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THE ROAD TO INTEGRATION CONFERENCE OPENS NEW INTEGRATION PROSPECTS FOR DISPLACED SYRIAN FAMILIES SEEKING PROTECTION IN ARMENIA

 

 

 

A conference entitled The Road to Integration was held at the AUA Business Center in Yerevan on April 28. The one-day Conference aimed at better understanding and representing the interests of families displaced by the conflict in Syria and seeking protection in Armenia was organized by the Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center (SARCC) NGO as part of a project funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia. The participants of the Conference, including the main guests, Ms. Hranush Hakobyan, the Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia (RA), Mr. Levon Sargsyan, Ambassador at large and Pyunik NGO President, Mr. Christoph Bierwirth, UNHCR Armenia Representative, Mr. Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Central Board Member, Sergey Manasaryan, Deputy Foreign Minister of RA, other government authorities, representatives of diplomatic missions, local and international organizations as well as Syrian-Armenian businessmen, doctors, scholars and artisans, discussed issues related to integration: the success and challenges faced by the vulnerable displaced Syrian-Armenian families in their legal, socio-economic and cultural integration in the host country, Armenia. The Conference granted an opportunity to the parties to not only present their accomplishments but to mutually identify the gaps hindering the integration process of the displaced families, namely, language barriers and cultural peculiarities; limited chances of well-paid employment, income generation prospects, in remote regions, in particular, the harsh socio-economic environment the Syrian-Armenians are not used to as well as the local business and taxation practice they are still unfamiliar with.The participants were however glad to note that the displaced families felt safe in Armenia and expressed gratitude for the emergency response and various assistance efforts undertaken by the Government of Armenia, namely, the Ministry of Diaspora and the State Migration Service, other entities, such as the State Employment Service Agency, Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center of Armenia; the Church and the Armenian Diaspora; international and local organizations, such as UN Agencies: UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF, AGBU SARCC, Mission Armenia, The Armenian Red Cross Society, AMAA, Armenia Caritas and many local Armenian individuals.