of satellite data for crop management), but taking into account the climatic, geological and edaphic specificities of Armenia - a whole applied science to develop!
In a general way, I noticed serious problems of waste disposal and garbage cans in Armenia (no sorting nor recycling/valorization of waste)...
The energy question is not addressed in the summary, although it is a key question for all the economic and social branches and a sine qua non condition for the independence of the country. What about "renewable" resources (solar, geothermal, hydro...)?
About the management of water resources - France seems to me to be a good example with its watershed approach, applying the "polluter-pays" principle, the mutualization of fees to safeguard the environment... Water is declared a non-alienable national asset.
Education / Teaching: languages - in addition to English, Russian could make a comeback so that Russian specialists can contribute their knowledge. Today, only the generation of the 60-70s still speaks Russian + the diaspora in Russia.
I am not sure that the public education in the USA (except for the big schools and universities) is an example to be taken! Serious problems are well known in the schools (kindergarten, primary, secondary, high school) in the USA. Good examples are Finland and Korea.
Health: Armenia can develop a network of health care centers (in particularly suitable places: mountains, thermal waters, as in Switzerland) or personal services for foreign retirees (especially of Armenian origin).
Industry/ technology: Transition from low-cost outsourcing to specialized value-added services to increase productivity and protect the economy from the growth of multinational corporations
Yes and yes again! Armenia was once known by the production of high value-added goods. It would be necessary to find the fields where specialization and high qualification of workers can be an asset and compete with China and India (electronics, IT...). Moreover, this field will allow the development of partnerships with foreign countries. Quality and originality (at the cutting edge of technology) are the key words for Armenia (like Japan).
I hope that my questions and my personal feeling can help to better formulate the directions to be developed in Armenia.
Maia A., France
Armenia should really become a magnet to collect the particles of the Diaspora.
Back in July 2020 after the Tavush war, I realized that we, the Armenian diaspora need to do something for Armenia right away. Most Armenians in Diaspora have average paid jobs and unless we combine our resources for a specific well-planned project/s, the resources can be easily dissolved. The initial idea was to streamline the borderline villages in Armenia and Artsakh with building shared infrastructures and services that would motivate the rural population, give them hope about the future, make their lives productive and secure, and even boost tourism. Strong underground shelters; Water /Sewer; Electrical/gas grid/solar power; Rural and inter-village-town roads; Irrigation schemes; Area Center/Farmers Market; Kindergarten/Schools. Many things have changed since then. I however, keep thinking that we in diaspora have to do something NOW, today. The idea is this:
1. Gather likeminded donners, who are willing to commit to a rolling 1-year (or more) monthly contribution of $100.
2. Create a secure website (even thought of a name Մի Ծաղկով Գարուն) for donors, admin and the project team.
3. Find a trustworthy group of professionals who will implement the project/s (I understand the project selection and priorities can be different today).
4. Make all contributions, spending and accomplishments transparent via the website.
5. If one-year pilot is successful continue the initiative for next year/s. These are really high-level points and I am sure many others have suggested similar concepts, but the idea of fixed amount monthly contributions targeted on strategic shared services project/s, and the project implementation transparency might be something that will bring many Armenians together who are eager to do something tangible right away. Some of us have dreams/plans moving back to Armenia one day, working part time for Armenia, etc. These are all good plans, but we need to act now as the circumstances are changing rapidly and we can’t afford delaying what we can do today.
Armine L., USA
1. The main problem in governance, economy, etc is uncertainty
2. Economic aspect of Eurasian Economic Union will be complete if countries of Middle Asian countries will be a common economic zone without having common borders
3. GDP distribution is more important that its absolute value, when measuring economic development
4. Education creates gross value added, however there is a gap between labor market and academia
5. It is important to increase integration between Armenia and Artsakh and use the whole economic potential of Artsakh
6. Artsakh has good environment for agriculture (Intensive gardens, smart barns), and huge educational potencial
7. Education is the key for our country's development
8. We don't have good governance, strategic and institutional approach
9. It's important to formulate a vision
Vahagn Kh., Armenia
One of the ways to preserve the heritage is to enrich it in a new way, to add something new to the existing one.
I suggest that we as community come up with strategy initiatives, and give opportunity for the signatories to join the initiatives they can add value the most. During one of the calls with Ruben Vardanyan, he was mentioning the importance of having focus areas, which have the most potential to grow and develop in Armenia. I completely agree with his thinking and believe that The FUTURE ARMENIAN can start with a few focus industries, such as Tech, Education, Agritech, etc. Later, each industry will have separate initiatives which people can actively contribute to. This will not only help set actionable goals, but also will improve the sense of community. The signatories will get to know each other, work together, and hopefully even more people around the world will become signatories, as they will be able to come and contribute with something they are passionate about.
Suzie M., UK
I think that the Diaspora should play an active role in the internal life of Armenia, but our statesmen are not friendly and make even starting a business here a big headache.
We must create a mechanism by which the peoples who experienced Genocide can receive compensation for the losses they suffered.
Հրաշալի գաղափար` համախմբվել Հայաստանը հզորացնելու շուրջ և շոշափելի արդյունք ստանալու համար` հատկապես կրթության բարելավմանը պիտի ուշադրություն դարձնենք։ Հզոր է այն պետությունը, որի քաղաքացին գիտակ է իր ոլորտում, իր մասնագիտության մեջ։ Ինքս կրթական ոլորտում արդեն 12 տարի է մասնագիտական արագացված դասընթացների միջոցով` ՀՀ աշխատաշուկան համալրում եմ որակյալ, մրցունակ կադրերով։ 44օրյա պատերազմից հետո բազմաթիվ հայորդիներ, հաշմանդամության տարբեր աստիճան ստացած իրենց կյանքի ուղին և ապագան չեն կարողանում պլանավորեն։ Արտ Հաուս ուսումնական կենտրոնում նրանցից շատերին պատիվ ունեցանք դասավանդելու և փորձում ենք աշխատատեղի հարցում օգնել, բայց խնդիրն ավելի գլոբալ է, և ձեր, մեր բոլորի ուժերի մոբիլիզացիայի կարիքը կա։ Այդ սերունդն է, որ պիտի ապրեցնի ԱՊԱԳԱ ՀԱՅԿԱԿԱՆԸ և հակառակը։