Armenian News Network / Groong

Statement of the U.S. Eastern Region
at the Armenia-Diaspora Conference, 1999

    Armenia-Diaspora Conference
    Report of Eastern Region - United States
    Presented by Dennis R. Papazian

    Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Chairman, Rev. Clergy, and
    fellow delegates.

    First I would like to thank the organizers of the Armenia--Diaspora
    Conference for their recognition that we are one people and have
    one state. Our object here today is to determine how the government
    and people of Armenia can better understand the people of the
    Diaspora and how the Armenians of the Diaspora can better
    understand the needs and aspirations of the people of
    Armenia. Through conferences like this, mutual understanding can
    develop and we can work together to realize the national
    aspirations of the Armenian people.

    Certainly, we have problems. But all of these problems have
    solutions when people of good will work together to reach a common
    goals. Most of the material obstacles can be overcome by promoting
    the rule of law, and encouraging foreign investments by looking at
    each business opportunity with an open mind, and by making
    bureaucratic decisions transparent.  Currently many people see
    Armenia as unfriendly to foreign investment.

    We must have dependable business law and regularity of
    administration with single-point investor/government coordination.

    Secondly, we realize that Armenia has made great progress toward
    meeting international standards of democracy and human rights. We
    applaud and encourage these efforts. We also believe in the use of
    voluntary civic organizations wherein citizens can make their own
    collective contribution to the common good.  History has shown us
    that governments cannot do everything.

    Thirdly, we of the Diaspora, and certainly we in the United States,
    are much concerned with the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Our
    immigration to various parts of the world was not always a free
    choice on our part.  When our ancestors were killed or driven from
    their native soil by the Ottoman Turks, the Turks did not ask
    whether they were Hunchak, Dashnak, Ramgavar, Protestant, Catholic
    or Orthodox. The very fact that they were Armenian was their death
    warrant. The Genocide is one of the prime denominators of our
    Diaspora existence and we call upon the government of Armenia to
    work with the Diaspora in achieving international recognition of
    the Armenian Genocide and all that it implies.

    Forth, we of the eastern region of the United States represent some
    27 of the 50 states, one-half of America's geographic territory,
    and are some 600,000 of the one million Armenians in America.

    In the eastern region our churches played an important role in the
    formation of Armenian life, as have our political parties, our
    philanthropic organizations, and our compatriotic societies,
    including such groups as the Social Democratic Hunchakian Party,
    the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Armenian Democratic
    Liberal Party. It is also the home of the Armenian General
    Benevolent Union, the Armenian Missionary Association of America,
    the Armenian Relief Society, the Armenian Assembly of America, the
    Armenian National Committee of America, the Fund for Armenian
    Relief, the Armenian Fund-U.S.A., and other groups such as the
    Tekeyan Cultural Association, Hamaskain Cultural Association, the
    Armenian Youth Federation, the Homenetmen, the Armenian Church
    Youth Organization of America.

    Fifth, since the 1960s, the 50th anniversary of the Armenian
    Genocide, it was the Armenians in the eastern region who created a
    new era of political action within the halls of Congress and with
    the Administration to advance Armenian rights in America and
    throughout the world. The strong and successful advocacy of the
    Armenian National Committee of America, the Armenian Assembly of
    America, and various other Armenian individuals and organizations
    have advanced the Armenian cause, an example of how political
    action can succeed in any democratic society.

    Armenian life in America is complex. We face great forces of
    assimilation. My report in English, as the reports of the ANC and
    the AAA, is a reflection of this condition. We have many
    organizations, and they do not always cooperate. We struggle to
    bring about unity and cooperation among them and hope that we will
    succeed in order to concentrate our efforts on our most important

    We see the future as a partnership between Armenia, Nagorno
    Karabakh and the Diaspora. We must seek mutual understanding,
    recognize our interdependency, and profit from each other's
    strengths and compensate for each other's weaknesses. It is
    incumbent on the Armenians of America to do their best to see
    America's vast wealth, political power and military strength
    support the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and all
    democratic governments throughout the world.

    We look forward to working with the Republic of Armenia and the
    international community of Armenians who are represented here today

    * contribute to the political, economic, and infrastructure needs
    of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh by accelerating the creation of
    business, industrial, and cultural ties,

    * work for the security of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and
    support the self determination of Nagorno Karabakh,

    * and to achieve worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide

    Our goal is to help the Armenian people live in peace and raise
    their standard of living so they can once more take their rightful
    place as one of the advanced nations of the earth.

    We must now take action, not give more speeches!

    Thank you very much.

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