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Aram Hajian

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Aram_Hajian&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png Aram Hajian Mars symbol.svg
Birthplace Providence, Rhode Island
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Birth date 1969
Lived in Boston, Yerevan
Languages Armenian, English
Ethnicities Armenian
Dialects Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian
Ancestral villages Musaler
Children 3

Repat Armenia article

I was born in Providence, Rhode Island and soon after, my family moved to a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. My grandparents on my dad’s side are originally from Musaler. They were forced to move to Egypt in 1915, and then left for the United States when my dad was a teenager.

I visited Armenia many times before I chose to move here. Keeping our Armenian identity was very important to us, so not only we were active in the Armenian community, but also, as a family we made several trips as tourists in the 70′s and 80’s.

By 1990, I already had developed a set of friends, activities, and interests, as I visited at least once a year. One of my hobbies that I am passionate about is chess, so since I moved here, I got involved in chess organizational activities: tournaments, trainings and meetings. I am a board member of the Chess Academy in Armenia, which I helped found and continue to determine strategies and operational activities, including high level international tournament organization and Chess in Schools initiative where all Armenian schoolchildren attend chess classes as part of their mandatory school curriculum.

My educational background is in Engineering. For the last 3 years before I moved to Boston I was working at an engineering consulting company in the field of biomechanics. Now I work at the American University in Armenia as Dean of the College of Science and Engineering and I really enjoy it. We have great students, co-workers, and everyone is dedicated to the work they are doing in serving the mission of the university. I think it’s a unique environment in Armenia. I got married in Armenia seven years ago, and it is a dream come true to raise our two beautiful daughters here in Armenia.

I think that having visited a lot before moving here definitely helped in terms of adjustment to living in a different country from where I was born and raised. As such, there are a lot of things that were no longer new to me. Compared to the visits of early 90′s, of course life is a lot easier today. Even from 2000, there have been so many positive developments in the lifestyle we enjoy.

Still, in terms of culture shock, it covers a lot of things, like everywhere else. There are nuances of different ways of living: values, customs and traditions, but I seemed to enjoy the variety in life and I think I embraced most of that change rather than get put off by it.

As a nation of survivors, Armenia sometimes evokes feelings of pride, and sometimes it makes people somewhat uncomfortable. However, I feel that my generation is lucky, because we can actually decide where we want to live. I never saw moving here as some sort of sacrifice, but rather an alluring opportunity to help build Armenia. If what we see today is not the Armenia of our dreams, well, then the ball is in our court. Nowhere else in life do we expect other people to realize our own dreams. And nation-building is no different. I think it’s great to be part of a creative effort. I think it’s something like working in a start-up company – if you want to create something new, if you want to help address some societal problem, there are endless opportunities in Armenia today.

This might be the first time in a long time Armenians have a chance to redefine their nation, to create the country that they envision, and I think that that’s a very lucky and unique opportunity. In terms of looking back on its past and envisioning the future, I can’t think of any nation that has this kind of opportunity to redefine itself.

I believe that every Armenian on the planet owes themselves and their heritage a visit to Armenia. For example, if they were from Armenia and left as a child, I think they owe themselves a fresh opportunity to see the place with their own eyes and redefine their own relationship to their homeland. For those who were born in the Diaspora, it is also a wonderful opportunity to establish a personal relationship with the land of their forefathers.

Prepared by Laura Samvelyan Edited by Ani Tramblian


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