Armenians today live in a truly historic period. For the first time in over 600 years, with the exception of the short-lived republic of 1918-1920, we have an independent Armenian state of our own. Unlike many of our parents and those who came before us, our generation has a tremendous opportunity–indeed, a responsibility–to reassemble within our homeland and be a stake holder in its much needed development.
In recent years, we have seen a small but significant number of Armenians from around the world rise up to this challenge and make their way to the homeland. Some have gone as volunteers for extended periods of time, while others have ventured one step further and permanently repatriated there. These pioneering groups and individuals are setting the foundation for a new, burgeoning tide of Diaspora Armenians who realize the importance of looking to the homeland for their future.
Simultaneously, the government in Armenia has recently taken steps to begin embracing this process of repatriation and encouraging Diasporan Armenians to take ownership in their homeland. This is perhaps best illustrated by the government's adoption of the Law on Dual Citizenship in 2007 and its recent creation of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.
As members of the ARF Shant Student Association, we feel there has never been a better time then now to bolster and expand this growing movement. For this reason, we have initiated an ongoing campaign aimed at encouraging Diasporan Armenians to travel, support, connect, and, ultimately, resettle in the homeland. We plan to carry out this campaign through a series of events, activities and initiatives which call on students and youth, especially, to take part in this “Depi Yerkir” movement.
Our first event along these lines will be an information fair on May 14 at the Glendale Hilton Hotel, from 7 to 10 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about opportunities available in Armenia and explore many of the ways repatriation can become a reality. There will also be an informative presentation by Dr. Stephan Astourian, Chair of Armenian Studies at UC Berkeley, regarding the importance of looking to the homeland for the future of the Armenian nation.
We are fully aware of the difficulties of repatriation and the sacrifice it entails. However, we are also aware of the repercussions of staying trapped in foreign lands and fighting daily to maintain our culture and identity
Although challenging, the fact is that repatriation is not only possible, it is a viable option and great opportunity. By working collectively, we can help foster this reality, creating a stronger nation and a better future for ourselves and for the Republic of Armenia.
We call on all Armenians to join the “Depi Yerkir” movement and look toward Armenia for the future. Let us all unite, utilizing our talents and resources for the betterment of our homeland; ensuring a brighter, stronger and more prosperous Armenia.
ARF Shant Student Association
Source: “Asbarez”, 17 April 2009