Hagop Panosian: “I am always looking towards the road that leads to the homeland”

In an interview with Hayern Aysor, Chairman of the Armenian Youth Association of Jerusalem Hagop Panosian presented the Association’s mission statement and the past activities, which are mainly aimed at preserving Armenian national and cultural values in the Diaspora and helping strengthen the bonds of young Diaspora Armenians with Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: When and for what purpose was the Armenian Youth Association of Jerusalem?

Hagop Panosian: The Armenian Youth Association of Jerusalem was established 80 years ago. We have soccer, basketball, cultural, scouting and performing arts clubs, a choir and dance group and publish the AYA Quarterly.

To broaden the young Armenians’ mindset, we invite scholars and intellectuals from Armenia and other countries to give lectures and speeches.

Our major goal is to make sure young Armenians always have the idea of helping the homeland and provide them with an Armenian education and upbringing so that they are not assimilated abroad and grow up as dignified Armenians, preserving their national identity. It looks as though the Association has succeeded. They are strongly aware of the idea of the nation-homeland since they are always in an Armenian atmosphere when they attend the clubs’ meetings. We have created a “small” Armenia for them there.

Generally speaking, we have always supported nation-building in Armenia and are ready to serve for that sacred task in the future as well.

Hayern Aysor: Do you bring young Jerusalem-Armenians to Armenia on cognitive visits?

Hagop Panosian: I undertook a similar initiative in 2004 when I brought 44 young Jerusalem-Armenians to Armenia to go sightseeing, visit historic and cultural sites and participating in a camping event. Many years have passed, and to this day, they remember the wonderful days that they spent in Armenia.

They became more attached to their homeland after that visit. Every summer, they would visit Armenia and invite their friends and relatives from different countries to Armenia to meet and have a good time together. They all dream of returning, and I am always looking towards the road that leads to the homeland.

My son graduated from the American University of Armenia this year. He has grown to love Armenia so much that he does not want to return to Jerusalem.

Hayern Aysor: What makes you want to carry out tasks for preservation of the Armenian identity?

Hagop Panosian: As a descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors and understanding what deprivations my ancestors suffered while migrating, I consider it my duty to do good deeds for the nation in their eternal memory. It makes me feel spiritually calm.

Hayern Aysor: When was your first visit to the homeland?

Hagop Panosian: In 2000, I took my brother’s advice and visited Armenia for the first time. It is safe to say that that visit was a turning point in my life. I loved every corner of Armenia, and the visit helped establish an inexplicable link to the homeland.

After that, I started visiting Armenia more often. Every time my family and I are in Armenia, we visit different places, relax and spend a good time with friends.

Hayern Aysor: How would you assess the Velvet Revolution that took place in Armenia?

Hagop Panosian: Indeed, we were following the events taking place in Armenia every minute. From what I have seen, Diaspora Armenians are also happy for the Velvet Revolution and fully hope that everything will be great in the future. Our country is on the right track. All the people have to do is to have patience and hope that everything will be fine. I am certain that we cannot achieve anything at once.

We need to take advantage of our opportunities reasonably and let the Government of the Republic of Armenia shape a new homeland. Armenians are the nation chosen by God. We Armenians have overcome many difficulties. By showing our national unity, we will overcome the challenges facing us and record new victories.

Gevorg Chichyan

Scroll Up