AGBU President Berge Setrakian Meets AUA Students and Faculty

On January 30th, Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and Member of the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Board of Trustees met with AUA’s students, faculty and staff to discuss priorities, opportunities and challenges for Armenians. The lecture was held at the AUA Manoogian Hall and attended by AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, AUA Vice President Ashot Ghazaryan, AGBU Central Board Member Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia Interim Director Hovik Eordekian and other guests. Thanking the AUA President for his invitation and those present for attending, the AGBU President spoke about the current situation in Armenia, future expectations, the role of the young people, both from Armenia and the Diaspora, in building the future of Armenia, as well as the recent geo-political developments around the world. “As Martin Luther King says ‘you have to have a dream and the dream will come true’. Our dream is to build a strong Armenia. This is our number one priority. Of course, we are concerned about the problems in Armenia. Today, the whole world is facing a lot of problems. Look what’s happening in the Middle East. Of course, we are not proud of the corruption in this country. But at the same time we are realistic and proud of the achievements. If there’s any movement that is going to come out in this country, it’s going to be through the new generation, which lives here in Armenia. We do not have any interest in criticizing the government openly just for the sake of criticizing. We are not an oppositional political party, which wants to gain votes by criticizing the government. But at the same time, we do talk about the problems in Armenia with the government. That’s why the various governments that came after the independence trusted our organization, because they knew that whenever we criticize them, whenever we talk about these problems, we do it in good faith for the best interest of the country. We should persist with our struggle for the better future of Armenia and I remain optimistic about that. As a Diasporan, I tell you, the Diaspora will not live too long if Armenia does not become a subject of pride for our communities”. Setrakian also spoke about the importance of education and culture in building a nation, the problem of immigration, the discovery of young and talented leaders, AGBU’s centennial activities and the re-evaluation and re-direction of its mission and goals at the threshold of a new century. “Armenia is a small country with a small economy. Today, AGBU’s main target, forget a little bit about benevolence, is to try to organize ourselves with individuals, who have already committed themselves to Armenia, people like Ruben Vardanian, Sam Simonian and Eduardo Eurnekian. If we have three more Vardanians, three more Simonians and Eurnekians, the economy of this country will come up. Our priority now is to create jobs in Armenia. All our efforts are geared towards that direction”. Following his impassioned speech, Setrakian opened the floor for questions from the attendees. Berge Setrakian was born in Beirut in 1949. He moved to the USA in 1976. He has received Masters Degrees in French and Comparative Law from Beirut’s St. Joseph University and Lyon University in France. In 2011, Berge Setrakian was awarded the Order of Honor by the President of the Republic of Armenia. Setrakian is the 7th President of AGBU since 2002. He is also a Member of the AUA Board of Trustees. AGBU is one of the founders of the American University of Armenia and continues to financially support the University.




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