On March 15, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) President Berge Setrakian and AGBU Armenia President Vasken Yacoubian visited the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan to discuss the organization’s ongoing initiatives and their role in the current socio-political landscape.
The President expressed his appreciation of AGBU’s past and present contributions, indicating his acquaintance with AGBU’s impact from the years of his service as Mayor of Yerevan in the aftermath of Armenia’s independence. In turn, Setrakian presented the current programs of the organization, its strategy and priorities, placing high emphasis on the strengthening of the Armenia-Diaspora relationship in real terms. He also reflected on AGBU’s over a century-long commitment to the preservation of the Armenian identity, as well as its constant efforts to serve the interests of the country and the nation.
The leaders then went on to discuss the present situation in Artsakh and the challenging negotiations within the geopolitical contexts. Setrakian highlighted AGBU’s unwavering support and contributions to promoting social and cultural life in Artsakh throughout its development. Working on the ground, the organization delivered sustenance, provided shelter and food, as well as emergency medical aid to the refugees and victims, impacting over 100,000 people affected by the war.
Weighing the current political developments, Setrakian reassured that the organization will remain loyal to its mission and support any political outcome that aims to serve the interests of the nation and the state. In this regard, fostering State-Church relationship constitutes a key pillar in preserving the Armenian identity, history and culture while unifying people in times of crisis. “The Armenian Church has proven its relevance in times of crisis for centuries. As currently Armenia is in the center of a regional turmoil where political discord reigns, the Church can serve as a key channel to unify people and maintain collective identity. AGBU will continue its century-long efforts to foster this bond across the Diaspora and Armenia,” said Setrakian.
Additionally, speaking of the developmental insights of the country, Yacoubian highlighted the significance of calling on talents and experts from the Diaspora to build the unity of the nation and contribute to the growth of the country. “Allowing talents to pour into Armenia will breathe new life into multiple sectors, eventually resulting in its social, cultural, and economic development,” noted Yacoubian.
Through these comprehensive discussions, AGBU once again offered its assistance to the government to continue its socio-economic initiatives guiding Armenia in the direction of prosperity. In their closing remarks, the presidents demonstrated gratitude for the long-standing cooperation between AGBU and the government and expressed willingness to continue their fruitful collaboration.
In addition to the official meeting with President Khachaturyan, Setrakian visited His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II to discuss the ways the Armenian Church can be involved in unifying people in these troubling times. He also participated in the Easter Sunday Service at Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral, Requiem Mass at St. Gayane Church, and paid tribute to the late Karnig Yacoubian, visiting his grave with His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians and Ani Yacoubian, accompanied by Vera Setrakian and the members of the Yacoubian family. The last day of his short visit, Setrakian also met AUA President Karin Markides to emphasize AUA’s role in unifying and leading major Armenian universities to heavily work in the direction of nation-building.