The Armenian Diaspora of France and the Urgent need for reform

While the Western Society has evolved towards non-partisan and secular participative democracy structures, Armenian communities in these same countries have maintained their archaic structures.
Below extracts from Daniel Kurkjian’s article suggesting a much needed societal model for the Armenian Diaspora communities, starting with the community in France.

The situation is serious!

Let us observe that the Diaspora is only structured locally and not globally. There is no real liaison between the different national Diasporas on the one hand, nor a vector of coordination between these Diasporas and the Republic of Armenia on the other.

The French Diaspora, which considers itself one of the best structured Diasporas, saw its weak reality during the 44-day war and again in recent weeks.

Looking to build capacity and influence, it is necessary to have a representative structure of individuals as well as the groups that make up this Diaspora. And therefore, the structure in question must be based on a general assembly elected board of directors which itself elects an executive body.
Rules of quorum and majority must make it possible to take decisions that are effective and representative of the will of the majority. Under these conditions, such a structure can claim its representativeness and pose as an interlocutor of the President of the Republic and the public authorities, while of course keeping away from any communitarian posture.

The objectives of this organization must go beyond only subjects related to Genocide denial, and embrace all subjects related to Armenia, in full collaboration and complementarity with the associations and other organizations existing both at the national and regional/local level.

This representative body must have substantive objectives, a program intended to promote and shine the Armenian identity in France. It must not only serve as a link between the Armenians of the Diaspora but also highlight us and maintain our rank in French society. For more than a century, Armenians have perfectly demonstrated their integration into French society and their contribution to the development of France. Inviting the President of the Republic to an annual dinner and organizing demonstrations when Armenia is attacked is necessary but far from sufficient.

In a second step, with a reliable census and appropriate tools, we will have to think about the organization of democratic elections in order to choose our representatives in Armenia.

By implementing influence on the political, institutional and economic environment: all-out lobbying, encouragement to embrace a political career to increase the number of deputies, senators, local elected representatives of the Diaspora, etc… It is also necessary to intensify the strategic reflection concerning Armenia and Armenianness in think tank level circles to bring forth, externalize and publish new ideas. In addition, equipping ourselves with ways and means to communicate and make our voices heard.

I say it’s ambitious and realistic if we have the will and give ourselves the means. The means are above all financial resources and a professional team. Professionals dedicated to the operation of this organization, (and not volunteers) under the supervision of the Board of Directors, will be able to deliver the results that the entire Diaspora is entitled to expect.

With regard to financial resources, a robust budget is necessary and to create an Armenian Fund of France dedicated to the needs of the Diaspora in France with all the transparency and security guaranteeing the correct use of the funds collected.

Finally, this new representative organization of the Diaspora and its leaders must clearly show their solidarity with Armenia.

The future is our collective responsibility. Empowering our young people who have ideas and dynamism and who will dare to act. That also of my generation which must encourage them to take its place.

Daniel Kurkdjian
President of the French-Armenian Council


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