New York's EastWest Institute CEO and President Cameron Munter in Armenia

New York's EastWest Institute CEO and President Cameron Munter was recently in Armenia on a visit.

In Yerevan, Munter had a number of meetings with representatives of research and analytical centers, including at the Yerevan State University's European Research Center, the International Center For Human Development, Global Dialogue Forum to discuss possibilities of cooperation.

Speaking about the visit and results of discussions, Cameron Munter said that one of the annual meetings of the institute in 2019 will be held in Armenia. The meetings were previously held in Germany and Jordan. "This will be a chance to not only see Yerevan and taste the world's best food, but also to view the region's issues. Our discussion framework can include  Iran, Russia, Turkey. The composition of our board of directors, which includes famous people from around the world, will be here in May [2019]. We have a lot to do and we are proud to cooperate with Armenia," Munter said.

"We are searching for bridges, which are unorthodox in terms of culture and geography, but are new options for settling issues. We are searching for innovative directions to attempt and solve issues in a way others haven't," he said, adding that "Armenian President Armen Sarkissian is the man who has brought forward the quantum diplomacy idea, which we are interested in. In case of quantum diplomacy, you are engaged in diplomacy not in the traditional way that others do."

Munter said they are engaged in developing innovative approaches and are very happy that they will cooperate with Armenian partners.

He also addressed the awarding of President Armen Sarkissian with the Edwin Mroz Global Statesman Award. "For us, Armen Sarkissian is someone who for many years has worked as a builder of bridges, both during his years as a diplomat in London and while being in the government. We've known him and his work for many years. He is someone who unites, and he proved it during the events that took place earlier this year, when there was tension in Armenia. He made every effort to get people to stay calm. This situation reminded me the heroic people whom I met as a diplomat in 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe. The situation could've led to violence, however certain people, like Armen Sarkissian, calmed down the situation.

There are two elements - history, building bridges and the given individual who is able to maintain authority and peace. This always deserves respect in our institute. Those who received this award in the past, including Helmut Kohl [German chancellor], Kofi Annan [UN Secretary General], Ban Ki-moon [UN Secretary General], Henry Kissinger [American statesman], and among them also Armen Sarkissian, are people who have maintained peace and opportunity to speak about problems in a conscious, reasoned way, rather than through violence.

Armen Sarkissian has always tried to connect peoples and countries, and this is the very reason he was awarded. It is a great honor for us to have the chance to continue working with him."

On October 3 the Annual Awards Gala ceremony of the EastWest Institute took place in New York City, USA, which was attended by famous state, public, and political figures, ambassadors, entrepreneurs, renowned members of the Armenian-American community.

This reputable international institution bestows its annual awards on the individuals who have been singled out for their exceptional leadership, innovative spirit and ability to be game changers. Among the awardees of the EastWest Institute are the 41st President of the United States George Bush, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, former President of Finland, winner of the Noble Peace Prize for year 2008 Martti Ahtisaari, and others.

This year, the John Edwin Mroz Global Statesman Award, which is named in the honor of a Co-Founder of the Institute, American diplomat John Mroz, will be bestowed upon the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian.

At the official award ceremony, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the EastWest Institute Ross Perot in his welcoming remarks said: "We are honored to hand the John Edwin Mroz Global Statesman Award to the representative of Armenia, His Excellency Armen Sarkissian for his long-lasting career and achievements in statesmanship as well for considerable contribution to global development.

The selection of the President of the Republic of Armenia has come to augment his vast experience in the areas of Physics, private sector, and state administration. In the times, when Armenia is going through the period of great changes, Sarkissian was entrusted with ensuring stability and creation of a new vision for his country which, we are confident, he will lead towards a more democratic and prosperous future.
The EastWest Institute is committed to the development of innovative and creative solutions to solve current problems and get ready for the future challenges. Individuals like Sarkissian make our efforts possible."

The President of the Tavitian Foundation, the Armenian-American benefactor Aso Tavitian spoke of Armenia's role as a bridge between the East and the West. The President of the Carnegie Corporation Vartan Gregorian presented his vision of Armenia's future.

The President of Armenia expressed his thanks for the award and noted in his speech that the award is very important for him while the EastWest Institute is not just a think tank among many in the world but a special institution. According to the President, when there is an idea, an important one, the Institute participates in its implementation. "You have this great energy of thinking about something, believing in something and going to implement and trying to make that small but very important change."

"It's a great honor for me to represent my nation and my state here. I really have a dream or a vision for the future and that dream or a vision which includes also the fact or the reality that we are facing. i.e. where this world is moving to," President Sarkissian noted.

"If the 20th century was the century of natural resources and based on that the age of other political forces, the 21st century is going to be deferent. The 21st century is the century of research, development, new technologies. The 21st century is the century when things will be done and ruled by new ideas, by new research conducted by those who are quick, by those who are young and energetic regardless of how old they are. That will be the 21st century. The politics will be done differently."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau said that "It is solely on the basis of common interest that every society should be." Freedom and the right to live are not only absolute and indisputable values but represent that very common interest which should bring together everyone's interest.

And I do truly believe that the 21st century is Armenia's century. That's why I think we will be victorious. I am happy to be part of the Armenian nation. We are a small state but a global nation. There are not many nations of that sort. But I do believe that small states but global nations that have the global connectivity can get together and build their own country. That's the future, and I do believe that the institutions like the EastWest Institute are going to be among the leaders of the 21st century.

Thank you again for this wonderful prize. It will remind me that I have still a lot to do. It will remind me about the wonderful people that I have had a chance of meeting in my life at the EastWest Institute. It will always remind me about the wonderful man whose name was John Mroz, and it will always remind me that there is much to do in our world. And I have also a duty to serve my nation and my county - a country that in the 21st century will be one of the world leaders."

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