As part of a wider effort to reach out to Armenian communities around the world with a record of strong ties with Armenia, on March 22, members of the Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) met with the Armenian community of Nice, France. Having originated one of the first air cargoes to land in the earthquake-stricken Armenia in December 1988, this small but vibrant community has since remained engaged in Armenia’s development. Its members welcomed the opportunity to learn about PFA and its work as well as discuss economic and social conditions in Armenia.
In his opening remarks, PFA Senior Fellow Vahagn Movsesyan introduced the audience to the mission and vision of PFA. Its role as an independent, impartial analyst and advisor was emphasized, along with the fact that PFA attempts to consolidate the potential of Armenians in various key areas of public policy and channel that expertise toward issues of importance for Armenia and the Diaspora. Dr. Movsesyan mentioned that that PFA’s work has so far been well received by a wide range of stakeholders and the organization is working to improve its outreach.
Examples of PFA products and activities were mentioned in the remarks of the founding Senior Fellow David Grigorian, who went on to talk about PFA’s two recent reports. Produced by a large number of PFA members, experts in their respective fields based around the world, these reports serve—in speaker’s view—as a new way of engaging with, and providing assistance to, Armenia and various stakeholders on issues of importance for country’s development. Dr. Grigorian again stressed the need for independent assessment as the only true way of understanding the severity of problems the civil society and the economy are facing, especially in an environment where capacity of the establishment is an issue. Details of the recent PFA reports and their policy recommendations were subsequently discussed.
These remarks then followed by a lively question-and-answer session. Participants—who were well informed about events taking place in Armenia as well as economic and social trends there—welcomed the existence of an independent policy group such as PFA. Questions raised during the session touched upon the relationship of PFA with the Armenian authorities, Armenia-based academic institutions and think tanks, various Diaspora organizations as well as similar international entities. In his closing comments, one of the community leaders, a co-organizer of the event, expressed despair about the current state of engagement between Diaspora and Armenia and wondered how much was being done at the policy level to find solutions in this respect. The need for reconciliation and joint search for new modes of engagement with Armenia was emphasized in his remarks as well as in closing remarks of the PFA speakers.
PFA members thanked the organizers for their interest to host them and welcomed the suggestion to provide input for the local community newsletter. Additional photos from the meeting are available from the Photo Gallery.
Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) is an independent professional non-profit association aimed at strengthening discourse on Armenia's economic development and national security and through that helping to shape public policy in Armenia. For more information about PFA, please visit www.pf-armenia.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.