Statement of the U.S. Eastern Region
at the Armenia-Diaspora Conference, 1999
Report of Eastern Region - United States
Presented by Dennis R. Papazian
Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Chairman, Rev. Clergy, and
First I would like to thank the organizers of the Armenia--Diaspora
Conference for their recognition that we are one people and have
one state. Our object here today is to determine how the government
and people of Armenia can better understand the people of the
Diaspora and how the Armenians of the Diaspora can better
understand the needs and aspirations of the people of
Armenia. Through conferences like this, mutual understanding can
develop and we can work together to realize the national
aspirations of the Armenian people.
Certainly, we have problems. But all of these problems have
solutions when people of good will work together to reach a common
goals. Most of the material obstacles can be overcome by promoting
the rule of law, and encouraging foreign investments by looking at
each business opportunity with an open mind, and by making
bureaucratic decisions transparent. Currently many people see
Armenia as unfriendly to foreign investment.
We must have dependable business law and regularity of
administration with single-point investor/government coordination.
Secondly, we realize that Armenia has made great progress toward
meeting international standards of democracy and human rights. We
applaud and encourage these efforts. We also believe in the use of
voluntary civic organizations wherein citizens can make their own
collective contribution to the common good. History has shown us
that governments cannot do everything.
Thirdly, we of the Diaspora, and certainly we in the United States,
are much concerned with the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Our
immigration to various parts of the world was not always a free
choice on our part. When our ancestors were killed or driven from
their native soil by the Ottoman Turks, the Turks did not ask
whether they were Hunchak, Dashnak, Ramgavar, Protestant, Catholic
or Orthodox. The very fact that they were Armenian was their death
warrant. The Genocide is one of the prime denominators of our
Diaspora existence and we call upon the government of Armenia to
work with the Diaspora in achieving international recognition of
the Armenian Genocide and all that it implies.
Forth, we of the eastern region of the United States represent some
27 of the 50 states, one-half of America's geographic territory,
and are some 600,000 of the one million Armenians in America.
In the eastern region our churches played an important role in the
formation of Armenian life, as have our political parties, our
philanthropic organizations, and our compatriotic societies,
including such groups as the Social Democratic Hunchakian Party,
the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Armenian Democratic
Liberal Party. It is also the home of the Armenian General
Benevolent Union, the Armenian Missionary Association of America,
the Armenian Relief Society, the Armenian Assembly of America, the
Armenian National Committee of America, the Fund for Armenian
Relief, the Armenian Fund-U.S.A., and other groups such as the
Tekeyan Cultural Association, Hamaskain Cultural Association, the
Armenian Youth Federation, the Homenetmen, the Armenian Church
Youth Organization of America.
Fifth, since the 1960s, the 50th anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide, it was the Armenians in the eastern region who created a
new era of political action within the halls of Congress and with
the Administration to advance Armenian rights in America and
throughout the world. The strong and successful advocacy of the
Armenian National Committee of America, the Armenian Assembly of
America, and various other Armenian individuals and organizations
have advanced the Armenian cause, an example of how political
action can succeed in any democratic society.
Armenian life in America is complex. We face great forces of
assimilation. My report in English, as the reports of the ANC and
the AAA, is a reflection of this condition. We have many
organizations, and they do not always cooperate. We struggle to
bring about unity and cooperation among them and hope that we will
succeed in order to concentrate our efforts on our most important
We see the future as a partnership between Armenia, Nagorno
Karabakh and the Diaspora. We must seek mutual understanding,
recognize our interdependency, and profit from each other's
strengths and compensate for each other's weaknesses. It is
incumbent on the Armenians of America to do their best to see
America's vast wealth, political power and military strength
support the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and all
democratic governments throughout the world.
We look forward to working with the Republic of Armenia and the
international community of Armenians who are represented here today
* contribute to the political, economic, and infrastructure needs
of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh by accelerating the creation of
business, industrial, and cultural ties,
* work for the security of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and
support the self determination of Nagorno Karabakh,
* and to achieve worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide
Our goal is to help the Armenian people live in peace and raise
their standard of living so they can once more take their rightful
place as one of the advanced nations of the earth.
We must now take action, not give more speeches!
Thank you very much.
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