Hranush Hakobyan: “Only together will we be able to build the homeland, defend Artsakh and organize the Diaspora”

On February 10, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia held a teleconference with representatives of the Armenian community of Belgium.

Among the participants from Armenia were RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan, RA Deputy Minister of Diaspora Vahagn Melikyan, heads of the Ministry’s structural subdivisions and employees.

Among the participants from the Armenian community of Belgium were Chairman of the Committee of Armenians of Belgium Karen Tadevosyan, Advisor of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Belgium Sargis Karapetyan, nearly three dozens of representatives of the Armenian National Committee of Europe, as well as representatives of the community’s educational, cultural, non-governmental and ecclesiastical structures, unions, societies, associations and political parties.

Greeting the Belgian-Armenian participants of the teleconference, Minister Hranush Hakobyan expressed gratitude to the Belgian-Armenian community for its recent close collaboration and partnership with the Ministry. “I am glad that Armenian schools are being built in Belgium since Armenian schools are the guarantees of the existence of the Armenian nation. Our goal is to have Armenian children of the communities attend at least Armenian one-day schools. We want every young Armenian to see Armenia. Having an abstract picture of the homeland is very difficult, and I am certain that those Armenians who have a sense of the native land once will become connected forever,” Hranush Hakobyan stated. The Minister also highlighted the fact that 70 Diaspora Armenian students pursuing their studies at Armenian higher education institutions can receive free pedagogical education and urged the young Armenians of Belgium to come and receive their education in their homeland.

Talking about the programs and events scheduled for this year, the Minister of Diaspora stated the following: “This year will be a very important year for us Armenians nationally, politically and internationally. All Armenians will be celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia, the 100th year anniversary of the victories in the heroic Battles of Sardarapat and the 2,800th year anniversary of the foundation of Yerevan. Another major event is the 17th Francophonie Summit to be held in Armenia. These anniversaries will be celebrated in not only Yerevan, but also all Armenian communities.”

Minister Hranush Hakobyan urged the representatives of the community to show active participation in the Ministry’s programs and stressed the fact that nearly 2,000 Armenians from Armenia, the Diaspora and Artsakh will be participating in the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival to be held this summer. The Minister mentioned that the Ministry will also be holding the forums of journalists and architects and the pan-Armenian youth forum, which will promote the expansion and strengthening of bonds not only between Armenia and the Diaspora, but also within the Diaspora. Hranush Hakobyan also attached importance to the holding of pan-European initiatives and meetings within Armenian communities.

Chairman of the Committee of Armenians of Belgium Karen Tadevosyan expressed gratitude to Hranush Hakobyan and the Ministry’s employees for the effective partnership and stated that the Belgian-Armenian community will celebrate the 100th year anniversary of Armenian statehood with splendor and will organize Armenian culture days, exhibitions and gatherings. “The establishment of sister ties between Yerevan and Brussels is also a primary issue for us,” Karen Tadevosyan emphasized.

Chairman of the board of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society Belgium Samvel Sargsyan talked about the need for training courses for teachers of Armenian schools. Head of Ani Armenian Union of Mechelen Eric Yenokyan informed that the Armenian community is creating a library and asked the Ministry to help replenish the library with academic and fictional books. Minister Hranush Hakobyan stressed the fact that teacher training and replenishment of the library will be in the Ministry’s focus and efforts will be made in that direction.

Afterwards, the participants from Belgium discussed the idea of creating a Pan-Armenian Council and the perspectives of cooperation with the local Greek community.

Summing up the meeting, the Minister particularly said the following: “I would like to thank you for the healthy and Armenian atmosphere that you have created and for representing Armenia and the Armenian nation in the heart of Europe. I know that you wait to hear good news with longing and pleasure. I know that there are many problems within your community and in Armenia, and only with great dedication, efforts and close collaboration will we be able to solve the problems. Only together will we be able to build the homeland, defend Artsakh and organize the Diaspora.”

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