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Category Archives: Armenia

Armenian Student Associations in the U.S. Pen Letter in Solidarity with Student-Driven Movement in Armenia

Mother Armenia overlooking the latest peaceful demonstrations in Yerevan, Armenia on April 25, 2018. (Photo credit: Bared Maronian of Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Armenian Student Associations (ASA) from universities across the United States have assembled and penned a letter in solidarity with what they are calling a “student-driven democratization movement” taking place in Armenia.

“As members of a new generation in the diaspora, we stand with our Armenian counterparts in their quest to combat corruption and ensure democratic governance,” reads a part of the letter written by five Washington D.C.-area ASAs, and endorsed by 13 other ASAs across the country.

Tereza Sarkisyan, a graduate student at American University who is from Boca Raton, FL, told FLArmenians.com, “It’s true that in order for a political movement to succeed it must include the students and young adults who care about the future of their country. Armenian American students are proud of the youth in Armenia for instilling new hope and a desire to change in all of the Armenian people around the world. We want them to know that they are not alone. We stand with them and we’re proud to be Armenian because of them. The resilience of the Armenian people has inspired us and I hope this letter is but one of many steps taken to bridge the gap that exists between the diaspora and Armenia,” Sarkisyan said.

The letter goes on to state: “As students of the diaspora, we have the unique privilege to observe the unfolding events through a non-partisan lens and for this reason, can amplify the voices of our fellow student activists in Hayastan adding to their momentum,” reads another part of the letter. “We aim to be a uniting force that will empower the Armenian people to continue to set an example of a nonviolent, yet effective democratization movement.’

Read the letter in its entirety below.

***

To the people of The Republic of Armenia:

We, as representatives of Armenian Student Associations across the United States, would like to express our solidarity with the student-driven democratization movement in the Republic of Armenia. As members of a new generation in the diaspora, we stand with our Armenian counterparts in their quest to combat corruption and ensure democratic governance.

We believe that the unbounded corruption of the undemocratically elected elite has directly led to the stunted growth and development in our homeland. However, we are hopeful and confident that this is the dawn of a major turning point for Armenia.

Though there is reason to celebrate the resignation of Serge Sarkisian as a victory, the struggle for a democratic transition continues. It is time for us, as the Diasporan community, to unite and acknowledge the grievances of the Armenian people and back the nascent democratization movement.

As students of the Diaspora, we have the unique privilege to observe the unfolding events through a non-partisan lens and for this reason, can amplify the voices of our fellow student activists in Hayastan adding to their momentum. We aim to be a uniting force that will empower the Armenian people to continue to set an example of a nonviolent, yet effective democratization movement.

We seek to join the likes of the Armenian Diaspora around the world who have stood with our brothers and sisters. We believe we must strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between the diaspora and citizens of the Republic of Armenia in aiding Armenia’s democratic transition.

We encourage the adoption of democratic electoral processes in Armenia and support a fair, democratic transition. We reject the legitimacy of any election that is carried out via bribery, coercion, or any form of electoral fraud. As such, we also support you in your rejection of the Republican Party of Armenia.

We call on members of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), who currently hold majority seats in Parliament, to uphold their promise and support the election of a people’s prime minister, in order to better represent the voices of the Armenian people, and moreover to be a part of the solution, for the future of their children.

We call on all Armenian Student Association organizations across the U.S. to stand with us against the Republic’s current regime and join the fight for a free and prosperous Armenia.

Getseh ankakh Hayastan! (Long live free Armenia!)

Written by the Armenian Student Associations of Washington, D.C.:

  • Armenian Student Association of American University
  • Armenian Student Association of George Washington University
  • Armenian Student Association of the University of Maryland
  • Armenian Student Association of the University of Virginia
  • Armenian Student Association of Georgetown University

With support from:

  • Armenian Student Association of Michigan State University
  • Armenian Student Association University of Chicago
  • Armenian Student Association Ramapo College
  • Armenian Student Association University of Illinois
  • Armenian Student Association Northeastern University
  • Armenian Student Association Providence College
  • Armenian Student Association University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Armenian Student Association Grand Valley State University
  • Armenian Student Association UC San Diego
  • Armenian Student Association UC Irvine
  • Armenian Student Association UC Riverside
  • Armenian Student Association UC Los Angeles
  • Armenian Student Association California State University of Northridge
  • Armenian Student Association California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Armenian Student Association Santa Monica College
  • Armenian Student Association Tufts University
  • Armenian Student Association Temple University
  • Armenian Student Association Boston University

Other Endorsements:

  • Nina Melkonyan, St. Lawrence University*
  • Ari Alexanian, Purdue University*
  • Armenian Students of George Mason University*
  • Armenian Students of Drexel University*
  • Sophia Yedigarian, Fordham University
  • Armenian Students of St. Louis University
  • Armenian Students of Wayne State University
  • Armenian Students of Brandeis University
  • AEΩ Armenian Fraternity
  • Armenian Students of University of Miami

*Signatories marked with an asterisk (*) are students who chose to sign the letter independent of an official ASA.

If you or your organization would like to be added to the list of endorsements, please e-mail us at dcarmenianstudentassociation@gmail.com.

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Reflections on the #RejectSerzh Movement

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

By Lexi Davitian
FLArmenians Guest Contributor

The symphony of car horns honking in support has become the soundtrack to our lives here. People chanting, fists pounding the air demanding justice…. I have been living in Armenia for about a year now. I have heard about corruption, witnessed it, and even have been a victim of it. With that being said I have spent some of the most incredible months of my life here.

Life in Hayastan is not perfect, but can you tell me one place that is? I personally am not supporting Nikol or Serzh, and have met many others who feel the same. After they had taken him, the people fought harder and stronger! With that being said, Nikol has become a huge symbol of hope and guidance for this revolution. Upon his release as we walked through the streets, I could see tears down so many faces, as their hearts were recharged by the sight of him.

Marching alongside the citizens of Armenia has helped me come to the conclusion that we are all here for the same reason: Hayastan.

Unfortunately, we do not have all of the answers to what happens next… Whatever happens, I was proud, as an Armenian American from Florida, to march alongside people who finally feel hope for change in their lives in Hayastan. A country that once felt like an endless tunnel now has a light that grows brighter with each day.

On April 23, 2018 Serzh Sarkissian officially stepped down making all of sleepless nights, and days spent walking worth it. The celebration is filled with contagious joy. Everyone in the streets smiling and hugging each other in congratulation, shaking hands with the officers that were just the day before holding us back. Now the cheers of victory echo throughout Hayastan. Smiling faces greet each other, while the people now walk around with their heads held high in a victory they so highly deserve!

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

Photograph by Lexi Davitian for FLArmenians.com

Lexi Davitian is an Armenian American photographer currently living in Yerevan, Armenia. She is originally from Hollywood, Florida.