Hayk Kotanjian: “Strategic Guidelines for dealing with the mistakes committed in the Institutional parity of the Global Armenian Network”
HAYK KOTANJIAN, Professor, Doctor of Political Science (RF), International Counterterrorism Fellow (US), LTG (Ret.), Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Ret.)
After the last year’s December announcement by the RA Government on dissolving the Ministry of Diaspora, and our subsequent publication in the “Regnum”, certain progress has been spotted. This regards to the feedbacks to our argumentation on the systemic transformation of the Ministry of Diaspora into the Ministry of the Affairs of Diaspora, with those arguments well-elaborated via dialogues and collaboration with eminent figures and organizations of Armenia and Diaspora.
The authorities of the modern states take into account the imperative of the full-fledged representation in the community of the international politics subjects of the public administration relevant institutions for the effective cooperation, competition and struggle to defend their strategic national interests. Given the current global and regional security dynamics the representation in the international community the nation states’ ministries and agencies which pursue the strategic interests of development and security of the influential Diasporas has a unique significance.
In this context the comprehension of the lessons of the institutional development of such small in numbers but worldwide by their geostrategic specifics people such as World Armenians and World Jewry with their nation-states and diasporas is vital. The resemblance of the strategic assessment of security and development challenges faced by this small in numbers but worldwide people is coinciding threats of the loss of statehood and the recurrence of the Genocide-Holocaust.
Hence, I consider it my duty to draw attention to the urgency of correcting the mistake of dissolving the Ministry of Diaspora before Armenia’s new executive authorities come into power, since the works of the new Parliament convocation have been already launched.
The support by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, in reference to the elaboration of the effective model of transforming the Ministry of Diaspora, which he will render via close collaboration with professionals from Armenia and Diaspora, is of exceptional significance in comprehending this problem. At the end of the past year I did articulate my assessments and recommendations in the “Regnum” in response to the concerned debate evolved in Beyrut with Catholicos Aram I around the letter by LtG Norat Ter-Grigoryants, President of the Western Armenian National Congress, founder of the regular military structure – the Armed Forces – of the newly independent Armenia. The aforementioned letter discussed the effective functioning of the Global Armenian Network. Taking into account the dynamic of the exchange of ideas, and the internationally acknowledged modern world practice of running affairs among the NGOs of states and Diasporas, I feel obliged to draw the attention of Armenia’s new authorities and public upon the following assessments and recommendations.
1. As we know, in modern world practice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acts as the state institution within the executive power, which is in charge with establishing diplomatic relations with other states or their joint international organizations. Meanwhile, Diaspora is not a state; hence the MFA cannot act as a state institution in directing associations with the Diaspora.
2. In order to conduct an all-out study in providing for the best optimal means for the transformation of the existing ministry into the Ministry of the Affairs of Diaspora, it is expedient to form straight away a professional governmental committee on the transformation, with high-level professionals from renowned organizations involved in it. The Ministry of Diaspora, by undergoing reviews upon the essence of the role and the place it takes amid the Global Armenian Network (its goals, priorities and strategic guidelines of its activity, structure, as well as collaborative management toolkit with the broad employment of the non-state actors of the Diaspora, including the Western Armenian National Congress and other organizations), should be transformed in essence and renamed into the Ministry of the Affairs of Diaspora, with the account of the recommendations made by the aforementioned committee.
3. In reference to the proposal of Diaspora’s representation in the RA bichamber Parliament, I have the honor to note that in the Knesset, the highest representative and legislative body in Israel, the Diaspora is not directly represented as it might have been regarded (and manipulated) as a tool by foreign states for immediate interference into the Israeli state policy.
4. Thanks to our two-week long integrated efforts, we can draw the conclusion that in order to efficiently represent and defend the RA’s interests in the spheres of Culture and the Diaspora in international arena, along with all our previous arguments, we should also be guided by the principle of institutional parity between the subsequent subjects of public administration of Armenia and Azerbaijan. In the Republic of Azerbaijan, there exists a State Committee on Work with Diaspora, established back in 2003 by the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. According to its Regulation, its duties are “…to liaise and maintain ties with the Azerbaijani Diaspora abroad, support the worldwide Azerbaijanis’ efforts in establishing national integrity, to conduct affairs regarding the Azerbaijanis residing abroad”.
As a matter of fact, by establishing a state committee to work with Azerbaijanis abroad (the predecessor of the State Committee on Work with Diaspora of Azerbaijan), since 2002 President Heydar Aliyev laid the groundwork for the Azerbaijani Diaspora, as a system of economic, financial, social, political, cultural and information relations, one which nowadays actively counters the Armenian Diaspora.
5. In international arena, in line with the ministries of culture of numerous states, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan also operates actively, often acting against the interests of Armenia and all the Armenians. Thus, the systemic literate reviewing and handling of the Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Culture transformation problem is also on the agenda. Owing to this, it should become an independent efficient entity of public administration to proportionally act with the counter ministries of the world community, in accordance with the principle of institutional parity derived from the innovative requirements of the current century.
It is of key significance, that the last January 10, 2019 session of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, which was chaired by the then acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, attests that there do exist certain evidences suggesting that the Prime Minister is inclined to consider the systemic transformation of the Ministry of Diaspora into the Ministry of the Affairs of Diaspora via agreed dialogue and collaboration with eminent figures and renowned organizations of Armenia and Diaspora (see: Никол Пашинян: Правительство обсудит модель повышения уровня отношений с диаспорой, с нашими соотечественниками. Январь 10, 2019. “Аравот” – Новости Армении. https://www.aravot-ru.am/2019/01/10/295010/).