January 27, 2016 - 11:15 AMT
Online Diaspora Questionnaire seeks insight into Armenian mentality

In December 2015, Dr. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, professor of economics at St. John's University in Queens NY, began research that aims to quantify and qualify the Armenian Diaspora's willingness to and actual involvement with Armenia's economic, social, and cultural development. The research is driven by a global online survey–the Armenian Diaspora Questionnaire—that targets participants of ethnic Armenian origin. Armenians in the Diaspora and recent repatriates to Armenia are encouraged to take part in the anonymous online survey.

Ultimately, the research aims to understand diasporan trends and motivations based on individual responses towards engaging in projects oriented towards economic and social development of Armenia. The team, led by Dr. Gevorkyan, hopes that anonymous comments of survey respondents may aid the research with informative details on inner motives and ideals on involvement in development projects that may not be otherwise openly revealed in other forums.

Initial survey results have been informative and consistent with the Armenian diaspora’s characterization as dispersion—a loose association of individuals sharing some common cultural background. It is possible that dispersion-like structures may have more holistic engagement with homeland as opposed to traditional, one-focus-action models. In dispersion, an individual is driven by various factors: personal interests and capacities, knowledge of the local context, expertise, and, ultimately, ideals. The Armenian Diaspora Questionnaire takes no more than 30 minutes to complete and investigates the validity of such an argument in relation to social and economic development in Armenia, where the Diaspora is seen as “first-mover.”