Anton Vardanyan: “I have the best impressions of the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference”

The 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference was an unprecedented phenomenon of unity through which Armenians from Armenia and the Diaspora set the key objectives to solve many issues through combined efforts, find paths for further development and reinforcement of Armenia and closer collaboration of Armenia, Diaspora and Artsakh, guided by mutual trust, unity and the high sense of responsibility. In relation to this, I had an interview with the young president of “Nairi” Armenian National and Cultural Autonomy NGO of Stavropol, member of the public-consultative council adjunct to the department of the Federal Migration Service of Stavropol, Vice-Chairman of the Ethics Council of Stavropol Anton Vardanyan for Hayern Aysor.

Karine Avagyan: Dear compatriot, you were invited to participate in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference, and you surely have your reflections and expectations. Please, tell us about that.

Anton Vardanyan: There is no doubt that my colleagues and I are happy for such working meetings, especially when those working meetings are held in the Homeland. We expect further revitalization of efforts in the entire Diaspora and closer collaboration with the authorities of Armenia.

Karine Avagyan: You are quite young to be the leader of such an organization. Do you face any hardships?

Anton Vardanyan: I took big responsibility when I assumed the duty five years ago. Of course, it was hard at first, but over time, I gained experience and some knowledge. I don’t work alone. Our organization has a board under the direction of Mikhail Beyryumov. Of course, our compatriots’ issues are endless, and you always need to discover something for yourself. Thanks to our team and the people who respond to us, we are able to carry out our activities and implement our programs successfully.

Karine Avagyan: How do Armenians live in Stavropol? What problems do they face? Can those problems be solved?

 

Anton Vardanyan: Currently, there are about 50,000 Armenians living in Stavropol. Most of them have pursued successful careers and worthily represent business, medicine, education, science, as well as the image of intelligentsia and the new generation of Armenians, that is, youth. Our compatriots who escaped the horrors of the 1988 earthquake and the tragic events in Baku, Sumgait and Nagorno-Karabakh particularly need special support. All the refugees have been received cordially and with understanding and have been provided with humanitarian aid and psychological support.

However, as always, most of our compatriots find themselves in dire situations. This mainly refers to the Armenians who recently came to Stavropol with the hope of finding jobs and have no homes, money or jobs and mainly lack education and professional skills. A brilliant example is the Armenian families who have escaped from the seized areas of Ukraine. Those families have been provided with food, first necessity items, financial support and jobs through the efforts of the local Armenian community and, of course, with the support of the city’s administration.

There are many difficulties with employing refugees. This is due to the legal status of a job seeker and the lack of work experience and the required qualifications.

 

Karine Avagyan: Please, tell us about the community’s daily activities.

Anton Vardanyan: Every year, representatives of the “Nairi” Armenian National-Cultural Autonomy of Stavropol actively participated in major citywide events such as the events devoted to Victory Day, Stavropol Day, the Day of Unity of Nations and the international friendship festivals hosted by higher education institutions. The Armenian community organizes events devoted to national holidays (Tyarndarach, Vardavar) and celebrated First Republic Day and Armenia’s Independence Day. On February 23 and on May 9, Armenian veterans of the Great Patriotic War and their widows received gifts, and the community provides assistance to the freedom fighters having participated in the war for the liberation of Artsakh. The community also holds events commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide every April 24th.

The children of the Armenian community attend the local Armenian Sunday school and are members of the local folk dance club. Our community also has national culinary mastery, performing arts and Armenian dhol clubs. The young Armenians of Stavropol participated in the summer programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora every year.

Karine Avagyan: How are the relations between Armenians and the other communities of Stavropol?

 

Anton Vardanyan: We have friendly relations with almost all the communities and organizations. We have employment relations with some of them and friendly ties with others. Our policy is aimed at working effectively with all the communities of the Diaspora. In particular, we are on good terms with an Azerbaijani organization.

We have helped each other many times. We have solved certain domestic issues and settled small debates through combined efforts. We invite each other to events and festivities. It is very important to maintain friendly ties abroad.

Karine Avagyan: Anton, besides community service, what else do you do? Do you work by your profession?

Anton Vardanyan: My main and only job is community service. I am an engineer by profession and have worked by my profession for almost 5 years.

Karine Avagyan: What are the priority issues of the community?

Anton Vardanyan: The key objective is to preserve traditional values by working with the youth, that is, introducing them to all the systems of national and cultural values, teaching them lessons of Armenian history and working closely with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Currently, modern society is facing many domestic challenges. It is very important to keep youth in focus. Marriage and family are the integral values of the Armenian nation that young Armenians need to maintain as things that are sacred, without giving in to gender equality and other destructive social phenomena advocated in the West. The large powers of the world and their allies are making great efforts to destroy historical values and the unity of nations and to shatter the foundations of their moral and spiritual values. Today we see how history is being distorted and how ideas for the revision of the fundamental values of mankind are being set forth, not only shattering the inviolable foundations of morality, but also eliminating the historically established norms of society, including Armenian society. Being one of the ancient Christian nations, Armenia must continue to fight for preservation of its national values such as diligence, family, respect towards human dignity and infinite love for the Homeland. The Armenian Apostolic Church plays a major role. Based on the above-mentioned, I must say that one of the key objectives of the autonomy is to preserve and enhance the traditional national values and the culture and history of and everyday life in Armenia and work closely with the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Karine Avagyan: What are your impressions of the conference?

Anton Vardanyan: It was a great pleasure to see Armenians from different parts of the world. I have the best impressions of the conference. I immediately saw that the conference was organized at a high level, and for that I am grateful to the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia.

Interview by Karine Avagyan

 

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