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Reader's letters
Armenians of the World, Unite 10/11/2003

Armenians of the World, Unite

Entrepreneur Ara Abrahamian has a grand vision for Armenians around the
world. He also fortunately seems to have both the money, and the dedication, to
actually make a difference.

Armenians are a famously independent group of people. As someone observed,
look at all the fields in which Armenians succeed: tennis, business, chess, etc.
Consider that Andre Agassi and Garry Kasparov are perhaps the best ever in
their respective sports of tennis and chess. Look at the success of Kirk
Kerkorian, who makes money by simply breathing. And yes, Ara Abrahamian, so often
referred to in Armenian publications as a "tycoon." He has made millions. Whether
in business or in sports, Armenians tend to excel individually, and not

Can they work together?

For a few years now, Abrahamian, an Armenian émigré who made his fortune in
Russia, and is the head of the Union of Russian Armenians, has been proposing a
World Armenian Organization, one which would be a sort of umbrella
organization encompassing all religious, social and political parties. The idea is to
link the scattered Armenians around the globe, and give them a more unified
voice in the world community.

Considering that the majority of the Armenians living on this planet live
outside of Armenia proper, the idea for a powerful umbrella organization is a
timely one. Armenians have strong representation in such conflicting areas as the
Middle East and the US, as well as Russia, where the largest Armenian Dias
pora — 2.5 million strong — live.

What better way for Armenians to make a stronger impact on world politics
than through the World Armenian Organization.
Now, of course, comes the hard part. The forum, with the participation of
around 300 representatives, took place in Moscow on October 6 and 7, and both the
Russian and Armenian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Robert Kocharian,
respectively, attended the opening session. The presence of Putin, arguable among the
top five most important leaders of the world today, puts an incredibly
prestigious luster on the gathering. As it turns out, he seemed to like the idea for
the forum more than Kocharian, who seems to be withholding judgement on the
plans for now.

Kocharian, of course, is worried that Abrahamian, as the organizer, and
possibly head of this organization, is going to be the leader of more Armenians
than he is, as president of the Republic of Armenia.
The obvious problem for Abrahamian is of course convincing other Armenians to
work with him and trust that he is not doing this for his own benefit, but
rather for the betterment of the Armenian people globally.
Already, Abrahamian has delivered on a lot of his promises to
Russian-Armenians. The Union of Russian Armenians has been able to pump millions into the
diaspora community there. He is a creative businessman and has been able to
harness the individualistic talents of the Armenians for the greater good of the

This World Armenian Organization might be a pipe dream, or it could be the
one important element, which could galvanize and unite Armenians around the
Having different beliefs in the field of politics or religion is not
necessarily a bad thing; all peoples in the world, in whatever nation they live in,
unless they are robots, have multiple parties, churches, temples, etc. These
differences are only bad when they are upheld to the point that those holding the
opposing ideas are perceived to be "enemies," rather than those who are
genuinely following a certain ideology, which in their point of view is beneficial
to the Armenian people.

Mr. Abrahamian certainly has his work cut out for him. The ARF seems to send
a signal that they are waiting to see how the pan-Armenian organization will
pan out before they throw their hats in. And also, the Armenian Assembly did
not send a representative. The Assembly, along with the Armenian National
Committee of America, which is the political activist wing of the ARF, both have
done magnificent lobbying work in the US. They should be a part of this effort;
they have nothing to lose.

It should be noted, also, that Abrahamian has the support of the Armenian
Democratic Liberal Organization and in turn, he has supported ADL candidates in

Armenians united around the world can be a big force for good, not only for
the diaspora, but also for their brothers and sisters in Armenia. When was the
last time the Armenian basketball team won?
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