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    Armenia looks to Ireland as model for diaspora connection

    By Noreen Bowden | May 5, 2009

    Ireland has been cited as a major influence in the development of Armenia’s relationship with its diaspora, in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

    Armenia is running a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing its relationship with the diaspora. The Wall Street Journal reports, “In October, Armenia set up a Ministry of Diaspora modeled after the Irish government’s diaspora service, among others. About six million ethnic Armenians are estimated by diaspora organizations to live abroad. The country is trying to leverage the wealth and experience of Armenians abroad, says Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan. ”

    President Serge Sargsian had three principles in mind with the creation of the Diaspora Ministry, according to Ms Hakobyan, as quoted in the New-York based Armenian Reporter:

    (1) Preservation of Armenian identity (hayabahbanum) in all its forms. By preservation of Armenian identity we mean the Armenian family, Armenian culture, faith, and our mother tongue. If these four great pillars remain steadfast and strong, then we will be able to resolve the many issues of our preservation.

    “(2) Discovering and tapping into the potential of the diaspora to help empower the homeland and bring about progress. This means that in different countries throughout the world where we have powerful, resourceful, established specialists, scientists, businesspeople, and cultural figures, all their energy and focus must be directed to the empowerment of the homeland.

    “(3) Repatriation. By repatriation we don’t only mean physical return. We mean the return of the mind and heart, which will then bring the physical return with it. In repatriation (hayrenatardzutiun) we must see a return to Armenianness (hayatardzutiun). The more people there are who want to return to their roots, the more it will help to strengthen the homeland.”

    The Minister described her work to the Armenian Reporter :

    “I want to say three things for your readers to know,” Ms. Hakobyan said. “The Diaspora Ministry is the home of every Armenian. They can come here and they can be assured to receive any assistance that they might need.

    “Secondly, I want them to know and understand that the ministry does not govern; it cooperates with them, consults with all the structures and organizations in the diaspora, and adopts decisions which are acceptable to the diaspora.

    “Thirdly, we have to have staff at the ministry who are diaspora Armenian. Therefore we are waiting for the best specialists from the diaspora to come and work with us. There is a UN program – I have signed an agreement with the UN office, for them to finance those diaspora Armenians who wish to come at work at the ministry for up to six months. [See for details.]

    “I want to stress for all of us Armenians, our mind, conscience, soul, work, potential, financial resources, professional power must be directed toward the empowerment of the homeland. When Armenia is strong, then every Armenian man and woman decides to remain Armenian. People politely listen to those who weep and cry, and then they walk away. They sit down and talk to the strong. I want all of us to remember that we are no longer the Armenians of the 20th century, beaten, starving, weak. We are the Armenians of the 21st century, strong, energetic, with a view to the future.”

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    Topics: Latest News | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “Armenia looks to Ireland as model for diaspora connection”

    1. George Dillon Says:
      May 8th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

      Ridiculous. Ireland is a model of how not to keep connected with your diaspora.