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 Taking advantage of a second opportunity since Armenia’s Velvet Revolution to personally engage with thought leaders and members of the AGBU community, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan had a clear message for the guests assembled at a private dinner in New York City hosted by AGBU in his honor on July 15th: “Charity is good. But we are not asking for charity. Much better than charity is the knowledge, experience, and expertise of the Diaspora,” he emphatically stated.

Earlier that day, Avinyan delivered the keynote message at a panel discussion at the United Nations, “Investing into Climate Smart Economies: Energy Efficiency for Sustainable Development Goals.” He also met with members of the Armenian community and business leaders.


In AGBU President Berge Setrakian’s remarks to the dinner guests, he reminded the audience: “Without a homeland, the Armenian Nation could not exist,” also noting that Armenia’s prosperity is central to the AGBU mission. He further stated that Armenia can count on AGBU to work in cooperation to achieve a prosperous Armenia, adding that the key to becoming a competitive player in the global economy is “a qualified workforce; not cheap labor.”


Among those in attendance were AGBU Central Board members Nazareth Festekjian, Arda Haratunian, and Haig Ariyan. Also present were U.N Assistant Secretary General Movses Abelian; Armenian’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Mher Margaryan; philanthropist Aso Tavitian; AMAA Executive Director Zaven Khanjian; and Oscar Tatosian, Armenia’s Honorary Consul in Chicago.


Accompanying the deputy prime minister were Serge Varak Sisserian, Head of the Deputy Prime Minister's Office; Zaruhi Matevosyan, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister; and Stepan Margaryan, Armenia National SDG Innovation Lab Lead.


Focusing on prospective opportunities for the new Armenia, Avinyan explained, “Armenians throughout the world are successful. To bring successful people to Armenia, we need the right institutions. We started the process of building them after the Velvet Revolution—step by step and without rushing—for a strong Armenia for Armenia and for the Diaspora."


Several dinner guests and all speakers expressed their support for efforts currently underway to create a sustainable future for Armenia, reiterating their commitment to the economic development of the country.


The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian diaspora. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians. To learn more visit www.agbu.org.