Eastern U.S. edition - Armenian Reporter


Eastern U.S. edition - Armenian Reporter

U.S. urges no

Karabakh link

for Turkey


See story on page 1m

Soup’s up:


our food


See story on page 10 m

Lord Ara

Darzi to speak

at medical


See story on page 4 m

Eastern U.S. Edition

Number 118

June 13, 2009

the armenian


Pop star Sirusho married her longtime sweetheart, Levon Kocharian, the younger son of the former president, in Yerevan on June 6.

In a fairytale wedding,

a talented pop star

marries a president’s son

Visit us at reporter.am

See story on page 14 m

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009

Number 118

June 13, 2009

the armenian


Reporter.web.review 1.0



Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Emil Sanamyan launches a new

column on Armenian topics on

the Web. He notes that three separate

videos of Sirusho’s “Qele, qele”

have been viewed more than a million

times each on YouTube. No

other video on an Armenian subject

comes close..

See story on page 5m

U.S. agency cuts $67 million in Armenia funding

The Millennium Challenge Corporation

(MCC) board met on June

10 and decided that it “will not

resume funding for any further

road construction and rehabilitation”

in Armenia. The funding had

been suspended after U.S. officials

French-Armenian filmmaker Robert

Guediguian’s new movie The

Army of Crime was screened at the

Cannes Film Festival last month.

Starring Simon Abkarian, Virginie

Ledoyen, and Gregoire Leprince-

Ringuet, the film retraces the life

blamed the Armenian government

for the violence that followed last

year’s presidential elections, Emil

Sanamyan reports.

See story on page 2

and editorial on page 22m

Students at Little Angels Art School in Burbank, Calif., kiss wooden crosses

presented to them by Abp. Hovnan Derderian on the Feast Day of the Ascension..

See story on page 19m


At the Zangakatun Center in Vanadzor, all

children are loved equally

At the Zangakatun Center in Vanadzor,

10-year-old Maria and five

dozen other schoolchildren are not

only fed properly, but also receive

the educational, spiritual, emotional,

and other kinds of support


Amb. Yovanovitch: There are many ways for more

Armenian-Americans to get involved with Armenia


Amb. Marie Yovanovitch spoke to

Armenian Reporter editor Vincent

Lima and Senior Correspondent

Tatul Hakobyan at her residence in

Yerevan on June 10 to give a preview

of issues she will discuss during an

upcoming visit to Armenian-American

communities in Greater Boston,

New York, Washington, and Southern

California. She discussed specific

ways more Armenian-Americans

can get involved with Armenia.

See interview on page 3m

all the children in the world need

– thanks to the Tufenkian Foundation’s

“Our Duty to Live” project.

Tatul Hakobyan reports.

See story on page 21m

AGBU given “exceptional” rating by watchdog

The world’s largest Armenian nonprofit

organization, the Armenian

General Benevolent Union (AGBU),

received a four-star rating – the

highest allotted – for sound fiscal

management from charity watchdog

Charity Navigator. AGBU outranked

other leading nonprofits

such as the American Cancer Society,

American Red Cross, Amnesty

International, and the Smithsonian


See story on page 5 m

Armenian fighter in French Resistance is focus of

Robert Guediguian’s movie screened in Cannes

of Armenian poet and worker Missak

Manouchian, who led a real-life

army of foreigners who fought for

the French Resistance during the

Second World War and died for it.

See story on page 12m

U.S. urges no Karabakh link

for Armenia-Turkey relations


process “can’t go on


Vote will be “a

part” of Karabakh


by Tatul Hakobyan

Yerevan – The newly confirmed

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State

for European and Eurasian Affairs,

Philip Gordon, announced in Yerevan

on June 9 that there should

be no preconditions or linkages

“to anything else” in the process

of normalizing Armenian-Turkish

relations. The U.S. statement

came after repeated announcements

by Turkey’s Prime Minister

Recep Tayyip Erdogan that

Turkey would not open its border

or establish diplomatic relations

with Armenia so long as Armenian

forces have not been removed from

Azerbaijan’s territory.

Speaking at a news conference

at the U.S. Embassy, Mr. Gordon

said, “Turkey-Armenia normalization

would benefit Turkey, it would

benefit Armenia, and it would benefit

the entire region. And because

of that, we do not think it should

be linked to anything else.”

Armenian Genocide


withstands denialist


by Lou Ann Matossian

Boston Closing the covers of a

textbook case on Armenian Genocide

denial, U.S. District Judge

Mark L. Wolf on June 10 dismissed

the Assembly of Turkish

American Associations’ complaint

that a Massachusetts education official

had unlawfully removed “contra-genocide”

references from the

state’s Armenian Genocide curriculum

“for political reasons.”

Without commenting on the historical

facts of the Genocide or the

ATAA’s contention that a legitimate

controversy exists regarding the

events of 1915, the court ruled that

the state’s public school curriculum

was a form of “government speech”

and therefore not generally subject

to First Amendment scrutiny.

“There is no requirement that

such government speech be balanced

or viewpoint neutral,” wrote

Judge Wolf, adding that “public

officials are generally entitled to

change their minds about what is

recommended or required to be

taught in public school classrooms.”

Such decisions “must be made by

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon, Yerevan, June 9, 2009. Photo:

Tigran Tadevosian/Photolure.

The State Department in late

April called for the normalization

of Armenian-Turkish relations

“without preconditions and within

a reasonable timeframe.” Asked to

elaborate, Mr. Gordon said, “A reasonable

timeframe is a reasonable

timeframe. That is not really for us

to say. It means the process can’t

be infinite; it can’t go on forever.

But I think both sides do appreciate

that they need to move forward,

and I think they are, and I think

they will.”

As the Armenian Reporter’s Emil

Sanamyan reports from Washington,

Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton announced on June 5, after

her meeting with Turkey’s Foreign

Minister Ahmet Davutoglu,

state and local school boards and

not federal judges.”

Moreover, in regard to the circumstances

of this case, the U.S.

District Court ruled that “plaintiffs

do not have a right to receive contra-genocide

information in the


Armenian Genocide

is part of advisory


In 1998, the Massachusetts Legislature

had directed the state Board of

Education to prepare and distribute

to all school districts an advisory

curriculum guide on genocide

and human rights. As originally issued

on January 15, 1999, the draft

guide included a section on the Armenian


“I have been very encouraged by the

progress that has been made and

by the commitment of the governments

involved. Certainly, Turkey

and Armenia, with the assistance

of the Swiss government, have

committed themselves to a process

of normalization. We’re well aware

that this is difficult. It requires patience

and perseverance. But we

have seen no flagging of commitment.”

Mrs. Clinton continued, “The

minister and I discussed this at

length. He brought me up to date

on developments. And we are continuing

to encourage the parties

to proceed on the path which they

Continued on page 23 m

Federal court dismisses ATAA’s case

against Mass. education authorities

U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf.

But in March of that year, at the

urging of the Turkish American

Cultural Society of New England,

Commissioner of Education David

Driscoll added references to several

so-called “contra-genocide” Web

sites, prompting counterprotests

from the Armenian community

and its supporters.

To the displeasure of the ATAA

and other Turkish groups, Commissioner

Driscoll later removed

the denialist references, saying that

they were inconsistent with the

Legislature’s direction to include

materials concerning the “Armenian

genocide” as such. He recommended

that the Turkish community

pursue its concerns through

“legislative channels.”

“Since the legislative intent of the

statute was to address the Armenian

genocide and not to debate

whether or not this occurred, the

Board and Department of Education

cannot knowingly include resources

that call this into question,”

Mr. Driscoll and Board of Education

chairperson James Peyser replied

to a complaint from an ATAA board

member. “The explicitness of the

statute has also forced us to reverse

our earlier decision to include the

website listing for the Turkish Embassy.”

The embassy’s site explicitly

denies the Armenian Genocide.

Six years later, in a letter to the

plaintiffs’ attorneys, Mr. Peyser

Continued on page m

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


Washington briefing

by Emil Sanamyan

U.S. agency cuts $67

million in Armenia


The Millennium Challenge Corporation

(MCC) board met on June

10 and decided that it “will not resume

funding for any further road

construction and rehabilitation” in

Armenia, the agency said in a press


The MCC’s five-year $235 million

Armenia compact originally included

$67 million for road construction

and repair and $146 million

for agriculture projects. The latter

projects have continued.

“MCC regrets that it cannot move

forward with funding road construction

in Armenia,” the corporation’s

acting CEO, Rodney Bent,

said in a statement. “The responsibility

for this outcome remains

with the government of Armenia,

whose actions have been inconsistent

with the eligibility criteria

that are at the heart of the MCC

program. I do not anticipate that

the Board will revisit this issue in

the future.”

The agency first introduced a

hold on road projects after U.S.

officials blamed the Armenian

government for the violence that

followed last year’s presidential


The latest ruling comes after the

May 31 election for the Yerevan

city council, the conduct of which

received a mixed review from observers,

including criticism from

the U.S. Embassy.

The MCC is chaired by the secretary

of state and its decisions

are influenced by State Department

determinations on whether

a country is making progress toward

meetings eligibility criteria.

[Asked by the Armenian Reporter

for comment late on June 11, the

head of media relations for Armenia’s

Foreign Ministry, Tigran

Balayan, said the ministry had

been focused on a visit from the

Estonian foreign minister and had

no immediate comment.]

Clinton remains upbeat

on Armenia-Turkey


There has been “no flagging of commitment”

to the normalization of

relations between Turkey and Armenia,

Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton said on June 5. She was

speaking at a joint press conference

with visiting Turkish foreign minister

Ahmet Davutoglu.

Asked whether she remained

hopeful about a resolution of Armenian-Turkish

relations on a bilateral

track or in the Karabakh conflict

since the statement by Armenia,

Switzerland, and Turkey announcing

a “road map” and an “on-going

process” toward normalization of

relations was issued on April 22,

Mrs. Clinton said she remained

A construction crew renovating the badly damaged Arzni-Shamiram canal,

January 29, 2009. U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp. funding for the waterways

project continues, but the corporation “will not resume funding” for a roads

project. Photo: Armen Hakobyan/Armenian Reporter.

“very encouraged by progress that

has been made and commitment

by governments involved.”

Mrs. Clinton emphasized that

Armenia and Turkey “have committed

themselves to a process

of normalization”; although she

also counseled there was a need

for “patience and perseverance” to

achieve results in what she said

was a “difficult undertaking” addressing

longstanding issues.

She also pointed to last week’s

Armenia-Azerbaijan presidential

summit in Saint Petersburg as evidence

of progress in the Karabakh

peace process.

Immediately after the April 22

statement, the United States emphasized

the need for the normalization

of Armenia-Turkey relations

to take place “without preconditions

and within a reasonable timeframe.”

But U.S. officials initially

linked progress in these talks to the

Karabakh negotiations, describing

the two processes as parallel.

Armenian officials insist there

should be “no parallelism” or any

other linkages between the two


On June 9, Assistant Secretary

of State Philip Gordon rejected

links between normalization and

“anything else.”

The United States also has not

defined what it would consider to

be “a reasonable timeframe,” with

Mrs. Clinton again saying that it

was up to Armenia and Turkey to

continue “on the path they themselves

have set,” and that the United

States was only acting in a supporting


For his part, Mr. Davutoglu

reiterated that Turkey “is fully

committed to normalization with

Armenia and resolution of Armenian-Azeri


Proposed removal of

U.S. trade restrictions

for Azerbaijan


Armenian organizations are questioning

the rationale and timing

for the efforts to remove Soviet-era

trade sanctions against Azerbaijan

– commonly referred to as the Jackson-Vanik


On June 4 Reps. Robert Wexler

(D.-Fla.) and Bill Shuster (R.-


Davutoglu and

Hillary Clinton

on June 5. AP


Pa.), who co-chair the Turkey and

Azerbaijan caucuses, respectively,

introduced House Resolution 2742

“to authorize the extension of nondiscriminatory

treatment (normal

trade relations treatment) to the

products of Azerbaijan,” which

would terminate the restriction

vis-à-vis Azerbaijan. The bill has

since been referred to the House

Ways and Means Committee.

Azerbaijan and all other former

Soviet republics and satellite states

inherited the restriction in the aftermath

of the Soviet breakup. It

was originally intended to promote

human rights, particularly freedom

of emigration. Rarely enforced, it

has been a symbolic measure and

successive U.S. presidents have annually

waived the restriction.

Jackson-Vanik restrictions had

been previously removed for former

Soviet republics that joined or

were about to join the World Trade

Organization (WTO). Although

Azerbaijan first applied for WTO

membership in 1997, it has until

now showed little interest in joining

the group.

“The consideration of this illtimed

legislation would afford

Members of Congress a valuable

opportunity to review Azerbaijan’s

unacceptable behavior on a range of

issues – from its arms build-up and

its threats of renewed aggression

against Armenia to its authoritarian

political system and systematic

destruction of Christian Armenian

cultural heritage,” Aram Hamparian

of the Armenian National

Committee of America (ANCA) told

the Armenian Reporter.

Ross Vartian of the U.S.-Armenia

Public Affairs Committee (USA-

PAC) added, “The United States

cannot grant Permanent Normal

Trade Relations (PNTR) to a nation

like Azerbaijan that blockades another

nation, Armenia, in violation

of U.S. law.”

The Obama administration has

not yet taken a public position on

the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, the State Department’s

incoming assistant secretary

for political-military affairs,

Andrew Shapiro, praised Azerbaijan

for “cooperating in good

faith” in the Karabakh peace process

and indicated that the United

States would continue security assistance

to Azerbaijan, the ANCA

reported on June 10.

The comment came as part of

Mr. Shapiro’s confirmation process

and was in response to questions

from Sen. Barbara Boxer

(D.-Calif.) who raised the issue of

Azerbaijani war threats against

Armenia and continued U.S. security

assistance to Azerbaijan.

Pentagon’s Eurasia

manager appointed

American University professor Celeste

Wallander was appointed

deputy assistant secretary of defense

for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia

policy, the Department of Defense

reported on June 9.

The new appointee is an expert

on Russia and has also written

on U.S. policy toward Iran. In

her analyses, Ms. Wallander has

sought to counter the frequently

alarmist descriptions of Russia’s

intentions, portraying Moscow

leaders as primarily pragmatic and

their policies as seeking to manage

rather than confront America’s

dominance in world affairs.

Prior to her appointment, Ms.

Wallander led the Program on New

Approaches to Research and Security

(PONARS) that focused on the

former Soviet space, particularly

the Caucasus, and was first housed

at the Center for Strategic and International

Studies (CSIS) and since

2007 at Georgetown University.

Discussing last year’s Russian-

Georgian war, Ms. Wallander told

PBS NewsHour that “in traditional

security terms, the Caucasus is in

a geostrategically important part

of the world.”

“The Caucasus is just north of

Iraq and Iran,” she elaborated. “It’s

just west of Central Asia, which involves

Afghanistan. So all these regions

are areas in which the United

States is militarily engaged because

these are where the security challenges

of the 21st century are.”

Coming up

On June 25–26, French president

Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Kazakhstan

and the three Caucasus states.

France is one of the lead mediators

in Karabakh negotiations.

On June 28, Israeli president

Shimon Peres will be in Baku, as

part of a trip to Central Asia.

And between July 6 and 8, President

Barack Obama will visit Russia

for talks that are likely to focus

on Afghanistan, Iran, and North

Korea, but might also include discussion

of Caucasus concerns.

Internship opportunity

The Armenian Reporter’s Washington

office is taking interns again

this summer. Send a statement of

interest, a cv, and a 1,000-word

writing sample to emil.sanamyan@



Federal court dismisses ATAA’s case against Mass. education authorities

n Continued from page

reiterated that the Board of Education

had not been authorized to

adopt curriculum guidelines “that

call into question whether the

atrocities enumerated in the statute

actually occurred.”

The resulting lawsuit, Griswold et

al. v. Driscoll et al. (2005) pitted the

ATAA against the Massachusetts

Board of Education and Department

of Education.

“Politics is the essense

of democracy”

The plaintiffs had argued that once

the “contra-genocide” materials had

been added to the curriculum, it

was unlawful to remove them solely

in response to “political pressure”

from the Armenian community.

Judge Wolf disagreed. “Politics is

not a pejorative term in our nation,”

he wrote. “Properly understood,

politics is the essence of democracy.

It is the way that a free and vigorous

people make and then change

public policy.”

“The facts of this case,” he added,

“demonstrate that the plaintiffs

and those who share their viewpoint

concerning Armenians in the

Ottoman Empire are fully capable

of participating in the political

process. It is in the political arena

that they must seek the relief to

which they are not entitled in federal


Armenian groups praised the ruling.

“Judge Wolf correctly pointed out

that this remains purely a political

issue. Implicitly, the facts are not in

doubt,” declared USAPAC executive

director Ross Vartian. “And in the

political arena in Washington, the

ATAA is irrelevant.”

“Today’s judgment sends a clear

message that the federal court system

cannot be abused by genocide

deniers to spread their lies across

America’s classroom,” Armenian

National Committee of Massachusetts

chairperson Shari Ardhaldjian

stated. “We welcome this decision

and the powerful precedent its

sets for the future of genocide education

here in the Commonwealth

of Massachusetts and throughout

the nation.”

Thanking the office of the Attorney

General of Massachusetts,

Armenian Assembly executive

director Bryan Ardouny noted,

“Today’s decision is in keeping with

a growing trend toward teaching

genocide prevention with nearly

every state, including Massachusetts,

formally recognizing the Armenian


“This is a victory in the struggle to

promote education of the Armenian

Genocide and understanding of its

important position in the history

of the scourge of modern genocide,”

read a statement from the Zoryan

Institute. “Those who engage in its

denial have vast resources and use

pseudo-scholarship, legal technicalities

and confusion to persuade

those who are not well acquainted

with the facts that there was no

Armenian Genocide. Denial of the

Armenian Genocide interferes with

our ability to apply the lessons of

history to the prevention of other

genocides, and thus harms not only

Armenians, but everyone.”

Judge Wolf was appointed by

President Ronald Reagan in 1985

and serves as the chief judge for

the United States District Court for

the District of Massachusetts. f

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


Amb. Yovanovitch: There are many ways for more

Armenian-Americans to get involved with Armenia

Will meet Armenian-

Americans in U.S.

cities in June

Yerevan The United States envoy

to Armenia, Ambassador Marie

Yovanovitch is travelling to the United

States to meet with members of the

Armenian-American community. (See

schedule here.) Armenian Reporter

editor Vincent Lima and Senior

Correspondent Tatul Hakobyan

met with the ambassador at her residence

in Yerevan on June 10 to discuss

her agenda and some of the issues she

will discuss during her visit.

Armenian Reporter: Madam

Ambassador, you’re going to be

meeting with members of the Armenian-American

community in

Greater Boston, New York, Washington,

and Southern California

in the coming days. This’ll be first

such tour since Ambassador John

Evans did one in 2005 – though

I know you spoke to several influential

Armenian-Americans in the

United States before coming to

Yerevan, and you meet Armenian-

American leaders when they come

here to visit.

What do you hope to accomplish

on this trip?

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch:

I think it’s always useful

to try to meet as many people as

possible. What you stated in your

question, that’s really true: I have

had the opportunity to meet people

here and in Washington. There

are other folks I have not had an

opportunity to meet and groups

that I haven’t met with, and I think

it’s important to maintain a dialogue

with the various members

of the community on Armenian-

American relations, on our assistance

programs here, and provide

an opportunity for people to ask

questions, raise concerns, and also

for me to hear what people are doing

both in the U.S. and here in


I’d like to discuss the Armenian-

American bilateral relationship,

which is an important one to us,

and I think important to the Armenian-American


I’d like to discuss our assistance,

not just USAID, but also some of

the other forms of assistance that

we provide, whether it’s military to

military, whether it’s the Millennium

Challenge program, which is

an important program.

We also provide a lot of assistance

through USDA for agricultural

programs. So there are a variety of

programs that touch many facets

of Armenian life that are important

for people in the U.S. to know


In addition, obviously there

are a number of areas of concern,

whether it’s the assistance budget,

or other policy matters that I’m

sure the Armenian-American community

has questions about, and

this is an opportunity for individuals

or groups to ask questions of an

administration official.

AR: The United States has invested

a great deal of money in

Armenia over the last two decades.

And the government is spending

$48 million on aid to Armenia this

fiscal year. You may want to talk

about what that’s going to. My specific

question is whether you think

these funds are well spent on Armenia.

MY: I do think the money is well


With USAID specifically, the

projects they work on are in the

areas of good governance, economic

competitiveness – helping

Armenia become more competitive

so that it can meet the challenges

of the 21st century – as

well as in the social sector. We’re

helping in health, helping the

neediest in Armenia. For example,

soup kitchens, helping with

employment centers retraining

people for jobs in sectors where

they’re actually hiring. Things like


Helping with good


AR: Now the good-governance programs

include programs that may

have helped in the conduct of this

last election. You said the money

was well spent. Can you talk about


MY: I think democracy and good

governance is one of the areas that

require the longest for real change

to happen. Although when one

looks at the economy as well, it’s

very difficult to transition from

one system to another, as we’ve

seen here in Armenia and we’ve

seen in other places as well.

The good-governance money primarily

goes to helping civil-society

groups build capacity in order to

help them work with the government.

As you know, in the United

States we rely very heavily on the

civil-society sector to help provide

position papers to legislators, to

help mobilize support for various

agenda items, to change what the

agenda is in the United States. The

environmental movement started

with a book and various organizations

took that on.

We do a lot of different things.

We also work with the CEC – the

Central Electoral Commission

– to help them improve their procedures,

to help them work on the

electoral lists, and so forth.

You asked whether the money

is well spent. I think the projects

are worthwhile. Does that mean

everything is perfect in Armenia?

There’s probably still a ways to go

in that area and in other areas as

well. Just as there is in the United

States. I think it’s a continuous

process, and I think that if anything,

the most recent election

show that there is a need for continuing




Yovanovitch at

her residence in

Yerevan, June

10, 2009. Photo:

Tatul Hakobyan/



Why recommend less


AR: President Barack Obama has

asked for $18 million less for fiscal

2010. I know Congress may yet

restore some or all of these funds.

In the meantime, can you explain

this request for a substantial reduction

in aid? Let me just add that

we know that the administration

has asked for an increase in foreign

aid overall [$36.5 billion], and more

than $322 million for Georgia, so

the reason can’t be lack of funds in

an economic crisis.

MY: I think that it’s always hard

to make those choices. I think that

President Obama has requested

25 percent more than President

George W. Bush did in his most

recent request. President Bush had

requested $24 million in assistance.

And over the past number of years,

Congress has always upped that

amount from the administration’s

request, which, as Assistant Secretary

Philip Gordon noted yesterday,

it is likely to do again.

AR: Do you see any merit in the

argument, made by the Armenian

government, that some of the $1

billion promised in aid to Georgia

after the war there last August

should go to Armenia to mitigate

the losses sustained by Armenia in

that war?

MY: Well, I think that was a

package that was meant for Georgia.

Congress reviewed the issue

and allocated those moneys for the

losses that Georgia had suffered,

most specifically for war damage.


preparation for war

AR: One of the concerns that Armenian-Americans

often raise and

has also been raised by Congress

is Azerbaijan’s military buildup

and the explicit as well as implicit

threats of the use of force. We

talked a bit about the foreign-aid

package. Now on the military package,

the administration in its budget

request is looking to eliminate

military assistance parity between

Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Has the State Department observed

any lessening of expenditures,

or planning, or threats of the

use of force? Is the Department doing

anything by way of allocation

or policy expression to discourage

Azerbaijan’s offensive military


MY: I think that U.S. government

policy is very clear: We think

the only solution to the Nagorno-

Karabakh conflict is a political solution.

There is no military solution

to that conflict. And we have made

that clear to all.

The proposed budget figures,

which are not final – Congress

has not voted on this yet – reflect

U.S. interests in the region. As you

know, we have important counterterrorism

and anti-drug-trafficking

programs with Azerbaijan and

those funds go to those particular


None of the funding that we provide,

either in Armenia or in Azerbaijan,

is for offensive purposes.

Opportunities for

investing in Armenia

AR: Looking at the U.S.-Armenia

relationship, there are many elements

to it, and one of them is investment

by U.S.-based businesses,

people, entrepreneurs investing in

Armenia. Will your trip give you

an opportunity to talk to some of

those investors – actual and potential?

Is that one aspect of the

U.S.-Armenia relationship that you

would pursue during this trip?

MY: Yes, in fact it is. I think there

are a lot of opportunities here in

Armenia. I will have an opportunity

to meet with businesspeople,

with investors, and I look forward

to briefing them on the situation

in Armenia. Clearly, just as in any

investment environment, there are

challenges here as well. And people

need to come into any new situation

with their eyes wide open. And

even though Armenia like the rest

of the world is going through a financial

crisis, sometimes in crisis

are the biggest opportunities for

foreign investors.

AR: In our editorials, we often

say to readers, Look, we have a web

of connections between Armenia and

the Armenian-American community

and – say, prior to the last presidential

elections in Armenia, in

February 2008, we said – Use your

network, use your connections to encourage

your friends in Armenia, your

friends in the administration in Armenia

as well as civil society to make

this election better than any other.

Is there any element in your trip

– and obviously, it’s not the State

Department’s role to lobby, so I’m

not asking if you’re trying to cross

the line here – is there anything

you hope, any kind of message

you hope to give to the Armenian-

American community in terms

of mobilizing them, encouraging

them to use their networks, to use

their connections in Armenia in

one way or another?

MY: That’s a really good question.

Because I think just as we’re taught

in the United States that it’s important

to get involved, sometimes

it doesn’t necessarily matter what

your cause is, but it’s important to

be involved and try to make the

world a better place. And I know

that many Armenian-Americans

feel very strongly about Armenia

and already are involved, doing

various good works here.

Partnering with Uncle


One of the things I’d like to suggest

to those who are not yet involved

is that there are many ways to get

involved, especially now when Armenia

is going through a period of

financial crisis and there’s a lot of

need here.

And we have some suggestions

for how you might want to become


One is to participate in one of

the State Department humanitarian

assistance programs, where for

a relatively small sum, $12,000, an

individual or a group can make a

material difference in an orphanage,

a school. These are small infrastructure

projects where perhaps a

dorm is reconstructed or a new roof

built or something like that. It’s a

relatively small amount of money

and it can make a huge difference

to, say, 80 kids.

There are also private-public partnerships

with USAID, where people

can get involved on a larger scale,

helping the needy. For example we

have soup kitchens here. Others

are sort of more entrepreneurial:

For example we have a program in

the IT sector where an IT company

is working with a university here to

set up programming to develop the

kind of IT courses and expertise

that the U.S. company needs when

it hires for its local company here.

So that’s another area.

And I know in the Armenian-

American community there are all

sorts of people with skills, all sorts

of people who have businesses

of their own, some of them that

may have local branches here, and

maybe there’s a way they can participate

in that kind of a program or

another kind of a program.

Student exchanges

So I think there are many different

ways that individuals can partner

with the U.S. government, and

there are many other ways as well,

such as sponsoring an exchange

student. As an exchange student

myself, I know how transformative

that can be in a teenager’s or young

university student’s life.

AR: You were an exchange student

in Russia?

MY: I was, yes.

AR: In the Soviet Union?

MY: Yes, many years ago. We

don’t have to point out how many.

I learned Russian there, worked

in this part of the world. I would

never have been lucky enough to

come to Armenia if I didn’t have

that experience.

And I think the same thing is

true, when I meet people coming

back from the United States here in

Yerevan, and they talk about their

experiences in the United States,

it opens up a whole new world for

them: a different way of thinking,

a different way of doing business,

perhaps, and it not only changes

that person and allows that person

to accomplish more in their lives

here, but it creates a ripple effect,

in terms of the people that individual


AR: I know there are exchange

programs for citizens of Armenia

to go to the U.S. in late high school

and for college and graduate school.

Are there exchange programs for

U.S. citizens to come to Armenia?

MY: Fulbright. And, of course,

we have the Peace Corps. It’s not

exactly an exchange program, but

we’ve had many of the same elements.

Just as with exchange students

who go to the U.S., I think

that our Peace Corps volunteers

here serve as young ambassadors

of what it’s like to be an American,

what we think and do. They provide

an inspiration to many people.

Continued on page m

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


Distinguished Armenian-American health professionals to

convene in New York City for medical congress, July 1 to 4

by Florence Avakian

New York – A 16-year-old athlete

from Englewood, N.J., falls on the

baseball field and injures his knee.

He is taken to the nearby hospital

where a stat MRI is performed.

Thank Dr. Raymond Damadian,

inventor of the MRI (magnetic

resonance imaging), who will be

attending and speaking at the Armenian

Medical World Congress at

New York’s Hilton Hotel, July 1–4.

A father needs immediate bowel

surgery and doesn’t want to miss

his daughter’s wedding. Famed

surgeon Lord Ara Darzi KBE does

robotic surgery from his London

office. Professor Darzi, parliamentary

under-secretary of state and

government spokesperson for the

UK Department of Health, will attend,

speak, and be honored at the

medical congress.

A young mother of three in

Los Angeles has postpartum depression.

Acclaimed psychiatrist

Hagop Akiskal treats this patient.

Dr. Akiskal will attend and speak at

the medical congress.

A 73-year-old grandfather in New

York, on his way to his grandson’s

high school graduation, develops

severe abdominal pain. He

is rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital

where vascular surgeon Dr. Vicken

Pamoukian operates on him. Dr.

Pamoukian will attend and speak at

the medical congress.

Speakers to relay latest

medical information

Dr. Damadian who captured

world attention as the inventor of

the MRI, is among the distinguished

plenary speakers on Friday July 3.

He will discuss current MRI innovations.

His work also involved collaborating

in the development of

an MRI-compatible pacemaker. He

has won numerous awards, including

induction into the National Inventors

Hall of Fame in 1989.

Lord Darzi is one of the world’s

leading surgeons at the Imperial

College London, where he holds

the Hamlyn Chair of Surgery. He

specializes in minimally invasive

and robot-assisted surgery, and has

pioneered many new techniques

and technologies. He was awarded

a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth

II for his service to medicine and

surgery, and subsequently elevated

to the peerage in 2007. He will

speak at the congress on healthcare

delivery in Great Britain on Thursday,

July 2, and on robotic surgery

on Friday, July 3.

Dr. Akiskal, a noted psychiatrist,

is best known for his research on

temperamental and bipolar disorder

(manic depression). He served

as the senior science advisor at the

Raymond Damadian, M.D., Recipient of

the 2009 AIMBE Honorary Fellow Award.

Institute of Mental Health from

1990 to 1994, before going to the

University of California San Diego

where he currently is a professor

of psychiatry. He is regarded as

today’s leading conceptual thinker

in the area of bipolar subtyping.

He is scheduled to speak at a

morning symposium on Saturday,

July 4.

Dr. Pamoukian, a prominent vascular

surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital

in New York City, is experienced

in all areas of complex endovascular

surgery, including thoracic,

Ara Darzi, Professor the Lord Darzi of

Denham KBE.

abdominal aneurysms, as well as

carotid, peripheral, and renal stenting.

He will be among the speakers

in a group discussion on Friday

afternoon, July 3, covering various

topics on surgical subspecialties.

These medical professionals are

among the many distinguished

doctors, their families, and interested

laypeople who will be attending

the Armenian Medical World

Congress, hosted by the Armenian

American Health Professionals Organization

(AAHPO), at New York’s

Hilton Hotel.

Scheduled are plenary sessions

on Comparative Health Care Systems,

Innovations in Medicine, and

symposia on Tele-Medicine, and

Diaspora Issues, as well as a Sub-

Specialty day on July 1 covering

such topics as anesthesia, dentistry,

mental health, nursing, ophthalmology,

pediatrics, and physical


Notable attendees will include

the health ministers of Armenia

and Karabagh, the rector of Yerevan

State Medical University, the

director of the National Medical

Library of Armenia, as well as Armenia’s

diaspora minister, and cochair

of the Congressional Armenian

Caucus, Rep. Frank Pallone,

among many others.

In addition to the medical symposia

and meetings, the four-day

special event will feature a dinner

cruise on a luxurious yacht on

Thursday, July 2, and a gala banquet

in the Hilton Hotel’s main ballroom

on July 4 where Lord Darzi,

and the father and son humanitarian

and Medical Outreach team of

Nazar Nazarian and Dr. Levon

Nazarian will be honored. Also of

great interest will be a bus trip to

the Metropolitan Museum of Art

to view a magnificent khachkar on

loan from Armenia.




Ambassador Yovanovitch: There are many ways for more

Armenian-Americans to get involved with Armenia

n Continued from page

Talking Turkey

AR: The State Department has said

– and yesterday Assistant Secretary

Gordon reiterated – that Armenian-

Turkish relations need to be normalized

“without preconditions and

within a reasonable timeframe.” Mr.

Gordon also said yesterday normalization

should not be linked with

other issues. I take this to mean the

Karabakh issue primarily. I think

that’s very important thing that we

hadn’t heard explicitly stated before.

He also said, “We have seen no flagging

of commitment” on the part of

either Armenia or Turkey.

At the same time, since the middle

of April, the prime minister of

Turkey has explicitly and unequivocally

set a precondition, the same

precondition that has existed for

the last 16 years, and it’s exactly a

link to Karabakh. In other words,

what Assistant Secretary Gordon

seems to be saying is that the precondition

set by Prime Minister

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not consistent

with this commitment to

getting this done without preconditions

and in the earliest possible


So where does that leave us? Do

you have any reason to believe that

Turkey will listen to what the United

States government is saying, and

proceed with working toward the

normalization of relations on the

terms that the State Department is

urging and recommending?

MY: I think that as Assistant

Secretary Gordon said yesterday,

Turkey is committed to doing it. I

think it’s the official position of the

government of Turkey to go forward

with normalization and that

it would be independent of any

other issue. And that’s true also of

the Armenians.

I think both sides recognize that

this is an important step forward:

opening the border, normalizing

relations, having free commerce

among individuals and groups

would be beneficial to Armenia,

would be beneficial to Turkey,

would be beneficial to the region,

economically, politically, and it

would also increase the security in

the region. And for all of those reasons,

I think both countries recognize

that this is an important step

to take, and are moving, as Assistant

Secretary Gordon said yesterday,

toward that.

Now is this a simple thing to do?

It is not. And so I think you see

that reflected in some of the statements,

and I think that Assistant

Secretary Gordon is right: there is

no flagging of commitment, we are

moving forward.

Is Turkey playing for


AR: There were statements from

the American side, the Turkish side,

and the Armenian side that in the

near future we’ll see new developments.

When can we expect new

developments, or is Turkey just

playing for time?

MY: I would just let those statements

stand. I think that Turkey is

committed to an actual opening of

the border and not just the process,

not just playing the process as you

indicated. And I think, as Assistant

Secretary Gordon said, we are moving

forward. And we’ll have to wait

and see.

AR: On the ground, we see that

Turkey closed the border in 1993,

and since that time Turkey has

been saying that we will not open

the border until the Karabakh issue

is resolved to Azerbaijan’s

satisfaction. What is the reason

that Turkey would now open the

border if the Armenian-Turkish

process is not linked with Karabakh?

MY: Because it is the right thing

to do.

AR: So Turks didn’t understand for

16 years that it was the right thing

to do, to open the border, or did

something change in our region?

What is the reason the Turks are

now changing their minds and are

now ready to open the border and

have normal relations with Armenia?

MY: Well, I think that’s a question

you’ll have to ask the Turkish

government, but what I would say

is that it’s pretty clear it is the right

thing to do, because it will be positive

on a political level, positive on

U.S. envoy to

Armenia will visit

Greater Boston,

New York, Southern

California, and


Yerevan – U.S. ambassador to

Armenia Marie L. Yovanovitch

will meet with members of the

Armenian-American community

during a visit to Greater Boston,

New York, Southern California,

and Washington from June 18 to

July 1. Ms. Yovanovitch will meet

with business leaders, media representatives,

civil society representatives,

and members of the

Armenian religious community to

discuss present and future cooperation

between the United States

and Armenia.

At community meetings, open

an economic and commercial level,

and positive on a security level. So I

think what we’ve been seeing is the

Turks and the Armenians moving

forward toward something that’s

in the common good.

AR: Do you know whether Secretary

Hillary Clinton brought this

issue up in her meeting with her

Turkish counterpart?

MY: She addressed that in her

public statement on Friday at the

press availability, so I would direct

you to those comments.

AR: Actually, our Washington

editor was there, at the press availability

on Friday, and we’ve covered

Amb. Yovanovitch to confer with Armenian-

Americans June 18-July 1

Amb. Marie Yovanovitch. Photolure.

to the public, Ms. Yovanovitch

will exchange views on current developments

in Armenia, U.S.-Armenia

relations, and U.S. foreign

policy in Armenia. She will also

highlight U.S. government assistance

efforts in Armenia.

that already. I just wondered if you

had anything to add.

Finally, can you say something

about your experience so far in Armenia?

MY: It’s been terrific. I’ve been

here eight months and it’s been

challenging, it’s been interesting,

people have been very warm and

welcoming and I’m looking forward

to coming to the United States and

sharing some of that experience

with people in the U.S. and I’m

looking forward to my first summer

here in Armenia because I hear

they’re terrific.

AR: They are! Thank you. f

Greater Boston

Friday, June 19, at 7:00 p.m. Armenian

Cultural Foundation

441 Mystic Street, Arlington,


New York

Monday, June 22, at 7:00 p.m. Diocese

of the Armenian Church

Haik and Alice Kavookjian Hall

630 Second Avenue, New York,


Southern California

Thursday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Western Diocese of the Armenian

Church 3325 N. Glenoaks

Blvd., Burbank, Calif.

Friday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m. Western

Prelacy of the Armenian

Church 6252 Honolulu Avenue,

La Crescenta, Calif.


Tuesday, June 30, at 12:30 p.m.

Library of Congress, Mumford

Room 1st Street SE, Washington,



The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009 5


agbu given “exceptional”

rating by watchdog

NEW YORK – The world’s largest

Armenian nonprofit organization,

the Armenian General Benevolent

Union (agbu), received a four-star

rating – the highest allotted – for

sound fiscal management from

charity watchdog Charity Navigator



agbu, whose overall score was

based on its short-term spending

practices and long-term sustainability,

ranked above a number of

leading nonprofits, including the

American Cancer Society, American

Red Cross, Amnesty International,

and the Smithsonian Institution.

Charity Navigator explains that

its four-star rating denotes that

the organization “exceeds industry

standards and outperforms most

charities in its Cause.”

In a letter of acknowledgment

for agbu’s achievement, Ken

Berger, president and chief executive

officer of Charity Navigator,

wrote, “We are proud to

announce Armenian General

Benevolent Union has earned

our 4-star rating for its ability to

efficiently manage and grow its

finances.... This ‘exceptional’ designation

from Charity Navigator

differentiates Armenian General

Benevolent Union from its peers

and demonstrates to the public it

is worthy of their trust.”

Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator

is the nation’s largest and

most-utilized evaluator of over

agbu “exceeds industry standards

and outperforms most charities in its

Cause,” says Charity Navigator.

5,000 of America’s best-known


Their rating system examines two

broad areas of a charity’s financial

health – how responsibly it functions

day to day, and how well positioned

it is to sustain its programs over

time. Each charity is then awarded

an overall rating, ranging from zero

to four stars. The organization does

not charge charities that are evaluated

and provides its service free of

charge to the public.

Established in 1906, agbu (agbu.

org) is the world’s largest nonprofit

Armenian organization.

Headquartered in New York City,

agbu preserves and promotes the

Armenian identity and heritage

through educational, cultural and

humanitarian programs, annually

touching the lives of some 400,000

Armenians on five continents.

alma offers student internships

this summer and fall

WATERTOWN, Mass. – As the

largest Armenian museum outside

Armenia, the Armenian Library and

Museum of America (alma) offers

many unique internships opportunities

for undergraduate and graduate

students looking to build their

careers with hands-on experience

in their field of study. This summer

and fall, alma is accepting curatorial

assistant, public relations, and

Web development interns to execute

a variety of exciting projects

under the direction of alma’s curators

and professional staff.

Curatorial assistants will have the

chance to execute a range of activities

related to preparing temporary

exhibitions and permanent exhibits.

Interns will be responsible for

preparing correspondence related

to incoming exhibition proposals,

assisting with the preparation

of exhibition texts, and researching

artists and incoming artifacts.

Occasionally, interns will also type

general correspondence, prepare

purchase orders, record incoming

acquisitions, send acknowledgements

for donations and gifts, and

organize exhibit materials.

Public relations interns will assist

the public relations department

with projects that increase alma’s

visibility in the public eye and create

buzz about upcoming programs

and exhibits. Under the direction of

alma’s professional staff, interns

will write calendar listings, maintain

press clippings, track editorial

calendars, prepare press materials,

draft copy for alma publications,

execute promotional mailings, assist

with event planning, and help

with other related office duties.

(Some evening and weekend work

may be required.)

Web development interns will

work to enhance the Museum and

Library’s online presence. Web development

interns are responsible

for maintaining alma’s website,

The Armenian Library and Museum of


developing online videos and uploading

virtual exhibits, and ensuring

online content is accurate

and up-to-date. Web development

interns will also have the opportunity

to design appealing banners

and graphics for the website. This

multidisciplinary position requires

proficiency in Dreamweaver, html

and Adobe Photoshop.

All internships offer either college

credit or a stipend and are designed

to help fulfill interns’ professional

and educational goals as well as the

needs of the museum and library.

Interns must be able to work 20

hours a week for eight weeks.

Qualified applicants are enthusiastic

undergraduate and graduate

students with either a background in

art history, anthropology, museum

or library science, communications,

public relations, web design and/or

are interested in Armenian history

and culture. Applicants should possess

strong communication skills, be

highly organized, have a proactive

attitude and be able to work in a

deadline driven environment.



1-617-926-2562, ext. 4

Reporter.web.review 1.0

Before launching what I hope will

become a new regular Armenian

Reporter feature, just a few general

thoughts on the subject of the Internet.

It has become a cliché to say that

the popularization of online technologies

has fundamentally altered

our lives. This change over the last

20 years has affected the way individuals

worldwide communicate

with one another, entertain themselves,

consume news, and, increasingly,

trade goods and do work.

The generation gap is slowly disappearing.

There are some weeks

when I exchange more e-mails than

phone calls (regular or over the Internet)

even with my parents, who

are relatively new Internet users.

My family is more likely to see photos

or videos of their grandchildren

online rather than in print or on

disc. And you are more likely to

read these words on your computer

screen than on a printed page.

From 2000 to 2008, the number

of Internet users more than quadrupled

from 361 million to 1.6 billion

out of an estimated global population

of 6.7 billion people. This is

nearly every fourth person

the world. With ready Internet

access on most

new telephones and

improved and in-

i n

expensive cellular


it is likely that

world’s entire

population will

have online access

in the next


This new organization

of humanity

into personal e-mails,

websites, blogs, and Facebook,

Tweeter, and YouTube

accounts can seem cacophonous,

dizzying, and often distracting.

Certainly, this new array of media

is becoming an evermore significant

challenge for traditional media,

whose readers, listeners, and

viewers have migrated to the web

in droves.

But it has also provided mass

media with unique new opportunities.

One is to study people’s preferences

and attitudes with an ease

and accuracy that is unprecedented.

By simply checking Internet

monitoring traffic sites, one can

learn how this newspaper’s readership

changes month-to-month and

even how popular this article is

compared to others.

This web.review is intended to

cast a look on what we and our

readers believe are the more important

trends in human relations

as reflected online.

Since our newspaper’s determined

focus is on things Armenian,

this inaugural review will

take advantage of the aforementioned

measuring tools to look

Armenian armored cavalry in Total War computer game.

Sirusho Harutyunian who this week wedded Levon Kocharian, the younger son of

the ex-president. Eurovision TV photo.

at what the world’s most popular

Internet gateways – places where

most of humanity find what they

are looking for on nearly every subject

– have to offer on the subject

of Armenians. Or, in effect, what it

means to be Armenian in

the world today.

According to the

regularly updated


com, the five

most popular



are Google,

Yahoo, You-

Tube (also

owned by

Wikipedia logo.

Logo for Armenia group on facebook.

Google), Facebook,

and Microsoft’s

Live (most recently

branded as Bing).

When searching for “Armenian

(or most other terms)

on Google, Yahoo, or Live one is

invariably directed to relevant entries

in Wikipedia, a collaborative

user-created encyclopedia that

anyone can edit and which itself is

the seventh-most-visited website

in the world.

In recent years, Wikipedia has

trumped all other established reference

sources. Today, having a

well-written and updated reference

page on Wikipedia is often more

important than having one’s own


Wikipedia’s “Armenia” page is

“semi-protected,” meaning that only

registered users can edit its content

which – a result of more than five

years of updates by volunteers – on

first glance appears comprehensive

and accurate.

On YouTube, entertainment

videos rule. And it is Sirusho who

continues to represent Armenians

after performing in the Eurovision

song contest last year. Three separate

videos of Sirusho’s “Qele, qele”

have been viewed more than a million

times each. No other video on

an Armenian subject comes close.

This year’s Eurovision contestants

Inga & Anush with “Jan,

jan,” a video that has been online

only three months (as opposed to

Sirusho’s more than a year), are a

distant second with over half a million


Oddly enough, when sorted by

“Relevance” the most popular Armenian-themed

video is a re-play

from a computer game “Total

war” pitting forces of Rome, Armenia

and other ancient states. As

it turns out, Armenia is the foe to

beat in that game with an especially

tough armored cavalry known as


Even stranger are the second and

third “relevant” entries. They are,

respectively, a talking parrot and a

Chinese student from Beijing University

practicing their Armenianlanguage


Finally, what do Armenians concern

themselves with on Facebook?

If one is to judge by most popular

groups, it is seeking to “Recognize

the Armenian Genocide.” A group

by that name launched by several

Armenian-American students had

more than 32,000 members as of

this week.

An apparently rival “Armenian

genocide? Bull****!!” group created

by a lone Turkish activist has

grown to more than 23,000 members.

Meantime, a group set up by

several dozen individuals affiliated

with a number of Turkish universities

Armenian genocide? Bull****!”

(note just one exclamation sign) has

8,300 members (with at least some

overlap in membership likely).

The second most popular Armenian

group “Armenia,” also started

in the United States, has just over

3,800 members and it too seeks to

highlight the Armenian Genocide

recognition campaign.

To sum up, Armenia’s Eurovision

contestants, echoes of the campaign

for and against Armenian-Genocide

recognition, and little-known

volunteers behind Wikipedia’s Armenian

entries are the three most

influential elements shaping the

Armenian image online.


For links, go to reporter.am

6 The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


Gartal and agla-ny to present “An Evening of Literary Pride” June 20

NEW YORK – “Pride,” a loaded

term for the Armenian and queer

communities alike, is the theme of

a June 20 literary evening sponsored

by Gartal and the Armenian

Gay and Lesbian Association of

New York.

East Village novelist Arthur

Nersesian (The Sacrificial Circumcision

of the Bronx ) will host the evening.

Memoirist Nancy Agabian (Me as

her again: True Stories of an Armenian

Daughter ) will introduce writers and

poets David Ciminello, Amy Ouzoonian,

Aaron Poochigian, Margarita

Shalina, and Hrag Vartanian.

The readings take place at the

lgbt Community Services Center,

room 410, at 208 W. 13th St. (between

7th and 8th Aves.) in New

York City.

David Ciminello’s fiction has appeared

in the literary journal Lumina.

His short story “pd xox” appears in

the forthcoming anthology Portland

Queer: Tales of the Rose City. His poetry

has appeared in Poetry Northwest.

His original screenplay Bruno

(a finalist in the Nicholl Fellowships

in Screenwriting) was produced

and occasionally appears on dvd as

something vaguely resembling the

original story. David has received

his mfa in fiction from Sarah Lawrence

College. He currently lives in

New York City where he works as a

writer and teaching artist.

Amy Ouzoonian is a writer,

performance artist and editor.

She is the author of Your Pill

(Poems, Foothills Publishing),

editor of In the Arms of Words:

Poems for Disaster Relief (Poems,

Sherman Asher Press). She is

currently a graduate student at

The New School and is working

on a series of performance pieces

that incorporates her work with

music and dance called “Waiting

Journey.” She lives and creates in


Aaron Poochigian attended

Moorhead State University from

where he studied under the poets

Dave Mason, Alan Sullivan, and

Tim Murphy. After traveling and

doing research in Greece on fellowship,

he earned his Ph.D. in classics

from the University of Minnesota.

Forthcoming translations include

Sappho’s poems and fragments for

Penguin Classics; Aeschylus, Aratus

and Apollonius of Rhodes in

the Norton Anthology of Greek Literature

in Translation; and his edition

of Aratus’ astronomical poem,

The Phaenomena, from Johns Hopkins

University Press. His original

poems have appeared in numerous

journals, including Arion, The Dark

Horse, Poetry Magazine and Smartish

Pace. He now lives and writes

in Brooklyn.

Margarita Shalina was born in

Leningrad and raised on New York’s

Lower East Side. Her poetry has appeared

in Poems for the Retired Nihilist

V. 2 (Fortune Teller Press, UK,

Nancy Agabian.

2007), EvergreenReview.com, New

York Nights, and as a broadside for

Poetry Motel. She has written essays

for zeek Magazine and Three

Percent, the website that accompanies

Open Letter Press. She was a

contributing translator to Contemporary

Russian Poetry (Dalkey Archive

Press, 2007) and is the Independent

Press Buyer for St. Marks

Bookshop. She lives in New York.

Arthur Nersesian.

Hrag Vartanian is an Armenian-

Canadian writer, critic, and cultural

worker. He lives in New York and

his work has appeared in the Art21

blog, agbu News, the Brooklyn Rail,

nyfa’s Current, Huffington Post, and

Modern Painters. He contributes

a street art column, “Re:Public”,

to ArtCat Zine. He serves on the

board of the Ararat Quarterly and

the Triangle Arts Association. He

also blogs daily at hragvartanian.

com. He is gayly married and hopes

that one day his marriage will be

legally recognized across America

and around the world.

Since 2002, Gartal (“to read” in

Armenian) has been an independent

forum for both established

and emerging writers of Armenian

descent and/or writers dealing

with Armenian themes to read

their poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction

and dramatic texts to the

public. Coordinated by Ms. Agabian,

Gartal brings together, via the

dual acts of reading and listening,

diverse Armenian constituencies,

from the progressive to the traditional.

A particular effort is made

to give voice to Armenian stories

that haven’t been widely heard, including

those of mixed race, various

religions, different economic backgrounds,

and queer Armenians.

Since 1998, the purpose of agla

NY has been to provide space for

lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender Armenian-Americans,

their partners,

and their allies to come together,

fostering visibility and strengthening

ties between the queer and

Armenian communities. The group

meets monthly at the Lesbian, Gay,

Bisexual & Transgender Community

Center in New York.




Calendar of Events



PICNIC at St. Nersess Armenian

Seminary - 150 Stratton

Rd., New Rochelle, NY. Badarak

at 10 a.m. with Picnic beginning

at noon. Traditional kebab

meals, delicious homemade

desserts, Ara Dinkjian Ensemble,

children’s activities, St.

Nersess Store, and more. Free

admission and parking. Please

visit www.stnersess.edu or call

914-636-2003 for more info.




Raffi Sevadjian will be honored

as Father of the Year.

St. Sarkis Church Hall 38-65

234 Douglaston, NY @ 1:00

pm. Admission: $40 adults &

$20 children (12 & under). For

reservations contact: Nayda

Voskeritchian @ (516) 603-

2809 or Yeran Atakhanian @


JUNE 22 - The Diocese of

the Armenian Church of

America (Eastern) and The

Fund for Armenian Relief

cordially invite you to attend

an open reception honoring

Her Excellency Marie Yovanovitch,

U.S. Ambassador to

the Republic of Armenia on

Monday, June 22, 2009, at

7 pm in the Haik and Alice

Kavookjian Auditorium, located

at 630 Second Avenue

(at 35th St.) The event is free

and open to the public.

JULY 1-4, 2009, AAHPO

hosts the Tenth Armenian

Medical World Congress featuring

an International Scientific

program for health care

providers at the Hilton NY.

Wed July 1, Welcome reception

to meet friends & to mingle

with colleagues from around

the globe. Thurs. July 2, visit

Metropolitan Museum of Art

to see two Armenian Khatchkars

& artifacts.

JULY 2, dinner cruise on the

Hudson and enjoy the splendor

of New York Harbor & its

skyline, with music & dinner

dance. Saturday July 4, Grand

Gala Banquet with Arthur Abkarian

Orchestra and watch

the spectacular July 4 Fireworks.

For more imformation,

please call Seta Nalbandian

201-819-5719, Vicki Shoghag

Hovhanessian 219-313-9928

or contact www.aahpo.org/





OF THE GRAPES -- Sunday,

August 16th, 1-5pm at

Dunkerhook Park, off Paramus

Road, Paramus, NJ.

All are welcome to enjoy

delicious shish kebab grill,

homemade foods and desserts,

music, playground

for the kids! In the case

of rain, the picnic will be

held in the Great Hall at Sts.

Vartanantz Church. Directions:

From Rt 17 -- take

Century Road exit. Right

onto Paramus Road. First

left to Dunkerhook Road.

Follow signs to Pavillion

D. From Route 4 -- take

Paramus Road exit. First

left after Century Road to

Dunkerhook Road. Follow

signs to Pavillion D. Call

the Church Office for more

information: 201-943-2950.




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The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009 7


agau Alumni Association to award $16,500 in scholarships

Eleven students and

“man and woman

of the year” to be


by June Kashishian and

Irene Khorozian


– The 47th annual Armenian General

Athletic Union Alumni Association

awards luncheon will be held on Sunday,

June 28, at the Landmark II Restaurant,

on Route 17 South in East

Rutherford, from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The 60th anniversary of the

organization’s “Person of the Year”

award will honor Henry Hagopian

and Grace (Tekirian) Hagopian

for their selfless dedication

and services to the agau Alumni

and Armenian community. In addition,

11 deserving local students

will receive scholarships of $1,500

each for academic achievement and

community service.

Hagopians named Man

and Woman of the Year

This hard-working couple has been

serving the organization in various

positions for over 25 years. Grace

Hagopian has been the ever-meticulous

treasurer while Henry Hagopian

has served as the vice president

of the agau on the scholarship

committee for over 10 years. Mr.

Hagopian’s expertise choosing the

most qualified students has influenced

this year’s list of recipients.

Henry Hagopian received the B.S.

from the prestigious Wharton School

of Business at the University of Pennsylvania,

followed by the Ed.M. from

Temple University and a master’s degree

from Columbia University. Having

begun as a high-school business

teacher in his hometown of Philadelphia,

he was appointed Professor of

Marketing of nyc Technical College

of the City University of New York

in June, 1966. He ended his 30-year

career as Director of Cooperative Education

and Evening Administration

in June, 1996.

Mr. Hagopian has faithfully

served the Armenian Church as a

Sunday-school teacher at St. Sahag-

Mesrob Church in Philadelphia and

later as a member of St. Thomas

Armenian Church in Tenafly. He

helped the treasurer of the bazaars,

picnics, and social functions for almost

20 years.

Grace Tekirian Hagopian received

the B.B.A. in accounting at

the Baruch School-City College of

New York. Employed as an IRS field

auditor, she was the first woman

to serve as an agent in the Brooklyn

branch. She also served as treasurer

of the Woman’s Club Faculty

Club of nyc Technical College.

Mrs. Hagopian taught Sunday

school at St. Gregory Armenian

Church, New York City. After moving

to New Jersey, she served as treasurer

of St. Thomas Armenian Church in

Tenafly for nearly 20 years, diocesan

delegate for two years, chairman of

the Woman’s Guild for two terms, and

diocesan woman’s delegate for several

years. She chaired a very successful

cotillion for the St. Thomas Woman’s

Guild and organized many enjoyable

day trips for the Guild members and

their friends. In 1995 she was honored

at the St. Thomas Armenian Church

Palm Sunday Dinner and given the St.

Thomas Award for her years of dedicated

parish service.

Mrs. Hagopian’s allegiance to

the agau Alumni began before her

marriage, when she served as agau

secretary of the Holy Cross Church,

New York City chapter. She remembers

witnessing the crowning of

the Miss agau Pageant “Queen.”

The Hagopians’ son, Henry III,

and daughter-in-law, the former

Christine Mahserjian, have three

lovely daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret,

and Katherine, residing in

Stow, Mass.

“We are very pleased to honor this

couple, who have been married 45

years and have jointly served both

the American and Armenian communities

selflessly throughout their

lives,” the organization stated.

Scholarship winners


The agau scholarships are awarded

annually to encourage area Armenian

youth to pursue higher education.

This year’s award-winners will

attend colleges in the mid-Atlantic

states and New England:

Jeremy Badach, son of Mark

and Christine (Chakmakian) Badach,

Wyckoff (Stevens Inst. of

Tech.); Janine Balekdjian, daughter

of Richard and Laura (Berberian)

Balekdjian, Upper Saddle River

(Columbia U.); Jack Boyajian, son

of Gevork Boyajian and Maro Markosian,

Closter (U. of Vermont);

Raffi Charkutian, son of Kostan

and Annie Charkutian, Westwood

(U. of Hartford); Kyle Greulich,

son of Jeff and Robin (Arpiarian)

Greulich, Nutley (U. of Connecticut);

Eric Halejian, son of Dr. Barry and

Andrea (Tilbian) Halejian, Wyckoff

(Ithaca C.); Christopher Havatian,

son of Joseph and Silva (Karagosian)

Havatian, Richfield (Montclair U.);

Jessica Ohnikian, daughter of

Robert and Linda Ohnikian, Mahwah

(West Chester U.); Melanie

Panosian, daughter of Raffi and

Roxanne Panosian, Chatham

(Muhlenberg C.); Laura Sarkisian,

daughter of the Hon. Judge Barry

and Barbara Sarkisian, Allendale

(Bentley U.); Maral Varjabedyan,

daughter of Vahan and Hera

Varjabedyan, Oradell (Ramapo C.).

Friends and family of the honorees,

as well as the public, are invited

to attend the agau luncheon.

Donations to the scholarship fund

will be accepted.

The agau executive board includes

President Irene Khorozian,

Vice President Rose Kirian, Recording

Secretaries Diane Burgraf and

Alice Shenloogian, Corresponding

Secretary Mary Varteresian, Treasurer

Grace Hagopian, and Typist

Cynthia Khorozian. Serving on the

agau scholarship committee are

Henry Hagopian, Floraine Halejian,

June Kashishian, and Virginia


The agau: A brief


[The following is adapted from a

fifty-year retrospective of the agau

Alumni Association.]

More than half a century ago,

members of the agau got the idea

of starting an alumni organization.

It was a thought adaptable

to members who had married and

exchanged their carefree lives for

more responsible and demanding

ones. Yet embedded in their hearts

was that unrelenting feeling of fraternity

they had found in the agau

and reclaimed in the newly formed

Alumni Association.

At first it was aimed at just keeping

in touch and helping the other

branches, but soon these individuals

were directed to a higher

goal. What better means to help

our youth than through scholarships?

Thus a Scholarship Board

was formed and by-laws set up to

determine who could qualify for an

agau Alumni Scholarship Award.

Then the ball started to roll and

funds were collected through donations

and various functions. That

handful of members started out

small, but they were successful

enough to pioneer an award with

outright monies for scholarship. Yes,

pioneer--no other Armenian organization

could boast of that feat. The

young recipients were overwhelmed

with pride that “their people” were

understanding and capable enough

to care about their own.

This appreciation from their

young people spurred the Alumni

to even greater heights. An “Oriental

Night” began, which turned

out to be the social event of the

year. In spite of terrible snowstoms

and hazards, friends of the agau

Alumni turned out to support the

wonderful work of scholarship for

their youth.

This annual dance, which was

held on the last Saturday in January,

became so successful that the

Alumni went to the largest hall

they could find to entertain the

friends and lovers of the agau. At

least 700 people joined the proud

Alumni every year in pleasure and


The Alumni then established athletic

trophies and awards, Man and

Woman of the Year awards, and many

other contributions worthwhile for

youth. Approximately 15 couples who

met once a month in each other’s

homes accomplished all this.

A most wonderful and gratifying

evening is spent every June, the

awarding of the scholarships and the

Man and Woman of the year awards.

When a youngster steps up to the dais

and receives an award, students, parents,

and Alumni are equally elated.

Many former recipients have returned

to express genuine appreciation for

their awards and pride in being recognized

by their own people.



Calendar of Events

SEPTEMBER 24, 2009: River

Vale, NJ. Sts. Vartanantz

Church 7th Annual Golf

Outing. River Vale Country

Club. Lunch, Dinner, Golf

and More. Shotgun start at

1:00pm. For reservations or

more info please call : Mark

Alashaian 201-483-3200, Sarkis

Shirinian 201-307-0825 or

the Church Office 201- 943-






GRAPES, 1-5pm at Dunkerhook

Park, off Paramus Road,

Paramus, NJ. All are welcome

to enjoy delicious shish kebab

grill, homemade foods and

desserts, music, playground

for the kids! In the case of

rain, the picnic will be held

in the Great Hall at Sts. Vartanantz

Church. Directions:

From Rt 17 -- take Century

Road exit. Right onto Paramus

Road. First left to Dunkerhook

Road. Follow signs to Pavillion

D. From Route 4 -- take Paramus

Road exit. First left after

Century Road to Dunkerhook

Road. Follow signs to Pavillion

D. Call the Church Office for

more information: 201-943-


SEPTEMBER 24 – Sts. Vartanantz

Church 7th Annual

Golf Outing. River Vale, NJ

Country Club. Lunch, Dinner,

Golf and More. Shotgun

start at 1:00pm. For reservations

or more info please call :

Mark Alashaian 201-483-3200,

Sarkis Shirinian 201-307-0825

or the Church Office 201- 943-


OCTOBER 10 - Tekeyan

Cultural Association

– Mher Megerdchian Theatrical

Group Presents

“Who Killed The Eastern

Dentist?” A Masquerade

Party in Baronian’s 1860’s Istanbul.

A Murder Mystery

Dinner Theater prepared by

Harout Chatmajian. Assyrian

Orthodox Church of the

Virgin Mary, 644 Paramus

Road, Paramus, New Jersey

07652. Saturday, October 10,

2009 at 8:00 PM. Donation:

$60 ♦ BYOB ♦

Dress Code (Optional): 1860’s

Attire & Mask. For Tickets,

Call Marie Zokian (201) 745-

8850, Noushig Atamian (718)

894-5878 Maro Hajakian (201)

934-3427 or Missak Boghosian

(212) 819-0097



CULTURE” A Cultural Festival

Under the Auspices of Dr.

Hranush Hakobyan, Republic

of Armenia Minister of Diaspora,

Organized by Hamazkayin

Eastern USA Regional

Executive, Featuring Alla

Levonian from Armenia and

Babin Boghosian & Ensemble

from Los Angeles, With

the participation of Antranig

Dance Ensemble of AGBU,

Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble

of St. Thomas Armenian

Church, Yeraz Dance Ensemble

of St. Sarkis Church, NJ

Hamazkayin Nayiri Dance

Group & Arekag Children’s

Choir & Dhol Group. SUN-

DAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2009.

4pm. Felician College, 262 S.

Main St., Lodi, NJ. Donation:

$75, $50, $35, $25. For more

information or tickets please

contact: Hamazkayin @ 201-

945-8992 or Paradon2009@


Save the Date: NOVEM-

BER 7 & 8 2009. Tekeyan

Cultural Association

Mher Megerdchian Theatrical

Group presents William

Saroyan’s “My Heart’s in

the Highlands.” A Bilingual

Play in Three Parts. Original

direction by Tamar Hovanissian.

Reenactment directed

by Harout Chatmajian. Details

to Follow.





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8 The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


Armenian Church Youth Organization embers discuss

vocations in the Church at annual assembly in New York

PALISADES, N.Y. – For members

of the Armenian Church Youth

Organization of America, Memorial

Day weekend is marked by a

potpourri of activity, ranging from

meetings to athletic events and

spiritual and cultural activities.

This year’s holiday break was no

exception, as acyoa members from

across the Eastern Diocese gathered

at the IBM Dolce Palisades

Center in Palisades, N.Y., to take

part in the organization’s 64th annual

General Assembly and Sports

Weekend, from May 21 to 25.

As part of this year’s Diocesan

theme of “Vocations: The Call

to Serve,” young people learned

about steps they can take to help

strengthen the ranks of the priesthood

in the Armenian Church.

A total of 80 delegates and observers

– including close to 20 members

of the clergy – attended the General

Assembly, on May 21–22.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian,

Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian

Church of America (Eastern),

shared with delegates his personal

story of entering the seminary at

the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and

encouraged young people to think

about ways they can serve their

church and people.

“The priests and the pastors

among us are one way that God

makes his presence known to his

children,” he said. “Time and again,

through courage and moral conviction,

priests made the difference in

ensuring the survival and advancement

of our people.”

The Primate also thanked the

acyoa Central Council and members

of the youth organization for

their continued involvement in the

Armenian Church.

“Our church is blessed by your

faithful presence and active embrace,”

Archbishop Barsamian said.

“Tomorrow you are going to take

the leadership role in our Diocese.”

Also addressing the assembly

was the Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian,

pastor of St. Hagop Armenian

Church in St. Petersburg, Fla. Fr.

Demerjian spoke about the importance

of remaining open to God’s

call and working with others to respond

to it.

“Calling is a bit like falling in love,”

he said, explaining that everyone

has the potential to “fall in love

with God.”

“As Christians, we are called more

to a way of life than a job,” he added.

“A way of life which overrides

all jobs and relationships, and underpins


The Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian,

director of vocations at

St. Nersess Seminary, introduced

a group exercise in which delegates

discussed how they might

encourage their friends, relatives,

and each other to find their vocation,

and what steps can be taken

to encourage potential seminarians.

Among the suggestions were

proposals to establish a shadow

program for young men to work

with priests across the Eastern

Diocese and to increase training

options for acolytes and deacons at

the parishes.

“I think the breakout session on

vocations was extremely effective,”

said Talin Hitik, vice chair of the

acyoa Central Council. “It was

interesting to hear in those small

group sessions what other young

men had to say on their thoughts

about entering the priesthood.”

A delegate listens to the acyoa Central Council report during the General Assembly.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, and Nancy

Basmajian, Executive Secretary of the acyoa, with newly installed Central

Council members.

Six new chapters this


During the remainder of the meeting,

members of the acyoa Central

Council delivered an organization-wide

report, highlighting the

success of activities such as the Armenia

Service Program, the summer

pilgrimage to the Holy Land,

participation in the international

acyo meeting at the Mother See of

Holy Etchmiadzin, the blood drives

organized at local chapters to commemorate

the 20th anniversary of

the 1988 earthquake in Armenia,

and the Pan-North American Retreat

held in the fall with the Western

and Canadian Dioceses.

Other accomplishments include

the continued expansion of the

Young Adult Leadership Conference,

which marked its 10th anniversary

last March, and the launching of

the Mission Service Project, which

gives acyoa members the opportunity

to assist with the training of

altar servers and choir singers at

the mission parishes.

In the past year, the acyoa saw

the addition of six new chapters,

bringing the Diocesan-wide total

to 23 chapters.

Delegates at the assembly also

heard Jennifer Morris, Youth

Outreach coordinator at the Diocese,

speak about Diocesan Summer

Camp programs, where many acyoa

members serve as counselors. Julie

Hoplamazian, college ministry facilitator

at the Diocese, highlighted

resources available to college students

and young professionals.

Delegates reviewed the findings

of the auditing committee, approved

a new budget for 2010, and

passed a proposal to publish and

distribute an annual report prior

to future assemblies. They thanked

the Primate and the acyoa executive

secretary Nancy Basmajian

for their support of the organization’s


During the traditional Primate’s

Luncheon on Friday, Archbishop

Barsamian presented all delegates

with a personalized copy of the Diocese’s

newly-published Armenian

Canon Bible, which contains the

entire canon of scriptural books

considered authoritative in the Armenian

Church, in English translation.

Central Council members also

announced the recipients of five

service awards.

Dn. Sarkis Altunian, of St. Sarkis

Church in Dallas, received the

“Fr. Haroutiun Dagley Award” in

recognition of his many contributions

to various acyoa programs.

The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan,

dean of St. Nersess Seminary,

was presented with the “Fr.

Haigazoun Melkonian Award” in

honor of his leadership and dedication

to the youth of the Armenian


Laurie Odabashian received

the “Sam Nersessian Award,”

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian,

Primate of the Eastern Diocese,

addresses acyoa delegates at the

General Assembly

given to individuals who display the

Christian values of love, patience,

humility, and understanding.

Lydia Kurkjian received the

“Gregory Arpajian Award” for her

leadership and contributions to the

Armenian Church.

“The Chapter ‘A’ Award,” given to

the best all-around chapter, went

out to St. John’s Church of Detroit.

Annual elections

Delegates elected members to the

Central Council, and the nominating

and auditing committees.

Danny Mantis, Lydia Kurkjian,

and Ara Janigian were elected to

the Central Council, and Danielle

DerAsadourian was re-elected to

the organization’s governing body.

The new Central Council was

blessed by the Primate after Sunday’s

Divine Liturgy.

Alex Derderian, of St. Sahag and

St. Mesrob Church in Wynnewood,

Pa., will serve as chair; Talin Hitik,

of St. Gregory Church in Chicago,

as vice chair; Lydia Kurkjian, of St.

Gregory the Enlightener Church in

White Plains, N.Y, as secretary; Danny

Mantis, of St. Mesrob Church in

Racine, Wis., as treasurer; Danielle

DerAsadourian, of St. James Church

in Evanston, Ill., as chapter relations

coordinator; Gervork Vartanian,

of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of

Providence, as programming coordinator;

and Ara Janigian, also of Sts.

Sahag and Mesrob in Providence, as

public relations coordinator.

Abp. Barsamian blesses Alex Derderian, the incoming chair

of the acyoa Central Council, on Sunday, May 24.

A delegate at the acyoa General Assembly reviews the

Auditing Committee report.

The Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor

of St. Hagop Armenian Church in St.

Petersburg, Fla., addresses the acyoa

General Assembly.

Elected to the Nominating Committee

were: Jonathan Dadekian

(Watervliet, N.Y.), Harry Kezelian

(Detroit), and Arthur Sabounjian

(Framingham, Mass.). Arpi Paylan

(Evanston) will serve as the


Elected to the Auditing Committee

were: Raffi Gulbenk (Trumbull,

Conn.), George Macarian

(Boca Raton, Fla.), and Andrew

Piligian (Framingham). Nick Bazarian

(Washington) will serve as

the alternate.

“This year’s General Assembly

was a great success,” said incoming

Central Council chair Alex

Derderian. “It’s always inspiring

to see youth who are this dedicated

that they are willing to take

time out of their personal schedule,

to take time away from school,

and to come and help run the organization

that is so important to

all of us.”

The General Assembly was

chaired by Danny Mantis, with Arthur

Sabounjian serving as vice

chair. Lorie Odabashian served

as secretary, and Ara Janigian

and Krikor Javardian were appointed

the sergeants-at-arms. Rev.

Fr. Tateos Abdalian and Rev. Fr.

Yeprem Kelegian assisted as parliamentarians.

Next year’s General Assembly

and Sports Weekend will take place

in Watertown, Mass. The assembly

voted to hold the 2011 gathering in

Charlotte, N.C.

Visit us at reporter.am

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009 9


More than sports were on offer at acyoa Sports Weekend

PALISADES, N.Y. – More than

250 participants arrived at the ibm

Dolce Palisades Center in Palisades,

N.Y. on the evening of Friday, May

22 for the launch of this year’s acyoa

Sports Weekend.

In addition to athletic competitions,

which were held at

the nearby St. Lawrence Community

Center and at the newly

built Education and Recreation

Center at St. Leon Armenian

Church in Fair Lawn, N.J., the

program featured a film festival,

guest speakers, dance

workshops conducted by the

Antranig Dance Ensemble, and

a virtual athletics tournament

using the Wii video-game technology.

On Saturday, May 23, Eric Hachikian

spoke to participants

about his documentary, Voyage to

Amasia, which was inspired by the

life of his late grandmother, Helen

Shushan. The film tells the story of

Hachikian’s family during the Armenian

Genocide and incorporates

a piano trio composition Hachikian

performed at Carnegie Hall in


Linda Yepoyan, executive director

of Birthright Armenia, encouraged

young people to volunteer in

Armenia, describing the opportunities

available at various business,

government, and cultural centers

throughout the country.

On Saturday evening, acyoa

members traveled to Manhattan to

enjoy the music of Robert Chilingirian

at the Hudson Terrace. A

nighttime New York City scene

served as a sparkling backdrop for

the reception and dance.

On Sunday, May 24, the Rev.

Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian celebrated

the Divine Liturgy, with

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian


The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan,

dean of St. Nersess Armenian

Seminary, delivered the

day’s sermon, reminding participants

of Christ’s love and forgiveness

and asking them to help

share the Good News with other


“Too many people just have not

heard the word of God,” Fr. Findikyan

said, stressing that it’s all

the more critical to ensure the preservation

of the Armenian Church

by training a new generation of

young men to serve as priests in

the Armenian-American community.

“We need to be working together

to find those people who are going

to serve the church full-time, and

especially those young men who

are going to take the courageous

step to come forward and do the

best job there is in this world,” he


As sports competitions drew to

a close on Sunday, acyoa members

gathered for a banquet to

honor the weekend’s champions

and to applaud the many people

who worked hard to organize this

year’s events.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome

of this weekend,” Archbishop

Barsamian told participants at the


A tavloo competition was one of many contests taking place during the acyoa

Sports Weekend.

Following a farewell brunch on

Monday, May 25, acyoa members

departed for their home parishes.

Participant Taleen Kachigyan,

of St. Leon Church, said she

enjoyed taking part in the varied

activities offered throughout the


“The acyoa is really great,” she

said, “Because it brings all your

Armenian friends closer together.”

The weekend was organized by

a regional committee, co-chaired

by Alex Derderian and Lydia

Kurkjian. Other committee

members include Deanna Cachoian-Schanz,

Talar Camcikyan,

Michael Givelekian,

Jim Ishkhanian, Anita Jayawant,

Alex Lerian, Jon Pelaez,

Vrej Pilavdjian, Christine Royland,

and Aleen Tovmasian. The

Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin served as

the spiritual advisor, and Maria

Derderian as the advisor-atlarge.

Linda Yepoyan, executive director of Birthright Armenia, speaks about

volunteering in Armenia.

A chess


underway at the

acyoa Sports


A basketball game underway at the acyoa Sports Weekend in Palisades, N.Y.

Panel on social services in Armenia planned at naasr Center

Panelists in U.S. for


BELMONT, Mass. – Ten professional

social workers from Armenia

will participate in a panel

discussion on “Social Services

in Armenia: Challenges and Opportunities,”

on Thursday, June

25, at 7:30 p.m., at the National

Association for Armenian Studies

and Research (naasr) Center,

395 Concord Ave. The event will

be co-sponsored by the Cambridge-Yerevan

Sister City Association

(cysca) and naasr.

The visiting Armenian social

workers, in the U.S. on a training

program sponsored by the Cambridge-Yerevan

Sister City Association

and funded by the United

States Agency for International

Development (usaid), will reflect

on conditions in their field

in Armenia. Social services are

relatively new in Armenia, begun

only since independence, having

been virtually nonexistent during

Soviet times. The participants will

discuss social needs in Armenia,

how they are addressed by the

government, the role performed

by ngos, and challenges for the


The panel discussion will be in

English with portions in Armenian

with interpretation into English.

Admission to the event is free.

The naasr bookstore will open at

acyoa sports


Best Overall Team: St. Leon

Church, N.J.

Sportsman of the Tournament:

Eric Halejian

Basketball: First Place, St. Leon

Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.; Second

Place, Holy Martyrs Church, Bayside,

N.Y.; Third Place: St. Vartan

Cathedral, New York, N.Y.

Volleyball: First Place, St.

James Church, Watertown,

Mass.; Second Place, St. Leon

Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.; Third

Place: St. Mary’s Church, Washington,


Tennis: Women’s, Oksona

Manoukian; Doubles, Amy Ishkanian

and Scott Herdemian

Chess: Ari Terjanian

Tavloo: Eric Ashbahian

Ping Pong: Hayk Arustamyan

7:00 p.m. The naasr Center is located

opposite the First Armenian

Church and next to the U.S. Post

Office. Ample parking is available

around the building and in adjacent





A taste of life

Armenian cooking

keeps traditions


by Maria Titizian

YEREVAN – For most Armenian

families, food is more than just

sustenance. It’s the medium

through which we communicate,

commemorate, celebrate, grieve,

and express love.

Recipes handed down from

mother to daughter, transcending

generations and continents,

can be found in every Armenian

home. Recipes come to us

from the villages of our grandparents

in Western Armenia –

from Kharpert, Moush, Aintab,

Urfa, Marash, Musa Ler, and so

on. While there may have been

variations in the recipes, the

core ingredients, the heart and

soul of the dishes are always, always


Growing up as a first-generation

immigrant in Canada, with

a mother who was born in Aleppo,

raised in Beirut, living in a

cold faraway land, away from

family and traditions, amongst

odars, as she always said, I remember

her making jars of

preserved apricots and peaches

while lines of homemade soujoukh

(which we would help her

make) would be hung along on

strings she had fastened in one

of the narrow hallways of our

tiny apartment. The lahmajoun

she used to make was the most

heavenly lahmajoun that any

child ever had. She would make

sahleb for us every Sunday evening,

when we would return

from Sunday school, warm and

sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon;

I still remember the taste

and sensation of that wonderfully

smooth and creamy sahleb.

Some Saturday evenings we

would roast chestnuts and eat

them on the living room floor

with butter while we watched

the “Jackson Five” or “Sonny

and Cher” on the television.

Armenian food is a reflection

of our history and geography.

It is regionally influenced and

thus has elements of Turkish,

Russian, Persian, Greek, and

Arabic cuisine. Depending on

which country you were raised

in, elements of the local cuisine

also crept into your evening


For those who have somehow

lost their mothers’ and

grandmothers’ recipes, there

are Armenian cookbooks to be

found, in both Armenian and

English. Websites and YouTube

also provide infinite opportunities

to search for and find your

favorite recipe, something that

reminds you of your childhood,

of Sunday barbecues and family

get-togethers. Food is an integral

part of our common and

shared heritage, so keep cooking

and share your favorite and

innovative Armenian recipes

with us!

My mother’s recipe

Armenian Lentil Soup

2 cups red lentils

1 cup Italian rice

1 large onion quartered

2 small onions chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ cup oil

6–8 cups chicken broth (or


Salt to taste

Wash the lentils and rice thoroughly.

Place lentils, rice, and chicken

broth (or water) in a large

pot or pressure cooker. (My

mother always used a pressure

cooker, but since I’m afraid

of them, I use a pot.)

Add the salt, the

quartered onion,

cumin, and allspice

and cook for approximately

½ hour (pot)

or 15 minutes in the

pressure cooker.

Heat the oil in a pan

and fry the chopped onions

until golden brown.

Mix the oil and fried

onions into the soup. Use

a hand blender to puree the


Serve hot.

Strange and curious recipes

Armenian Apricot Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin

olive oil

2 onions, diced

3 carrots, peeled and


1 tablespoon ground cumin

3 cups red lentils, rinsed

10 cups water

12 ounces dried apricots,



Heat the oil in your soup pot

over medium heat, then stir in

the onions and carrots. Saute

for about 10 minutes. Add the

cumin and stir well. Decrease

the heat, cover, and let the

vegetables sweat for ten minutes.

Add the lentils and pour in

enough of the water to cover.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce

the heat to medium low and

cook for twenty minutes, or

until the lentils and carrots are

tender. Add more of the water

as needed as the lentils soften

and expand.

Remove from the heat, stir

in the apricots and any remaining

water, and season

with salt. Use an immersion

blender to puree until smooth;

alternatively working in batches,

puree in a regular blender

until smooth. Take care not to

over salt this soup. The right

amount will bring out the flavor

of the apricots but leave

the onions in the background.

Serve hot.

Serves 8 to 10.

From The Soup Peddler’s Slow & Difficult

Soups by David Ansel (Ten Speed Press,


connect: www.101cookbooks.com

Send us your recipes at reporter.am

10 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009

arka Ballet’s

mission is to

nurture, develop

and showcase

talented dancers.

arka Ballet to celebrate 10th anniversary

arka Ballet will be celebrating

its 10th anniversary with two

performances at the American

Dance Institute June 20 and 21.

The program will feature the U.S.

premiere of a new ballet, La Revancha

del Tango (redux), by the

company’s artistic director, Roudolf

Kharatian. The repertoire

will include a blend of classical

and contemporary ballet works.

La Revancha del Tango was

originally commissioned by the

National Ballet of Armenia and

premiered at the Armenian National

Opera House in 2008 with

20 dancers and sets inspired by

one of Kharatian’s paintings.

Kharatian has adapted the work

for arka Ballet’s ten dancers.

Using the music of the Gotan

Project, Kharatian explores the

inner workings, the passion

and the intensity of the tango.

“In this piece, I bring together

past influences and present

aspirations to present a snapshot

of young people today as

they navigate the dynamics of

complex relationships,” says

Kharatian. “These relationships

are familiar to us, they draw

us in, because they mirror our

own instinctive rhythms, our

attractions, our passions, our


For this program, dancers include

Elizabeth Gaither, Sona

Kharatian, Laura Urgelles,

Jonathan Jordan and Luis

Torres. Also appearing will be

Diana Albrecht, Morgann

Frederick, Rui Huang, Jade

Payette, Corey Landolt and

Tyler Savoie.

arka Ballet’s mission is to

nurture, develop and showcase

talented dancers and to provide

opportunities for choreographic

experimentation and development

by promising and rising

choreographers. arka Ballet

premiered in 1999 with a gala

performance at the Kennedy

Center. Since then it has performed

throughout the Greater

Washington area, and toured

nationally and internationally.

Plans are currently underway

for a summer 2010 European





Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009 11

Armenian fighter in French Resistance is focus of

Robert Guediguian’s movie screened in Cannes

Set in the Second

World War, The Army

of Crime highlights

the life of poet

Missak Manouchian

French-Armenian filmmaker

Robert Guediguian’s new

movie The Army of Crime was

screened at the Cannes Film Festival

last month. Starring Simon

Abkarian (Ararat, Casino Royale,

Persepolis), Virginie Ledoyen

and Gregoire Leprince-

Ringuet, The Army of Crime retraces

the life of Armenian poet

and worker Missak Manouchian,

who led a real-life army

of foreigners (Jews, Hungarians,

Poles, Romanians, Spaniards,

Italians, and Armenians) who

fought for the French Resistance

during the Second World War

and died for it.

Guediguian’s film honors the

memory of the sacrifices made

for the Resistance by foreigners

living in France. The Parisian

Resistance fighters of the

ftp-moi (Francs-Tireurs et

Robert Guediguian

Partisans de la Main d’Oeuvre

Immigrée) led by Manouchian,

carried out about 30 operations

against the Nazis between

August and November


The group was handed over

to the Germans by French

police. The Nazis themselves

A scene from The Army of Crime.

christened the group the “Army

of Crime” in an effort to cast

doubt upon their heroism. Manouchian,

along with 21 other

men and one woman were condemned

to death in February

1944. Just a few short months

later, Paris was liberated for


Missak Manouchian’s final letter

This letter from Missak Manouchian

inspired the poet Louis

Aragon to write a poem about

the group, which was later set

to music by Leo Ferré. Source:

Lettres des Fusillés (Paris: Editions

Sociales, 1970)

My dear Melinée, my beloved

little orphan,

In a few hours I will no longer

be of this world. We are

going to be executed today at

3:00. This is happening to me

like an accident in my life; I

don’t believe it, but I nevertheless

know that I will never

see you again.

What can I write you? Everything

inside me is confused,

yet clear at the same time.

I joined the Army of Liberation

as a volunteer, and I die within

inches of Victory and the final

goal. I wish for happiness for all

those who will survive and taste

the sweetness of the freedom

and peace of tomorrow. I’m sure

that the French people, and all

those who fight for freedom, will

know how to honor our memory

with dignity. At the moment of

death, I proclaim that I have no

hatred for the German people,

or for anyone at all; everyone

will receive what he is due, as

punishment and as reward.

The German people, and all

other people will leave in peace

This poster was distributed by the

Nazis during the World War II in

France in an effort to cast doubt upon

the heroism of the resistance fighters.

and brotherhood after the war,

which will not last much longer.

Happiness for all.... I have one

profound regret, and that’s of

not having made you happy;

I would so much have liked to

have a child with you, as you

always wished. So I’d absolutely

like you to marry after the war,

and, for my happiness, to have a

child and, to fulfill my last wish,

marry someone who will make

you happy. All my goods and all

my affairs, I leave them to you

and to my nephews. After the

war you can request your right

to a war pension as my wife, for

I die as a regular soldier in the

French army of liberation.

With the help of friends who’d

like to honor me, you should

publish my poems and writings

that are worth being read.

If possible, you should take my

memory to my parents in Armenia.

I will soon die with 23 of

my comrades, with the courage

and the serenity of a man with

a peaceful conscience; for, personally,

I’ve done no one ill, and

if I have, it was without hatred.

Today is sunny. It’s in looking at

the sun and the beauties of nature

that I loved so much that

I will say farewell to life and to

all of you, my beloved wife, and

my beloved friends. I forgive all

those who did me evil, or who

wanted to do so, with the exception

of he who betrayed us

to redeem his skin, and those

who sold us out. I ardently kiss

you, as well as your sister and

all those who know me, near

and far; I hold you all against

my heart. Farewell. Your friend,

your comrade, your husband.

Manouchian Michel

P.S. I have 15,000 francs in the

valise on the rue de Plaisance. If

you can get it, pay off all my debts

and give the rest to Arméne.


Missak Manouchian, a biography

Missak Manouchian. Photo: German

federal archives.

Poster of the The

Army of Crime .

Missak Manouchian was born

in 1906 in Adiyaman in the Ottoman

Empire. His father was

killed during the Armenian

Genocide and his mother, already

ill, died a short time after

the deportations. Missak and

his brother were placed in an

orphanage in French Syria.

In 1925, the brothers left for

France, settling in Marseilles,

and then eventually in Paris,

where Missak worked in the

Citroen plant. In Paris he became

a member of the French

Communist Party, wrote poetry,

and edited political and

literary journals. Head of the

Armenian section of the ftpmoi,

he was promoted to chief

of the Parisian unit in 1943.

12 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009


ETHICS Taxis drivers

and their meters

Join the discussion with a question

or an answer – or both.

When I visit the homeland, taxi

drivers often fail to turn on their

meters. I know they are thus

cheating the taxi service out of its

cut and the government out of its

tax revenues. But I also know they

are struggling to make ends meet.

Should I insist that they turn on

their meters? Should I report them

to the service if they don’t?


Policing Armenia’s Taxis

Dear pat,

It’s funny with taxis in Armenia.

You can go to a street corner and

get into an aging Russian sedan

with no meter, travel 5 km, and

get charged 1,500 drams ($4) or

more. By the same token, you

can call a taxi service, have a

new European-manufactured

cab sent to you, travel the same

5 km, and get charged 600 or

700 drams.

You would think the old car

on the corner would cost less

than the radio-dispatched car

with airbags and seatbelts, but

that’s not how things work out.

As far as I can tell, the taxi

market has developed in this

way for historic reasons. The

aging sedans tend to belong to

old-timers, career chauffeurs,

and they laid claim to their particular

corners years ago. They

also set their rates when there

was a lot less competition. They

tend to own their cars, so they

don’t have to split their income

with an owner. They go for less

volume at higher prices.

The services, on the other

hand, go for higher volume at

more competitive prices.

Slowly but surely, the nonservice

cabbies are succumbing

to market pressures and agreeing

to charge the lower rates set

by their competitors. Nowadays

you will see a lot of non-service

cabs charging the lower rates.

Okay, on to your concerns.

First, about taxes: The Armenian

government taxes taxicabs

at a flat annual rate. If the

cab has yellow plates, as it is

required to have, it is paying its

taxes. So take cabs with yellow

plates and don’t worry about

cheating the state.

Second, the meter is there

not only to protect the service

(if the cab is a service taxi) but

also to protect you. You are not

the service’s agent or enforcer,

so you don’t have to ask for the

meter to be turned on. But you

are well within your rights to


You note that drivers are

struggling to make ends meet.

That is generally true. You don’t

want to encourage the driver

to make ends meet by cheating

his service. You shouldn’t abet

fraud, and anyway, the service

may also be struggling to make

payments on the fleet of cabs

that you rely on.

So what to do about the fact

that the driver may be struggling?

If you can afford to leave

a generous tip, that’s an option,

though it certainly doesn’t

solve the problem. If you are a

frequent user of taxicabs in Armenia,

you may want to experiment

with different services

and give your business to one

whose drivers say they do not

feel ill-used by the service.

As for reporting drivers who

don’t play by the rules: If the

driver drives recklessly, I have

no compunctions about calling

the service and voicing my

concern, even if that leaves the

driver without work. I would

weed out bad drivers (before

they weed out themselves and

others with their criminal recklessness),

so I can’t fault you for

trying to weed out dishonest

drivers. “Always expose wrongdoing”

is one approach to ethics,

and you’re welcome to take

that approach.

I wouldn’t do it. I’d prefer to

insist the driver play by the

rules and if he declines, switch

to another taxi. The switch has

a consequence for the driver

– one lost fare – but it is not

as drastic a consequence as tattling

could bring about.

Avak Yeterian

Agree? Disagree? Have something

to add? Have a question of

your own? Write ethics@reporter.am


Next week’s question

My sister stays in my spare apartment

whenever she visits our

city, which is every three or four

months. I love hosting her. But I

know that on the next visit she

plans to use my pad to cheat on her

significant other. I don’t make her

personal life my business, but I feel

I’ll be implicated if my apartment

is used for the purpose. Am I ethically

obligated to make my spare

apartment unavailable during the

next visit?

Visit us at reporter.am

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009 13

On their wedding day, Sirusho and Levon Kocharian pose with President Robert Kocharian and his wife, Bella. Photo: Arthur Khachatryan.

In a fairytale wedding, a talented pop

singer marries a president’s son

Sirusho weds Levon


The most anticipated and talked -

about wedding of the year took

place in Yerevan on June 6. Armenian

pop singer Sirusho

married Levon Kocharian, son

of Armenia’s second president

Robert Kocharian.

Hundreds of fans had gathered

near Sirusho’s house to

have a glimpse of the bride as

the groom and his family arrived

to take her to church. As

soon as she stepped out of the

building’s entrance, Levon Kocharian

quickly took her hand

and led her to the waiting car.

President Kocharian and his

wife Bella hung back and greeted

the assembled neighbors,

fans, and onlookers, along with

Sirusho’s parents, singer Suzan

Margarian and actor Hrachia


The wedding ceremony took

place in the ancient Sourb Gayane

Church in Etchmiadzin. A

lavish wedding reception followed

at the Ojakh restaurant

and banquet complex.

Never before had so many

high-ranking officials, including

Armenia’s current president,

Serge Sargsian, and famous

personalities such as Tata,

Hayko, Arsen Safaryan, Arman

Hovhanissian, Alla Levonian,

Zaruhi Babayan, Razmik Amyan,

and others been assembled

in one place.

Sirusho released her first

studio album in 2000, titled

Sirusho, followed by her 2005 album

Sheram. At the first Armenian

National Music Awards in

2005, she won three awards for

Future of Armenian Music, Best

Album of the Year, and Best Female

Performer of the Year.

Sirusho received international

attention and recognition

after representing Armenia at

the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest

which was held in Belgrade,

Serbia. She co-wrote and performed

the song “Qele, Qele,”

which was composed and produced

by H.A. Der-Hovagimian

(Der Hova). The song “Qele,

Qele” was an extremely popular

song and according to web

sources was frequently played

throughout Europe, especially

in Greece and the UK. It was

also featured in the Greek version

of the “X Factor” TV series.

In April 2009, Sirusho released

her first Greek single,

“Erotas” in Armenia, Greece, and



14 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009

Sam Saghatelian and friends exhibit at Black Maria Gallery

Exhibit explores

chivalry and machismo

LOS ANGELES – The chief curator

of Black Maria Gallery in Los

Angeles, Sam Saghatelian, invited

fellow artists Ken Garduno,

Jason Hernandez, and Michael

C. Hsiung to take part in a group

exhibition titled, “Knights and

Hunters.” The exhibition explores

“our understanding of

what could be described as the

gentleman’s ethos on the one

hand and the Don Juan complex

on the other against the

backdrop of gender politics, the

ever-evolving roles of men and

women, and the cultural underpinnings

that inform tradition

and change,” Saghatelian said.

“As the works included in the

exhibition shed light on the

many ironies of what it might

mean to be a man in the contemporary

world, they reveal the

comical, the shocking and notso-shocking,

and sometimes the

downright grotesque,” Saghatelian

continued. “So it is that

many of the works are tongue-incheek

and unabashedly over the

top. But perhaps the most important

thread running through

these works is that of a certain

loving curiosity, and ultimately

an insistence on pointing at a

common humanity beyond the

politics and stereotypes.”

“Knights and Hunters” opened

on June 13 and will run through

Friday, July 11.

Sam Saghatelian was born and

raised in Armenia. He worked as

an architect until 1988. As the

Soviet Union began collapsing

and Armenia gained independence,

Saghatelian embarked

upon his journey as an artist.

He exhibited in the Armenian

Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale

and his works are part of

the permanent collection of the

Armenian Museum of Contemporary

Art. In 2003, Saghatelian

moved to Los Angeles to continue

as an artist. Since relocating

to Los Angeles, he has exhibited

at apg Gallery in Atlanta, Black

Maria Gallery in Los Angeles,

Articultural Gallery in Los Angeles,

and the Harvest Gallery in

Los Angeles.

Sam Saghatelian, searching for a

common humanity through art.

Michael Hsiung, Why Eastern

Deerbowman are preferred to others.

Jason Hernandez, Fight for Control,

pen on paper.

Ken Garduno, Askew, acrylic ink &

wash on paper.

Sam Saghatelian, Don't kill the king.

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009 15

Program Grid

15 – 21 June


09:30 pm 12:30 am

10:00 pm 1:00 am

10:30 pm 1:30 am

11:00 pm 2:00 am

11:30 pm 2:30 am

12:00 am 3:00 am

12:30 am 3:30 am

1:00 am 4:00 am

1:30 am 4:30 am

2:00 am 5:00 am

2:30 am 5:30 am

3:00 am 6:00 am

3:30 am 6:30 am

4:00 am 7:00 am

4:30 am 7:30 am

5:00 am 8:00 am

5:30 am 8:30 am

6:00 am 9:00 am

6:30 am 9:30 am

7:00 am 10:00 am

7:30 am 10:30 am

8:00 am 11:00 am

8:30 am 11:30 am

9:00 am 12:00 am

9:30 am 12:30 pm

10:00 am 01:00 pm

10:30 am 01:30 am

11:00 am 02:00 pm

11:30 am 02:30 pm

12:00 pm 03:00 pm

12:30 pm 03:30 pm

01:00 pm 04:00 pm

01:30 pm 04:30 pm

02:00 pm 05:00 pm

02:30 pm 05:30 pm

03:00 pm 06:00 pm

03:30 am 06:30 am

04:00 pm 07:00 pm

04:30 am 07:30 am

05:00 pm 08:00 pm

05:30 pm 08:30 pm

06:00 pm 09:00 pm

06:30 pm 09:30 pm

07:00 pm 10:00 pm

07:30 pm 10:30 pm

08:00 pm 11:00 pm

08:30 pm 11:30 pm

09:00 pm 12:00 am

15 June 16 June 17 June 18 June 19 June 20 June


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Bari Louys Hayer

7 Mekhq



When Stars are Dancing




Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat


Sassounian Commentary

Unlucky Happiness



Bari Kisher Hayer


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Sassounian Commentary

7 Mekhq


P S Club


When Stars are Dancing

Live from America


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7 Mekhq



When Stars are Dancing




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7 Mekhq


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When Stars are Dancing

Live from America


CLONE Original


Unlucky Happiness




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When Stars are Dancing




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Bari Kisher Hayer


The Armenian

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7 Mekhq




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CLONE Original


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7 Mekhq







Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat



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7 Mekhq


Yere 1



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CLONE Original


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Gyanki Keene -Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

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7 Mekhq







Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat



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7 Mekhq


Garkin Haghortum



Mi Gatil Megher


CLONE Original


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Gyanki Keene -Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

Hot Line








My Big, Fat



Deal or No Deal


Mer Aibenarane

Mer Lezoun Mer Khoske

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

P S Club

When Stars

Are Dancing (Hamerk)

Hay Film





Mi Gatil Megher

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Garkin Haghortoum

Sassounian Commentary



Mer Lezoun Mer Khoske

Armenia Diaspora

Deal or No Deal

Sassounian Commentary


Gongret Show


Film Story

Hot Line

21 June


Hot Line

Gongret Show

P S Club


Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Mer Lezoun - Mer Khoske

Mer Aybenaran



Film Story

Hay Film



Deal or No Deal

Hot Line

Armenian Teletime

Film Story

Hay Film




Love E Lee


Mi Gatil Megher

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Garkin Haghortoum

Sassounian Commentary

Deal or No Deal


My Big, Fat



Directions With

Rafi Manoukian

When Stars

Are Dancing

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Cool Program

Hot Line

6th annual Golden Apricot International Film

Festival to kick off next month in Yerevan

At a press conference in Yerevan,

Golden Apricot International

Film Festival’s Director of Programs

Michael Stamboltsyan

and Creative Director Susanna

Harutyunyan announced that

this year’s film festival will take

place July 12–19, 2009.

More than 400 films were

submitted from 65 different

countries. Organizers have selected

110 films from a total

of 40 countries, which will be

eligible to take part in the selection

process for the three award

categories: International Film,

Documentary, and Armenian


The festival will kick off with

the screening of Laurent

Tuel’s film Le Premier Cercle or

Inside Ring. The film’s producers

is well known French-Armenian

cinematographer Alain


Terzian is the administrator

of the Cannes Film Festival

jury, president of Cesar Academy,

and the French academy of

motion pictures. He is the chief

executive officer of Alter Films

and president of the Union of

French Producers, UPF. This will

be his first visit to Armenia. The

role of an Armenian criminal

in the film is played by famous

French actor Jean Renaux.

Continued on page 17

Sergei Paradjanov, self-portrait.

Scene from The Color of Pomegrantes.

Scene from The Color of Pomegrantes.

16 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009

Watch Armenia TV on Dish Network. To get a dish and subscribe, call 1-888-284-7116 toll free.

Satellite Broadcast Program Grid

15 – 21 June

15 June 16 June 17 June



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 A Drop of


6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 Spoiled Crazies-


7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Our Alphabet

12:30 15:30 A Drop of


13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 Cool Program

14:00 17:00 The Armenian


15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 Spoiled Crazies-


17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-Serial

22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

22:35 1:35 Our

Language,Our Speech

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 Blef

1:30 4:30 News in


2:00 5:00 Spoiled Crazies-


2:30 5:30 Los - Armeniûs

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-Serial

4:00 7:00 A Drop of



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Yere1

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 Spoiled Crazies-


7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Our

Language,Our Speech

12:30 15:30 Yere1

13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 VOA(The Voice

of America)

14:30 17:30 Los - Armeniûs

15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 Spoiled Crazies-


17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


18:30 21:30 When the stars


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 News in


2:00 5:00 Spoiled Crazies-


2:30 5:30 Yere1

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4:00 7:00 When the stars



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Cool Program

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 Spoiled Crazies-


7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Yere1

12:30 15:30 A Drop of


13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 Concert

15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 Spoiled Crazies-


17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


18:30 21:30 When the stars


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 News in


2:00 5:00 Spoiled Crazies-


2:30 5:30 Cool Program

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4:00 7:00 When the stars


18 June 19 June 20 June 21 June



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Blef

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 Spoiled Crazies-


7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Cool Program

12:30 15:30 The Armenian


15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


18:00 21:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 Blef

1:00 4:00 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Our

Language,Our Speech

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4:00 7:00 When the stars



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Yere1

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 Spoiled Crazies-


7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Yere1

13:00 16:00 The Armenian


15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 Spoiled Crazies-


17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


18:30 21:30 When the stars


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 The Armenian


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:30 4:30 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Our Alphabet

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4:00 7:00 Match Show



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 A Drop of


5:30 8:30 Blef

6:00 9:00 Cool Program

6:30 9:30 Red or Black

7:20 10:20 When the stars


10:30 13:30 A Drop of


11:30 14:30 Los-Armenios

12:00 15:00 Yere1

12:30 15:30 Blef

13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Our Alphabet

16:00 19:00 The Armenian


18:30 21:30 VOA(The Voice

of America)

21:00 0:00 Our Alphabet

21:30 0:30 A Drop of


22:00 1:00 Cool Program

22:20 1:20 Yere1

22:40 1:40 Los-Armenios

23:10 2:10 Red or Black

0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


3:00 6:00 Jo-Jo

3:30 6:30 A Drop of


4:00 7:00 Match Show



4:30 7:30 News in


6:00 9:00 Fort Boyar

7:00 10:00 Magic Nights

8:00 11:00 Unhappy


13:00 16:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

13:30 16:30 Jo-Jo

14:00 17:00 Cost of life-


17:30 20:30 Spoiled Crazies-


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

22:45 1:45 Our Alphabet

23:10 2:10 The Armenian


1:30 4:30 News in


2:10 5:10 Fort Boyar

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4:00 7:00 A Drop of


6th annual Golden Apricot International Film Festival

to kick off next month

Continued from page 16

This year marks a special anniversary

in the world of Armenian

cinema. It is Sergei

Paradjanov’s 85th birthday

and the 40th anniversary of

his renowned film The Color of

Pomegranates. For this occasion,

the Armenian version of

the film will be presented and

all those living who were part

of the original filming and the

movie itself will take part in the


The Golden Apricot International

Film Festival will include

a rich retrospective program

for 2009. The works of

three contemporary directors,

representing three different

continents, will be screened

this year. They include Polish

director Jerzy Skolimowski,

Japanese director Okuri Kohei,

and American director

Rob Neilson. All three will be

the guests of the festival and

will present their films.

Organizers have said that

there will be many premieres

this year, including Francis

Ford Coppola’s new film Tetro,

which is a story set in Argentina

about a family of Italian artists.

The international premiere of

Michael Stamboltsyan and Susanna Harutyunyan at a press conference in

Yerevan. Photo: Tigran Tadevosyan/Photolure.

the film took place in Cannes.

A new element to the festival

is also being launched this year,

called “Masters,” which will include

the films of three famous

directors, Jean-Louis Bunuel,

Michaelangelo Antonioni,

and Tonino Guerra.

Golden Apricot will also

launch “Made in Armenia,”

which will feature films made

in Armenia by Hayk Studio.

Stamboltsyan said that the

festival tries to incorporate wellknown

and experienced directors

along with new directors.

“Old and new is a very relative

thing. The important thing is

the quality of the movie,” he said.

“The Armenian, wherever he or

she may live, has in him or her

roots and a particular world view

through which he or she looks

out to the world. The Armenian

cannot have a world view like

an American or a French person,

even if he or she is born

and raised in France. There is no

other venue in the world where

Armenian filmmakers can meet,

present their films, and learn

about one another.”

Your news goes right here

See an “ian” on the credits?

Watch a Hye on your local

news? Write the Reporter, and

we’ll get crackin’ to profile

the son or daughter of Hayk

in an upcoming issue.

Point and click an ‘e’ to

arts@ reporter.am (dot am

on the ‘net is for all things




Let us know what’s on your mind.

Write to us at


Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | June 13, 2009 17

18 The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, in re-election kickoff, meets

Armenian fellow psychologist Hagop S. Pambookian


– Dr. Hagop S. Pambookian recently

attended Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s

Southern Ohio Ball at the

Shawnee Lodge in West Portsmouth,

Ohio. It was sort of homecoming for

the governor, as he is from the Portsmouth

area and that is where he first

began his political career. The ball

was the beginning of the governor’s

reelection campaign for 2010.

Gov. Strickland is widely known

and respected for his contributions

on the national and state level – as

a several-term U.S. representative

and then as governor. Lieutenant

Governor Lee Fisher also declared

his candidacy for an Ohio U.S. Senate

seat soon to be vacant.

The governor was a clinical psychologist

before entering elected office. Dr.

Pambookian, who is now a professor

emeritus of psychology at Shawnee

State University in Portsmouth, was

Dr. Strickland’s colleague.

Since Dr. Strickland’s election

to the U.S. Congress in early 1990s,

Professor Pambookian kept in touch

with politician Strickland – meeting

with him either in Washington

or in Portsmouth, and sometimes

in other cities where the American

Psychological Association (apa)

held its annual conventions.

One such pleasant meeting for

the two Ohio psychologists and

former colleagues was at the August

2007 apa Conference in San

Francisco. Governor Strickland

was there to receive the apa Presidential

Citation for “his exemplary

conviction, leadership, and tireless

efforts in public service to improve

the health and welfare of our nation,”

for his contributions to psychology

and to the people of Ohio.

Dr. Pambookian is known around

the world for his involvement and contributions

to psychology, e.g., in Armenia,

Russia, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

He has made numerous scholarly presentations,

and several months ago, he

gave a keynote address on “Psychology

around the World: The Asian Experience”

at the Asian Psychological Association

(APsyA) convention in Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia.

Professor Pambookian was the

first U.S. scholar to be awarded a

9-month-long senior Fulbright fellowship

for the U.S.S.R. and the

first Fulbright fellow to teach psychology

at Yerevan State University.

Since then, he has sent more

than 3,000 English-language psychology

books (and many volumes

of psychology journals) to the Fundamental

Library of the Armenian

Academy of Sciences in Yerevan.

Governor Strickland is knowledgeable

about historical events.

Earlier, he was a member of the

Armenian Caucus in the U.S. Congress

and a co-sponsor of the Armenian

Genocide resolution.

Late pastor’s spirit hovers over Armenian School hantess

Prof. Hagop

S. Pambookian

(center) flanked

by Ohio Gov. Ted

Strickland (right)

and Lt. Gov. Lee

Fisher (left).

by Tom Vartabedian


– The spirit of Rev. Vartan Kassabian

proved a guiding light in an

Armenian School hantess dedicated

to his memory at St. Gregory

Church last month.

The beloved pastor died unexpectedly

this spring, shocking this

Merrimack Valley community.

The schoolchildren more than

rose to the occasion with an unparalleled

display of music, dance, and

recitation, under the devoted leadership

of superintendent/instructor

Sossy Jeknavorian.

“It was a very special occasion in

more ways than one for our congregation,”

said the director. “The students

all loved Der Vartan dearly.

He was watching over this hantess

the same way he did over the past

five years.”

Some 50 youngsters took part

in the exercise, many dressed in

costumes created by Degeen Sossy,

who received able support from a

cadre of parents.

Prior to the hantess, a Sunday

School graduation took place in

the sanctuary, also under Sossy’s

direction, where Yeretskin Pauline

Kassabian read “a letter from

heaven.” The emotional text simulated

an actual letter from Der Vartan

in the heavens above.

Special notice was also paid to

two winners of an essay contest on

genocide, tendered by the Armenian

Genocide Commemorative

Committee of Merrimack Valley.

They are Dennis Teague, Jr., and

Sonya Hovsepian, members of

the local ayf. Both students were

A scene from

an Armenian

School hantess

at St. Gregory

Church in North

Andover, Mass.,

dedicated to its

late pastor, Rev.

Vartan Kassabian.

A recitation

was offered by

Aghavni Berberian.

Photos: Tom


applauded for their exceptional


A large and enthusiastic crowd

shared in the experience.



Looking for bright, mature, multi-lingual (Armenian/French/English)

individualwho is well organized and pays attention to detail.

Must be computer savvy and have strong planning and problem

solving skills.

Potential for advancement to FT Administrative Assistant.

Contact the Armenian American Health Professional Organization (AAHPO)

at 201-546-6166 or info@aahpo.org.

N. Lael Telfeyan, Ph.D., LCSW

Counseling and Psychotherapy

with Individuals, Families and Couples

Adults and Adolescents

140 West 97th St.

New York, NY 10025

By appointment 917-975-3109

24 Windsor Road

Great Neck, NY 11021

e-mail: nlael@aol.com

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009 19


Robert Chilingirian posing with fans at Hudson Terrace in New York.

Robert Chilingirian at the acyoa

Sports Weekend, New York, May 23,


Robert Chilingirian (center) with his fans and his brother (left), fellow musical

performer Gabriel.

Robert Chilingirian performs at the acyoa Sports Weekend

by Taleen Babayan

NEW YORK – Robert Chilingirian’s

lyrics to his song “Polorus

Noyn Hayn Enk” (We are all the

same Armenians) rang true on

Saturday night, May 23, at Hudson

Terrace in Manhattan, where

the singer performed for over

400 Armenians from around the

country for the Eastern Diocese’s

annual acyoa Sports Weekend,

which took place from Friday,

May 22, to Monday, May 25. (See

separate story.)

As fans chanted “Robert, Robert,”

eagerly awaiting his presence

on the stage, Chilingirian exceeded

everyone’s expectations and performed

for over three hours, playing

a wide range of songs that created

high energy and enthusiasm

in the nightclub. He brought to life

traditional Armenian songs such

as “Armenian Hoghe,” “Khentzore

Dzari Vra” and “Hey Jan Ghapama”

and kept everyone dancing with

his original hits “Harsanik Eh Hey,”

and “New York Boston.”

Approachable and amiable,

Chilingirian frequently got off the

stage and interacted with everyone,

signing autographs, passing out

CDs, and posing for pictures with

his fans.

The talented artist, who has been

performing for over 20 years, has

maintained his relevance by staying

up to date with current musical

trends. Citing the popularity of heavy

beats right now, Chilingirian said

that soundwise, his music is similar

to what is heard on the radio now.

Infusing his music with elements

from other cultures, including

Arabic, Greek, Latin, and Indian,

Chilingirian said he enjoys listening

to all kinds of music. “It’s

one international language,” said

Chilingirian in an interview prior

to his performance at Hudson Terrace.

“I get inspired from everything

in life. I get an idea just by

walking around.”

In fact, the infusion of Latin

music in his song “N4R, R4N” (on

his latest album “Different Faces”)

was the reason Chilingirian was

honored with the “Best Latin Artist”

award at the Hollywood Music

awards in November 2008.

This award was the pinnacle of

a life filled with music and entertaining.

At the age of 8, Chilingirian

started playing the guitar

and when his family moved to New

York from Lebanon a few years later,

he started studying guitar privately

with notable guitarists such

as John Abercrombie and Steve

Newman. Receiving his bachelor’s

degree in music from the Brooklyn

Conservatory of Music, Chilingirian

continued his musical education

with an extensive two-year

jazz program at New York’s Long

Island University.

A common thread in Chilingirian’s

music is his emphasis on

unity among Armenians, regardless

of the country they were born

in. “My message is very straightforward,”

said Chilingirian, who has

recorded 19 albums and recorded

over 50 music videos. “We must

join hands and unite. This will give

us more power, and our voices will

be much stronger so we can accomplish

much more as one united


Chilingirian performs in several

different communities, but loves

performing for Armenians. “I feel

that I’m at home with my own

people,” said Chilingirian, who currently

resides in Los Angeles, but

considers himself bicoastal. “There

is warmth and energy and I enjoy

singing in Armenian more than any

other language because it’s my own,”

The crowd at Hudson Terrace

certainly appreciated his music and

the energy he brought to the venue

- and to acyoa Sports Weekend as

a whole.

“Enthusiasm is something that

was central to Robert’s performance,”

said Aleen Tovmasian.

“It was a night that was unforgettable

due to his uncanny ability to

stir up a response from the crowd.

As a committee member for Sports

Weekend, we couldn’t have asked

for more from a performer.”

“His performance was invigorating

and it did not matter whether

people understood Armenian or

not because the tempo was just

perfect,” said attendant Sayat

Kuyumcu who was the DJ Saturday

evening. The interaction with

the crowd, the singing, and the

positive vibe, made this a very special

Armenian party.”

Not only did the attendants of

Chilingirian’s performance leave

with wonderful impressions of the

performer, Chilingrian himself enjoyed

singing. “The crowd on Saturday

was wild and energetic,” said

Chilingirian, who has performed

all over the world, including in the

Middle East and Europe. “I feel that

the east coast Armenian community

is appreciative of the Armenian

culture and music, and is also doing

a great job in maintaining our

heritage and roots.”

In turn, the New York/New

Jersey Armenian community welcomed

Chilingirian with open

arms. “I want one thing in life, and

that is to keep doing what I’m doing,”

said Chilingirian. “My fans are

so important to me. When I have

compliments from fans, that’s all I




His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate

The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)


The Fund for Armenian Relief

Cordially invite the public to

A reception honoring

Little Angels


kiss wooden


presented to

them by the

Primate on the

Feast Day of

the Ascension.

Western Primate celebrates

Hampartzum in Little Angels School

BURBANK, Calif. – Archbishop

Hovnan Derderian, Primate

of the Western Diocese, on May

21 presided over a Hampartzum

celebration at Little Angels Art

School in Burbank, Calif. Principal

Maggie Blikian, school staffm

and students greeted the Primate

in the school hall.

As part of the program, a segment

from the opera Anoush was

performed by children. The Primate

in his remarks spoke about

the significance of Hampartzum,

the feast of the Ascension. The

Primate then presented the students

and staff with wooden

crosses from Armenia.

Her Excellency


United States Ambassador to the

Republic of Armenia

Monday, June 22, 2009

Seven o’clock in the evening

The Diocesan Center

Haik & Alice Kavookjian Auditorium

630 Second Avenue (at 35th Street)

New York City

The event is free and open to the public

630 Second Avenue, New York City | 212.686.0710 | www.armenianchurch.net

20 The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009


An Armenian from Texas promotes information

technology in faraway Gyumri

by Taleen Babayan

Gyumri – Life in Gyumri is a far

cry from life in Texas for Jason

Paul Kazarian. But when the opportunity

arose to fill the vacant

executive director position at the

Gyumri Information Technologies

Center (GITC/GTech), he accepted

it without hesitation.

Moving 5,000 miles away from

his home country provided quite

the lifestyle change for Mr. Kazarian,

both professionally and personally.

But the vision and goals he had

for GITC prompted his move and

have remained his priority.

Each day for him at GITC – a

competitive post-graduate IT institution

– varies. On Mondays, he

teaches a class for students working

on their thesis projects and

helps them with the organization

of their papers including the format,

thesis, thesis chapters, and

gives overall guidance to the 20

students so they can graduate on

July 14. Mr. Kazarian also makes

it a point for himself to travel out

of Gyumri into Yerevan to do development

work and build partnerships

between the IT industry and

GITC. There he frequently visits the

office of the Fund for Armenian Relief.

He also spends his time writing

grant proposals and finding sources

of revenue, in addition to supervising

GITC’s employees.

Founded in August 2005, GITC

promotes the IT industry, drives

the formation of an IT infrastructure

and promotes employment

opportunities in this area devastated

by the major earthquake in 1988.

GITC has graduated about 50 young

adults. In exchange for nearly free

training, students commit to remain

in the Gyumri region for two

years following graduation.

The cultural differences between

Armenia and the United States are

ones Mr. Kazarian has observed

while living in Gyumri. “The way

women and men engage with each

other is similar to the US in the

1950s,” said Mr. Kazarian. “The

women’s lib movement hasn’t

taken full effect, although it seems

it’s going to happen with the current

generation who are 25 and under.

I’m seeing a modern mindset

in some of them,” he said, noting

that Gyumri is a mix of eastern and

western cultures.

“It’s interesting to look at our students

because they have a provincial

mindset. Gyumri has a population

of 150,000 people and there’s

a prevailing village mentality,” said

Mr. Kazarian, who has a bachelor’s

and a master’s degree in computer


Moving across the world naturally

poses many challenges and obstacles

to complete even the simplest

tasks. “There’s not an open market

for rental property,” said Mr. Kazarian,

who had to hunt for a place to

live when he first moved to Gyumri.

“Something as simple as finding a

place to live is basically done by word

of mouth.” He compared Gyumri

to most European cities where it’s

very compact. Mr. Kazarian walks

20 minutes to work every day and

doesn’t need a car to get around, as

it’s easy to get everywhere on foot.

Originally from California, Mr.

Kazarian lived the last 14 years

in Texas. He has been in software

development for about 25 years

and spent three years in industrial

education in technical topics such

as telecommunications and software

development. Prior to joining

GITC, he worked six years as an independent

contractor for multiple

customers and owned a boutique

IT company.

Mr. Kazarian’s vision for GITC

is three-fold. He wants to modify

the curriculum so that there are no

prerequisites to complete before

enrolling in GITC, other than earning

a degree from a public institution.

He would also like to hire local

Gyumri-based full time faculty

which both reduces expenses and

improves the quality of student life.

“Now we have instructors who commute

from Yerevan and come once

a week,” said Mr. Kazarian. “There

is no opportunity for students to

interact with their teachers. Having

our own faculty will also make

it easier for students to get help

on projects and homework assignments

during the week.”

He sees GITC moving from an

academic model to a vocational

and certification model of training

which is more job-focused and

will be more beneficial to students

who don’t want a college degree but

want to work in a technical discipline.

“The vision is going towards

that direction. We are targeting

people that don’t have those kind

of resources and are being ignored

by the rest of the educational community,”

said Kazarian.

In addition, Mr. Kazarian wants

GITC to engage with more Americans,

in particular, American-Armenian

companies and have GITC

Jason Paul Kazarian with GITC students.

students perform outsourcing and

off shoring work for them. “We

need to build bridges with these

companies who are moving in that

[off shoring] direction, especially

with the recession we have going

on in the US,” said Mr. Kazarian.

“Armenia is an optimum market

for generating wealth through intellectual

property. Salaries paid for

talented technical specialists are

reasonable, even when compared

with Chinese and Indian markets.

Dozens of companies are engaged

in hardware and software product

development for export, including

National Instruments and Virage

Logic. Some organizations, Epygi

and Synopsys to name just two,

are betting the entire company’s

future on Armenian based talent

– and winning. GITC is becoming

a bridge to Gyumri for companies

like this and many others. I would

love to see this opportunity – GITC,

explored and supported by, especially,

young generation of Armenians

from the diaspora.”

Mr. Kazarian is indeed enjoying

his position at GITC and living in

Gyumri. Two of his favorite things

in Gyumri are the weather, which

he said is comparable to Denver,

and the healthier food, including

the locally grown organic fruits and


Gyumri, located 75 miles outside of

Yerevan, is the second largest city in

Armenia, and has made substantial

progress since it was hard hit with

the earthquake in 1988. The calamity

took the lives of 50,000 people and

injured scores of others. “One of the

big changes is the amount of construction

since I was here in December

2006 to today. There are buildings

popping up everywhere. I’ve seen 3

or 4 multi-story large buildings go

up in spaces that were vacant in a

little over 2 years. Earthquake-wise,

they’re rebuilding the original Armenian

Church, and the project is coming

along. There have been a lot of

changes. It doesn’t look anything like

it did, five, or even two years ago.”

There are many things Mr. Kazarian

wants to accomplish as executive

director of GITC, including starting

a full-time faculty, hopefully with

the participation of diaspora Armenians.

“I wish I could encourage

people in the IT industry who want

to become educators to come and

teach at GITC,” said Mr. Kazarian.

“If we had half a dozen people who

would be willing to move here for a

year or two, we would have a cutting

edge educational institution.

We would like to have people from

the diaspora to come here and do

something different than a typical

nine-to-five job.”

Mr. Kazarian’s friend from Texas,

Ken Maranian, participated in

FAR’s Young Professional’s Trip to

Armenia in the summer of 2006

and had an incredible experience

that he shared with Mr. Kazarian

once he returned to Texas. Mr. Kazarian

was interested in Mr. Maranian’s

experience with GITC and

contacted FAR to start volunteering

and teaching part time. “When

I came back and told my parish

about the trip and how wonderful

and promising it was, Jason

got in touch with FAR and started

teaching there,” said Mr. Maranian.

“We’re really proud of him.”

Patrick Sarkissian, one of the

founders of GITC said he is proud

of having Jason as the executive director

of GITC. “As a fellow American-Armenian,

I am amazed by

Jason’s sacrifice and dedication. As

a colleague from the IT industry – I

am impressed with his talents and

capabilities,” said Mr. Sarkissian.

“He is bringing Western business

ethics and culture to GITC.”

While there may have been no

hesitance on Mr. Kazarian’s part

when he assumed the executive

director position at GITC, the staff

was concerned whether he would

be able to adjust to the realities of

life and culture in Gyumri. Those

concerns, however, eventually faded.

“We thank God Jason is with

GITC,” said Amalya Yeghoyan,

deputy executive director of GITC.

“Students admire him, even though

he is a tough and very demanding

teacher, and the staff owes him a

lot for an incredible learning curve

we have gone through under his

leadership. Jason is an excellent example

of what diaspora Armenian

could do in Armenia.”

“Jason is helping the young talents

in an area devastated by the

earthquake to regain hope for a better

future,” said Mr. Sarkissian. f

COAF celebrates Child Protection Day with performance in Lernagog

Symbols of peace, drawn by the children, decorate the Lernagog schoolyard

YEREVAN – On the occasion of

International Child Protection

Day, which is celebrated worldwide

on June 1, the community of Lernagog

hosted a “Planet of Peace”

performance in the premises of a

newly renovated village school. The

objective of the event was to raise

awareness and consciousness on

child-protection issues. Lernagog is

one of the numerous communities

included in the Comprehensive Rural

Development Program, initiated

and implemented by the Children of

Armenia Fund (COAF) in the Baghramyan

region of Armavir province

in Armenia since early 2006.

The event was organized by the

members of the local “YES” youth

club established by Heifer Project

International in close cooperation

with COAF and experts from Development

Principles NGO. Through

civic education activities, local

youth can acquire knowledge and

build capacity on human rights

and the rights and responsibilities

of citizens, the formation of civil

society, and children’s role and participation

in these processes. Apart

from civic education, the club also

focuses on healthy lifestyle, agribusiness,

ecology, logic, and journalism

and public relations.

The participants watched the

documentary film, “The Rights of

Children in Armenia” prepared

with support from the United Nations

Children’s Fund, and viewed

the wall papers created by the children

themselves. The documentary

was followed by a performance

of The Little Prince, based on the

novel by Antoine de Saint Exupéry,

by the members of all the youth


Also participating in the celebration

of the Child Protection Day

were members of Civic Education

“YES” Clubs from the neighboring

communities of Karakert, Dalarik,

Miasnikian, and Hushakert. Their

involvement in the event highlighted

once again the importance of

communication among youngsters

from cluster villages, as well as the

necessity of their unity toward protecting

their own rights and freedoms.

The “Planet of Peace” event

concluded with the video coverage

of the results of the Annual Forum

on youth clubs and their activities,

prepared by Heifer Project International

and Development Principles


The festivities continued in the

front yard of Lernagog School. Using

colorful chalk, children of all

ages drew images of peace and

kindness such as the sun, flowers,

doves, and children surrounded by

family members and friends. f

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009 21


At the Zangakatun Center in Vanadzor, all

children are loved equally

The Tufenkian

Foundation gives

hundreds their

childhood back

by Tatul Hakobyan

VANADZOR, Lori Province, Armenia

– Ten-year-old Maria is an only

child. She has been visiting the

Zangakatun Center for a year now.

There she receives a hot meal every

day, plays with boys and girls her

age, and draws. “But most of all I

love working with clay,” she said. “I

love it here. My mom doesn’t have

a job. My dad is in Russia,” the girl

added, as she painted a piece of


At the Zangakatun Center in

Vanadzor, Maria and five dozen

other schoolchildren are not only

fed properly, but also receive the

educational, spiritual, emotional,

and other kinds of support all the

children in the world need – thanks

to the Tufenkian Foundation’s “Our

Duty to Live” project.

Armenuhi Kirkitian, a mother

of three, is very pleased. Were it

not for the familial warmth of Zangakatun,

life would be a lot tougher

for the young woman. “My husband

is in prison in Russia. Since

last August my three children, ages

12, 11, and 10, have attended this

center. Social workers came to our

home and became familiar with our

circumstances. I am very grateful.

My children do not go hungry,” she


The director of Zangakatun NGO,

Karine Grigorian, said one of the

most important kinds of assistance

the center provides is hot food.

The children smile

“But the most important outcome

of our center is the children’s smile.

It is their restored childhood. Children

who wouldn’t speak on their

first day at the center greet guests

today. Children who drew with a

black pencil on the first day smile

and laugh today. Many who did not

go to school have gone back to being

students,” Mrs. Grigorian said.

With children’s singing and performances

on stage, the Zangakatun

Center celebrated its fifth anniversary

on June 5. Everyone – the

center’s teachers and social workers,

the parents, and guests from

Yerevan and the Tufenkian Foundation

– was happy and touched.

Dozens of children had been given

back their childhood.

Mrs. Grigorian cited an Armenian

spiritual leader who had said,

“Wretched is the child who is not

loved and the adult for whom no

one prays.” “In our center, all the

children are loved,” she said.

During the presentation, a short

but moving film about underprivileged

children was shown. Mrs.

Grigrian and Margaret Hovhannisyan,

the director of the Tufenkian

Charitable Foundation in Armenia,

spoke about the “Our Duty

to Live” project and the success of

the Vanadzor center. In the end,

the children presented a comedy to

their parents and the guests.

Families that owe

money for bread

“The foundation of the state is the

family and if you want to strengthen

the nation, you must look after

the children. There are no worthless

children; there are children

Left: John Antranig Kasbarian, director of the Tufenkian Foundation, Inc., with Mary Matosian, director of the Tufenkian Charitable Foundation in Nagorno-

Karabakh, at the Zangakatun Center in Vanadzor. Right: Children perform a comedy at the center, June 5, 2009. Photos: Tatul Hakobyan/Armenian Reporter.

Diana, 7, shows off a drawing she did

at the Zangakatun Center in Vanadzor.

who are abandoned, ignored, left

out of society, who need care,” Mrs.

Grigorian said.

She showed slides of two of the

scores of drawings done by children

in the center. One was a picture of

the sea; the other portrayed Mount

Ararat. “It is not surprising that a

child living in Armenia would want

to see the sea, but it is surprising

that a child living in Armenia

would want to see Ararat. Many

children in Vanadzor dreamed of

seeing Ararat and thanks to our

center they had the opportunity to

travel to Ashtarak and see Ararat.

In their compositions afterward,

they wrote that a dream had come

true,” she said.

Children come to Zangakatun after

school. The children are selected

in cooperation with the local authorities

in Vanadzor and with the

help of nongovernmental organizations.

Only families with schoolaged

children can enroll, since Zangakatun

is an educational center.

“There have been cases when our

workers have visited stores, collected

the names of families that

owe money for bread, and selected

children in this way,” Mrs. Grigorian


There are also criteria for being

taken out of the program. The first

is an improvement in the family’s

situation. There are families that

have been in the program for three

years but the administration of the

center is not rushing to remove

them because the families are not

yet on solid footing.

“We have each family’s history,

and twice a year we review and reevaluate

those histories,” she says.

One of three centers

The center employs experienced

teachers, psychologists, and a

representative of the Armenian

Apostolic Church. Various groups

Karine Grigorian, director of the

Zangakatun NGO in Vanadzor.

have been formed with a focus on

theater, puppets, pottery, drawing,

and computers. Spiritual and psychological

discussions are held not

only with the children but also with

their children.

Ms. Hovhannisyan of the Tufenkian

Charitable Foundation said

that the “Our Duty to Live” project

was started and became part of the

Tufenkian Foundation in 2001. The

project has three centers: one in

Yerevan since 2001, one in the city

of Metsamor in Armavir province

since 2002, and the one in Vanadzor

since 2004. Until 2007 Zangakatun

operated out of one of the

Vanadzor schools – until James

Tufenkian in 2007 donated a sunny

two-story building.

On June 11, Gagik Beglaryan,

member of the Republican Party of

Armenia (RPA), was sworn in as the

new mayor of Yerevan in an official

ceremony in city hall. Taking part in

the ceremony was President Serge

Sargsian, Speaker of the National

Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan,

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian,

members of parliament, ministers,

and other officials.

Mr. Beglaryan swore to observe

and uphold the constitution of the

Republic of Armenia and the laws

and decisions by Municipal Council

of the City of Yerevan, and to ensure

the prosperity of the capital city.

According to Arminfo, President

Maria, 10, paints pottery at the Zangakatun Center in Vanadzor.

Sargsian said that lessons must be

learned from these elections and

that the authorities must ensure

that the next round will be free

of any problems. He said the international

reaction to elections

in Armenia should not simply be

“in general met international standards,”

but that elections must

fully meet all international standards.

“We expect a new working

style. The new mayor should [be] a

leader who is responsible for both

successes and failures. The mayor

should observe the laws, be closer

to the people and love the residents

of the capital city with all his

heart,” said the president. f

“Over the past eight years, these

three educational centers in Yerevan,

Metsamor, and Vanadzor have

served about 900 families or 1,850

poor, orphaned, and otherwise

vulnerable children,” Ms. Hovhannisian


In three small hearths full of family

warmth and mutual love, one

of which is Zangakatun, through

the benevolence of the Tufenkian

Foundation and the caring of the

educators, everything possible

is done to bring back the smile of

childhood, and harmony to their



Gagik Beglaryan sworn in as mayor of Yerevan

Gagik Baglaryan takes the oath of

office as mayor of Yerevan. Photo:

Tigran Tadevosian/Photolure.

22 The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009



the armenian


Say what you mean, do what you say

At its quarterly meeting on June 10, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Millennium Challenge

Corporation, chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, decided that it would “not

resume funding for any further road construction and rehabilitation” in Armenia. Funding

had been suspended a year ago.

The road construction and rehabilitation program was one element of the five-year, $235

million Millennium Challenge Compact signed between Armenia and the United States on

March 27, 2006. The roads program accounted for $67 million of the grant. The rest of the

grant covers agricultural programs, and those programs will continue.

A conditional gift

The Millennium Challenge Corporation differs from other U.S. foreign-assistance programs

in at least two ways. First, it provides direct government-to-government assistance. Other

major programs invest money on projects through contractors, but not through the government

of the foreign country. Second, the grant is conditional on the country’s performance

in three areas that are important to the grantor, the United States.

The criteria are continued improvement in good governance, investing in people, and

liberal economic reform.

Proponents of the MCC argue convincingly that governments which are elected fairly and

govern justly are best equipped to spend grant funds in a responsible and transparent manner.

From the inception of the Millennium Challenge Compact with Armenia, the big challenge

for both states has been, “Say what you mean and then do what you say.”

A good fit

Armenia is a good fit for the program. The Armenian people made a commitment to freedom

and democracy at the inception of independence. They chose the path of economic, social,

and democratic reform consistent with a modern Western democracy. Armenia eagerly

pursued membership in European institutions that espouse and promote democracy, good

governance, and the rule of law, as well as economic institutions that espouse liberal economic


What Armenia said in effect was that the West was welcome to hold Armenia to the

highest governance and electoral standards because that is what Armenians expected from

themselves anyway, with or without prodding from the West.

Not only have Armenians made this commitment; Armenia has made significant progress

over the years.

For the past 20 years, Armenia has revised laws, the European Union and the United

States have invested millions of dollars on technical assistance programs to address every

perceived weakness in the electoral system’s design and performance, and indigenous nongovernmental

organizations with many thousands of civic activists have invested their time

and hope to help insure that electoral-democracy pledges were kept.

Whereas no election since the 1991 elections has been characterized by Western observers

as entirely free and fair, each of the last two national elections (May 2007 and February

2008) was characterized by the European Observation Mission as a significant improvement

over past elections.

A commitment to solutions

Not surprisingly, proponents of the defeated parties in elections tend to see things in a more

negative light than the proponents of the winning parties see them. We find that things

aren’t as bad as some people say, and they’re not as good as others say.

Safeguards in place make it extremely difficult to engage in old-fashioned ballot stuffing

or miscounting. Precincts – and the elections as a whole – are run by commissions in which

the governing and opposition parties alike are represented, all parties are entitled to proxies

at polling places, and observers are likewise allowed. These facts put a greater burden on

all parties, the media, and civil society – not just the government – to bring about better


Likewise, broadcast media are legally obligated to provide balanced coverage as well as

some free airtime to candidates, and monitors give the broadcast media good marks on carrying

out this obligation.

The most credible complaints about violations have to do with private interactions outside

polling places: many voters are reportedly offered inducements to vote one way or another,

in violation of the law. In addition, there are accusations that administrative resources and

law-enforcement mechanisms are abused.

Armenian society does ask itself constantly how it can improve on past performance. A

public forum organized this week in Yerevan by the Civilitas Foundation was an excellent

instance of this quest. A good mix of political activists talked through the issues. There

appeared to be a consensus that a lack of confidence in the fairness of elections can bring

about apathy and hopelessness among voters, and must be addressed. Where there’s a lack

of confidence, voters are more likely to go along with vote-buying schemes than they would

be if they felt confident that their vote could make a decisive difference.

Problems on the U.S. end

The MCC concept of assistance conditioned explicitly to measurable performance on stated

criteria has not enjoyed the enthusiastic support of all elements of the foreign-assistance

community in Washington.

MCC credibility and political viability have depended, in part, on whether the MCC would

enforce its standards with recipient nations. In advance of key congressional appropriations

decisions, some in Washington would go so far as to say that one or more the MCC’s

recipients would have to be sanctioned for poor performance to demonstrate that the

program is for real.

Over the past 16 months, the United States and the European Union have been urging Armenia

to deal head-on with some of the issues that emerged in and after the February 2008

presidential election. These include sorting out criminal and political responsibility for the

deadly confrontations of March 1, 2008, and an increasingly impatient U.S. and European

expectation that people who remain in prison since then and have not been convicted of

violent crimes be released.

A lack of progress in this matter and concerns about the municipal elections in Yerevan

two weeks ago, combined with political pressure on MCC to enforce good-governance standards,

led to the current situation. For the first time, Armenia will have to absorb real consequences

for its electoral and post-electoral performance.

Moving forward

The Millennium Challenge Compact has been and continues to be a vital element of the U.S.-

Armenia relationship. That’s because it’s not only about money but also about shared values

and expectations.

The MCC’s decision’s comes in the midst of Armenian-Turkish talks, encouraged by Washington,

aimed at the normalization of relations. In these talks, Armenia, unlike Turkey, is

demonstrating an unflagging commitment to seeing the process through. This fact – which

may seem irrelevant – does serve to refute one prevalent belief in Armenia about the MCC

program: that it is a way of pressuring Armenia to go along with the U.S. foreign-policy


The refutation of this widespread belief will help political actors in Armenia realize that

good-governance in and of itself is a value shared by the United States and Armenia. This

realization will make it easier politically for the president to take steps aimed at resolving

lingering post-election issues.

The United States – and the European Union for this matter – will need to respond in a

positive and supportive manner when Armenia takes steps toward enhancing its democracy.

It will require a special effort on the part of American diplomats to make fair judgments in

an atmosphere where a lot of people, for their own reasons, consistently focus on everything

negative at the expense of anything positive.

Armenia and the United States alike will have to say what they mean and do what they say. f

America’s powers of persuasion

In Yerevan on June 9, the State Department’s new manager for Europe and Eurasia,

Philip Gordon, made an important and welcome policy statement. He said, “Turkey-

Armenia normalization would benefit Turkey, it would benefit Armenia, and it would

benefit the entire region. And because of that, we do not think it should be linked to

anything else.”

Mr. Gordon’s nomination as assistant secretary of state had been held up because of comments

he made last year about the Armenian Genocide resolution. (See “Philip Gordon on

the Armenian Genocide resolution” on p. 23.) He was confirmed after Armenia agreed to

sign a joint statement with Turkey on April 22 announcing “an on-going process” toward


Reacting to that joint statement, the State Department insisted that normalization –

meaning the opening of the border Turkey closed unilaterally 16 years ago and the exchange

of diplomats – should take place “without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe.”

The Obama administration has now taken a very clear position on the matter. It is a position

Armenia fully supports. First, normalization should take place “without preconditions.”

Second, it should take place “within a reasonable timeframe.” And third, it should not “be

linked to anything else.”

That means the repeated announcements of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

to the effect that Turkey will not open the border until the Karabakh conflict is resolved

to Azerbaijan’s satisfaction are inconsistent with everything the Obama administration is


The State Department offers one caveat, however. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said

on June 5, “We are supportive, but it is up to the Turkish and Armenian governments and

people to realize the great opportunity this poses.”

In other words, the Obama administration can urge, but it’s ultimately up to Turkey to

seize the moment. That is true as far as it goes, but there are also many ways of urging. The

United States can be very persuasive if it so chooses.

We look forward to seeing just how convincing the United States government chooses to

be in the coming weeks in persuading Turkey to move forward.


Armenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,

is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.

Copyright © 2009 by Armenian

Reporter llc. All Rights Reserved

Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceo

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Editor Vincent Lima

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The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009 23


Living in


by Maria Titizian


I remember the day my girlfriend, a repatriate

from Lebanon, who has been living in

Armenia for the past 15 years, finally realized

her lifelong dream of singing on the stage of

the Opera House here in Yerevan.

Afterward at dinner with a group of repatriates

from around the world, one of our

friends stood up and made a toast, which

resonates with me today. He said that her

performance that evening had “solidified,

justified, and qualified” our decision to move

to the homeland and all the sacrifices that

doing so entailed, including leaving behind

friends, families, and communities. The realization

of her dream was something that

belonged to all of us and confirmed that not

only had we successfully integrated but that

we had arrived.

Achieving a simple existence, a normal

lifestyle in Armenia can be trying. Attaining

milestones comes with a lot of frustration

and pain.

A few weeks ago my son graduated from high

school. It was his Verchin Zang (final bell), an

event that is considered a turning point in the

lives of young people and is celebrated with

much fanfare right across the land. My high

school graduation was downright uneventful

compared to the rituals that families in Armenia

partake in when their children graduate

from high school.

When we moved to Armenia, my son was

only nine years old. Not only had we moved

him away from the only home and life that

he had known, but we had dragged him to a

country still unsure of its place in the world.

While we always struggled to put a positive

spin on even the most unjust circumstances,

it was sometimes impossible to protect him

from the glaring problems that our country

still continues to face.

Apart from having to learn Eastern Armenian,

he, along with his sister, had to learn

to adapt to a completely unfamiliar culture,

where everything was alien to them. Coupled

with this challenge, my son was also

dyslexic – a learning disability that specialists

here do not have a good understanding

of, never mind any kind of practical solutions


n Continued from page

themselves have set. We are supportive, but

it is up to the Turkish and Armenian governments

and people to realize the great opportunity

this poses. The normalization of

relations not only continues what I have seen

from the Turkish government, which is a desire

to actually solve problems, and I applaud

that, but we think it will bring great benefits

to the region.”

Mr. Davutoglu, in turn, said, “We are very

optimistic. We want to achieve a prosperous,

peaceful Caucasia. And in that sense, we are

fully committed to our normalization process

with Armenia.”

Visiting the Armenian

Genocide Memorial and

Museum in Yerevan

Mr. Gordon, who assumed his office on May

15, made Armenia the first stop on his first

trip to the South Caucasus.

“I have only been in office for two weeks,

but it seemed to me that there are such important

and even historic developments

going on in Armenia and the region that I

should try to come out here as soon as possible.

I am going to Georgia and Azerbaijan,

but I wanted Armenia to be my first stop. I

visited the Genocide Memorial and Museum

this morning,” he said.

Armenian-Turkish dialogue, the resolution

of the Karabakh conflict, and U.S.-Armenia

bilateral relations were the main issues on

which the assistant secretary focused during

his meetings in Yerevan. Mr. Gordon met Armenia’s

president and foreign minister, and

representatives of the opposition and civil


“President [Serge] Sargsian and Assistant

Secretary Gordon thoroughly discussed the

One of the best decisions we made was the

school we chose to send our children to. Anania

Shirakatsi Jemaran is a semi-private educational

institution located in one of the suburbs

of Yerevan, with an ambitious principal

and an even more ambitious curriculum.

When we presented our son’s unique situation

to them, they were unsure how to handle

his education. We were one of the first

repatriate families from North America to

show up at the doorsteps of Anania Shirakatsi

and it was obvious that at that time the

principal was striving to understand how to

handle the unique challenges repat students

presented, including one rambunctious nine

year old with dyslexia.

We worked very closely with the school’s

administration, speech therapist, the school

psychologist, the vice principals, and his

teachers. While it wasn’t always easy, we

struggled to protect his rights, to ensure he

received the proper care and attention, and

most importantly, to ensure that he never be

stigmatized by either the administration or

his classmates.

We needn’t have worried. Not only did the

school go above and beyond our expectations,

they consulted with the Ministry of

Education, read the literature we provided

for them (including a book we had ordered

from Tel Aviv translated into Russian by a

Russian-Jewish specialist in dyslexia who

had moved to Israel from Russia), and they

even specially tailored his curriculum.

The children in his class welcomed him, accepted

him, and to this day are his closest

companions and fiercest protectors.

At his Verchin Zang, the one teacher who

had taken it upon herself to make sure that

my son accomplished his goals, who consulted

with me almost daily about his progress,

who fought tooth and nail to make sure he

was able to remember his algebra, geometry,

and physics couldn’t contain her tears as

he made his way to the stage of the school

auditorium. She had become his surrogate

mother, his guardian angel, his comrade-inarms

through every frustrating, impossibly

difficult homework assignment.

This is a woman who embodies the meaning

of being a teacher, for whom teaching

is a calling and not simply a job. We have

fallen in love with her just as she has loved

process of normalization of Armenia-Turkey

relations. Noting that this a historic opportunity

and that normalization stems from

the interests of Armenia, Turkey, and the

entire region, Philip Gordon reiterated that

the United States unequivocally supports

steps taken in that direction,” the Armenian

president’s press service reported.

Some form of vote is possible

in Nagorno-Karabakh

During the meeting President Sargsian held

with Mr. Gordon, the two exchanged views

on the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. According

to the president’s office, Mr. Sargsian

presented in brief the history of the conflict

and Yerevan’s position. The Armenian president

stressed once again, “Our country is

committed to the peaceful resolution of the

conflict and is ready to continue negotiations

based on the Madrid principles.”

At the news conference, a journalist cited

statements by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham

Aliyev to the effect that there is no mechanism

for the secession of Nagorno-Karabakh

from Azerbaijan, and asked whether a referendum

was not a legitimate way of doing so.

Mr. Gordon responded: “Among the principles

that need to be taken into account, selfdetermination

is one, so is territorial integrity,

and so is nonuse of force, and the outcome

needs to reflect these three principles

in a balanced way. They are all important. So,

yes, I do think that some form of vote reflecting

the will of people will be an important

part of a settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

He also said: “My authority concerns 50

countries and three international organizations.

However I should say that in the entire

period of occupying this position, I paid far

more attention to issues of Karabakh conflict

settlement and Armenian-Turkish relations.”

Verchin Zang in Yerevan. Photo: Hayk Badalyan/


and nurtured our child. We have accepted

her into our family and will be forever grateful

to her for her undying commitment and


Verchin Zang, therefore, was not simply a

high school graduation for our family but a

colossal milestone.

While dyslexia is a condition that my son

will always have to grapple with, our move to

Armenia did not compound his problems, as

I had feared, but somehow, in some strange

way, alleviated them. We had always reassured

him that his dyslexia was a gift that

made his brain work in special ways, which

we didn’t always understand. With their approach

and through their commitment, Anania

Shirakatsi Jemaran validated what we

had been telling him all along.

Milestones have been many this year. In

the midst of preparations for Verchin Zang, I

was in the middle of an election campaign as

a candidate for Yerevan City Council. While

I didn’t get elected, just being able to run for

public office in the homeland was an incredible

opportunity and privilege.

Taking part in an election, however flawed

they may be in Armenia, was a learning experience

that afforded me the opportunity

to understand many things, some of which I

would have preferred not to have known.

It also made me realize how much work

there is that needs to be done, however difficult

the journey is ahead, however many

pitfalls still await. As one wise friend told me,

if all the problems in our country were solved,

there would be no need to struggle.

So we struggle on. After all, achieving milestones

is no easy task.


Yerevan’s municipal elections

Asked about municipal elections held in Yerevan

on May 31, Mr. Gordon said the United

States does not consider the polls to have

been free and fair.

“The results were only tallied up a couple

of days ago, and so we don’t have a formal

statement or judgment right now. But I have

heard reports of irregularities and problems

with the election. It wasn’t up to the standard

that we would like to see,” he said.

by Tatul Hakobyan

Yerevan – Philip Gordon, who was confirmed

May 15 as the new U.S. Assistant Secretary

of State for European and Eurasian

Affairs, had been, since 2000, a senior fellow

at the Brookings Institution, one of the

more prominent Washington think tanks.

In October 2006, Mr. Gordon co-wrote with

his Brookings colleague Omer Taspinar a

commentary criticizing a French legislative

proposal that would criminalize denial of

the Armenian Genocide.

Speaking at an Istanbul conference on

June 2, 2008, about the prospects for an

Armenian Genocide resolution under an

Obama administration, Mr. Gordon had

said, “I would encourage our Turkish friends

to not only be prepared to fight [the resolution]

as they no doubt will, but to have

a plan B in mind if it passes because that


Before the Armenian

Navy Band


It was simply fascinating to hear about the

discovery of the Quedagh Merchant off the

coast of the Dominican Republic (Armenian

Reporter, June 6). As an Armenian born and

raised in India, I am particularly proud of the

various curious aspects of our community

there, especially as it was during the 17th and

18th centuries.

The Armenian maritime heritage is indeed

rather curious, given how we come from a

landlocked, mountainous place. The Cilician

Armenian kingdom on the Mediterranean

is significant in that regard as well, but our

institute of merchant ships in early modern

times is something few peoples can boast


Armenian merchants were exempt from

the trade wars of the various colonial powers,

mainly because we were never a political

threat to anyone, and so we enjoyed great

freedom in our commerce. Moreover, as I

understand it, the ships sailed under an Armenian

flag (which depicted, among other

things, the Lamb of God). Not bad for a people

without a state, far from home.

Al Pacino portraying


Meanwhile, I was curious to hear that Al

Pacino is slated to play Jack Kevorkian in

an upcoming TV special (Armenian Reporter,

May 30), mainly because, as I vaguely recalled,

he played an Armenian in some other

movie once.

A quick Internet search revealed him as

Ivan Travalian in the 1982 film, Author! Author!

It is apparently centered on a Broadway

playwright and his struggle to balance his

work and career. I have never seen the film,

and although it doesn’t seem to have been a

big hit or anything, it would be interesting

to hear from anyone who has, especially if it

had any Armenian content at all.

Very truly yours,

Nareg Seferian

New Delhi and Yerevan

U.S. urges no Karabakh link for Armenia-Turkey relations

Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador

in Yerevan, was present at Mr. Gordon’s

news conference. She said that a

report based on the observations of the

embassy’s monitors will be published in

the coming days.

“We saw a number of instances of irregularities,

fraud, and intimidation not only in

one or two districts but throughout the city

during voting and also during the count,”

she said.


Philip Gordon on the Armenian

Genocide resolution

might well happen whatever anyone thinks

of the substance of it” - as Emil Sanamyan

noted in the Armenian Reporter on March

14, 2009.

Asked by the Armenian Reporter at a Yerevan

news conference on June 9, 2009,

whether he still encouraged his Turkish

friends to fight the resolution, or whether

his views had changed since assuming the

position of assistant secretary, Mr. Gordon

disputed the accuracy of the quote.

“What I was suggesting to the Turkish

audience at that time was that the trends

in the United States were such that there

was a significant prospect that Congress

or the administration would pass a Genocide

resolution and what I said was do what

you do; you will no doubt continue to try

to lobby against this; it’s a democracy and

what countries do; but understand that you

might have not success this year,” Mr. Gordon



24 The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | June 13, 2009

Hamazkayin Music Committee presents

Complete Piano Works of the three Titans of Armenian Music


Performed by renowned pianist Armen Babakhanian

available on compact discs


Solo Piano Works

Piano Armen Babakhanian



Piano Works

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Solo Piano Works

Piano Armen Babakhanian

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The Hamazkayin Music Committee is proud to have accomplished its project of publishing the piano

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