On January 20, 2018, Berge Setrakian, the president of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), along with Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia’s president met with Hranush Hakobyan, the minister of the diaspora for the Republic of Armenia. During their discussions, specific issues were raised regarding culture and identity both in Armenia and the diaspora. Minister Hakopyan addressed assimilation and repatriation as key factors impacting the future of the Armenian identity around the world.
Mr. Setrakian agreed that AGBU, with its longstanding commitment to strengthening identity through culture and education, was uniquely equipped to examine these issues in depth and propose viable solutions that involve the support of the global Armenian nation.
“The focus of our organization is to target the new generation, to engage and to bring them back to the fold of our global nation. Armenia is also a key factor in this struggle as it is capable to engage our young people in discovering and appreciating their heritage and ancestral roots. But to keep them actively engaged over a lifetime, Armenia must be strong and prosperous,” Mr. Setrakian explained.
Along similar lines, the recent announcement of the 2018 Summit of La Francophonie in Yerevan became all the more relevant to the conversation. The summit connects dispersed French populations from 57 member states through language and culture. With its strong presence in French speaking countries, AGBU is well positioned to help facilitate this weeklong event, at which many heads of state from French-speaking nations are expected to attend, along with thousands of visitors, including 5000 delegates, and 600 reporters.
Based on a subsequent meeting with the Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Mr. Setrakian, upon returning to the United States, held strategy sessions with representatives from AGBU Armenia, Canada, Europe, France, and Lebanon. He urged them to mobilize their resources and expertise in support of this highly visible international event that will help position Armenia on the global stage.
“As a nation, by our history, we are close to the Francophone countries. It is more than just the language. We also had a long discussion with the French Ambassador and believe that the Armenian communities in Europe and elsewhere can play an important role by taking initiatives to publicize and create a supportive atmosphere through parallel events for the conference in Armenia,” said Mr. Setrakian.
AGBU Europe, headed by Nadia Gortzounian, has very strong ties and positive relations with the French government and stakeholders. It was agreed that this milestone event demanded sustained attention between now and October 2018, working in close collaboration with their counterparts at AGBU Armenia.
“This is an incredible opportunity for the government of Armenia to leverage AGBU’s deep understanding of the French culture and language to ensure maximum impact and success. AGBU is ready to provide all the necessary intellectual and organizational resources to do justice to an event of this magnitude and stature,” stated Mrs. Gortzounian.
Click here to watch Mr. Setrakian’s interview on Shant TV.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org