YEREVAN—Armenia’s Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan and chief of staff Sara Anjargolian met with 17 Armenian Missionary Association of America interns, who were visiting from eight countries—USA, Canada, Australia, Lebanon, Syria, Switzerland, France and Argentina. During their 15 days in the Homeland, the youth will not only get acquainted with their Homeland, but will do humanitarian service, as well. They will stay in Vanadzor for five days to help 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, and their motivation to return to Armenia and to live and work in the Homeland. Sinanyan mentioned that he lived in the U.S. 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 said that she had been living in Armenia for the past seven years. She founded Impact Hub in Yerevan, and began helping young starters get established in Armenia. Referring to Diaspora Armenian youth, Anjargolian stressed that it is extremely important to keep in touch, and share news, with each other, and to keep an open dialogue.
The leader of the Interns Rev. Serop Megerdithcian, Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, CA, spoke about the goal of the Vision for Mission initiative of the AMAA’s 2019 Internship Program in Armenia.
Commenting on the interns’ visit to Armenia, Sinanyan said, “If you link your future with Armenia, then we have succeeded. 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 to volunteer, to work, to establish a business, to engage in tourism, or to even work for the government, because the doors are already open.
The interns then had the opportunity to ask some questions to the Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs. Responding to one of the questions regarding goals for the relations with the Diaspora, Sinanyan said that it is necessary to first improve and restore these relations, and to use the potential of the Diaspora for Armenia. When one of the interns asked how important the work of the Armenian government with the Diaspora is, Sinanyan explained that, now, the 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.
The Interns were also interested in the Commissioner’s opinion on the Diasporan-Armenian dividing line. “These divisions are the result of historical events. In reality, we are not different. The moment when we understand that we are Armenians and our Homeland is Armenia, the differences will disappear,” stated Sinanyan.
At the end of the meeting the Interns emphasized that, in Armenia, people are warm, the Armenian heart is immediately felt, and they are ready to share what they have. It feels as though they have fallen in love with Armenia.