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Saturation? Our Future Lies In Collaboration.

Saturation? Our Future Lies In Collaboration.
AYF Olympics 2017 (Photograph: Tamar Kanarian)

Nice information—our American Armenian group is lively and interesting with a full calendar of events. Key word is full. All it’s a must to do is browse the group calendars obtainable online, comparable to Menk in New England, and you will see that a tremendous display of numerous public events that gasoline the engine of what we call “the group.” On any given week, on each coasts and the mid-west, you’ll be able to fulfill your “craving” for political, instructional, philanthropic, cultural and mental content, obtainable in quite a lot of venues and codecs. When you reside on the periphery of the group, it is a veritable “open buffet.” All good, right? Nicely…perhaps not utterly. Definitely, the alternative of inactivity and stagnation isn’t fascinating, however in case you think about your self “lively” or even much less, it may be difficult and at occasions overwhelming. Let’s look a bit closer at those challenges and supply some potential options. But first, it’s all the time helpful to offer some context.

The early years of the American Armenian diaspora have been numerous, however not divided. Throughout that first third of final century, most of the communities have been led by the three conventional political events, however most intersected at their place of worship or other “widespread” activities similar to cultural events. By the late 1930s, the group divide, initially brought on by the church administrative schism, had now consumed all points of the group. The setting that I and others of my (born in the 1950s) era, was splintered and segregated. Someone attending a Prelacy affiliated church might be very “lively” in organizations historically affiliated with the ARF, yet not cross paths with their equally “lively” counterparts attending churches affiliated with Etchmiadzin and different traditional organizations.

There are various opinions concerning the impression of that period. For example, many adhere to the assumption that a segregated, however highly motivated Prelacy group made the overall group stronger. Others abhorred the sub-optimal interaction of the “group.” I used to be very lively in the AYF for a few years, but knew very few peers within the ACYOA. Our paths, by design, merely didn’t cross. An actual tragedy. Years later, as my household began attending a Diocesan parish, we met tons of of lively people who grew up in this “parallel path,” but we never met half of the group. There were exceptions, in fact, however in case you have been within the AYF, Homenetmen, Hamazkayin or ARS, the idea was that you simply have been from the “Dashnag” aspect. When you have been in Tekeyan, AGBU or ACYOA, you have been conveniently labeled a “Ramgavar.” These are strange labels, for my part, since very few of the individuals have been truly members of the ARF or ADL, however labels are all the time more convenient.

There was one sensible organizational consequence throughout this era made up of partitions and separation. Organizational help and participation was more manageable from a person perspective. There have been few overlaps and redundancy inside the “sub-communities.” Till the 1990s, very few youngsters in the ACYOA would be a part of AYF and vice versa. Most within the Prelacy drew their philanthropic and cultural needs from the ARS and Hamazkayin respectively, not from the AGBU and Tekeyan. The outcome was that probably the most “lively” members defined their id inside the context of the “sub-community” and never the higher entire. For most individuals, it was manageable, not overwhelming and stored them targeted.

Being Armenian is “in” once more; the labels are up to now.

Within the late 1980s, some constructive dynamics started to take hold locally that have had vital ramifications. Despite the fact that the church division persists, the walls of division have been crumbling. The good news? Thank God that regressive period of closed partitions has ended. Being Armenian is “in” again; the labels are up to now. Many parishes have members who grew up in church buildings from each “sides.” The organizational base has modified dramatically. The Armenian Meeting was shaped as an alternative choice to partisan traditions. The ANCA grew as a grassroots organization that attracted variety. Some organizations, such as the Knights of Vartan, which had traditionally drawn its membership outdoors of the Prelacy, has actively recruited from your complete group. They need to be thought-about trailblazers in that regard. Others followed, including NAASR and the Armenian Museum. It turned widespread to have organizations that really have been mainstream within the broader Armenian group. This pure state was further advanced when newer organizations came on the scene to serve the changing needs of the group. AIWA, Armenian Heritage Basis and AGBU YP are really non-partisan organizations serving those wants.

The impression of the “open” group, the continuance of legacy organizations, the emergence of latest teams and the needs of an unbiased Armenia have created new challenges for defining what it means to be “lively” in our communities. Many people have struggled with the following issues. “What number of organizations can I help?” “What do I do if I’ve associates in that group that I don’t need to offend?” “Once I grow to be lively, the “pull” on my time and funds is critical and past my capabilities.”

We now have “circles” in our communities and organizations. The internal circle is often the place energy and affect reside. The subsequent few tiers are the place the workers, activists and doers stay. The periphery is where much less lively group members take part. Many think about this latter domain a “safer” residence—freed from the overwhelming decisions, strain and obligations. That is unlucky and ought to be studied by group leaders. Two caveats before we proceed: this dynamic is most relevant to medium and enormous communities. For probably the most half the small communities do not include the breadth of organizations and thus the saturation of time and assets. The other factor is that dwelling on the periphery is a selection influenced partially by group organizational density, but in addition by private selections on time allocation. That being stated, I’ve spoken to many over the previous few years who find the sheer quantity of organizations to be a deterrent to larger participation. There are two instant effects. The primary being that shifting individuals from the periphery to the subsequent internal tier turns into tougher with our “free for all” group activities. More and more there are conflicts and a critical lack of communication that sub-optimizes the web impression. There’s also this unbiased quantity that tends to speed up the “burnout” issue or no less than the fatigue parts which might be disruptive to the group engine.

So what may be finished to increase our effectiveness as a group as it relates to inter-organizational relations? One suggestion, which is fairly straightforward to implement, is to communicate and share expectations. It isn’t sufficient to “stake your declare” in group calendars similar to “Menk” (which offers an awesome service). We have to speak to each other to correctly area events that draw on a more united group, and use this as a mechanism of defining methods of help. There are monetary and participatory saturation factors in our higher group. This requires a change in strategy. We now have to be more concerned about everybody’s success—not simply our personal. In any case, the sum of the elements does equal the whole of the Armenian nation.

Collaboration is another tougher strategy that carries with it the potential for higher influence. Armenian organizations with widespread missions should never compete. In fact, they never overtly compete, but a number of the legacy teams with widespread missions in schooling, philanthropy, humanitarian or culture should try and plan jointly sponsored events where the work content material and funds are shared. There’s plenty of overlap from our splintered past to determine various areas the place such a breakthrough considering can be supported. What an unimaginable message to the group that we might decrease the group schedule conflicts, improve the target market and perhaps improve the results. The emerging era lives with out these boundaries. It’s going to make all of those legacy organizations extra engaging to our younger era as the groups begin to connect with their lives.

Once we operate as mainstream group groups, we’re at our greatest. Once we turn into unintentionally parochial, we turn into extra remoted from the longer term.

I have had the pleasure of being concerned with several cross organizational collaborative ventures in the last a number of years. I have discovered some essential lessons. Once we function as mainstream group teams, we’re at our best. Once we turn into unintentionally parochial, we turn into more isolated from the longer term. Co-sponsorship and collaborative activities would supply each organization the chance to study extra about themselves, their market and the way greatest to service their mission. With the emotional dedication that many of us possess in our organization relationships, this may even serve as a sensible reminder that the MISSION of the organization is crucial issue. The organization or organizations, on this case, have all the time been the means.

Collaboration will deliver us closer to the natural state of the diaspora group in America. A more organized and built-in portfolio will encourage those on the sting or outdoors to participate. Many in our communities as we speak are primarily within the mission of our organizations. There’s much less of an emotional connection to specific teams. Working collectively in the direction of a standard mission will increase the mission itself and appeal to those who are primarily mission-focused. Let’s problem ourselves to creatively maximize participation and outcomes. This shall be troublesome, and there shall be those that will say it is pointless. Our group has been constructed with a ardour for missions and organizations. At occasions, the precedence has been confused. As the number of organizations grows and the group eliminates previous limitations, we will reside with the hope that our infrastructure also can evolve into a finely tuned machine.                          


Stepan Piligian

Stepan was raised in the Armenian group of Indian Orchard, MA at the St. Gregory Parish. A former member of the AYF Central Government and the Japanese Prelacy Government Council, he also served many years as a delegate to the Japanese Diocesan Meeting. Presently , he serves as a member of the board and government committee of the National Affiliation for Armenian Research and Research (NAASR). He also serves on the board of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Stepan is a retired government in the pc storage business and resides in the Boston space together with his spouse Susan. He has spent many years as a volunteer instructor of Armenian historical past and modern issues to the young era and adults at faculties, camps and churches. His interests embrace the Armenian diaspora, Armenia, sports activities and studying.

Stepan Piligian

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