ISSUES REGARDING SYRIAN-ARMENIANS’ INTEGRATION WERE DISCUSSED AT ARMENIA’S MINISTRY OF DIASPORA

On September 8, 2015, AGBU Central Board Member Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia Interim Director Hovig Eordekian and Director of Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center NGO Lena Halajian were received by Hranoush Hakobyan, Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. Greeting the guests, the Minister expressed her satisfaction for close cooperation and praised AGBU’s efforts and support in helping the Syrian-Armenians that have settled down in Armenia. As the Minister stated, currently almost one thousand Syrian-Armenians move to Armenia every month and we need to reconsider the methods and format of works that we carry out in this direction to further support their integration and active involvement in various fields of public activities. Also among the issues discussed were the formation of small voluntary groups of Syrian-Armenian students, businessmen and doctors, organization of regular meetings and discussions with them, and their involvement in the process of development of their Motherland and full integration in the society. To meet the goal, it has been decided to prepare informative and introductory flyers and a timetable of meetings. Ms. Hakobyan also announced that this year too the Ministry, together with AGBU and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, will continue to proportionally cover the tuition fees of Syrian-Armenian students enrolled in Bachelor degree programs in the Universities of Armenia. A statistical report about the Syrian-Armenians who have received low interest loans and have been involved in entrepreneurship in the past three years will be prepared in cooperation with SME DNC (Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center). The grounds for their success and challenges that they face will be another topic of discussion during future meetings. The issue of establishing a creative center for Syrian-Armenians was also discussed. AGBU delegates expressed willingness to support Diaspora Ministry’s initiatives.