“With the Ministry of Diaspora, we have a good opportunity to engage our compatriots in our economic projects”-Armenian PM visits Ministry of Diaspora

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan today visited the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia to become familiar with the results of implementation of the overriding objectives and implementation of actions in 2017, as well as the actions to be carried out in 2018.

Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan reported that there were three objectives set for the Ministry in 2017 (to contribute to preservation of the Armenian identity in collaboration with Armenian organizations and religious structures of the Diaspora; to contribute to the identification and consolidation of the potential of Armenians for the economic development of Armenia and Artsakh and to develop programs and projects promoting repatriation). For this purpose, the Ministry has worked with communities based in 138 countries and has concluded memoranda and agreements with 43 pan-Armenian organizations. Trade networks have been created in 21 countries, and professional business organizations continue to be established within Armenian communities of the Diaspora. With respect to repatriation, a strategy, plan, action plan and a draft law have been developed.

According to the Minister of Diaspora, 26 programs have been carried out for implementation of the 6 overriding objectives envisaged by the Government’s Program and have seen a turnout of up to 7,000 participants. In 2017, the Ministry continued to work on solving the problems of Syrian-Armenians with integration, stay, education, healthcare and employment in Armenia. There is an inter-agency commission, a task force, a rapid reaction group and a hotline. The Ministry of Diaspora and the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments have opened 5 factories and have helped businessmen develop their business plans.

In 2017, within the scope of the programs aimed at preserving the Armenian identity and raising the level of Armenian language proficiency of young Diaspora Armenians, the Ministry held the “Diaspora” Summer School Program, gathering 266 Diaspora Armenians from 30 countries (this number grew by 100 compared to 2016). The “Ari Tun” Program for homeland recognition of young Diaspora Armenians was held in 9 stages and gathered 1,055 young Diaspora Armenians from 36 countries. A specialist from Yerevan held training courses for 50 teachers of 27 Armenian schools in the United States. More than 200 Armenian schools of 37 countries received 87,000 textbooks and supporting materials. With the support of the Ministry, 16 new Armenian one-day schools have been established abroad. The Ministry has also carried out regional educational and cultural programs. According to the Minister, one of the overriding objectives of the year 2018 is to implement actions aimed at enhancing cultural life within Armenian communities of the Diaspora.

Minister Hakobyan reported that, in order to introduce active mechanisms for ensuring participation of Diaspora Armenians in the investment projects in the Republic of Armenia, in 2017, the Ministry of Diaspora set up a task force and established the “One-Stop Shop” principle and created an “Investments in Armenia” section on the official website of the Ministry that features legal questions, investment projects and other informative materials. There are 180 investment projects on the website, and Diaspora Armenian businessmen and Armenian chambers of commerce and industry have received business plans and information about the platforms for making investments in Armenia. There are 290 businessmen who have made investments in Armenia, and the Ministry continues to work with nearly 700 businessmen. To disseminate the business plans and engage investments, the Ministry transmits the information through teleconferences and online discussions. According to Hranush Hakobyan, Diaspora Armenian businessmen are content with the operation of the customs system and state the regulation of construction standards, improvement of the judicial system, the translation of Armenian laws in foreign languages and other issues as problems. Karen Karapetyan stated that the Government is implementing reforms in these sectors and gave relevant assignments.

The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the ongoing efforts being made to help Diaspora Armenians preserve the Armenian identity, raise the level of Armenian language proficiency and reinforce historical memory among young Diaspora Armenians and assigned to continue to work actively. The head of government touched upon the issue of designing an economic agenda for the Armenia-Diaspora partnership, attaching importance to programs aimed at engaging investments, promoting repatriation and consolidating the potential of professionals. “With the Ministry of Diaspora, we have a good opportunity to engage our compatriots in our economic projects and advocate the achievements that we have made to this day. We say that Armenia, being a small country, serves as a good platform for entry into the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union and the Iranian market. In this sense, the regulations for interactions between each state circuit and the Ministry of Diaspora must be clearly formulated. The second objective is repatriation. In terms of repatriation of Diaspora Armenians, we have the experience of the Syrian-Armenians. Now we need to formulate the way we can engage them. The third objective is consolidation of the potential of professionals in order to increase opportunities for interaction with the outside world through the Diaspora and have modern citizens. In 2018, I expect to receive certain pragmatic plans from you with regard to these objectives,” Karen Karapetyan said.

The head of government assigned to clearly formulate and submit recommendations for institutional development of the Armenia-Diaspora cooperation. The Prime Minister also attached importance to the use of the potential of Diaspora Armenians to present and advocate Armenia as a tourist attraction and assigned to work jointly with the State Tourism Committee.

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