This project is close to my heart for family and personal reasons. The history of my family, like that of many Armenians of my generation (the third since the genocide of 1915-1918) has been to make a name for oneself in a host country, to succeed professionally. I define myself as having a double identity, and to describe it I would use Charles Aznavour’s expression: “100% French and 100% Armenian”.
Today, I have this desire to give back to my two countries a little of what they gave me. My family heritage speaks for itself. My father, Arlen Papazian, was a committed activist for the Armenian cause; he died too soon, but his personality nevertheless left its mark on the Armenian community in France. Our whole family grew up in the values of Armenianness and political commitment. This commitment is trans-generational. My eldest daughter, Taline, devoted her doctorate in political science to studying the modern Armenian state and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the course of her work, she has become a well-known figure in academic circles for her expertise on security issues in the South Caucasus. My two sons chose to leave France, first for China, then for the United States before settling in Armenia for the last three years.
This return to their roots is accompanied by innovative and engaging projects for their country of origin by bringing their “diasporic” expertise in their fields of competence to exploit the promising assets for the future of this country in the field of technology. Armenia Peace Initiative is therefore part of both a family and bi-national history. Peace and security remain an age-old challenge for Armenia: landlocked, under blockade, and at war if not open, at least latent.
France, as an essential partner of the Minsk group, has been committed for years to the success of the peace process in the South Caucasus region. But the conditions for security and peace are also political, with the promotion of democracy, cultural with the development of arts and culture, economic to allow the population to stay in the country, and educational to provide all young people with an educational level in line with international standards.
This project is vast and ambitious and we will not be able to do everything, but each stone laid to build this edifice will allow us to move forward. I am delighted to be able to help strengthen this France-Armenia link and to work to secure peace in this region of the world.
40 years at the helm of transnational IT companies, and 60 years of activism in the service of the Armenian community and then the Armenian country have been rich in experience and contacts. Today I put them at the disposal of Armenia Peace Initiative; its Executive Director, Board of Directors and members. I have long appreciated the high level of professional competence and patriotic commitment of Taline Papazian, Aurélie Deyirmendjian and Vighen Papazian.
The development of professional education and hi-tech companies in Armenia and Artsakh are as much a priority as reflection and action for peace and security of the populations.
I hope to contribute to their living and progressing together, in moral citizenship and reason.