WHY ARE ARMENIANS LEAVING ARMENIA?

Presentation of DEPOP findings at a corruption conference in Canada: a positive development project to be initiated in Gyumri

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NEWS RELEASE
June 13, 2014

Findings of “The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia” were presented at a conference organized by Armenian Renaissance Toronto Chapter in Toronto on May 31, and in Montreal – on June 7, 2014, on the topic of “Corruption in Armenia, Solutions and the Role of the Diaspora”.

The conference in Toronto was opened by renowned film director Atom Egoyan, who also spoke and presented his film, “The Illuminator” which shows how cheating and stealing, at their core, are human frailties.
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Speakers from Armenia, the USA and Canada discussed issues concerning corruption in general and in Armenia in particular. Among the speakers of the conference were Mrs. Bronwyn Best, Executive Director of Transparency International Canada, Mr. Vladimir Shekoyan, co-founder of Policy Forum Armenia, Mr. Garegin Chugaszyan, coordinator of Nakha Korertaran (pre-parliament), Dr. Zareh Ouzounian, coordinator of Armenian Renaissance Toronto Chapter, Mr. Artak Zeynalyan, lawyer and human rights defender from Armenia and Mr. Vahan Kololian, Chairman of the Kololian Foundation and founder DEPOP.AM.

Both events in Toronto and Montreal were well attended, including active diasporans and recent immigrants from Armenia, who showed active interest in corruption, governance, human rights and poverty issues in Armenia. Mrs. Bronwyn Best, of Transparency International, showed how Armenia ranks No. 94 (out of 177) in the International rankings behind countries like Algeria, Djibouti and Colombia, on the Corruption Perception Index.
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During the conference Kamo Mailyan, Editor of www.depop.am web site, presented the findings of “The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia” Research Study. The presentation focused on emigration trends and reasons behind emigration from Armenia, focusing on Gyumri as the weakest community in Armenia, with the highest poverty rate in Armenia. Kamo Mailyan announced the decision of the Kololian Foundation and DEPOP to transform the efforts of the team into a positive development project, which would primarily focus on Gyumri as a largely affected rural area in Armenia.

Mr. Vahan Kololian said, “The earthquake in Armenia took place 25 years ago and yet Gyumri is still in very bad shape and has not been rebuilt with several abandoned projects, in spite of large amounts of international aid. This is shameful. As DEPOP shows, it is the lack of hope that drives Armenians to leave Armenia. Let’s launch “REBUILD GYUMRI” as a beacon of hope for all of Armenia.”


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