WATERTOWN, Mass.—Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, Minister of the Diaspora, visited the Boston area for a number of events this past weekend. A town hall meeting was held at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center on Saturday night with over 200 attending.
“Now we have a historic opportunity, to show ourselves and our country that the Genocide was a failed Genocide, and all other actions against Armenian nation were failures,” Hayrapetyan forcefully stated. “Right now, we are showing the world that we are powerful, we are a great nation with a great future. But if we have the will to have a great future not just for our children, but I want a good present for me as well, why not?”
Commenting on the importance of Armenia-Diaspora relations, Hayrapetyan offered, “Right now we can create a great country with a strong Diaspora. Because a strong Armenia means a strong Diaspora and a strong Diaspora means a strong Armenia. This is how we see it, this is our vision, this is what we believe in. And for this mission, I was appointed by the leader of the country, Nikol Pashinyan, to heal–yes let me say to heal–the ties, the relations between Armenia and the Diaspora.”
The Minister spoke honestly about previous efforts at strengthening ties between Armenia and the Diaspora. “There are a lot of things to heal, to rebuild. Because during the last 20 years, we made mistakes. Sorry for saying this, but both sides made mistakes. But this is, again and again, the best opportunity to step forward and to be united.”
Here is an excerpt from Hayrapetyan’s remarks:
“Yes, we did an unbelievably beautiful revolution. But it doesn’t mean that Armenia, our country, isn’t facing difficulties or challenges. Of course, your support, the support of the Diaspora, is crucial, let’s say. Especially right now, we need you… But this is the first time in our history that we are not asking for money from you. No, seriously… We always speak about the potential of the Armenian nation… We are here first to get to know you, to introduce you to some parts of our vision, but also to listen to you, what do you think, how do you think how do you feel, what do you want, what do you suggest, what do you criticize? Do you really want me as a minister? Do you see the future of the Ministry of Diaspora? Whatever you wish, whatever you feel like saying, I am ready to listen, even if this is going to be very critical. But I am sure that the new government, not just me, we are finally able to listen to you.”
The presentation was followed by a question and answer period.
On Sunday, the Minister participated in the dedication of two new buildings at Camp Haiastan and the St. Spephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church picnic. Hayrapetyan was impressed by the extent of the Camp grounds and the important role it has played in the perpetuating of Armenian identity to generations of Diasporans.
On Monday, Hayrapetyan visited the Hairenik building. He toured the ARF and First Republic Archives, especially moved by the Declaration of Independence of the Republic in 1918 and the original handwritten manuscript of Simon Vratsian’s Hayastani Hanrapetutiun.
Following the visit to the archives, Hayrapetyan met with the staff of the Hairenik and Armenian Weekly as well as representatives of the ARF ER Central Committee, the ARS Central Executive Board and the Armenian Youth Federation, Eastern Region Central Executive. The meeting discussed the current environment in the Diaspora and areas of potential cooperation.