The nation once shadowed by a history of struggle for survival now enters a renewed era driven by optimism, innovation, and democracy.
There is a sense of warmth and comfort that radiates within Armenia; infants and elderly walk hand in hand, the young are loud and lively, the families affectionate and welcoming—and once immersed into the day to day, it feels as though the entire population is part of one big family. In a distance, the scenic hillside of the region’s fertile vineyards adorned by apricots and pomegranates lay beneath the majestic Mount Ararat.
Armenia is known to cherish the many layers of its past. A once-ancient empire that stretched from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea, Armenia has since seen the horrific face of genocide, natural disaster, and civil war. But despite the decades of turbulence, its people have never been more fiercely proud of their nation’s history, as a promising future rises to conquer another day. This is the new Armenia.
One minute, it feels as though you have time-lapsed into the past, and the next, you are wandering about the city streets flooded with modern cafes, art galleries, upscale restaurants and luxury hotels. Within the last year, the nation is glowing again. There is an evolving elegance and richness that incites a newfound energy to the land—and the world is taking notice.
Its population is celebrating the end of a month-long peaceful protest that led to the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan and consequently, an end to the autocratic government that had controlled the former Soviet republic since 2008. In his place, Nikol Pashinyan, a prominent journalist, activist, and former parliamentarian, was elected Prime Minister.
This model of democratic engagement, and the series of opportunities and fortunes it has brought to the nation since, has prompted The Economist to name Armenia the ‘Country of the Year’. Today, Armenia and its ‘Velvet Revolution’ have become as a testament to the rest of the world that bringing about political change and positive renewal through peaceful protests is not only possible, but promising.
The Armenian people are a prime example of the belief that migration sparks innovation, uncovers potential, and facilitates adaptation to the evolving challenges of our world. Though involuntary, the migration of Armenians as a result of the atrocities of genocide in 1915, also created a movement of unity and hope for the future of their diaspora. As the month of April becomes a global dedication to the commemoration of the 1.5 million Armenians lost, this time is also served to demonstrate the power of perseverance, and the emergence of global citizens that have changed the world as a result of it.
Sharing that same vision, Founder of the Global Citizen Forum (GCF), Armand Arton, decided to host the next GCF in Yerevan, Armenia in October 2019. “I am delighted to be hosting such an essential gathering in this beautiful nation and incredibly proud to advocate my Armenian heritage,” shared Arton. “With a mission to empower unity through dialogue, this year’s Forum will focus on technology to achieve the transformation that the next generation of global citizens deserve.”
Armenia was already given a golden opportunity to shine on the world stage, as it recently hosted French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among many other high-ranking dignitaries for the opening of the Francophonie Summit in the nation’s capital of Yerevan last October. The summit, which was initially created as a platform to promote the use of the French language and cultural affinities, has since developed its mission to include the promotion of human rights, sustainable development, and gender equality.
Yerevan is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, celebrating its 2,800th anniversary—making the city even older than Rome. Embodying an open-air museum, Yerevan beautifully weaves modern cosmopolitan with thousand-year old history, connecting East to West with its rich cultural heritage and traditions that have evolved to fit the modern age. It’s compelling hospitality and vibrant culture is celebrated amongst its lively streets, historical landmarks, rich harvest, unique architecture, and natural attractions.
As Armenia continues its journey to rebuild a stronger, united, and prosperous nation; voices of optimism, fortune, and freedom grow louder and louder for the world to hear: Armenia has been reborn.