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Changing Diasporas: Concepts and Approaches

 

YEREVAN—Already in its sixth year, the 2017 Armenian Higher Education Initiative Summer Program brought together 20 leading young scholars and practitioners for a multifaceted look at the subject of diasporas, their histories, and their relations to homelands. The program took place at the American University of Armenia and was funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The 2017 Armenian Higher Education Initiative Summer Program brought together 20 leading young scholars and practitioners for a multifaceted look at the subject of diasporas, their histories, and their relations to homelands.

Participants came together from a variety of leading universities in Armenia, Russia, and Hungary, as well as the Ministry of the Diaspora, the State Revenue Committee of Armenia, and the State Migration Service of Armenia.

The program included several of the wider Armenian world’s leading experts on the subject—Jirayr Libaridian, Razmik Panossian, Vahe Sahakyan, Tigran Paskevishyan, and others—and enabled participants to explore the concept of diasporas from a variety of perspectives, using diverse methodologies.

Sub-themes of the project included “Nationalism, Ethnicity, and the Diaspora”; “Diaspora-Armenia Relations”; discussions on specific case studies, including relations between different groups of Middle Eastern Armenians; a comparative look at the Jewish and Armenian diasporas; the Armenian community in India; and others.

Participants were formed into groups in advance of the program, based on specific research interests. During the second week of the program, they gave presentations on topics such as “Traumatic Memories as an Element of National Self-consciousness and Their Role in the Process of Consolidating the Diaspora,” “Armenia-Diaspora Perspectives for the Development of Economic Relations in the Context of Modern Technology Development,” and “Lebanese and Iranian Diasporas: Migration Processes, Particularities of Community Formation.”

The AHEI looks forward to continuing its tradition of helping to shape the futures of the most promising young academics in Armenia and across the Armenian world.

2 Comments on Changing Diasporas: Concepts and Approaches

  1. avatar Vart Adjemian // August 3, 2017 at 10:42 am // Reply

    Interesting but lacking.
    This is no criticism of the participants.
    But, how can they have a productive discussion without any representation from Lebanon or Iran?
    And why no participants from the Americas?
    Relations with the Diaspora are critical for many reasons, with economical and political implications. And yet, the Ministry of the Diaspora’s performance and activity has been ineffective and unproductive.
    Vart Adjemian

  2. Dear Vahe – Thank you for your comment. To your concerns, the application process for this program was highly competitive and included applicants from all over the diaspora. Participants were selected based upon a combination of merit, interest in the program topics, and willingness to participate in group research projects. This included representatives from the Ministry of the Diaspora because they fulfilled these requirements adequately in the opinion of the organization’s staff. Lectures and presentations included discussions of the Lebanese and Iranian diasporas, and in fact the organization’s academic coordinator is himself Lebanese Armenian. Furthermore, the purpose of this article is not to criticize anyone but rather to highlight the successful two-week program of a group of highly talented and ambitious young scholars and practitioners.

    Sarah Ludwig
    Executive Director, Armenian Higher Education Initiative

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