October 06, 2017

The Inaugural Diaspora Dialogues Will Be Held in Armenia

Diaspora leaders will share experiences and knowledge to foster the more effective ways to build bridges

Armenia will host the inaugural Diaspora Dialogues, a gathering of diaspora leaders, between October 8-10, 2017 in Dilijan and Yerevan. The inaugural Dialogues are organized by leadership development organization, Common Purpose, in cooperation with UWC Dilijan and with the support of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

“The world over, people face complex problems that cross boundaries. And so we need leaders who can cross the boundaries too. The Diaspora Dialogues is a unique opportunity to bring together exceptional leaders who have spent their lives crossing boundaries. It’s enormously exciting,” said Julia Middleton, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Common Purpose.

The participants of Diaspora Dialogues come from diverse backgrounds and experiences of multiple cultures and geographies. They represent education, business, philanthropy, innovation, civil society and humanitarian organizations.

“There is no coincidence that the inaugural Diaspora Dialogues are being held at UWC Dilijan in Armenia because this is a hub for future leaders who are becoming bridges for different communities and fighting the fragmentation in the world. We welcome diaspora leaders in UWC Dilijan with the confidence that through sharing knowledge and experiences we will create and develop new ideas that will lead to practical actions in our societies,” said Veronika Zonabend, Co-founder and Chair of the Board of Governors of UWC Dilijan where Aurora Dialogues were held in 2016 and 2017.

During three days through a dynamic and well tested process called ‘innoventure’ the participants of Diaspora Dialogues, including UWC Dilijan students, will exchange ideas, strategies and inspiration. There will be no ‘speakers’ in the traditional sense because participants themselves will provide the content. They will share their knowledge and experience as part of the carefully curated process.

The organizers expect to create a source of thought leadership which can be shared with a wider audience through blogs, or essays and possibly a book to develop the next generation of bridge builders as well as to establish a web of solidarity across different diaspora communities that provides support in times of need, and builds bridges across the world.


About Common Purpose

Common Purpose is a not-for-profit leadership development organization that specializes in cross-boundary leadership. Founded in 1989, we run programmes in over 70 cities worldwide, and have more than 65,000 Alumni.


About UWC Dilijan

UWC Dilijan is the first international boarding school of the UWC education model in the post-Soviet Union. The college opened in 2014 in the Armenian town of Dilijan and currently has 213 students enrolled from 82 countries and 44 academic staff members from 16 countries.

UWC Dilijan represents an exciting extension of the UWC movement into the Caucasus region at the junction of Asia and Europe. Established in 1962, UWC educational movement now comprises 17 international schools and colleges, national committees in more than 150 countries, and a series of short educational programmes.

UWC Dilijan was initiated and masterminded by impact investors and entrepreneurs Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend with the support of other Founding Patrons. The college was built with generous donations from over 330 benefactors. Its admissions policy aims to make enrolment available to anyone, regardless of socio-economic background, on the basis of demonstrated need. 96% of students receive full or partial scholarships, 82% is an average scholarship.

The UWC Dilijan academic programme – The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) – is an assessed programme for students aged 16 to 19.

UWC Dilijan has two generations of alumni of 2016 and 2017; many of them are continuing their education at the leading universities worldwide – Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UCL, Duke, Berkeley, McGill, University of Edinburgh, Minerva School at KGI and many more.


About the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative

Founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to empower modern-day saviors to offer life and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid and thus continue the cycle of giving internationally. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is Gratitude in Action. It is an eight-year commitment (2015 to 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) to support people and promote projects that tackle the needs of the most helpless and destitute, and do so at great risk. This is achieved through the Initiative’s various programs: The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues, the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the Gratitude Projects and the 100 LIVES Initiative. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is the vision of philanthropists Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan who have, already in the second year, been joined by several dozen new donors and partners. The Initiative welcomes all who embrace a commitment to our shared humanity.

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is represented by three organizations – Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Foundation, Inc. (New York, USA), the 100 Lives Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and the IDeA Foundation (Yerevan, Armenia). 

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