January 13, 2021, Yerevan: On January 8, Dr Noubar Afeyan, Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering and Moderna Therapeutics, Co-author of “At the Crossroads” and Co-Founder of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative spoke about the current situation in Armenia, the vision of development, and the prospects of Armenia-Diaspora relations within the series of interviews “Talk about the future”, initiated by Futures Studio discussion platform and journalist Mark Grigorian.
Armenia: Current crisis
During the interview, Noubar Afeyan stated that there was a high level of uncertainty in Armenia in all directions: no one knows where the truth is and what is the most effective strategy.
“Obviously, the most important issue in the country is security at this moment – in the military, economic, health, and social terms. It must be secured. The issue of security will be on the agenda for at least 100 years,” Noubar Afeyan said.
He thinks that the political processes and omissions that have certainly been in different years, has not created the Armenia they were thinking about. “Unfortunately and ironically, Armenians found themselves in a country where they were able to develop and create a new future, but, sadly, we were not able to take our imaginary future to Armenia.”
Noubar Afeyan urges to focus on the future and think about the steps that will lead Armenia to development. According to him, progress can be ensured with different capabilities, but when it comes to big flights, transformations, one must be extremely future-oriented.
The development of the country and the vision of the future
Noubar Afeyan compares the development of the country with a start-up, where one must understand their resources, opportunities and desires. According to Afeyan, the leader must have the ability to deal with uncertainties to create a new future.
“Clear and ambitious goals are required for the development of Armenia. It must be figured out what to do to make the country a place for the creation of ideas and values. The leader must be future-oriented, have the ability to take risks, overcome difficulties, and adapt to different situations. The country can develop if there are people with such qualities at the helm,” Noubar Afeyan says.
He emphasizes that Armenians have always been tried to be uprooted. So the roots should be grown in the future. Armenians should imagine that future and risks should be taken for the sake of that future.
“If we do not create that collective future together, it will be too late years later. Today people suffer from the phenomena they talked about back in 2001. People cannot make the future a priority: everyone looks to the past. People must understand that the work of their brain should be directed to the future. In this case, the painful present will become meaningful and will acquire content because it serves the purpose of the future,” Afeyan emphasizes.
According to Noubar Afeyan, the current environment and the crisis that Armenia is facing is an opportunity for the Diaspora: “We must try to understand why the Diaspora wants to remain a member of the “club” of being Armenian. We must understand what responsibilities we bear or can bear before Armenia. The Diaspora does not participate in everyday decisions. Many say it should, maybe they are right, but then the question arises, “What should the Diaspora do?” The current crisis in Armenia makes it have a more difficult discussion on our roles and responsibilities.”
Noubar Afeyan is convinced that to strengthen Armenia-Diaspora ties, it is necessary to create a single body. But for that, it is vital to have a common vision of the future and a perception of a collective goal.
“Political agendas must emerge in a competitive environment, in which common values are eventually born. When seeking help, you need to put aside the skepticism of being criticized because no one knows the truth, but the questions that arise can help in the search for the truth and in finding the answers.”
At the end of the discussion, Noubar Afeyan urged all those who try to help Armenia to become Armenians by making informed choices, not by origin.
“Whatever we do, this is the moment when we have a commitment to the future of Armenia, which is a hope for the people living in Armenia,” Noubar Afeyan concluded.
You can watch the full interview here.
About Futures Studio:
Futures Studio is an independent non-profit organization that conducts analytics and hosts discussions. We engage various members of our society in open debates and private discussions about business, politics, economics, culture, education and healthcare to shape regional agendas. We use our extensive network to attract the best knowledge from around the globe, and actively disseminate the results of our work. We are convinced that connecting intelligent people from different walks of life leads to progress.
Futures Studio has launched a series of interviews with leading experts dedicated to the future of Armenia and Armenians. Every week we will raise and discuss issues related to the image of the future of Armenia, Artsakh and Armenians around the world. The series is moderated by renowned Armenian and British journalist and writer Mark Grigorian, who has worked for the BBC in London for many years.