Georgi Derluguian
Professor, New York University Abu Dhabi

Who the authors of this discussion paper are, is, in fact, the least important question one could ask. Both of them are quite well-known. But the discussion paper is not at all about them. Why they feel more at ease with the business school and consulting language is simply not a question. This results from their professional background.

If one rightfully asks what political goals they might pursue (apart from those openly stated), it could be countered with a simple question: Do only poets, philosophers and Yerevan taxi-drivers have the right to talk about our nation’s destiny? Obviously, not all business leaders consider buying superyachts and villas a proper self-fulfillment. Some of them are more ambitious than that.

On the other hand, the key question our authors raise is indeed the most important one: What do we do next?

In the 19th century, the Armenians faced the issue of how to become a modern-day nation on the world arena. In the first half of the 20th century, they were faced with the problem of survival. Further, there came up an issue of preserving national identity throughout very intensive modernization across both the Soviet Armenia and the Western Diaspora. At the end of the century, the Karabakh issue seemed to overshadow every other.

And today, the 21st century is here for the Armenians. What next? The past issues have been more or less settled; the present-day Armenian nation has made it and has survived. But never before have there been so few Armenians left in their historical motherland, and never has the Diaspora (which includes the now-foreign Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan etc.) been so strong in numbers. The objective reasons for assimilation have never been that strong either, as we see globalization at work not only at the world economy level. This includes PC games, studying at global universities and inter-ethnic marriages. So what will happen next to Armenia and the Armenians on a world scale? How is it possible to maintain the national language and culture legacy in the 21st century? How to strengthen and protect the piece of mountains which is now recognized as the platform for Armenia and Artsakh sovereignty?
This is the essence of the question Nuna Alekyan and Ruben Vardanyan pose before us. And they deserve the right for a serious discussion.

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