Diaspora-Armenia – Conference Held in Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia – Some 1,500 representatives of Armenian communities world-wide attended the opening in Yerevan on Sept. 22, 1999, of a two-day pan-Armenian conference intended to boost ties between the Republic of Armenia and the world diaspora community, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL’s Yerevan bureau reported.Addressing delegates, President Robert Kocharian said Armenians need to set priorities in the political, economic, scientific, cultural, and other spheres and develop programs to achieve those aims. He said that the most important pan-national problems facing the Armenian nation are resolving the Karabakh conflict and expediting Armenia’s economic development.
The Armenian Diaspora
About 1,200 representatives of Armenian communities from 50 countries of the world have arrived in Armenia to participate in this first nationwide forum. The Diaspora is represented by politicians, cultural workers, scientists, clergymen and others.
In the words of President Robert Kocharian, the conference should mark the beginning of a new, higher level of organization of the world’s Armenians, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
“We need not only to ascertain our priorities in the national-political, economic, scientific, health, cultural, information and other areas, but also to put the emphasis on developing comprehensive programs for their implementation,” Kocharian told the delegates.
He described the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Armenia’s economic development as the chief ” pan-national” objectives of the world’s estimated eight million Armenians, most of them living outside their historical homeland.
A synchronized translation of Armenian speeches into English, French, Russian and Spanish was available for Diaspora delegates, reflecting the large geographical span of the communities they represent. The main Armenian communities abroad are concentrated in the United States, Russia, France, the Middle East and South America.
The conference is expected to adopt two statements: one of a general character and another on Nagorno-Karabakh. Kocharian also stressed that cooperation does not imply re-organization of the already existing structures, but these structures must get actively involved in this process.
Among the specific trends of further activities the president mentioned: The establishment of a common information field. The first step has already been performed as satellite TV broadcasts from Armenia for diaspora have started; A Development Agency, aimed at stimulating the economic activity in Armenia, in particular, by the Armenians living abroad; Holding regular cultural and sporting events, the Pan Armenian Games being a recent very successful example; The establishment of a youth center in Armenia to operate on a regular basis. This will enable thousands of young Armenians to visit the Homeland every year.
Speeches were also delivered by Catholicosal Locum Tenens Arch. Nerses Pozapalian and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. Aram I noted in his speech that neither Armenia should dictate to the Diaspora nor vice versa while the two ought to decide what to do jointly. Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian said that the victory in the Karabakh war would have been impossible to gain without the contributions to it made by all the sections of the Armenian nation. Ghoukassian attached importance to victories in peacetime, i.e. to ensure economic improvements in Artsakh.
Aram I Will Not Run
Yerevan, Armenia – His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia has said he will not field his candidacy during this month’s election of a new Catholicos of All Armenians. Aram I said the next head of one of the world’s oldest churches should be a native of Armenia, without endorsing any specific candidate.
“I am the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia and I will remain as such, because I believe that it has an important mission in Diaspora,” Aram said at a special news conference in Etchmiadzin. He said the main task of the next head of the Armenian church is to fight religious sects that are de-nationalizing and de-Christianizing Armenia.
Armenia Marks 8th Anniversary Of Independence
Yerevan, Armenia – A military parade was held in Yerevan on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 1999, in celebration of the 8th anniversary of Armenian independence.
The march was attended by President Robert Kocharian, Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and other Armenian leaders. In a message to the nation, Kocharian said that Armenia “Is pursuing an active policy of economic reforms, deepening democracy, promoting regional and global cooperation.”
He spoke on the need to purposefully boost the country’s potential, resolve socioeconomic problems and settle the Karabakh conflict. Eight years ago, a referendum was held in Armenia in which the overwhelming majority of citizens voted for independence.
UAF’s 106th Airlift Delivers $2 Million of Aid to Armenia
Glendale – The United Armenian Fund’s 106th airlift arrived in Yerevan on Sept. 19, 1999, carrying $2 million of humanitarian assistance. The UAF itself collected for this airlift $670,000 worth of medicines and medical supplies, including $555,000 of Hepatitis A vaccines donated by the Catholic Medical Mission Board, for the Health Ministry of Armenia. Since its inception in 1989, the UAF has sent $263 million of humanitarian assistance to Armenia on board 106 airlifts and 537 sea containers.
Armenia Prepares to Celebrate 1700th Anniversary of Adoption of Christianity
Yerevan, Armenia – The government committee set up to steer preparations for the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity in Armenia led by prime minister Vazgen Sargissian, held its recurrent sitting Sept. 16, 1999. The committee approved the program of several events on that occasion, presented by Levon Mkrtchian, acting temporary head of the State Commission on Religion.
Exhibitions on Christian culture of Armenians, documentary films, performances, scientific conferences, historical and cultural monuments (especially monasteries and churches) and reconstruction are planned to carry out within the frames of the celebration. A monument to Forefather Noah is to be built near the Khor Virap monastery. This idea of the prime minister is already being realized. Money for the events will partially be allocated from the State budget, partially raised by the ecclesiastic committee.