Aram I Urges Pashinyan to Keep Diaspora Ministry

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia during an interview with Yerkir Media
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia during an interview with Yerkir Media

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia during an interview with Yerkir Media

YEREVAN—His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, in a letter to Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan praised the work carried out by the Diaspora Ministry, saying the “Diaspora needs a Diaspora Ministry.”

In his letter, Aram I also expressed hope that the Diaspora would be a priority for the new government.

“I think, given the strategic importance of the existence of the Diaspora ministry, and at the same time its symbolic meaning—because sometimes the symbolic meaning is much more vital than the strategic or political ones—it is important for the Diaspora to have a Diaspora ministry,” Aram I said in an interview with Yerkir Media’s Yerkirn Aysor program.

“Our approach to the Diaspora should be different because if we have nearly 3 million Armenians in Armenia, the remaining 8 million Armenians live in the Diaspora. During the past years the Diaspora ministry has carried out huge works, and we first of all should express our appreciation,” he said, adding that the closure of the ministry might impact Diaspora Armenians negatively.
On Thursday, Pashinyan commented on the proposed dissolution of the Diaspora Ministry saying that the new government’s aim is to make relations and partnership with the Diaspora more effective.

“I would like to especially touch on the case of the Diaspora Ministry, because I think there is a misunderstanding as if we want to [write-off] the Diaspora Ministry. In fact it is just the opposite,” said Pashinyan.

He explained that the proposed formulation would “make the relations and partnership of the government with the Diaspora more effective and in this context we have a certain model and proposal, that implies that the level of relations with the Diaspora will essentially be elevated, not reduced.”

“Our objective is to increase the level of productivity of relations in order to be satisfied with both the process and recorded results. We will proceed with coherent, firm and measured steps. I am sure that the solutions must prove their viability and of course must satisfy all those who are concerned with the efficiency of the state administration in Armenia,” added Pashinyan.

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13 Comments

  1. Dr.Hermon Mihranian said:

    I can hardly understand why the present Yerevan authorities think there is no need for a diaspora ministry. To it looks like the government is on the wrong track. Do they consider that diaspora armenians are not armenians? If so this is a great misery.
    Dr.Hermon Mihranian

  2. Ararat said:

    Based on Pashinyan’s many speeches it is quite clear that he is one of the most pro Diaspora leaders we have ever had. While many previous Armenian leaders have treated the Diaspora as a cash cow “Կթան Կով” and have viewed it as a base for financial support only without any interference in the Armenian politics, Pashinyan has spoken openly and has encouraged all the Diaspora Armenians to move there, to open businesses and to invest in the future of the country. In many of his speeches he has not only NOT made any distinctions among the Armenians in the homeland, Artsakh and the Diaspora, but he has always stressed about unity and equal opportunity for all. I do believe in his sincerity in these matters. What I don’t understand is why the decision was made to do away with Diaspora ministry. I have not seen or read anywhere why this decision was made. Perhaps there are various institutions within the government that are already dealing with such issues or maybe they decided to eliminate the Diaspora ministry by merging with the ministry of culture or something to that effect. This is a big mistake!

    In any event, the reasons for dissolving the Diaspora ministry are not stated officially and it is not clear what their plan is in this regard. But I do agree with the Catholicos that the Armenian Diaspora needs a Diaspora ministry. Three times as many Armenians live in the Diaspora as they do in the homeland and this is such a major and critical issue that there has to be a ministry dedicated to the Armenian Diaspora to handle numerous issues and do it independently of all others. It is also symbolically important because it can not only narrow the gap, if not fully eliminate it, between the homeland and the Diaspora but it can also act as a bridge between the two. The mere existence of such a ministry will make Diaspora an inseparable part of the homeland in earnest and it will also promote confidence building and eventual repatriation. I hope our leaders will wise up and realize the enormous potential of the Diaspora, in numbers and resources, for the homeland and come to the conclusion that such massive task can not be accomplished without creating an independent ministry dedicated to it.

  3. Edward Demiraiakian said:

    As I saw it, the diaspora ministry wasasymbolic position. I wouldliketosee it kept but revamped. It need to set goals, such as so many settlements per year, setting up a network of commercial attaches in far flung areas, etc. a well run ministry should not be run by a former Soviet era apparatnick, but by modern entrepreneurial types.

  4. keyser soze said:

    The diaspora needs to have a voting rights in the internal affairs of Armenia like some other countries do.

    • Ararat said:

      I think all the diaspora Armenians with Armenian citizenship should have the voting rights there but not necessarily those who never been there, never lived there and are not citizens of the Armenian republic. To vote for candidates or to vote for issues one knows nothing about makes no sense. I think you have to be part of a society to be able to make decisions for it. Otherwise your vote is meaningless and it can be taken advantage of by special interests!

  5. HAGOP said:

    TO COLLAPSE THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA MINISTRY IS TO FORCE THE DIASPORA BACK TO ARMENIA!!!!!! ARMENIA IS FREE AND INDEPENDENT!!!!! ARMENIANS ALL OVER THE WORLD CAN PACK THEIR BAGS AND GO LIVE THERE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! THERE IS ONLY ONE GOVERNMENT OF ARMENIA AND THAT IS IN ARMENIA!!!!! NO NEED TO HAVE 1,000 CHEFS IN THE KITCHEN (1,000 ARMENIAN KNOW IT ALLS) AROUND THE WORLD. IF THEY ARE THAT SMART, THEY CAN PACK THEIR BAGS AND MOVE TO ARMENIA AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE THERE!!!!!

    • Ararat said:

      Hagop – If things were as simple as you explained all diaspora Armenians would now be in Armenia in their kitchens making dolma! It is not as easy as you may think they are. There are many generations of Armenians born in the diaspora who have set roots in their communities and they can’t just get up and move there. To make such a move has to be part of a gradual process. Besides, not all Armenian diasporas are equal. Some are fairly recent and others are quite old. The chances are that the older these communities are the less connection they probably have with their Armenian roots. Then there is the language issue. Some have full command of the language and others either don’t or have very little knowledge of it. Even if we ignore all these things, the most important thing for people to move there is that they feel a sense of belonging there and that they can live and pursue their goals there and make contributions to the country as a result. As you may know, many who moved there and opened businesses there were disappointed by the level corruption there in the previous years because of many unscrupulous officials taking advantage of these people. So to some extent the people’s confidence level is down or even they has been shattered by these former corrupt officials and that things have to be reversed. I think the new government there is doing exactly that welcoming disapora Armenians to move there, make investments, and feel part of the society there. The new popular Armenian leader Pashinyan is on the right track and trying to undo decades of corruption there and that is going to take a long time. Despite all the past negativeness I still believe that those Armenians who live in neighboring countries will get up and move there tomorrow regardless because their love for their homeland is unconditional and nobody can deny them that. It is the rest of the disapora population that we need to work on!

  6. Zareh Sahakian said:

    I think Pashinyan’s Diaspora policy is misunderstood. Many respectful commentators have agreed that what used to be Diaspora Ministry was a huge machine, with a huge personnel (often suffering from nepotism) that did not justify itself, symbolic or otherwise. What Pashinyan is proposing is to overhaul the system. People think that he is undermining the Diaspora, on the contrary he wants to give it a higher, more functional, more efficient working order by either incorporating it into the more powerful Ministry of foreign affairs ( or a sub-committee of it, which is the case with Israel) or creating a committee (not ma government ministry) that is answerable to the prime minister.

    I think we should wait and see how the responsibilities are distributed in the yet-to-be formed government and give it a time to see how things progress. The old worn-out and totally incompetent Diaspora Ministry formed in 2008, and run by equally incompetent ex-communist youth-wing leader Hranush Hakopyan had proven to be a useless “window dressing” and for 10 years squandering the full potential of Diaspora….not unlike the criminal oligarchic regime of Sarkissian which Hakopyan belonged to.

    • Ararat said:

      That may be true and given Pshinyan’s pro diaspora stance and his popular reputation I personally don’t doubt that is indeed the case, but I still think that having a ministry solely dedicated to the diaspora is quite important both symbolically and in terms of its operation. It gives real importance to the diaspora and gives their communities a sense of belonging to the homeland. The existence of such a dedicated ministry will potentially eliminate diaspora’s perception that they are just a cash cow for the authorities there as they mostly were in the previous years.

  7. Vahe said:

    Russia and Putin want NO Western Diasporan influence in Armenia.

    No even one person, not money, no NGO, no media, no weapons, no companies, and no Diasporan demands on Russia’s friends (Turkey and Azerbaijan).

    These are facts,

  8. ardachece barseghian said:

    Attendons et voyons, mais l’existence de ce ministère, depuis l’implosion du système soviétique, n’a été qu’une succession au service de la pure propagande néo-soviétique a seule fin de drainer des fonds … detrournes … puis je pense que ce ministère devrait revenir a un conseil de citoyens de la diaspora des divers continents avec un réel pouvoir politique, car a ce jour, jamais le point de vue de la diaspora ou de ses citoyens residants au pays n’ont droit a AUCUNE place d’expression dans les medias. Depuis 28 ans je tente de me faire entendre EN VAIN, amen ton fric, fait toi arnaque et ferme ta … a l’appui d’une carte d’identite nomme “particuliere” que j’ai du paye 140 000 dram avec l’obligation legale de justifier d’un certificat de bapteme de l’eglise apostolique d’ETCHMIADZINE … ” ari doun” pari kaloust, aysor “mi kayl aratch” IAYLA DJAN IAYLA

  9. ardachece barseghian said:

    Let’s wait and see, but the minister, since the implosion of the Soviet system, has been a succession of people in the service of pure neo-Soviet propaganda for the sole purpose of draining funds … hijackings … I think this ministry must be a representative council of the diaspora citizens of the various continents with real political power. Never the diaspora or its long-time residents have the right to express their point of view and in the media. For 28 years I live in the country I try to make myself heard, EN VAIN, you are rejected as a second-class individual (Soviet era) you suffer contempt, the scam and closes your … My third identity card named “particular “Paid 140 000 dram with the legal obligation to justify a certificate of baptism of the apostolic church of ETCHMIADZINE …” ari doun “bet kaloust, IAYLA DJAN IAYLA

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