International Paris gathering discusses future of Armenian cause
PARIS–Over a hundred delegates and dignitaries from nearly twenty countries gathered at the historic Clemencau Hall of the French Senate to participate in the Pro-Armenia International Conference in Paris France. The Pro-Armenia Conference was organized by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFDJ) in conjunction with Armenian National Committee offices throughout the world. The purpose of the conference was to gather public officials from various nations to discuss issues of concern to Armenia and Armenia’s.
Following the opening of the conference by Executive Director of ANC Europe Laurent Lelekian–addresses were presented by the President of the French Senate Christian Poncelet–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia His Holiness Aram I–President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Armen Katchatrian–Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia Vartan Oskanian–and Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Hrant Markarian.
Foreign Minister Oskanian commended organizers for bringing together such a prolific group of political figures and leaders. Former President of Argentina Raul Alfonsin stressed the need to support the Armenian Cause and educate the world about the injustices inflicted on the Armenian nation.
The first session of the conference The Armenian Cause–The Genocide in the 21st Century was moderated by Armenian National Committee of America Chairman–Ken Hachikian–and included a report by French Historian Yves Ternon about contemporary studies on the Armenian Genocide. Ternon stressed that the shameless denial of Turkey makes the need for academic research and studies of this crime against humanity all the more necessary.
Key note speakers and panelists included Chairperson of the EAFDJ Hilda Tchoboian–and Chairman of ARF Western Europe Mourad Papazian. Tchoboian provided the European perspective on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide while Papazian provided insight into the French Armenian community’s successful effort to pass a bill by the French National Assembly and Senate in recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Numerous delegates–dignitaries and parliamentarians from Argentina–Georgia–France–Lebanon–Uruguay–Cyprus–Canada and Greece all expressed unwavering support in efforts to secure recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The next session focused on the topic of Integration of Armenia in The Economy of the Caucasus in The Face of Globalization. The session was moderated by Chief Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahram Nercissiants. Speakers included Chairman of the Agricole Credit Consultants Jean-Luc Perron–and Minister of Urban Development of the Republic of Armenia David Lokian. Former Prime Minister of the Soviet Union and current member of the Russian Duma Nikolay Ryzhkov also addressed the assembly. Ryzhkov is know for his dedication to helping Armenia recover from the devastating earthquake of 1988. He currently serves as the chair of the Committee for Armenian-Russian Parliamentary Cooperation. Dignitaries from the Mountainous Karabagh Republic–Greece–Georgia–Brazil and France also spoke about recent developmen’s in economic cooperation between Armenia and the global economy. The discussion presented a very positive outlook for Armenia’s economy. Armenia’s ability to maintain a stable currency and the low inflation rate–coupled with its impressive production and output growth were credited for the positive outlook.
The final session addressed the general topic of Armenia And The Armenian People in The Twenty First Century and was moderated by Armenian National Assembly member and member of the Armenian delegation to the Council of Europe Armen Roustamian. Reports were given by various delegations and included US Congressman Mark Souder (Republican – Indiana). Following a solemn moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Space Shuttle Columbia–Congressman Souder spoke about the important ties between the United States–the Armenian people–and the Republic of Armenia. "America will always stand by Armenia," said the Congressman.
"The Pro-Armenia International Conference is a tremendous accomplishment for the Armenian community. The coordinated collective efforts of Armenian National Committees from around the world ensure the success of Armenia and the Armenian Cause," stated the Director of Government Relations of the ANCA-Western Region Ardashes Kassakhian. "We hope to organize similar events in the United States to ensure that the concerns of our communities are heard and our friends in various political circles have a forum to present and share ideas," he added.
In closing the conference–Chairman of Armenian National Assembly’s Defense and National Security Committee and ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovhanissian assured that Pro-Armenia was the first of many such conferences to come.
The three day conference which concluded on Sunday–February 2–was broadcast live on three French radio stations will also be covered by Horizon Armenian Television – Glendale–California.
List of delegates presenting reports during each session:
Ruben Gustiniani (Argentina), Seygran Baghdassarian (Russia), Francois Rochebloine (France), Van Bayourtian (Georgie), Madeleine Dalphond Guiral (Canada), Michel El Murr (Lebannon), Rafael Michelini (Uruguay), Stavrou Patroclos (Cyprus), Antranik Eurnekian (Argentine), Abdelattif El Zein (Lebannon), Eleni Bakopanos (Canada), Theodoros Pangalos (Grece).
Nikolay Ryjkov (Russia), Armen Sarkissian (Karabakh), Anastasis Papaligouras (Greece), Givi Shugarov (Georgia), Armenag Tcherkesian (Brazil), Dominique Strauss-Kahn (France).
Levon Meguerditchian (Armenia), Francois Thual (Director of IRIS), Nokolay Ryjkov (Russia), Aghvan Vartanian (Armenia), Rep. Mark Souder (U.S.A.), Fernando Maurette (Argentina), Vassos Lyssarides (Cyprus), Manuel Hassassian (University Professor), Oleg Essayan (Karabakh), Hamlet Movsissian (Georgia).