By Taniel Koushakjian
Earlier this year, Armenians from around the world gathered in Yerevan, Armenia for the 5th annual Armenia-Diaspora conference. Held under the auspices of the Republic of Armenia Ministry of Diaspora, the conference took place between September 19-21 with over 700 representatives from 150 organizations spanning 60 countries worldwide.
Armina Darbinian, Armenian Assembly of America Country Director in Yerevan addressed the conference during the opening ceremonies on behalf of the Assembly.
She recalled the Assembly’s activities since it’s founding in 1972, and described the “invaluable service” of the Assembly “for both Soviet and newly independent Republics of Armenia and Artsakh.”
Darbinian highlighted “philanthropist and the devotee of [the Armenian] nation Hirair Hovnanian,” and his decades of service to the homeland and Diaspora over the last 42 years.
Her comments touched on many aspects of the Assembly’s role in the United States, and it’s expanded mission in the South Caucasus region. “The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has always been and stays in the highlight of the Assembly”
Darbinian also described what she views as “one of the advantages of the Assembly’s work,” which is the organization’s “neutral stance.” In effect, the independence of the Assembly from political establishment rule, foreign or domestic, allows the Assembly to “work with all influential powers regardless of political developments, fulfill its historical mission, and gather all Armenians around this nationwide idea in favor of Diaspora, Armenia and Artsakh.”
Expanding on the mission of the Assembly, Darbinian discussed the role of sister organizations, such as the Armenian National institute (ANI), which has “gathered immense, valuable, documentary materials” on the Armenian Genocide.
On that note, Darbinian emphasized the role of future leaders of the Armenian nation and the role they will play when Turkey is ready to confront their genocidal legacy. “We should clearly realize that we strongly need brilliantly educated, absolutely multilingual and skilled young experts who will represent our demands in relevant international tribunals in due manner,” Darbinian said. In that light, the Assembly’s Yerevan office implements programs for “young active leaders, gathers talented, promising individuals and involves them in various educational development programs, clearly realizing that today’s youth will form future political and civil society.”
“I’m proud to say that a brilliant group of 500 young devotees was formed in Armenia” toward that goal, Darbinian said, “that will implement the Assembly’s historical mission.”
The 5th annual Armenia-Diaspora conference, which was held ahead of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, reaffirmed that the future enlargement and development of the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora partnership will help specify and implement the priorities of the young republics, will contribute to the security of the Armenian people, and will work to consolidate all Armenians around national goals and interests.