Diasporan Press Leaders Call for Journalists’ Forum

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On September 27–the National Press Club arranged a meeting with heads of the Diasporan mass media–who had come to Yerevan to participate in the Armenia-Diaspora Conference. The guests at the Club that day were Editor-in-Chief of the Istanbul-based Zhamanak (Time) daily Ara Kechunian–Editor-in-Chief of the Boston-based Armenian Mirror Spectator daily Barbara Merkurian–and Editor of the Kishinev-based Noyev Kovcheg (Noah’s Ark) monthly newspaper Grigor Anisonian.

The Nationwide Forum is an opportunity to create new horizons of cooperation–to better understand one another–which is the basis of effective cooperation–Ara Kechunian said. He is optimistic about the holding of a similar forum for mass media representatives. One should not rely on the government’s initiative alone in organizing a forum for journalists–while journalists themselves must take concrete steps in this direction–Kechunian emphasized.

The Armenia-Diaspora Conference is the first step that can solve all problems at a time–Barbara Merkurian said. According to her–more time was devoted to reports and less to negotiations for concrete cooperation during the meeting.

Merkurian said she was a little disappointed at the circumstance that among the forum participants there were few women and youth. She hoped for the forum to become the launching ground for further cooperation as Armenia and its Diaspora need each other–the Diaspora needs to ensure its national identity and Armenia needs economic assistance.

Grigor Anisonian called for creating greater opportunities for communication and hoped for the National Press Club to lay the foundations of closer cooperation among the journalists of the Diaspora and Armenia.

Armenian President Robert Kocharian held a meeting late last week with heads of Armenia’s diplomatic missions to foreign countries. During the meeting the sides specified the tasks of Armenian embassies abroad.

Addressing Armenia-Diaspora relations–the president pointed out that the positive mood of the Armenia-Diaspora Forum provides a good opportunity for effective work to be carried out in this direction. According to him–"we are initiating a momentous and lengthy process." Consistent and purposeful work accompanied by the annual development of new programs is necessary–he said. The president expressed optimism that success will certainly be achieved provided that correct approaches are displayed. Considering the Diaspora to be "our strength and wealth," the president stressed that proper grounds for cooperation should be found. "The embassies are obliged to establish equal relations with all the Diasporan’structures," the president said.

Kocharian stressed the importance of the formation of a common information framework and the creation of a nation-wide TV channel. He regarded as a priority the establishment of a permanently operating youth center as well as that of a development agency which would actively involve Diasporan Armenia’s in Armenia’s economy.

The president laid special emphasis on the invigoration of Armenian embassies’ purposeful activities abroad. He pointed out the development of economic relations as a priority direction in the embassies’ activities–laying special emphasis on forming proper ideas of Armenia’s economic possibilities abroad and the work aimed at attracting foreign investmen’s.

"A stronger motherland–as well as a stronger Diaspora is the ultimate goal–which calls for the construction of solid bridges," Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia Aram I said during his September 25 meeting with Kocharian.

Kocharian highly assessed the role and importance of the Cilician House in the spiritual life of the Motherland. Referring to Armenia-Diaspora relations–the two said that the Nationwide Forum has become the initial step of progress. The sides called for effective mechanisms of fruitful cooperation.

The sides also spoke of preparations for the celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia as well as the upcoming elections of the new Catholicos.

Kocharian also met with Diasporan poet–cultural worker and public figure Vahe Oshagan. The two discussed relations between Armenia and the Diaspora–the state and the intelligentsia as well as ways to preserve the culture of the Armenian Diaspora.

Both sides called for embracing the intellectual potential of the nation in the spiritual and cultural spheres. The two emphasized the decisive role of the state in immortalizing national values in society.

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