High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan’s Meeting with Syrian-Armenian Youth

On December 5, 2019, Mr. Zareh Sinanyan, High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, met with Syrian-Armenian youth at Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization’s (Aleppo-NGO) office to discuss issues concerning Syrian-Armenians in Armenia. Aleppo NGO’s Founding President Ani Balkhian, Executive Director Sarkis Balkhian and Director of WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation Karen Nazaryan also participated in the panel discussion. The meeting was held within the framework of the “Better future for Syrian-Armenian youth” project.

The aim of the event was to provide a platform to Syrian youth to present their suggestions and initiatives to the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, as well as to distribute university scholarship certificates within the framework of the “Better Future for Syrian Armenian Youth” with the participation of Mr. Sinanyan.

The meeting commenced with a welcome remark by Aleppo NGO’s Founding President Ani Balkhian, which was followed by a speech by the Director of WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation Dr. Karen Nazaryan, who congratulated the scholarship recipients and provided a background about the selection process.

Subsequently, Aleppo NGO’s Executive Director Sarkis Balkhian presented the results of Aleppo NGO’s scientific survey on the situation of Syrians in Armenia, highlighting the lingering challenges concerning housing, employment, labor rights violations, education, healthcare, etc.

The High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan presented the current activities and the upcoming plans of his office. Mr. Sinanyan noted in his speech that he was ready to collaborate, listen, and make the voices of Syrian-Armenian community be heard.

Mr. Sinanyan also touched upon the issues of spontaneous repatriation of Syrian-Armenians and Iraqi-Armenians and the difficulties they faced while being integrated in Armenia. After the speech of Mr. Sinanyan, youth voiced different questions concerning issues of housing, health, preservation of Western Armenian language and reestablishment of interdepartmental commission addressing their problems.

At the end of the meeting, 45 Syrian-Armenian and Iraqi-Armenian students were awarded scholarship certificates within the framework of the “Better future of Syrian-Armenian youth” project. The meeting was concluded with a reception catered by Aleppo Cuisine Center.

The “Better Future for Syrian-Armenian Youth” project is funded by the World Council of Churches Armenia Inter-Church Charitable Round Table Foundation (ART) and implemented by Aleppo-NGO.  The purpose of such events is to impart new knowledge to Syrian Armenian youth, improve their analytical thinking and engage them in discussions on various topics.