The 2020 Karabakh War and the global Covid pandemic have altered the way individuals and institutions in the Diaspora act, and the ways in which they interact with Armenia.

But how? To what extent? Have Armenia’s perceptions, too, changed? How did Covid impact other diasporas? Did the war and its aftermath alter how the diaspora-homeland relationship is imagined? Can digital connectivity translate to more meaningful relations and outcomes? Now, post-crises, is this in fact when institutional transformation is possible?

These are just some of the questions the Institute’s new deep dive series will tackle with scholars, journalists, officials, and change makers. NETWORK NATION: RE-IMAGINING COMMUNITY, HOMELAND, AND DIASPORA, POST-WAR, POST-COVID, will begin Friday May 14 and conclude on Friday May 28.

This series of five public discussions will address the effect of Covid and the war from different angles and perspectives, starting with the conceptual framing of the Diaspora/homeland relationship and concluding with the view from the ground, from various diasporic communities, as well as Armenia and Artsakh. The conversations will explore the institutional cracks that the Covid pandemic brought to the surface, as well as accentuate new forms of connectivity. The series will examine the unprecedented mobilization during the war along with the gaping disconnect after the war. In addition to the war and pandemic, it will explore the underlying and ongoing demographic, security-related, and environmental crises that constitute part of the general crisis and its possible solutions.

Every episode will pose a new set of questions about how Covid and the War shifted the vision and direction of the nation – from crisis nation to network nation. Conversations will tackle the important role of and changes in the economy, philanthropy, repatriation, citizenship, demography and more. What does it mean to be a knowledge nation or digital nation? Is the knowledge economy a circulation of information between institutions or a broader system that includes individual units? Have the pandemic and war accelerated the transition into a digital nation and what does that look like? What types of networks have formed in the face of weak state and diaspora institutions?

“Anything as serious as the war, and as widespread as the pandemic was going to substantially alter Diaspora-Armenia relations, and life in the Diaspora itself. Our job is to ask questions that get to the heart of what happened, how and why, and where to go from here. The intention is not pass judgment or place blame. That’s pointless. Covid has impacted the diasporas of many countries – from India to Israel to Ireland, and we’ll speak to representatives of those communities, as well, to learn and compare,” said Salpi Ghazarian, director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, who will moderate the programs. Dr. Shushan Karapetian, deputy director of the Institute, and host of the Institute podcast, Language Therapy with Dr. K, will participate in the discussions together with other USC faculty and scholars around the world. Representatives from Armenia and Karabakh will also join the LIVE conversations.