“Any Armenian living outside the homeland should realize that their ultimate goal is to return to Armenia” - Nikol Pashinyan, Anna Hakobyan host Diaspora schoolchildren
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Mrs. Anna Hakobyan hosted more than seventy Armenian 10-grade students from Los Angeles, who represented the AGBU Manoogian-Demirchian School, which boasts about 800 pupils. Every year, 10-grade schoolchildren visit Armenia to get acquainted with their homeland, while 11-grade pupils are involved in volunteer programs and take training courses in Armenia.
Greeting the guests, the Prime Minister expressed hope that he could see them several times on in the Homeland. The Prime Minister took note of the schoolchildren’s impressions of Armenia and answered their questions. Referring to the development of the economy, Nikol Pashinyan said his government has already taken some important steps in that direction.
“You may know that there were used to be some economic restrictions and monopolies in Armenia. Now no one is facing any limitations whatsoever. We have reduced the shadow economy, and over the past one year 51,000 new jobs were created in the Republic of Armenia, the scope of shadow trading has dropped. Our common philosophy is to create opportunities for people to develop the economy,” the Premier said, noting that previously they were limited
“Our main role is to see people believe in their strengths that people can work out their well-being, their success, and career. That is why we must ensure fair and equal conditions for all citizens,” he said. The Prime Minister pointed out that the government has identified three main sectors as a priority in the economy.
“Technology comes first. We hope that Armenia will rapidly turn into a country of startups and the technology sector will develop.
Recently, there have been structural changes in the government, and now our country has a new Ministry of High-Tech Industry. We hope that it will boost the technology sector.
The next destination is tourism, which we hope will grow at a great pace. In recent years, tourism has been developing well because many new business people have successfully invested in this field.
The third direction is agriculture. We intend to do everything to meet the modern standards. Answering philosophically, I would say the following: our goal is to create opportunities by providing broader access to education.
Unfortunately, for a long time education has been a little different in Armenia. The importance of education has been underestimated and we want to change young people’s attitude towards education so that a person can understand that education is a chance to develop his or her talent; an opportunity to succeed in life, a possibility to create opportunities for others and so on. That is why we believe that in this respect Armenia should be a paradise for talented people so that a talented person could be sure that there are all necessary prerequisites for self-assertion in this country,” the Prime Minister said.
According to Nikol Pashinyan, the Government should empower the citizens in terms of education so that anyone could win not only his own bread, water and clothing, but also do it for others.
“This is how we imagine the economic development of the Republic of Armenia. The government should create opportunities for people to develop the economy. Access to finance should be ensured, not corruption, so that there are no artificial barriers to people. We believe that each person is talented and that talent is the way to develop our economy,” the Prime Minister said, adding that people should understand that nothing is feasible without labor.
“We want our citizens to be encouraged and have the opportunity to work and get results. We want work to be perceived not just as suffering in the Republic of Armenia; we want people to enjoy their work,” the Head of Government emphasized.
Taking the opportunity, the Prime Minister touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, its history and the settlement process.
“Just as Azerbaijan emerged following the Soviet Union’s breakup and is now an independent state, the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh came out of the Soviet Union and our task is get the international community to recognize that fact. Negotiations are in progress; at least we are holding negotiations to that effect.
Azerbaijan that has spent a few billion dollars on armament over the last 10 years, is constantly trying to impose solutions to the Armenian side, but we do not admit it because, in fact, the international community and the OSCE Minsk Group, which is the only internationally recognized negotiation format, has set forth three basic principles for the talks, one of which is the non-use of force or threat of force. And we declare that no one can speak the language of force with Armenia, it is just unacceptable for us. The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh are united in defying any threats or challenges, but on the other hand, we have recorded that we only see a peaceful settlement of the issue,” Nikol Pashinyan said and went on to advise that yesterday the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met in Washington. “There is some tension on the border, but we hope that we will be able to ease the escalation and reach a peaceful, negotiated settlement,” the Prime Minister said.
Answering the question how Diaspora Armenians can help the homeland, the Premier said: “First of all, those who have good education and business skills should come to do business in Armenia, especially as the IT industry is on the rise now. Secondly, you need to tell your friends about Armenia, its numerous amenities and encourage them to visit Armenia and Artsakh as I am sure that any visitor will eventually grow fond of our country.”
The Prime Minister added that the Government will do its best to improve the roads, clear Armenia from garbage and make things better. Prioritizing the preservation of the Armenian identity in the Diaspora, the Head of Government thanked the Manoogian-Demirchian School for their activity.
“I feel that we need to state that the ultimate goal of any Armenian living outside Armenia is to return to Armenia. Today, we can witness that many Diaspora-based young people are moving away from the Armenian identity, this why we believe that Armenia’s reality should be made more attractive to young people. You must to live in and with Armenia regardless of whether you are here physically or not. In this respect, your living with Armenia is the greatest support for the homeland.
Although Los Angeles is far from Armenia, the support we received at least through the social networks was of paramount importance during the revolution. The revolution would not have been possible without your support. The greatest support is just living in Armenia in all respects. Armenia should become a crossroads and a global hub. Armenia should be talked about night and day, if we are to raise awareness of our homeland in the world. This is the most important thing,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized.
In conclusion, the schoolchildren thanked the Prime Minister for a warm welcome and got photographed with Nikol Pashinyan and Mrs. Anna Hakobyan.