ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N. J. – Upon the request of Armenia’s Ministry of the Diaspora and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States, a town hall community meeting with Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan was held on August 2 at the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) New Jersey Center. Donors, activists, public figures, artists and many immigrants from Armenia were present.
The minister was accompanied by Ambassador to the United States Grigor Hovhannissian, who came for this event directly from Washington along with Makar Melikyan, Vagharshak Hakobyan, assistant to Hayrapetyan, and Dr. Vahe Sahakyan, an advisor to the minister now living in Michigan. During his visit in New York the minister met with the leaders of various organizations.
The chair of the TCA of Greater New York, Hilda Hartounian, spoke words of welcome to the minister and in the name of TCA gave him a Michael Aram centerpiece of Noah’s ark and Mt. Ararat as a gift in memory of the visit. Hagop Vartivarian, secretary of the TCA Central Board, then introduced the minister to the audience and moderated the remainder of the event.
Vartivarian invited Amb. Hovhannisian to say a few words. The latter wished the minister great success in his new post.
The minister then concisely spoke about the causes of the Velvet Revolution, which were primarily the result of two decades of injustice, corruption, economic crisis and the depopulation of the country through massive emigration. He declared that the revolution began with limited financial resources. He expressed optimism about the forthcoming years and emphasized the importance of the participation of the diaspora in the development and progress of Armenia.
During a question and answer session, he answered the queries of those present calmly and logically in a broadminded fashion. Aside from the issues raised concerning relations between Armenia and the diaspora, Armenians who had immigrated here from the Republic asked about various domestic matters and woes.