A little over a month ago, the Weekly penned the editorial, “The Organizational Drone vs. the Intelligent Outsider,” in which we highlighted that neither end of the character spectrum—not the unthinking community servant nor the detached, elitist intellectual—serves the community well in the long run.
More recently, LA-based columnist Garen Yegparian authored a cautionary parable on the character flaws in certain leadership types and implored organizational members to “be alert in your involvements … quickly address the problem before it is too late.”
Between these two articles appeared another editorial focusing on the sustainability of the Diaspora.
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, we are now in a great struggle, testing whether a people, forcibly dispersed from their rightful homeland, can long endure.
Separately, these appear to have not garnered much attention; collectively, we hope they inspire a broader discussion. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, we are now in a great struggle, testing whether a people, forcibly dispersed from their rightful homeland, can long endure. And even more broadly, should it endure? The greatest sin of any organization is making the mistakes born from inaction. We, individually and collectively, must not fear mistakes. They should not be viewed as evidence of carelessness. Instead, they are the necessary ingredients for success.
Too often, leadership strives to conserve the status quo. Slogans are used to idolize the past in a way that can never fully be achieved again. The result is a codification of the continual decline and eventual demise of the organization and, ultimately, the Diasporan community.
Slogans have a time and place, but its horizon ends at the place where work begins. Our forefathers had the wisdom to include the shovel in our emblem along with the sword and pen. Each is integral to our success, none can survive without the others.
Innovation rarely comes from seasoned veterans, it is most often born from youthful exuberance. It is the role of leadership to foster youthful innovation. Likewise, organizational members are responsible for finding their role, their niche of contribution, neither as unthinking organizational drone nor as selfish, arrogant outsider, as Kasparian’s op-ed so eloquently stated nearly three decades ago.
So as we think about what has transpired in Armenia over the last six months, we must as well think about continuing to move the Diaspora forward. Stagnation is an illness that can be terminal if left untreated.