Diaspora Armenians in Armenian Society: the Problem of Adaptation

Difficulties with socio-economic integration – unemployment and a feeling of being “a society within a society,” are some of the examples from the list of problems Diaspora Armenians face when immigrating to Armenia. CRRC-Armenia fellow, Anahit Mkrtchyan, researched why these issues are problematic for the Diaspora Armenians and made policy recommendations.

As the researcher finds, integration of immigrant Armenians into the Armenian society is rather weak, because of a number of essential differences in values, lifestyle, dialect, moral principles and ideology peculiar to both immigrant and local Armenians. Furthermore, Diaspora Armenians lack information on their homeland and have high expectation before moving to Armenia, which also causes difficulties for their full adaptation to the Armenian reality.

According to Mkrtchyan (pictured above presenting at CRRC Armenia), attitudes of different groups toward creating integration policy vary. Local authorities avoid having repatriation and integration policies because immigrants can become competitive at the top levels in government and in business, also fear increased real estate costs. Many experts do understand the serious need of repatriation and integration policy, as repatriates will help to cultivate culture, legitimacy and civic attitudes in Armenian society. A group of representatives of Diaspora structures is sure that this policy is important, as the Diaspora faces assimilation, and there is a lack of patriotism among the younger generation.

Based on the local and Diaspora experts’ suggestions and findings, Anahit made the following policy recommendations: 

  • Consolidation of Armenian structures around two parallel missions and joint involvement in their realization.
  • A nation wide integration program directed at better coordination of integration measures, offered on national and local levels. Involvement of trade unions, welfare structures, voluntary and social advocacy organizations and neighborhoods in drafting the adaptation and integration program. (Read more)

Mkrtchyan’s work was published in the Turkish daily “Agos” in May 2008. The paper (PDF) in English is also available on the CRRC-Armenia website.

(Note that this, and other Fellows’ work is on the CRRC Armenia blog, which we strongly encourage you to explore.)

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