Armenia-Diaspora relations explored at town hall

The challenges facing Armenia-Diaspora relations was the topic of a town hall meeting organized by the Armenian Bar Association and the Glendale Youth Center at St. Mary’s Church Hall, where Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee chairman Dr. Viken Hovsepian highlighted the difficulties experienced in the last 21 years bringing together the homeland and Diaspora, Asbarez reports.

In his remarks Hovsepian told the capacity standing-room only crowd that certain events of national consequence have brought the entire Armenian nation together under one umbrella. He cited the 50th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 1965, the 1988 earthquake and the Karabakh conflict as key turning points in recent history that have united the Armenian nation.

Hovsepian continued by emphasizing the need for unity in purpose that has been lacking in the past 21 years since Armenia’s independence.

To achieve this imperative, Hovsepian emphasized that the Armenian nation—the homeland and the Diaspora—need to move forward with a national ideology, which calls for addressing issues based on the national aspirations of all Armenians and taking into consideration the entire Armenian nation.

As an example where the absence of a national ideology has threatened and continues to threaten the national security of the entire nation, Hovsepian cited the dangerous Armenia-Turkey protocols, saying the fact that Armenia continues to be a signatory of the documents poses a threat to not only Armenia proper but the entire Armenian nation.

He cited the Syrian crisis as an example of one such incident that should have brought Armenians from the homeland and Diaspora under the same tent, but instead, he pointed out, it has created a situation whereby the need for financial and relief assistance has outweighed the imperative of national unity.

Hence, Hovsepian urged that 100 percent of the funds to be collected at the Armenia Fund Telethon on Thanksgiving Day be earmarked for the Syrian-Armenian relief efforts. Hovsepian expressed hope that governing board of the Armenia Fund will revisit its current decision of allocating 10 percent of the total donation to Syrian relief efforts and will follow his recommendation ahead of Thursday’s telethon.

Hovsepian emphasized that it was not monetary allocation but rather the expression of unity in purpose that should have galvanized this effort from the onset. The plight of the Syrian-Armenian community in the face of the current audience represents a national challenge, which must be met from pan-Armenian standpoint, emphasized Hovsepian.

In his remarks, Hovanissian focused on the socio-political situation in Armenia, emphasizing the Republic of Armenia cannot become the possession of any political force or individual, adding that Armenia—our homeland—belongs to each and every Armenian.

The discussion was moderated by activist, columnist and publisher of the California Courier Harut Sassounian, who also spoke about the need to bring together all forces in the Diaspora and tap their potential to overcome challenges facing the Armenian nation

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