Vartan Oskanian Resigns from Civilitas Board

Armenian former Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian presented his resignation from the Civilitas Board. Here is the statement which presents completely.

 “In early April, 2008, I walked out of my office at the foreign ministry, up one block, and moved into the new offices of the Civilitas Foundation.  I was excited, not despondent, because we had great plans. I had known for more than a year that it was time to work at the grassroots level with other organizations to bring change, and a spirit of hope and empowerment, to civil society in Armenia.

For nearly four years, that is what we at Civilitas have done. With a new vision, with a hopeful, enthusiastic, smart young team, with help and support from some very trusting and confident individuals, with program assistance and guidance from some very thoughtful international entities, Civilitas has brought new energy, new expectations, a new way of working and a new perspective on media, public discussion, rural development and serious analysis.

We did all this for a reason. I believe that institutions have a responsibility to respond to and even lead civil society in its efforts to become a serious player in societal development. No government is responsive of its own volition. Civil society institutions must expect, cooperate, hold accountable, respond, punish or reward those in government.

I also believe that each of us, as individuals, has that responsibility. The Latin word Civilitas means exactly that – Citizen’s responsibility to society. This month, I’ve decided to take my own civic activism to the next responsible step – political activism.

I have resigned from the Civilitas Foundation Board to enter politics. Civilitas has much to do still, especially in the new field of new media, and the successes we have registered in such a short time are just the beginning.

Armenian law does not mandate such resignation. But I have decided to do so in order that my political activity not restrict Civilitas’ work.

My new path is conditioned by the same attitude that I had when I entered government and when I left it – that we are each obliged to make our country match our expectations.  That is sufficient reason to enter politics in every other country, and it’s time that be perceived the same, here, in our own country”.

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