Dr. Hratch Tchilingirian is an intellectual entrepreneur and an activist sociologist. In recent years he has drawn attention to the plight of minorities and Christian communities in the Middle East, especially in academic and policy-making circles. As a public intellectual, his research, thinking and projects aim to make heritage identity, culture and language a living experience, especially in diasporic life. Following his PhD at the London School of Economics, he was director of research on Eurasia and lecturer at Cambridge University’s business school (2003-2012). Since 2012, he is an Associate of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at University of Oxford. He has lectured internationally and is the author of numerous studies and publications (www.hratch.info). Dr. Tchilingirian has held executive positions in academic institutions and charitable organizations and has served communities in various capacities and leadership positions in the United States and the United Kingdom. He remains deeply engaged in community life and takes active part in civic and professional projects.
In the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the “Albanian connection” has become a politicized issue of irredentism, hijacking the rich Christian heritage of Karabakh. The roots of this historiography go back to the Soviet policy of “nativization".
In the last 100 years, there have been hierarchies of identity and canonical approaches to definitions of "Armenian," especially as articulated, rationalized and promoted by elites, institutions and political parties in the Diaspora and in Armenia. This essay is not a study of identity per se, but about one of the aspects of identity – the “Armenian” bit of it.
Even as “Global Armenians” seem to be thriving around the world, they don’t appear to be thriving in the Republic of Armenia. Global Armenians, like the ocean-crisscrossing Armenian merchants of the 16th-18th centuries, contributed to vibrant Armenian communities around the globe, “preserving a nation is not the same as preserving a community,” writes Dr. Hratch Tchilingirian.