Second Annual PFA Forum on Armenia-Diaspora Relations

Raffi Hovannisian to Deliver Keynote Luncheon Address

Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) will hold its Second Annual Forum in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 28 to March 2 to provide an opportunity for policy practitioners, academics, and the public to discuss Armenia-Diaspora relations, especially perspectives on and approaches to the present-day challenges facing the Armenian nation.

During the First PFA Forum on the global economic crisis, held in Yerevan on May 25, 2009, PFA brought together an unprecedented line-up of academics and policymakers from Armenia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UAE to discuss the implications of the crisis for Armenia and to help devise policy prescriptions to mitigate them.

The Second PFA Forum will also gather a large number of intellectuals—academic and public policy practitioners—to discuss challenges and help devise new modes of engagement between Armenia and its diaspora. Day 1 of the forum—Feb. 28—will be held at the Cosmos Club, Washington’s premier venue for social and policy events, and will feature the presentation of PFA’s report on “Armenia-Diaspora Relations: 20 Years Since Independence.”

On Day 2 (or March 1), the forum will be held at Georgetown University. This part of the forum is open to the public and includes a full day of deliberations on Armenia-Diaspora relations. Former Armenian Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian will deliver the keynote luncheon address.

The program for Day 3 (or March 2) is limited to only young professionals and will include thematic meetings with various international agencies and public and private organizations in order to continue the discussion on Armenia-Diaspora relations and offer young professionals opportunities to network in Washington.

For more information on the Second Annual Forum or to register, email To register media presence, email


  1. I wish the “Weekly Staff” would investigate articles such as this one before publicising them. For instance, have you checked on PFA’s website what was the outcome of the first PFA Forum last year in Yerevan? What kind of important policy recommendations came-out from that “High level Forum” that you describe as: “During the First PFA Forum on the global economic crisis, held in Yerevan on May 25, 2009, PFA brought together an unprecedented line-up of academics and policymakers from Armenia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UAE to discuss the implications of the crisis for Armenia and to help devise policy prescriptions to mitigate them”.
    I wrote them at the time to volunteer and participate or help. There was no reply. I heard of several other people who suffered the same way. Isn’t a forum a place where people voice their opinion freely. Is this how PFA wants to have a forum?
    Sorry, you can fool people once, not twice!

  2. Perhaps Mr. Vahramian should do his own investigations and look at the report that PFA produced on the global economic crisis.  It’s right on their website.  First page, left column.
    It would be helpful if we were more constructive with each other, and didn’t gripe so much about who didn’t invite us or reply to our emails or what not…

  3. Armen Vahramian?! THE PAINTER?  What are you doing attending think tank forums?  Anyway — just because they ignored you is hardly a reason for the Weekly to pull this off their site. Haha.

  4. Thank you Mr. Kalayjian:
    I have looked where you say there is a report. Indeed, there is one. It is entitled “IMPLICATIONS OF THE WORLD’S FINANCIAL CRISIS FOR ARMENIA’S ECONOMY”, a report gleaned from various IBRD and other UN reports. What is striking though, is that it “pre-dates” this overly important “High Level Forum” which is advertised to have taken place on May 25, 2009. This is what everyone can see is printed on Page two of the report on your website Mr. Kalyjian: December 2008
    © 2008 Policy Forum Armenia.  Please check yourself.–FINAL.pdf.  If this report was produced in Dec 2008, how could the “an unprecedented line-up of academics and policymakers from Armenia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UAE..” have formulated the recommendations therein when they met in May 2009?
    Mr. Kalydjian: You are an honorable person, with an honourable Der Hayr father, I am disappointed that you, yourself seem to be participating in this deceit. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  5. Is it deceitful to present and discuss and devise economic policy – that you have analyzed in depth and proposed in the form of a REPORT – with a wider audience of experts and government officers at a FORUM?
    Again I refer you to the PFA website for this upcoming Diaspora Forum:  Looking at the detailed agenda (the link is again on the first page of the website), one can see that PFA will be presenting a REPORT on the Diaspora-Armenia Relations of the past 20 years…  BEFORE the Forum actually commences.  Shall I expect another email with accusations of deceit later down the road from you, Mr. Vahramian?

  6. Mr. Kalayjian:
    I am beginning to wonder whether I am really debating with the Zaven Kalayjian who is listed as a Senior Fellow on the PFA website. That person is a visiting professor in JHU and has an illustrius career and must have some logic.
    Let me first answer your question: No what you report is certainly not deceitful.
    Now let us go back to what was published by the “Weekly staff” (the article above, which is based on unsollicited emails the PFA has been bombarding us with):
    Step # 1: The PFA stated they held a “High Level Forum” on May 25, 2009,  to come-up with policy recommendations to deal with the economic crisis.
    Step #2: I wrote the Weekly, wondering where those recommendations were. No one had heard of them, certainly not me.
    Step #3: you wrote that indeed they had written these recommendations and referred to me a document on their website (on the left side).
    Step #4: I replied that that document (which incidentally forecasts that the price of gold would go down after mid-2008 – vid graph page 9) could not be based on the PFA “forum” held in May 2009, since it is clearly identified as produced in Dec 2008.
    Step# 5: You are now changing the subject and telling me to look at their second annual forum agenda and look at “Diaspora-Armenia Relations of the past 20 years”…. What does this have to do with the “recommendations” for Armenia to deal with the “recent financial crisis”? Are you really Zaven Kalyjian, or am I dealing with someone else, like B. Madoff?

  7. Oh, wonderful, just wonderful.

    Yet another conference with endless panels composed of young Armenian “academicians” with advanced degrees (at least in the USA) from pro-US State Department political science and international relations programs where the students and faculty have to be careful not to break certain taboos lest they get thrown out.

    Then they go to work for  organizations and think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings, Soros, Eurasianet, IMF, World Bank and so on and so forth – all of which are pro-Turkish,  and they get co-opted and try to palm off their “policy recommendations” on the rest of us.  These academicians are the ones who keep repeating the mantra of those non-Armenians who wish to use and abuse us: “Reconcilation.”   They all believe that Turkey has “changed” and even if they don’t they are careful to keep their views to themselves lest they be regarded by their pro-Turkish colleagues as a – heaven forbid – nationalist.

    How did the Armenian community get virtually taken over by these young, know-it-all academicians, huh?  Who is pushing this academic gobbledygook on us and why?  Money? Career? Self-aggrandizement?  Because they don’t know else to do with their degrees?

    Not even one of these academicians from the Diaspora is what could be considered a hard-nosed nationalist.    This is intellectual diversity, academic freedom, and free speech?   No, it isn’t.  It’s conformity and defeat.

  8. Mr. Vahramian, I’m glad you agree that it is not deceitful to present economic prescriptions, which have presented in a report, at a forum that is organized to share and discuss ideas.  We have a at least a starting point of agreement, and hopefully we can avoid resorting to ad hominem slights.

    Let us move now to your substantive objection to this announcement by PFA.  You said that you could not find out what was the outcome of the Forum.  As you yourself said, a forum is an opportunity for people to voice their opinions freely, a place to hear and to be heard.  In that respect, the Forum achieved its goal.  This Economic Forum gathered influential and intelligent people together in one place to discuss Armenia’s economic options in the face of the global economic crisis.  Some might think it a worthy and commendable objective to simply have such a discussion of experts who might not otherwise interact with each other on this level and with the public at large.  I hope you are among those people who would appreciate such an undertaking, even though your personal proposal to help/participate was ignored in this particular case.

    Nevertheless, I share your expectation that something concrete needs to come out of a Forum.  I offered to you, Mr. Vahramian, PFA’s published economic report as a substantive example of what was proposed and discussed at the Economic forum – something that you indicated was absent.  Apparently, that was unsatisfactory to you simple because it predated the Forum, and therefore did not “come out of” the Forum.  At this point, I brought the example of the upcoming Diaspora-Armenia Forum, where a report by PFA will be presented before the commencement of the Forum itself.  Since the Report will again predate the Forum (but this time by a matter of minutes), I presumed you would object to it being a product of the Forum even though it contains substantive analysis and proposals that will be presented and discussed in the Armenia-Diaspora Forum.  This was not a change of subject, as you misunderstood it to be, but an extension of your own logic to a future event.

    Returning to the Economic Forum:  even though there was no post-Forum report, or digest, or similar published outcome of the Forum – and I’m sure you agree that a forum does not need such things to be successful – there was media coverage of the Forum.  I further refer you to “Forum in the Media,” where you may find reports on the goings-on of the Economic Forum, and which post-date the Forum.  I trust you will find these media reports more satisfactory, even though they do not come from the Armenian Weekly.

    While I believe all the above is clear enough, I expect that you will again have problems with my Hopkins-Visiting-Scientist/PFA-Senior-Fellow logic – not because it is flawed, but because you simply want to say something negative about the people who didn’t reply to your emails and your offer to help – the people who “fooled” you once.  I’m left to this conclusion because a person of your mental caliber and internet-research abilities should have been able to find the “results” of the Forum without my help – if he really wanted to.

    One final point I’d like to make:  While your offer to help PFA was a generous gesture, it certainly did not obligate the other party to accept, and I believe there is no basis here for keeping a grudge, let alone labeling the other party “deceitful.”

    -Zaven (Not-B-Madoff) Kalayjian

  9. Mr. Kalayjian:
    Now that we have established that you are the Zaven (Not-B-Madoff) Kalayjian, listed as a Senior Fellow on the so called “Policy Forum Armenia” website and that you seem to be writing on their behalf, let me welcome you to the ‘Free Forum’ offered by the “Armenian Weekly”, a forum where everyone, including YOU, have always been welcome.
    You said in the post above, that you hoped we could “avoid resorting to ad hominem slights.” Yet you slander me by assuming that my purpose in writing to the Armenian Weekly is “…simply want to say something negative about the people who didn’t reply to your emails and your offer to help”. I would have thought that the son of a preacher would have known that ‘slander’ is a sin in the Armenian Church. Could it have occurred to you that perhaps my purpose is to warn the Armenian Weekly staff and readers about the unfortunate experience, I, and others I know of, suffered when they tried to participate in the first PFA forum, so that they would know what may to expect should they contact you.  But perhaps, as I can see from the sarcastic way you refer to the Armenian Weekly in your text just above (“even though they do not come from the Armenian Weekly”), you do not have much respect for us.  I am beginning to wonder whether you and Mr. David Grigorian (the head Honcho of the PFA) actually knew that I am issued from a long persecuted (in Soviet times) Dashnak family and hence my offer/request to participate was ‘ignored’. My conclusion is based on your unapologetic statement that “it certainly did not obligate the other party to accept”. Mr. Kalayjian, we have been bombarded by emails from PFA advertizing a ‘forum’ on May 25, and there is no obligation for you to accept us! Really?
    Mr. Kalyjian, please stop beating around the bush. My two main reasons for writing to the Armenian Weekly are still to:
    1)      warn Armenians that perhaps not everybody is welcome at this so called “forum”, since I obviously wasn’t (no apology needed, I am proud to be a Dashnak);
    2)      point to all people who care about our nation that although you have advertised that you held a first forum “to discuss the implications of the crisis for Armenia and help devise policy prescriptions to mitigate them” you did not care enough to disseminate these policy prescriptions on your own website. As a matter of fact, you did not even post on your website any of the presentations made by the “unprecedented line-up of academics and policymakers” that the PFA brought together for that Forum. Yah, you posted some photos !! Was that a Barahantess you held?
    Mr. Kalayjian: In your first reply, you wrote (and it is still up here for all to see) that indeed you (PFA) had posted the policy recommendations resulting from this “High Level Economic Forum” on your website. It turned-out you were, to put it mildly, wrong. The document on your website, as I pointed out giving you the weblink, pre-dates the so-called forum. Now you are telling me that these policy recommendations were actually conveyed through the ‘media’. Nice job!

  10. Dear compatriots,In all above  posts  there are indeed reasonable points  of views spanish the saying  goes”Todos tenemos razon”..Thence please do not be aggravated  or  hurt  if I take the liberty of  choosing  one  ,as more to the point.That  of Tomas.All rest  als  have their doubt.
    Tomas ,like self ,I gathered  is the “earthly” man, as described  in Leon Surmelian’s “Don Quijote y Sancho Panza  in Armenian Life” brief  those  who proclaim they are  gradates  of  one smetimes 3  Universites  etc., and are occupying positions  in dverse Int’l org.s.LET  THEM  CARRY  ON, BEST  LUCK TO THEM.But  if  we really ASPIRE  TO BE  APROGRESSIVE DYNAMIC  NATION(Now a Nation State)then we must  try to opt  for  some REALIZABLE   OBJECTIVES, rather  than chase ,sometimes  tiem consuming such events(  have particpated  in Armenia diaspora Conference 2 and 3,wherein those as mentioed  by Tomas  or actually again on the scene come  up to be  there JUST TO BE  THERE AND MAKE SPEECHES,first  indeed wasting  our times,then attaining  no tangible objetives..It  is known  to all that At  the amalir(in RA ,erevan)  over a thousand  gathered  and delivered discoursed, nothign came  out  of  both,or  if  it  did,was almost  nil.
    In last  one-with all due respect to him, Mr. Oskanian had come  up with the U.S. style   fund(ling) basis,fud  raising  that  of  one basket  full of Armenia’s  dry fruits  (sample  was  up front  near entrance0 to be made  in quantiteis  and shipped  over to all Armenian(especally .S.) 
    Armen curches  and sold at $50.-apiece, and with proceeds help improvise  agriculture and lifestyle  in Armenia’s  FAR FLUNG  villages…IT  DID  NOT EVEN COME TO HAPPEN  and if  it did , was so limited  that  in church I attend ,was  not  there.
    Whereas at a CRUCIAL TIME  LIKE THIS FOR ARMENIDAD-ARMENITY,MAIN ISSUE  IN A CONFERENC/FORUM OUGHT TO BE ,I DARE SAY AND “SUGGEST” the re-organization of the Armenian Diaspora(s) ,for  which I submtted to this Armenianweekly and a  host  of others  my viewpoints.In precis format  for  you now  here.Though  I know personally  by the by 2/3  of the most  distinguished  persons who are  to present their  views on this Forum,they did  not  invite  me…I don’t  complain-IT  IS THEIR  ‘VOJ” Raison D’etre…get all from others views  ideas  listen carefully  and sometimes  even -sorry to say-copy,pick  it  up and then present  as  their  own…
    MY THESES is to ORGANIZE INTO CLASSIFIED  “PROFFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES ASSOCIATIONS”-since  1978/9 published  in Asbarez weekly-through a friend  who was-now  passed away- of a party member,thus got  it published   in it entitled One”FOUR PRECONDITIONS  FOR  THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA”  AND ANOTHER”projections on a  new statute  for the Armeian daspora. dealing with in frst  one THAT  WE  HAD OBTAIEND  SO FAR  2 OF  THE FOUR,NAMELY SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP AND STRUCTURES POLITCAL PARTIES.WE  LACKED  THE 3RD WHICH ACCORDING TO ME IS THE SOCIAL FORMATION  -nowadays dbbed  as  CIVIL SOCIETIES ( CALL THEM IN ARMEIAN “UN GERAYNUTYUN”societization..ANYHOW..THROUGH   5  ALREADY FORMED  THE HEALTH/MEDICAL,THE BAR , THE ENGINEERS & SCIENCES, SPORTIVE  AND JEWELLERSTHIS OUGHT TO ENLAP THE FURNISINGS AS WELL, THE 10 more, SUCH A BANKING & FIANCE, TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL, INDUSTRES  AND MINES  , THE COMMUNICATIIONS  IT ETC., COME  UPT  TO THE INTER-PROFFESSIONAL GROUPING  COMPRISED  OF THEIR ELE3CTD  3-PERSONS  FROM EA  FIELD,one for having atatained  highest  proffsionall postion,one economically and 3rd for being most  advanced culturally, nat’;l Int’l and w/networking capacity,THUS  aiming twards a future  Statute  that  would als include 3-per rep.s from our politicfla partides  and one ea  from our spiritual denominations,FORMING THE CENTRAL BODY  OF EA  ARMENIAN DENSE TOWNSHIP, FROM THESE TO CENTRAL COUNCIL OF GIVEN COMMUNITY COUNTRY  ON TO THE SUPREME COUNCIL  WITH FIVE DEPT.S ETC.,
    P.S. MY WEB SITE…  ins  being reconstructed will hopefully appear soon on the web..  

  11. Tomas:
    You said ‘Not even one of these academicians from the Diaspora is what could be considered a hard-nosed nationalist.    This is intellectual diversity, academic freedom, and free speech?   No, it isn’t.  It’s conformity and defeat.
    That’s funny — I always thought of myself as a hard nosed nationalist.  And Raffi Hovhanissian is quite the hard-nosed nationalist too.  Nevertheless, hangestatsir.

  12. Henry Dear:
    You misunderstood Tomas. He actually said “Hard-nosed”. He did not mean to include a “big-nosed” librarian. Hahaha

  13. I agree with Mr. Vahramian, painter or beggar, he eloquently proves his point.
    If this is a`’forum’ then everyone should be able to attend. There are a few of these fake organisations who like to invite their own cronies and then pretend they have had a representative forum. Only in this case, it is so obvious, all they wanted is hear themselves talk. They did not even publish the results of their ‘deliberations’.
    Kalyjian,  you say the media did that! ‘Nice job!’ is the comment you rightfully got. All you wanted to do is publicize a ‘flawed’ report your ‘head honcho’ must have written in 2008.
    Sorry Professor Kalayjian, but JHU just doesn’t cut it, despite your illustrious accademic credentials, you have failed miserably to convince me that the so-called Policy Forum Armenia welcomes all. I had written to the PFA too for the thing they advertised for May 25. Like Vahramian, no-reply.

  14. Dear Olga,
    Great name!  That’s strange…hmm…big nose? I’ve always thought of myself as being quite the handsome guy! ;)

  15. Raffi Hovanissian is not a hard-nosed nationalist at all.  The head of his think tank, ACNIS, Richard Giragosian, is particularly not hard-nosed at all.  That is what happens to people who bend over backwards to please odars and get jobs in their think tanks.

    Another piece of proof?  After the protocols were announced, with only an exception or two, Armenian American academicians (those with a Phd and a record of accomplishment) did not criticize it.  The ones that had anything to say about the protocols were all softliners.

    The only time I saw Armenian American academicians really question the protocols was when the editor of the Armenian Weekly went out of its way to actually ask them, and print their responses.

    These academicians did not wish to make a public stand until they were asked.  One therefore has reason to doubt their sincerity. 

    The recent letter by the SAS, for example, comes many months after the protocols were signed, further proof of how low Armenian American academicians have sunk.

    There is a new breed of Armenian academician out there who is constantly trying to tell Armenians that “Turkey has changed,” the implication being that because all of this is happening in HIS lifetime, the change must be unique and that God must be sending us all some sort of signal.   He forgets that the Young Turk revolution of 1908 was hailed as Turkey’s biggest “positive change” of all.   He forgets what happened 7 years after that. 
    The average Armenian American academician is a pointy-headed liberal and a spoiled Baby Boomer or Gen-x’er who thinks that if you say something negative about Turks then you’re a racist.    These are the sort of mush-heads we Armenians have in academia.  They think that if they speak in front of Jewish audiences and Soros-type of think tanks then those “odars” will like Armenians and take our side.  They’re pathetic. 

  16. Dear Mr. Vahramian and Mr. Oskanyan,
    Keeping in the spirit of your comments, I feel the only appropriate reply is a quote Hamlet:  “The lady doth protest too much, methinks!”

  17. I agree with Tomas.  the pfa is a tool set up to trick some Armenians into thinking that these so called ‘experts’ actually give a damn about Armenia’s real interests, rather they serve the interests of Western odars. 

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