His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has held meetings with intellectuals and youth leaders to discuss practical steps to reorganize and revitalize the Armenian communities around the world, one of the goals enunciated in his proclamation of 2022 as the “Year of the Diaspora.”
In a second conference call with intellectuals, on April 8 the Catholicos spoke with Lori Berberian (Canada); Hovel Chenorhokian (France); Khatchig Dedeyan (Lebanon); Khatchik Derghougassian (Argentina); Rupen Janbazian (Armenia); Shahan Kandaharian (Lebanon); Seta Khedeshian (Lebanon); Haig Oshagan (U.S.); Teni Pirri-Simonian (Switzerland); Khatchig Tölölyan, and Yervant Zorian (both from the U.S.).
In his remarks, the Catholicos invited participants to discuss if the Diaspora is ready to reorganize and urged them to address issues with a realistic approach. He also proposed planning the reorganization tasks of communities and their structures, including the church and traditional bodies.
He stressed the urgency for a new agenda, which should contemplate reforming methodologies among other things.
The invited experts mapped out the current situation of the Diaspora and proposed preparing a document with a corpus of guidelines for this ambitious initiative. Special attention was paid to the key role women and youth will have to play in this new phase for Diasporan organizations.
Indeed, His Holiness also had a virtual meeting with more than 30 young leaders who are active in different communities around the world. In his opening remarks, the Catholicos praised the conference call participants for their outstanding work in their host countries and outlined the challenges ahead.
In turn, the young participants put forth their concerns, including the decreasing use of the Armenian language in the Diaspora, including in social networks, as well as frequent instances of misunderstanding between Armenians who live in Armenia and those who are based overseas. They also mentioned disillusion among youth following the 2020 Artsakh war.
The Catholicos urged his young interlocutors to keep actively working for the revitalization of their communities. He also proposed to rethink the Armenian identity from a new perspective that is in line with a rapidly changing world, without leading to assimilation.
This series of meetings and consultations about the Diaspora and its new role will continue throughout the year.