Diaspora Ministry May Close

Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan speaks during the a luncheon while visiting Los Angeles in July, 2018
Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan speaks during the a luncheon while visiting Los Angeles in July, 2018

Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan speaks during the a luncheon while visiting Los Angeles in July, 2018

YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—The government is considering closing Armenia’s Diaspora Ministry or downgrading its status, Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan said on Thursday.

The ministry was set up in 2008 by then President Serzh Sarkisian. It is tasked with maintaining and strengthening the country’s cultural, educational and other ties with the worldwide Armenian Diaspora.

Hayrapetyan said the future of his ministry is now under review in line with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s plans to downsize the entire government.

“We are continuing to discuss [its future] right now,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “There are two options: the closure of the ministry or its reinforcement. I personally have proposed the latter option: an agency with greater functions and levers.”
The 28-year-old minister admitted that the ministry employing about 90 people has until now played a largely “symbolic” role. The government must set much more “ambitious” objectives for it, he said without elaborating.

In Hayrapetyan’s words, if the government does not accept his ideas it will likely decide to incorporate the Diaspora Ministry into another ministry or downsize it and lower its status.
Hayrapetyan is the youngest member of Pashinyan’s cabinet formed after the latter swept to power in May in a wave of mass protests. He is running as a candidate of the premier’s My Step alliance in parliamentary elections scheduled for December 9.

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11 Comments

  1. Սարգիս Տաղտէվիրեան said:

    It’s not the Ministry that is in fault, but the ministers, including this last one, who don’t have the proper vision and are not executing the true steps to unify the different Diaspora organizations’ and groups’ goals into one program to solidify them and help Armenia.
    When a minister doesn’t respect and doesn’t acknowledge the Diaspora martyrs for the Armenian Question (specifically Lisbon 5 heroes), not only he doesn’t belong to any Armenian government paid post, but with his failed tenure, the future of the Diaspora Ministry should not be jeopardized.

  2. Serop said:

    This so called Diaspora Ministary is a total farce. Its only duty is to fool Diaspora Armenians in a false sense of belonging or being part of the Armenian nation, they do not value our contributions in any area and have an arrogant attitude towards the Diaspora,
    The mentality is come to Armenia, spend, invest but shut up if and when you are asked to.
    Even ARF has become part of the Clan like culture in Armenia.
    I for one have given up finally, because my nation Australia is far more giving, careing & genuine then the thugs & criminals that still run the nation, bleed it and keep 80% of the population living under the poverty line

    • State of Emergency said:

      Actually, yo have been fooling yourself all this time. You’ve been brainwashed to accept all things Armenian, however, all things Armenian are not equal. I suggest you keep your nationalism and continue to maintain your Western Armenian values and heritage.

  3. Vram said:

    But seriously, what is sad is the fact that there are people in the Diaspora who really believed every single word the Minister uttered during his visit. THAT is sad!

  4. joe said:

    This makes no sense. The problem with Armenia isn’t that ‘it has too big a government’ but rather the lack of true democracy, opportunity and blatant corruption that’s plagued it for years. For Armenia to survive and grow to its full potential, the diaspora needs to play a LARGER role, not be minimized. Im still waiting for diaspora military units to be incorporated within the Armenian army. (When is this going to happen?) Armenia needs the diaspora fully and not just as a symbolic entity. IF true, this is a crazy idea by the current government and needs to be reversed..

  5. Claudia said:

    How can Mr Pashinyan encourage Armenians to repatriate,
    which is great, but then he wants to close the Diaspora branch of the government ?

  6. Edward Demiraiakian said:

    The Diaspora ministry was a good idea that did not work. It had no clear mandate. It made announcements and speeches, but cannot point to one Armenian family plucked from some refugee camp and resettled in Armenia or Artsakh. With the demographic problems in both Armenia and Artsackh, I would think that the resettlement of rural communities of Armenian descent would have a high priority. Did it do any physical thing that I can go and see? Having pointed to it’s failures, I would like to point out that the very idea of it’s existence is hopeful. It’s leadership is just not qualified. It is not sufficiently
    proactive.

    • Viken said:

      The Diaspora ministry was ill-formulated from the start. It’s a classical example of what we Armenians call a “Dan hashiveh shougan tchanznir” (Տան հաշիւը շուկան չանցնիր — what’s good for internal purposes is not necessarily good overall) situation. Technically, the ministry shouldn’t exist as such: no sovereign country could legally tolerate that a ministry from another jurisdiction develop any activities on its territory without legal grounding. It should function as a section of the ministry of external affairs, with its envoys presented as special attaches in the corresponding embassies/consulates.

  7. Vazken said:

    I suggest, all diaspora’s Armenians should unite through their organisations, and create a “Diasporas Armenian Congress” (nowDAC):
    The DAC elects a representative like an ambassador to represent Armenian Diaspora in the Armenian Parliament.

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