All signs were that 2021 was not to be a good year for Armenia due to the devastating outcome of the 2020 Artsakh war and the rampant spread of covid throughout the country. But I saw at least one bright light in 2021.
The number of diasporans willing to go volunteer in Armenia increased at surprising rates—a 300% increase over 2020. In fact, it seems only hours after the horrible ceasefire terms were announced, we started seeing a flood of applications.
I must admit I was surprised. For those of my generation, as we stood shocked and depressed over the war’s outcome, our youth saw it as a call to action. In their minds, the country’s survival was at stake. And their willingness to put their lives on hold and devote a few months to volunteer in Armenia was their way of saying to themselves, and to all of us, “Not on my watch.”
It really is quite moving to see how strongly our diasporan youth are connected to Armenia and its survival. More than any other year, they write to us stating “I have to go home after my BRA/AVC stint, but I am coming back – I want to repatriate and make Armenia my home, to start a family here and start a business.”
So as we start 2022, remember this:
This new generation whom we always thought we had to drag or incentivize to go to Armenia, now is pulling on our arm, telling us “Come, join us, do more, be present.” I am up for the challenge and hope many of you are too!
Happy New Year!