WASHINGTON–President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian addressed some 80 organizational representatives and members of various Diasporan communities in North America Monday–during the opening session of the preparatory meeting for the Diaspora-Armenia Conference scheduled for September of this year.
The meeting–which was held at the Armenian Embassy in Washington–was intended to bring together community representatives to discuss various issues surrounding the structure–as well as the content of the Conference.
President Kocharian–who addressed the gathered in the first session of the meeting–before leaving for other meetings in Washington–urged the participants to discuss issues without reservation. He noted that the ties between Armenia and the Diaspora are of great importance to the development of the homeland. Kocharian put particular emphasis on the conception of the conference as one culminating event in a long process. Kocharian declared his administration’s commitment to the further cultivation and strengthening of Diaspora-Armenia relations.
Before leaving–President Kocharian–called on the representatives of the Diasporan organizations and communities to actively take part in the preparation for the Conference–and make sure that their input is registered with the government of Armenia.
Kocharian–then–turned the meeting over Foreign Minister Oskanian–who welcomed the attendees and explained that he would be willing to spend as much time as possible with them to iron out the various details of the Conference.
Foreign Minister Oskanian also noted the great significance of the meeting and the upcoming Conference–calling on community representatives to freely discuss their concerns and to actively contribute to the potential success of the Conference.
The day’s agenda–which was modified somewhat because of other meetings in which Oskanian had to partake–included–aside from the general discussion–four specific topics–to which attendees were invited to speak.
The four topics were: 1. format and agenda of the Diaspora-Armenia Conference; 2. Selection of Conference participants; 3. Diaspora-Armenia Action plan to be adopted at the Conference; and 4. New Diaspora-Armenia’structures.
During each of the topic-driven sessions of the meeting–participants voiced their ideas and concerns on the issues at hand.
Attendees at the meeting actively took part in the discussion and did not hesitate to share their thoughts on the ideas being explored.
Several guests took issue with the selection process of the those who would be attending the Conference in Yerevan–and explained their concerns and their desires that a comprehensive cross-section of the Armenian Diaspora be represented in September.
Oskanian assured that once it is time to invite individuals to Armenia–an effort will be made to reach out to community organizations–religious groups and non-affiliated individuals for a well-represented Conference.
In closing–Oskanian offered a proposed timeline of preparatory work. The Foreign Minister said that the Conference Steering Committee hoped to have invitations out in July to ensure a long-enough notice for attendees to prepare for the trip.