I am very glad to meet with you in the framework of this Forum. I am glad that representatives of educational, defense, executives from other areas of our public life are present here.
Our extensive experience in the area of public administration shows that in Armenia structural issue of any kind cannot be solved exclusively in the framework of the particular area it belongs to. In the current society such issues are interconnected which means there should be compound inquiries, approaches, and solutions.
It is also true for the issue of patriotic education. The best education in patriotism is illustration.
The concept of the Nation-Army proposed by the Minister of Defense is aimed at the educating the citizens who will be exacting when it comes to the security area. This Forum is another means to further solidify the link between our society, particularly our young people, and the Armed Forces.
In coming days, the exhibition here will be attended by thousands of students, teachers, and parents. They will strive to understand what our country has to offer today to the young people who want to get high-quality education, to obtain a competitive and very engaging specialty.
Initiatives to be discussed today, as well as potential, which has been accumulated for years, will create a solid base for the creation a stanch axis of commanders, officers-intellectuals of our new generation. From the Monte Melkonian college to be opened in September in Dilijan with its new and wide opportunities to the new educational programs in our military institutions of higher education, from civic educational establishments to our contract servicemen at their combat duty on the frontier – we have to continue to amplify through the renewed policies and consistent steps respect and love of our society towards the Armenian Army.
The state will continue to take practical steps with regard to the citizens who have chosen the occupation of professional officers. We will also continue to display special care towards the families of the fallen servicemen and those who have become handicaps during their term of duty and their families.
By the way, I have already instructed the Minister of Defense to take immediate and practical steps to provide with housing the families of the fallen soldiers and those who became the first degree handicaps. This problem must be solved and it must be solved before the end of 2019. I have also instructed to review swiftly and give an expeditious solution to the issue of the privatization of the apartments under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense which are occupied by our servicemen who are entitled to reimbursement for housing.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To strengthen patriotic education, it is necessary first of all to strengthen within each citizen of Armenia the feeling of being the master. The best defenders of the homeland are the people who understand their share of responsibility for Fatherland.
Responsibility is not something abstract or ephemeral: responsible is the person who has at least a private corner to live. Those who don’t have it yet, should be sure that through the honest work they will get that corner. Such individuals will not only create their own corner but will expand it, will make it a family place. In that apartment, in that milieu they will raise their kids who will have the same feeling of the owner. This, and I believe it strongly, is the best patriotic education.
Don’t delude yourselves or others: without a resolute master, without men and women who cling to their own land, there can be no patriotic education. Only men and women full of the feeling of ownership are able to raise children dedicated to their homeland, to their country, and native land.
Such people do not need patriotic slogans and sermons; they know danger immediately and if necessary will rise to defend their home and their land and water.
The reforms undertaken in our country are aimed at the encouragement and strengthening of such attitude. The next few years will be decisive with this regard. The reforms are fundamental, and they will be visible and tangible for each and every citizen of the Republic of Armenia.
I believe it was that very sense of ownership that paved the way for success and victory in the Artsakh Liberation War.
Vazgen used to say “I love local patriots.” You can find such local patriots in every village, community, and town: they know the history of their place, names of all people born there and their biographies. They are always ready to tell you about their native land and are proud with it.
By the virtue of my job, I have been visiting different marzes and communities of our country and have spoken to many people. I believe that we need to keep in the center of our attention and care the dedication and labor of that people. There can be no better patriotic education than that.
Armenia is a totality of many small and large communities. The smallest unit must not be lost in that totality.
We have to love, cherish, and protect that unit. Who can do it better than the owner, men and women who earn their bread through honest work?
That’s the only way to identify and love the Fatherland. We need to constantly strengthen these values and pass them from generation to generation, first and foremost through our families. Family is the most important and the strongest unit for the preservation of our nation; people get their primary values in the family.
We need to strengthen our school system. In raising a dignified citizen and a responsible member of the society school certainly plays a pivotal role. Patriotism, humanism, and integrity were instilled in us by our teachers.
Distinguished colleagues, who is taking care of a garden? Its owner does.
Who is working day and night to protect the garden from frost, who is watering, drenching, and protecting the garden? Only and only its owner.
Our Fatherland is that very garden, whose owner is the laborer and servant at the same time. Patriot is the person who is indiscriminately the owner and the laborer at the same time.
To be the master of one’s own earnings, of one’s own country, of one’s own rights – all this means to be free. Freedom and patriotism are two sides of the same medal. Let’s be worthy of that medal. Let’s defend our freedoms as we will defend our garden since without that garden we will have no earning or anything else.
Imminent threat unites many. It is called, as you know, the instinct of self-preservation. Even animals have that instinct. Our national unity should not and is not based on the instinct of self-preservation. This is a deeply comprehended choice and is called freedom – master’s freedom and master’s responsibility. It has been an important element of our identity and self-consciousness for millennia, and will continue to be.
When we say that we respect and will respect fundamental human freedoms, we are not trying to please anyone. We say and do it because without fundamental freedoms no one is a complete human being.
We need complete individuals. We need masters of our land, who are ready to toil and defend their earning, their garden - our Armenia.
In peaceful times, we are nation of gardeners, but in time of trouble we become a nation-army. This is the concept of our land’s masters, laborers, and country defenders.
I wish you all every success.