Prime Minister Karen Karapetian has called on ethnic Armenian professionals from around the world to relocate to Armenia and assist in the implementation of wide-ranging reforms promised by his government.
In a written appeal posted on his Facebook page in English, French, Russian, Spanish and Arabic on Tuesday, Karapetian said they could have a particularly strong impact on the country’s business culture and work ethic.
“We are inviting managers from the Diaspora, as well as cultural figures, internationally recognized educators, scholars and scientists of Armenian descent to take part in the reforms underway in Armenia in order to, first and foremost, introduce a new culture of management, and to employ the knowledge and potential of our topmost professionals of the Diaspora for achieving pan-Armenian goals,” reads the appeal.
“The culture of the Diaspora must be perceptible in our lives,” it says. “I am certain that any kind of contact with our [Diaspora] compatriots will serve as a new impetus and source of motivation for us.”
“With your help, we will borrow from other cultures their best practices and make Armenia more recognizable in the world,” added Karapetian.
The premier did not say explicitly that he is ready to offer senior government positions to Diaspora Armenians. He said only that their greater involvement in “key areas” such as the economy, public healthcare and education would produce “immediate results.”
Karapetian already appealed in December to thousands of ethnic Armenians from Syria who have taken refuge in Armenia in recent years. He said his government will do its best to help them stay in their ancestral homeland for good. “You have changed the culture of doing business and providing services in Yerevan,” the former business executive told a group of Syrian Armenian entrepreneurs.
The Diaspora’s engagement in Armenia has long been hampered by a lack of economic opportunities, widespread government corruption and other problems with the rule of law. Karapetian acknowledged these “shortcomings” and stressed that the authorities in Yerevan “no longer have the right to make more mistakes.”
Karapetian announced an ambitious reform agenda after President Serzh Sarkisian appointed him as prime minister in September. His cabinet’s policy program approved by parliament in October promises a tougher fight against corruption, better tax administration and “equal conditions” for all businesses.
Armenian opposition leaders are skeptical about these pledges, saying that Sarkisian is only keen to mislead the public and make it easier for his Republican Party to win the upcoming parliamentary elections.