On October 10, on the invitation of the Chair of Political Governance and Public Policy, students and the staff of the Chair hosted Armen Yeganyan, Head of Policy Planning department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the meeting was to get acquainted with the strategic assessment of the diplomat about the cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and America-Armenian lobby institution.
“The format between Armenia and the Diaspora has changed since Armenia won independence. I would rather say after the earthquake in 1988, when the attention of the Armenians worldwide was focused on Armenia. The distance between them got smaller, and the nature of relationships changed” Armen Yeganyan said, and made believe that the most powerful, impressive and coordinated Armenian lobbying is in the United States of America.
And as Armenia hadn’t have any official relationship with the US before it won independence, the latest three decades of cooperation became a period of accumulation of experience for the Armenian diplomats.
The speaker presented the picture of emigration from Armenia to the USA after 1991, spoke about the East- and West-Armenian communities, each of which bears the hard heritage of genocide in its own manner. The new wave of immigration with an expectation of a new life was specific because of their aggressive attitude toward the authorities. To Armen Yeganyan, it is a preventing factor for getting integrated to the Armenian community in the US, and participation in lobbying activities. The latter are involved in the Armenian lobby very slowly, and particularly in the authoritative staff. They are not enthusiastic because they try to perform in the private sector.
“Unlike the new community, the old one is more organized, and politically oriented” he stated and spoke about the tools with the help of which they try to influence on the American officials. Modern technologies, internet, especially the social net help it to fulfil even with scarce means and comparatively modest financial investments.
Two lobbying companies in US, in other words the bulks of lobbying, are the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian Cause (Armenian National Committee of America). A. Yeganyan told that they pursue the same aim, nevertheless there are certain differences. Armenian National Committee of America has focused its authority on recognition of Armenian genocide. Unlike ANCA, the development of RA and the problem of Artsakh are on the agenda of the Armenian Assembly of America.
The diplomat told that ANCA, contrary to the Armenian Assembly of America, has ideological grounds. And the gap between these two lobbying organizations make most of the American congressmen shun certain issues. He noted the growing role of the Republic of Armenia in this relationship. The latter is not authorized to operate lobbying, but it can expect assistance in recognition of genocide, aid to the Republic of Artsakh, and resolution of Artsakh conflict. The first greatest and fundamental success that the Armenian lobby in US has recorded, was the creation of unofficial lobbyist group in the US Congress in 1995. Now it encompasses more congressmen than other similar groups of more powerful countries.
Evaluating the situation in the context of the subject, the Foreign Ministry official as an immediate task noted the inner-community issues, all-Armenian issues which are characteristic to the American Armenians, and ties between the Republic of Armenia and American lobbying organizations.
The lecture was followed with Q&As, which witnessed that the participants were interested in the theme and they try to find their own options for problem solving.