Ten years of friendship that started in the days when Aleppo was thriving, but became more well-defined in the melancholic days of the spring in the Arab World.

The first five years were merely years of getting to know each other and laying the foundations for the friendship that would be established in the future. In 2005, I was chairwoman of the Women’s Committee. At the invitation of the AGBU and AYF, then NA Deputy Hranush Hakobyan visited Aleppo as a keynote speaker at the three-day conference dedicated to International Women’s Day on March 8th.

The participants of that conference spent unforgettable days. The community was very excited. This was a reflection of the strengthening of Homeland-Diaspora relations, and the major Armenian community of Aleppo had already elected its future minister. During the interview held that evening, one of the participants of the conference asked Hakobyan: “Mrs. Hakobyan, do you see yourself as a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections?” In response, Mrs. Hakobyan said: “Armenia isn’t ready to have a woman president.”

The Ministry of Diaspora was established, and the Armenian community of Aleppo hadn’t gone wrong.  Mrs. Hakobyan was appointed Minister of Diaspora. If you’re a Diaspora Armenian, then you’ll know what it means to work with 7 million Armenians in the Diaspora. Every community is diverse and has different kinds of problems…I have had the honor of becoming Minister Hranush Hakobyan’s advisor for the Syrian-Armenian community. We established an inter-community committee to support the consolidation of the potential of all Armenians and ensure the community’s active participation in the ministry’s programs through Homeland-Diaspora relations.

But then, war broke out in Syria…

Thousands of Syrian-Armenians took refuge in the homeland.

The ministry opened its doors to all Armenians, raised all the major issues and presented them to the President. The ministry’s departments helped everyone in sorrow and pain, and the number of Syrian-Armenians appealing to the ministry was definitely more than the number of people who had visited in the previous years.

Its efforts to overcome the consequences of the Syrian war helped the ministry “receive” the “Red Diploma” for the activities that it has implemented in the past five years.

I wish the Ministry of Diaspora more and more anniversaries until all Diaspora Armenians return to the homeland.

I wish the homeland success so that it advances politically and reaches the point where we have a woman president.

President of the Coordination Center for Syrian-Armenians’ Issues NGO

Lena Haladjian


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