15 April 2016
Today, as we pay tribute to the 110th anniversary of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), we remain strongly committed to its mission, ever mindful of the heavy responsibility we bear in addressing the numerous and extraordinary challenges facing our people.
This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the independent republics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). We also commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide which heralds the beginning of a new era for our flourishing nation’s struggle for justice and retribution.
With bright prospects for the future, our nation is enjoying many notable individual achievements, affluence and international recognition. Yet, at the same time, we are confronted with many serious imperatives in our homeland and the diaspora which mandate the need for consolidating our resources and strengthening our resolve.
At this juncture, we realistically assess our nation’s efforts, particularly over the past 25 years, with its achievements, successes as well as its short-comings. In view of the many opportunities offered by the new realities in the diasporas, we expand our mission, adopt corresponding organizational structures and cultivate new partnerships.
At this time, we consider our main challenges to be:
- The ramifications of regional instability in the Middle East, the latest manifestation of which is the ongoing brutal armed struggle in Syria which continues to dismantle our traditional diasporan communities in close proximity to our homeland. Faced with this reality, we continue our sustained efforts to organize humanitarian assistance and to support our fellow Armenians in need.
- The escalation of hostilities – in both intensity and frequency – on the part of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh endangers the safety of our people in Armenia and Artsakh. We cannot afford to be complacent and must remain vigilant in the face of this grave threat. We must provide support and assistance to strengthen the defenses of our homeland, rally to raise awareness and make our voices heard within the international diplomatic circles in support of peace and security for our homeland. We cannot afford the loss of our territory or independence. We remain committed to join forces with all people and organizations of good will to build a prosperous country in our homeland.
- Our diasporan communities around the world are faced with the imperative of joining forces and preserving their identity. Traditional organizations have become less effective due to the proliferation of our Eastern and Western diasporas and generational change. The new professional and entrepreneurial youth, defines its identity through its local and competitive professional environment and is gradually drifting away from its Armenian identity. While continuing our current initiatives for preserving our cultural heritage, our new programs are directed toward our younger generation, to rekindle their innate sense of national identity by engaging them in national and community initiatives as well as various social and economic development projects in Armenia. To this end, we will be highlighting and promoting success stories that inspire national pride.
- We strongly believe that the Armenian Apostolic Church should be strengthened, particularly in providing spiritual support and guidance to our youth. Throughout our history and today, the Armenian Church, ever present and active, has been the one prominent institution with an active presence both within and outside of our homeland, which can play a guiding role in all our communities. We shall continue our close and historic efforts to assist the Church in its spiritual and national mission.
The underlying principal of “One Nation One People” is a core maxim of our organization, because it unites our diasporas, Armenia, Artsakh and the Church, defines our priorities and responsibilities, and reveals our potential.
We are proud of the illustrious achievements of AGBU’s history and impact. We are committed to the ideals of the “General Union” as envisioned by our founders and are pursuing the path they set forth. We continue to promote professionalism in our operations and have forged partnerships with enterprising leaders who have initiated numerous projects that aim to develop Armenia and Artsakh and energize the potential of our diasporas.
On this momentous occasion, we call on our youth, all factions of our nation, our benefactors and membership to join us in our course, to help us honor this landmark occasion in a spirit of unity and pursue our mission with honor and added resolve.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org.