The organizers of the Los Angeles leg of the Armenians and Progressive Politics conference issued the following press release on Oct. 8.
The Armenians and Progressive Politics Conference on “Armenia at 21,” proudly sponsored by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, came to a close with its last leg held in Los Angeles, at the Hollywood Armenian Center, on Oct. 5-6. The L.A. segment of the Conference was the third and last portion of a tour which took panelists to New York City, Berkeley and, finally, Hollywood. The Conference was deemed an overall success by the organizers and attendees alike, as it achieved its objective of introducing progressive thought to a diverse community of participants. It comprised of four sessions with each of the informative panels engaging attendees with issues dealing with the social, civil and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia after 21 years.
The first panel, entitled “Human Rights in Armenia,” offered a general overview of human challenges facing Armenia, in the context of human rights issues facing the region as a whole. Consecutively, Saturday session panels covered the topics of “Rule of Law/Corruption/Elections” and “21 Year Trajectory of Armenia’s Statehood, Economy & Society.”
One of the highlights of the Conference was keynote speaker Blase Bonpane, a renowned author, activist and KPFK radio host and Director of the Office of the Americas. Mr. Bonpane’s discussion focused on “Consciousness and Moral Revolution.”
The panelists included a diverse group of academics and activists from Armenia and Diaspora, and offered the opportunity of a pluralistic and progressive coverage of issues of interest to all those who were interested in the progress of human rights in Armenia. The group also included many activists who have been consistently critical of the policies of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the organizers of the conference.
An unfortunate security issue, which could have threatened the well-being of one of the panelists as well as the safety of audience, led the Organizing Committee to cancel one of the presentations, and to suggest that the said presentation be read by one of the other panelists. This prompted some of the other panelists to overreact and refrain from making their own presentations, denying the attendees the opportunity to follow the much anticipated discussion.
Consistent with the ideology of the sponsoring Party and the commitment towards the cause of progressive politics, the organizers remain committed not to be swayed by intrusions and intolerance on either side of the political spectrum, and will continue to educate the Armenian people and its youth by promoting a free and healthy exchange of ideas and progressive thought.