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Armenia-Diaspora Conference 2002 Commentary

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ARS Presentation to the 2002 Armenia Diaspora Conference

Honorable Presidents of the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh,
Holy Fathers of Ejmiatzin and Cilicia, Reverend Clergy,
Honorable Members of Government, fellow Armenians:

It is with renewed hope and satisfaction that I greet this Second
Armenia-Diaspora Conference in the name of the great ARS family. As a
firm believer in the concept of `One Nation, One Homeland', the
Armenian Relief Society was an early promoter and organizer of such

While in agreement to the extreme importance of the subjects presented
for discussion by the Armenia-Diaspora Conference, we would like to
express our thoughts on the fundamental difficulties in the realm of
collaboration that have, so far, remained unresolved. We are aware,
that there are many hurdles to clear on the road to Armenia-Diaspora
cooperation, and that we must save no effort to defeat regional
prejudices, intolerance and discrimination in favor of accepting one
another as indispensable parts of one inseparable whole.

Today, our Homeland stands out as the most viable in the region, and
we are a noticeable presence in most parts of the civilized world as
organized communities with our religious, social and cultural
structures, multi-lingual press, media and vast network of
communications. It is time to coordinate all facets of our
pan-Armenian potential for the advancement of the Homeland and the
effective propagation of our story among the leading circles of the
world community for better assessment and just resolution of our
national cause.

At the risk of being repetitious, among the serious obstacles, we
consider the non-adoption of the principle of dual citizenship as
primary. In our opinion, there can be no doubt that the stronger the
ties between the two wings of our nation, the more enthusiasm and long
term commitment is generated in the ranks of our Diasporan communities
to the progress and the strengthening of the Armenian State.

Also, as an organization involved in the preservation of our national
and cultural integrity, the ARS remains deeply concerned in view of
the present fragmentation and the ensuing deplorable state of our
Mother Tongue. We believe that - with possible adjustments - the
return to the classical orthography in Armenia will have a most
beneficial effect throughout the Armenian world. It will make it
possible for our writers of both Armenia and the Diaspora to be
published in both worlds without the necessity of time consuming
`translations', not to mention the much needed textbooks from the
Homeland, without which, future generations will forever be cut off
from the creative spirit of the Homeland and the wisdom of its

As to the matter of an Armenia-Diaspora organizational structure, we
believe that the present level of collaboration can be raised and be
made more constructive. To reach tangible results, it must be adjusted
to the geopolitical, cultural and economic particularities of each
community. We must, at all costs, avoid the temptation of imposing
`homogeneity' in a misguided notion of promoting `unity'. At the
present time, internationally active pan-Armenian organizations in the
fields of philanthropy, culture and athletics, with thousands of
active members and numerous facilities - with the participation and
support of our political organizations -- can serve as the solid
foundation on which can rise an Armenia-Diaspora cooperation
structure. This structure will be fruitful in an atmosphere of
coordinated participation with shared duties and responsibilities.

We are convinced, that the resolution of the issues we mentioned will
open the road to what has become our common goal - uniting the efforts
of Armenia and the Diaspora in their common struggle.

We remain hopeful, and we believe, that after this Conference, all of
us will get to work without delay, in resolving whatever problems
stand in the way of our common work.

May this Conference mark the starting point of an effective
Armenia-Diaspora unity.

Thank you.   

Maro Minassian
Chair, ARS

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