YEREVAN—On July 9, the Republic of Armenia’s Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan and the Head of the Office of the High Commissioner Sara Anjargolian received 17 interns of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). The interns represented eight countries – United States, Canada, Australia, Lebanon, Syria, Switzerland, France and Argentina. During their 15 days in Armenia, the youth have not only been getting acquainted with their homeland, but also performing humanitarian services. In Vanadzor, they will minister to single elderly people, care for them, help them in everyday jobs and clean their homes.
After welcoming the youth, Sinanyan and Anjargolian spoke about their repatriation stories, their motivation to return to Armenia, and what it’s like to live and work in the homeland. Sinanyan described how he lived in the US for 31 years, but after the Velvet Revolution in Armenia last year, he decided to return to his homeland, to live here and to work for the Armenian government. Anjargolian has been living in Armenia for the past seven years. She founded the Impact Hub in Yerevan and began helping young people get established in Armenia.
Rev. Serop Megerdithcian, Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, California, spoke about the AMAA’s 2019 Vision for Mission initiative.
“If you link your future with Armenia, then we have succeeded,” said Sinanyan. “The role of the Diaspora is not just to help Armenia. The Diaspora should also participate in the future of the Homeland.” Anjargolian urged them to come to Armenia for volunteer work, to work, to establish a business, to tour, or even work for the government, because the door is already open, she said.
Interns also had the opportunity to ask questions to the Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs. In his response to a question about the goal of Diasporan relations, Sinanyan said that it is necessary first to improve and restore these relations and to use the potential of the Diaspora for Armenia. One of the interns asked how important the work of the Armenian government with the Diaspora is. Sinanyan said that the immediate goal is to link Diaspora Armenians to Armenia as much as possible, and the ministry’s reshuffling of the Prime Minister’s office has given a higher status to Armenia-Diaspora relations.
Interns were also interested in the Commissioner’s opinion on the Diasporan-Armenian dividing line. “These divisions are the result of historical events,” said Sinanyan. “In reality, we are not different. The moment when we understand that we are Armenians and our homeland is Armenia, the differences will disappear.”
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