In a world marked by unprecedented uncertainty, Armenia stands at a crossroads. The recent ethnic cleansing of Artsakh has shaken the nation, and the ongoing challenges facing Armenia add to the uncertainty. Yet, amid these trying times, a question emerges: Why should one consider repatriating to Armenia in the face of such uncertainty? To shed light on this matter, we turn to the insights of two individuals with a lot to say on the matter— Vartan Marashlyan, Repat Armenia Foundation’s Director, and Sevan Kabakian, Birthright Armenia’s Country Director. Their perspectives offer a compelling case for finding hope and purpose through repatriation even in the midst of these challenges.
Vartan Marashlyan: A Call to Unite
For Vartan Marashlyan, the challenges facing Armenia are not isolated events but part of a broader historical context. His words resonate with a profound call to action. “Armenia, our homeland, is going through serious trials, much as it has throughout its long and storied history. The outcome of these trials depends not only on the leaders within Armenia but also on each of us,” he says.
Marashlyan underscores that, despite varying perspectives from abroad, a significant portion of Armenia's population shares deep concerns about the ongoing developments in the region. The emotional investment from the Armenian Diaspora is palpable. People abroad are passionately dedicated to Armenia's future and feel a sense of responsibility. “Moving to Armenia in these times can provide a platform for meaningful engagement. It allows you to contribute directly to the nation's development, much like the passionate individuals throughout Armenian history who played pivotal roles in shaping our destiny,” he emphasizes.
A move to Armenia comes with its share of challenges and risks, of course. However, the emotional, professional, cultural, and societal engagement you gain in your homeland often far outweighs these concerns.” No one else can take your place, and your contribution is unique,” Marashlyan says. “Change takes time, and by making the move, you plant the seeds to secure the future for Armenian generations in your Homeland”
In a world of instant gratification, Marashlyan reminds us that repatriation is not about quick fixes; it's about a life-long commitment, a dedication that understands the marathon nature of the journey.
Sevan Kabakian: Courage, Responsibility, and Progress
Sevan Kabakian offers a pragmatic yet hopeful perspective on repatriation, one that acknowledges that it may not be the perfect choice for everyone at a given time, but underscores its essential role in Armenia's future. Repatriation should be on the radar, a competitive possibility in one’s life choices. It helps transform Armenia from being an abstract object that we love to a tangible place of action. According to him, repatriation is not about being "right," and those who make this choice should not be considered as being special. And when the challenges are the greatest, the decisions should be the boldest.
He highlights the strength that comes from like-minded individuals coming together in Armenia, especially during these uncertain times. While survival instincts may naturally kick in during challenges, Kabakian encourages a shift from survival mode to action mode. “Physical presence in Armenia is irreplaceable. It's about being a part of society here, contributing to the nation's progress, and paying taxes—actions that cannot be replicated from afar,” he says.
Kabakian reminds us that Armenia's most significant resource is its human capital, a substantial portion of which resides outside the country. It’s a fundamentally untapped potential that, he believes, is vital for Armenia's progress and security. “Repatriation is a conscious, confident, and well-thought-out decision—a testament to one's commitment to Armenia's future,” he says. “This vast resource, consisting of Armenians living abroad, possesses invaluable know-how, knowledge, and experience. Unfortunately, this wealth is often harnessed by the nations where these individuals reside rather than benefiting Armenia directly,” he says.
Repatriation is an opportunity to reclaim this lost resource: to bring home the talent, expertise, and passion needed to drive the nation forward.
The Path Forward
In times of uncertainty, repatriating to Armenia is not merely an emotional decision; it is a strategic and responsible choice. Armenia has a rich history of struggle for independence and is at a crossroads today. The importance of statehood and the nation's future should not be underestimated.
Despite challenges, including ongoing geopolitical uncertainties and security concerns, repatriation represents a courageous move that embodies dedication to Armenia's growth and stability. It's about actively participating in nation-building, contributing to the country's development, and ensuring Armenia thrives in the face of precariousness.
In these critical times, Armenians around the world have a unique opportunity to shape Armenia's destiny. Repatriation is not just an option; it's a call to action — a call to find hope, purpose, and unity in the homeland. It's about planting the seeds of progress and securing a brighter future for generations to come.
Repatriation, in essence, is the embodiment of hope in times of uncertainty.
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