2018: Our Year of Open Hearts, Open Minds
According to the 2011 census there are 16,723 Armenians in Australia, with most of them residing in Sydney. Yet only a small portion of those people are involved in Armenian community. The reasons for this are many and varied.
Some were part of a community once upon a time and have moved on amicably with different priorities.
Some have had bad experiences and don’t want to return.
Some have only heard of those bad experiences and that is enough to deter them.
Some feel excluded after marrying someone who is not Armenian.
Some prefer to ‘be Armenian’ in their own way, rather than join a formal organisation.
Some are too new to Sydney and are still planting their roots in their new home.
And some are simply not interested.
The Next Generation:
As a youth organisation those of us at AGBU Youth are always thinking about the next generation and what ‘being Armenian’ will look like for them. Creating sustainable communities in which Armenian culture can survive and grow, change and evolve, must be a part of the equation of preserving the Armenian identity in our diaspora.
It is with a deep commitment to preserving, but also helping to evolve Armenian culture, that we feel it is important to address the growing divide between those who identify as Armenian and those involved in Armenian community.
What does this mean in practice? It means opening up!
In the spirit of reaching out to the different types of Armenians in Sydney, all with different relationships to their Armenian heritage and culture, AGBU Youth has decided that 2018 will be our Year of Open Hearts and Open Minds.
This means listening to Armenians who aren’t part of community organisations and don’t participate in events, to learn about how we can make our community more inclusive and inviting to them.
It means finding new ways to engage new migrants, in their new home, by learning from the traditions of diaspora they are used to and helping them to be part of our own in Sydney.
It also means making sure that we are not only concerned with Armenians, but with all Australians, making it a priority to share with them the rich tapestry of our culture in the generous spirit in which Australian culture has been shared with us.
All of us here at AGBU Youth are excited to open our hearts and minds in 2018, we hope you will join us too!
If you have any suggestions, feedback or anything you’d like to say, please email us at [email protected]
We’d love to hear from you!!