National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion


vistas and

the reasons

for staying

A visit

with Garig


Armenia Fund

Telethon logo is


See story on page 19m

See story on page C8m

See story on page 5m

Eastern U.S. Edition

Number 85

October 25, 2008

the armenian


In a ceremony presided over by Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Grigor Avagyan and Arsen Hayrapetyan are ordained as priests. Their new names are Fr. Diran and Fr. Nerses. Photo: Hilma Shahinian.

Two priests are ordained in

Pasadena as the Armenian

Church “renews itself”

See story on page 1 m

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008

Number 85

October 25, 2008

the armenian



Three generations participate in Fuller Center build

Cynthia Erickson and three generations

of her family who came to

Armenia to participate in building

projects with the Fuller Center for

Housing. Their three-week trip to

Armenia was not just a visit to the

homeland, but a mission to participate

directly in its development.

They acknowledge it was hard work,

but well worth the effort. The Armenian

Reporter’s Nyree Abrahamian

traveled to the village of Voskevaz

to talk to them.

Families like Ms. Erickson’s are

taking a fresh approach by actively

participating in the shaping of

today’s Armenia; they are affirming

that their ancestry is not just

a thing of the past, but living and

thriving roots.

See story on page 3 m


A bold leap into the unknown, kids and all

Raffi Niziblian and Lara Aharonian

are the quintessential modern

Armenian couple. Married, with

three beautiful children, they have

demanding careers and a fulfilling

family life. And they’re doing all of

this in Yerevan.

Raffi and Lara are part of a growing

repatriation movement among

diaspora Armenians. They have

been living in Armenia since 2003

with their three children: Amassia,

Armenia Fund-U.S. Western Region

announced the launch of

its 11th International Telethon

campaign. The live fundraising

program will air in all major Armenian

communities in the United

States and across the globe

on November 27, from 8:00 A.M.

until 8:00 P.M. PST as well as on

the Internet, at

On October 10, Armenia Fund’s


8, Varanta, 6, and Vayk, 3, who was

born in Armenia.

Both Raffi and Lara developed an

early love for Armenia and repatriation

for them is not a passing phase.

“Nothing is permanent,” says Raffi,

“But we’re here indefinitely.”

Nyree Abrahamian talks to them

about work, healthcare, education,

and more.

See story on page 16m

Lovers’ Park opened in Yerevan this past week thanks to the funding and

initiative of the Boghossian Foundation in cooperation with the Armenia Fund.

The fully refurbished 1.6-hectare park, with Eastern influences, is a calm oasis in

the heart of Armenia’s capital city.

See story on page 15 m


Armenia Fund launches 11th International

Telethon Campaign


longtime supporters and donors

gathered at the residence of Armen

Khachatourian and Maria

Mehranian to unveil the 2008

Telethon logo, “My Home, Armenia.”

The unveiling has become

a tradition over the past several

years and marks the launch date

of the campaign.

A night of art in the city that never sleeps

See story on page 5 m

On October 16, New York-based

painter, photographer, musician,

and filmmaker Haik Kocharian

held a multimedia event at the

Drum Lounge in New York City.

The showcase program comprised

an exhibition of Kocharian’s photographs,

which were displayed

throughout the venue; a screening

of his film Charlie; and a musical

performance, featuring Kocharian’s

vocals and guitar and accompanied

by a band. “I think my music

is universal and can connect

with every age group because my

subjects are universal,” Kocharian

said. “I feel alive when I am

on the stage. Any reaction I can

evoke, whether laughter, seriousness,

amazement, or even disgust

in many cases, whatever emotion

I can evoke, is a gift.”

See story on page 7m

Russia’s president, in Yerevan,

sees quick action on Karabakh

Sargsian endorses

Madrid principles as

basis for more talks

by Tatul Hakobyan

YEREVAN – President Dmitry

Medvedev of Russia is looking

forward to a meeting of the presidents

of Armenia and Azerbaijan

in Moscow, he announced during

an official visit to Armenia on October


“I am hopeful that we are in

the stage where progress is being

made,” he said in a joint press

conference with President Serge

Sargsian. “In any case, the two

sides are prepared to look for solutions.

I will not comment on

the details of the negotiations

because they are details of negotiations

and that is their value.

I hope that in the near future

a meeting of three presidents

takes place in the capital of Russia,”

he added.

A large part of the discussions between

Mr. Sargsian and Mr. Medvedev

was dedicated to the resolution

of the Karabakh conflict.

Armenia is prepared to continue

the negotiations on the basis of the

Madrid principles,” Mr. Sargsian

said, referring to a proposal presented

to Armenia and Azerbaijan

by high officials from the United

States, Russia, and France. “These

are foundations, which make it

possible to recognize Karabakh’s

right to self-determination and

some other issues that are matters

of principle for us,” Mr. Sargsian


Two priests are ordained in Pasadena

as the church “renews itself”

by Lory Tatoulian

PASADENA, Calif. - With clouds of

incense, baritone chants, holy oil,

and prayers, two young deacons

from the Western Diocese were

ushered into the priesthood on

October 16, partaking in a series

of rituals that marked their sacred


The ordination of Grigor Avagyan

and Arsen Hayrapetyan took

place at St. Gregory the Illuminator

Armenian Church in Pasadena.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian,

primate of the Western Diocese,

led the elaborate series of services

that included calling to the priesthood,

ordination, and consecration


In keeping with custom, the ordained

priests assumed new names

during the service, signifying their

new role as spiritual leaders in the

Armenian Church. The deacons did

not know what their names would

be up until the moment the bishop

anointed their foreheads with

holy oil (muron) and uttered their

names for the first time on the altar.

Mr. Avagyan’s new name is Father

Diran and Mr. Hayrapetyan’s

new name is Father Nerses.

President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia plants a tree at the Armenian Genocide

Memorial complex in Yerevan on Oct. 22 during his official visit. Photo: Photolure.

A phalanx of deacons, priests,

and bishops from across the state

assisted in the opulent ceremony;

they including former Primate of

the Western Diocese Archbishop

Vatche Hovsepian, parish priest

of St. Gregory the Illuminator

church Fr. Baret Yeretzian, Very

Rev. Fr. Baret Dz. V. Yardemian,

and Archpriest Fr. Nareg Matarian.

Moscow-Baku talks

After leaving Armenia, Russia’s

president spoke on October 22 to

the president of Azerbaijan. Mr.

Medvedev and President Ilham

Aliyev discussed preparations for

a meeting of the three presidents,

Interfax reported.

Mr. Medvedev had visited Baku

on July 3. During that visit, he and

Mr. Aliyev signed a Declaration on

Friendship and Strategic Partnership.

In the declaration, Moscow

and Baku emphasized “the importance

of speedily resolving the

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the

basis of widely accepted norms and

principles of international law, and

first of all, maintaining and guaranteeing

those of the sovereignty

of states, their territorial integrity,

and the unchangeability of their

borders.” The two presidents also

pledged to promote military cooperation

(Russia last year sold

tanks to Azerbaijan for the first

time since the mid-1990s) and to

work against groups undermining

the sovereignty of each of the two

countries (with both sides stepping

up attacks on Islamist groups in

the border areas).

But when Mr. Aliyev returned Mr.

Medvedev’s visit in September – after

the war in Georgia – Mr. Medvedev

did not repeat the verbiage

about territorial integrity.

Madrid Principles

At a meeting in Madrid in November

2007, U.S. undersecretary of

state Nicholas Burns, Russian

foreign minister Sergei Lavrov,

and French foreign minister Bernard

Kouchner presented to the

foreign ministers of Armenia and

Continued on page m

The Armenian

Church “is


renewing itself,”

said Abp. Hovnan

Derderian said

of the ordination

of two priests,

Fr. Diran and

Fr. Nerses, in

Pasadena on

October 16.

Photo: Hilma


A crowd of 400 parishioners

joined in hymns performed by the

Khachadourian Choir and stood in

fascination while witnessing the

ordination of the two priests.

“This is a testament that our

church is continually renewing itself.

A spiritual renaissance is taking

place and these two priests have

Continued on page 4

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Washington briefing

by Emil Sanamyan and

Lusine Sarkisyan

Active U.S. diplomacy

continues in Eurasia

Assistant Secretary of State Dan

Fried was in Armenia (Oct. 17),

Georgia (Oct.18–20), and Turkey

(Oct. 21) to discuss regional conflicts

and bilateral relations, local

news media reported. United

States regional diplomacy has been

stepped up significantly since Russian-Georgian

fighting in August.

In meetings with Armenian leaders,

Mr. Fried reportedly focused

on the Karabakh peace process (see

this week’s top story) and Armenia’s

recent talks with Turkey. Mr.

Fried said that a “strong, sovereign,

democratic Armenia is important

not just to the U.S., but to the region

as well.”

(In a similarly worded message,

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

who was in Yerevan on October

21, said Russia wants “the

Armenian people to live in a strong,

flourishing and stable state.”)

Mr. Fried arrived in Georgia simultaneously

with the U.S. Navy’s

guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Barry,

which made a “routine, friendly

visit” to Georgia’s Black Sea port of

Poti from October 18 to 20.

(Officials in Abkhazia, meanwhile,

confirmed plans for a new

Russian naval base at Ochamchir,

just forty miles up the Black Sea

coast from Poti.)

On his visit to Ankara, Mr. Fried

was received with Ertuğrul Apakan,

the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s

number-two, and at a subsequent

meeting with media, the U.S. diplomat

encouraged continued dialogue

between Turkish and Armenian


According to the Turkish Daily

News, Mr. Fried called Armenian

President Serge Sargsian “courageous”

for extending an invitation

to his Turkish counterpart,

and Turkish President Abdullah

Gül “wise” for accepting the offer.

“Sometimes taking risks is the highest

realism,” he said.

Mr. Fried also pledged continued

U.S. intelligence help for Turkey’s

fight against Kurdish rebels, while

urging more Turkish cooperation

with Iraqi Kurdish leaders. Turkish

forces have suffered numerous casualties

in recent Kurdish attacks

(see this page in the October 11 Armenian


Meanwhile, the top U.S. military

officer, Chairman of the Joint

Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael

Mullen, assured the three Baltic

republics, Estonia, Latvia, and

Lithuania – which have been NATO

members since 2004 – that they

could count on U.S. military help

should they ever come under a military


Days earlier, Admiral Mullen met

with Russia’s General Staff Chairman

General Nikolay Makarov in

Finland, for what was described as

“fence-mending talks.”

Abkhazia, South

Ossetia status talks

stall; more aid pledged

to Georgia

European, Georgian, Russian, and

U.S. officials met in Geneva on

October 15 to start discussions, in

the words of the French President

Nicolas Sarkozy, on the “future

status” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,

and quickly adjourned until

November, and others reported.

The parties reportedly disagreed

on the format of talks, with breakaway

republics insisting they

should participate in the talks on

their future, and Georgia objecting.

The cease-fire agreement negotiated

between Russia and Georgia

continued to largely hold, although

several Russian and Georgian personnel

were reported killed in various


Georgia also demanded a Russian

withdrawal from parts of South

Ossetia and Abkhazia that Georgia

held prior to the August war. That

position was supported by Dan

Fried of the U.S. State Department,

although he conceded that

that situation could not be resolved

“very easily” or “very soon.” Russian

officials said areas in question

are parts of breakaway republics

and would not be turned over.

At a “donors’ conference” in

UN Security Council.

Brussels on October 22, the United

States confirmed it would be allocating

$1 billion in aid to Georgia.

Last month, the U.S. Congress appropriated

about one-third of that

amount for Fiscal Year 2009.

In all, pledges of $4.55 billion in

grants and loans over three years

were made, with bulk of the funds

coming from the International

Monetary Fund and the World

Bank, as well as the European

Union (about $1 billion in grants

and loans) and Japan ($200 million).

Transparency International (TI),

a Berlin-based anticorruption organization,

called for publication of

the World Bank’s needs assessment

report on Georgia prepared in advance

of the conference.

“Despite the centrality of the

Joint Needs Assessment to the

future of Georgia, its contents remain

secret at the request of the

Georgian government,” TI Georgia

said in a statement, adding that it

was unclear how the money was intended

to be spent.

151 countries vote

Turkey into the UN

Security Council

Turkey successfully concluded its

five-year $50 million campaign for

a two-year nonrenewable term

on the United Nations Security

Council, as it was voted in by 151

countries on October 17, Turkish

and international news agencies


There are a total of 192 countries

with United Nations membership.

Countries voted in secret, and

because Turkey was competing

against Austria (which also won a

seat, with 132 votes) and Iceland

(which did not, with 87 votes), few

countries have made their votes

public. But Turkey lobbied heavily

around the world from Latin

America to Africa to Pacific Island


U.S.S. Barry.

President Abdullah Gül described

the vote as “a significant

success that should be a source of

joy to every citizen. The support

given to Turkey is a reflection of

the feelings of love and friendship

that are felt for our nation and the

trust the international community

has in our state,” the Jamestown

Foundation Eurasia Daily Monitor

(EDM) reported citing Turkish media

on October 18.

Turkey’s Permanent Representative

to the United Nations Ambassador

Baki Ilkin reportedly broke

down in tears of joy during a television

interview following the vote.

Professor Ahmet Davutoglu,

the Turkish government’s leading

foreign policy advisor, said the

outcome as “neither chance, nor

bribery,” even though Turkey spent

$20 million paying off the debts of

smaller nations to the United Nations.

Media watchdog:

peace is good for press


“It is not economic prosperity but

peace that guarantees press freedom,”

Paris-based Reporters without

Borders argues in its annual

report released on October 22.

The report notes post-election

setbacks in media freedom in Armenia

(now ranked 102nd in the

world, on par with Turkey), war-related

media censorship in Georgia

(now ranked 120th), as well as general

malaise in Russia (141), Azerbaijan

(150), and Iran (166).

Iceland, Norway, and Luxembourg

are ranked as having the most

liberal media environments. For

the full report:

article.php3id_article=29031 f

Russia’s president, in Yerevan, sees quick action on Karabakh

n Continued from page

Azerbaijan a document with their

proposals for the resolution of the

Karabakh conflict. The three officials

represent the three states that

co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group,

which mediates the resolution of

the Karabakh conflict.

“It is the same document that has

been on the table for about two

years,” Vartan Oskanian, Armenia’s

foreign minister at the time

said after the Madrid meeting. “In

those matters where there was no

agreement, the co-chairs have added

their own proposals to the sides,

for consideration. That is the only

detail of that document. For that

reason it is important to be careful

in one’s assessment, because

the level was high, and the expectations

could also be high.”

The substance of the earlier document

referred to by Mr. Oskanian,

known as the Prague document,

was made public in June 2006.

It was U.S. deputy assistant secretary

of state Matthew Bryza,

the U.S. co-chair of the Minsk

Group, who disclosed the main

principles of a framework peace

accord. Under the principles, he

said, Armenian forces would leave

those territories of Azerbaijan in

which they are now stationed;

Armenia and Azerbaijan would

normalize their economic and

diplomatic ties; peace-keepers

would be stationed; there would

be international economic aid for

Karabakh; and more. In the end,

he said, there would be a vote

on the future status of Nagorno-


Mr. Bryza said the proposed

vote would take place “at some

point” in the future, after the

liberation of Armenian-occupied

lands in Azerbaijan, the deployment

of an international peacekeeping

force in the conflict zone,

and the restoration of political

and economic ties between Armenia

and Azerbaijan.

Official Yerevan responded

quickly to the June 2006 disclosures,

saying they were partial.

The matter of a referendum and

that of handing the Lachin corridor

and Kelbajar to Azerbaijan

were the most contentious issues.

As the negotiations continued, the

co-chairs offered their own proposals

– the Madrid Principles – for the

resolution of the issues on which

Yerevan and Baku could not agree.

Since Yerevan had accepted the

earlier document as a basis for negotiations

and Baku had rejected it,

the assumption was that the Madrid

principles were more favorable

to Azerbaijan.

On October 7, speaking to the

Russian daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta,

Mr. Lavrov, the foreign minister,

said, “There remain two or three

unresolved issues which need to

be agreed upon at the next meetings

of the presidents of Armenia

and Azerbaijan,” Mr. Lavrov told

the Russian newspaper. “The first

among them is the Lachin corridor,”

he added.

Working toward a


Mr. Bryza lately told the BBC, “The

resolution of the Karabakh conflict

must start with the principle

of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

Other complementary principles

can then be incorporated.”

He added, “We must say that

yes, from a legal perspective, by

law, Nagorno-Karabakh is part

of Azerbaijan. But, after all, so

that the negotiations result in

an agreement, Armenia too must

agree to it. We know that Armenia

has a different position, and we

must use very creative, constructive

approaches so that Armenia

and Azerbaijan find a common


Assistant Secretary of State Daniel

Fried, in Yerevan on October 18,

in response to a question from the

Armenian Reporter’s Armen Hakobyan,

clarified current U.S. policy:

“Territorial integrity is a recognized

principle of international law.

There are other principles, such

as self-determination. Now we all

know what we’re talking about here.

Bringing these principles together,

reconciling these principles is extremely

difficult and complicated.”

He added that the Minsk Group

continues to work “to actually find

a settlement.”

Mr. Fried gave no indication,

however, that a settlement is imminent.


The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Three generations participate in Fuller Center build

One family’s quest

to give back and stay

connected to their


by Nyree Abrahamian

VOSKEVAZ, ArmeniaArmenians

living in the Diaspora have always

felt a tug to return to their homeland,

or see it for the first time. In

recent years, with more and more

airlines flying to Armenia, quick

and easy visas at the airport, a

plethora of options for accommodations

and a growing tourism industry,

the dream of visiting Armenia

is becoming increasingly accessible.

According to the Armenian

Tourism Development Agency, the

Armenian Diaspora represents 62

percent of all tourist arrivals.

It’s wonderful to see growing

numbers of diaspora Armenians

in the country each year, and even

more uplifting that many are opting

to volunteer during their visit.

Another growing trend among Diaspora

Armenians is to visit with

the entire family, or as many members

of the family as possible. We

have been following the stories

of some of these families, many

of whom are here with members

representing three generations.

And while they all seem to feel a

common bond that is strengthened

and deepened when they visit

their homeland together with their

loved ones, each family’s stories,

their reasons for visiting Armenia

and their experiences are unique.

For Cynthia Erickson and the

three generations of her family who

came to Armenia to participate in

building projects with Fuller Center

for Housing, their recent threeweek

trip to Armenia was not just a

visit to their homeland, but a mission

to directly participate in its


Cynthia started working with

Habitat for Humanity in Armenia

in 2003. She led teams in 2004,

2006 and 2007. This was her first

year working with Fuller Center

and her team consisted of nine

people, six of whom were members

of her family: her mother Satenig,

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aunt Cathy, uncle Dan, sister Ann

Marie, son Bradley and nephew


All three generations of the family

were born in the United States.

Cynthia’s grandparents (Satenig’s

parents) were born in Western

Armenia. Her grandfather had immigrated

to the United States from

Van and worked on the railroad in

North Dakota. Her grandmother

was in Palu (near Kharpert) during

the Genocide, and shortly thereafter,

with the help of an uncle in

Rhode Island, she was able to get as

far as Havana, Cuba, where there

was a community of Armenians.

She and her husband met through

correspondences. He came to Havana,

where they were married and

together they returned to North

Dakota, where they had nine children.

Although the family has been in

the United States for almost a century,

their ties to Armenia are as

strong as ever. Satenig and her sister,

Cathy, had visited the country

on a few occasions, and on a visit in

1985, they discovered first cousins

living in Yerevan. Since then, they

have been extremely close with

their Yerevan family. Cousin Lilit,

who was only a baby when they

Your risk is our business

met in 1985, was with them on site

at the build where I met them in

Voskevaz. Cynthia’s 21-year-old son,

Bradley, joined her in Armenia for

the first time on a building project

last year, and her sister, Ann Marie,

had visited in 1997 and 1998.

The group worked for three

weeks, first in Markahovit, where

their main tasks involved concrete

mixing and pouring a concrete

floor, then in Tashir, on a build in

cooperation with the ARDA Project

(Armenian Relief and Development

Association), where they covered

up seams in the ceiling, plastered

and painted the walls. Their last

couple of days was spent in Voskevaz

village, near Yerevan, doing

similar heavy labor work.

“It was hard work,” said Dan Igielski,

Cathy’s husband who was in

Armenia for the first time, “Much

harder than I thought it would

be. I’m wondering how they expect

old folks like us to keep up.”

Though the last part was said half

jokingly, he was serious about the

hard work. “It’s not just window

dressing,” added Ann Marie, “Fuller

Center is really making a difference.

What we did was hard, and it

mattered, and it made a difference

for these families.”

Short term coverage

for visitors


In Country Medical


Renter’s Insurance

Left: Back row,

from left, Orin,

Ann Marie

Reimers, Dan

Igielski, Bradley


front row, Lilit,

Satenig Reimers,

Cathy Igielski,

Cynthia Erickson.

Right top and

bottom: Working


As team leader, Cynthia could not

have been happier with her group.

“Everybody adapted really well to

it,” she said, “We got our bucket

line down really well… My mom

was like our social ambassador. She

helped the women in the kitchen

and did some bucket line work as

well. She was even on the ladder

doing some ceiling plastering.”

Cynthia will to return to Armenia

with another Fuller Center project

next year. This year, it was a special

treat to have so many members of

her family as team members, but

she knows that regardless of where

people are from or their degree of

personal attachment to Armenia,

what really matters is their handson

participation in improving people’s


Still, there’s no denying that as a

family of Armenian descent, there

is something special about volunteering

in Armenia. “Being of Armenian

descent we feel ownership

to this country,” said Ann Marie,

adding with a laugh, “I don’t know

if it’s always appreciated, but we

really do. And there are limits to

how you can help and see the difference.

You can donate to organizations,

but you never actually see

it happen. Here you see it happen.

You do it with your own hands. You

wear the injuries.” The last remark

was a tongue in cheek reference to

her wrist, which she sprained on

the job.

Though most members of the

family live in areas of the United

States that don’t have very active

Armenian communities and speak

little or no Armenian, language

was never an issue. Emotional

connections can build bridges

right over language barriers.

“There’s a lot of exchange that happens

just through expressions and

gestures,” said Cathy, “People are

always opening their homes to us,

even if their home is just a domik,

and sharing with us whatever

they have.” Domiks are basically

construction containers, tiny oneroom

houses that were meant as

temporary housing after the 1988

earthquake. Some of the homes

that they worked on helped people

finally move out of their domiks,

20 years after the earthquake.

Her husband, Dan, was equally

touched by the welcome they received.

“The food that the families

prepared for our lunches and their

hospitality was just outstanding,”

he said.

For Orin and Bradley, the

younger members of the family,

volunteering through Fuller Center

is not just a great way to give

back, it helps them create ties with

their homeland, making Armenia,

its people and its culture a reality

rather than a vague and distant

concept. It also opens doors. The

two were offered a year’s stay to

help with one of the projects in


People living in any diaspora often

face an inner dilemma. They

want so badly to stay connected to

their roots that they cling to any

fragment of the past that remains.

But more and more, families like

Cynthia’s are taking a fresh new approach

towards reconciling the rift

that is caused by displacement. By

actively participating in the shaping

of today’s Armenia, they affirm

that their roots are not just a thing

of the past, but living roots. And

the best way to stay connected to

them is not to mourn for what they

used to be, but to help them grow

strong and healthy.


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4 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Two priests are ordained as the church “renews itself”

Continued from page 1

become the newest members of our

clergy to inspire us all, especially

the youth,” Archbishop Derderian


This year, the Western Diocese

has ordained four priests and ten

more candidates are waiting to be

elevated to the rank of priest. The

Western Diocese is focusing its efforts

on providing young deacons

with intense theological training in

preparation to meet the challenges

of being an Armenian priest in this

modern age.

In addition to the theological

training received either at St. Nersess

Seminary in New York or St.

James Monastery in Jerusalem or

the Gevorgian Seminary in Etchmiadzin,

deacons who are studying

for the priesthood are now required

to obtain a masters in divinity to

complete their education.

“We are supporting them in every

way possible to make sure that our

young priests receive the best education,

and are spiritually prepared

to serve the Lord and respond to

the needs of our community,” Archbishop

Derderian said.

In a time when few Armenian

men are choosing to become

priests in the United States, Mr.

Avagyan and Mr. Hayrapetyan are

defying convention and have decided

to express the profound love

they have for the church and community

by devoting their lives to

the oldest Christian institution in

the world.

Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian, who

is now the parish priest at Holy

Resurrection Armenian Church in

New Britain, Connecticut, became

a priest four years ago after having

worked as a mortgage banker for

20 years.

“I decided to become a priest since

I was kid but I just kept putting it

off. God kept knocking on my door

and finally I said, ‘OK God you win.’

It was a long decision I had to make

with my family, but of course it was

the right decision,” Fr. Mouradjian


At the time Fr. Mouradjian decided

to become a priest, he and his

wife had two children who were in

junior high. Fr. Mourajian attended

St. James Seminary in Jerusalem

and that is where he met Deacon


“When I found out that Deacon

Grigor was going to be ordained,

there was no way I could miss this.

A new book

by Rev. Arshen

Aivazian features


writings by victims

and survivors of the


by Alik Hovsepian

For the past two decades, Rev. Arshen

Aivazian has been studying

and translating a great many spiritual

writings, including poems and

homilies, penned by victims and

survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

Many of those pieces are now

collected in his newly-published

book, titled Echoes of Faith.

“Those writings were very inspiring

to me and I thought it would be

a pity not to share them with our

We have all built a strong brotherhood

at St. James,” he said.

Fr. Diran Avagyan takes his new

post very seriously and does not

view his ordination as a mere vocation.

“Ordination is a holy sacrament

and it is a mystery,” the young

priest said. “The Armenian Church

is my mother Church, and I have

always had an innate love for it; my

faith runs in my blood. It’s from

this love that I decided to become a

priest to better serve my community

and my holy church,” he said.

The 25-year-old priest was born

in Yerevan and in his teens served

as the chairman of the acyo Nork

Branch. In 1999 he was admitted

to the Armenian Seminary in Jerusalem,

where he became a fourthdegree

acolyte of the Armenian

Church and received permission to

become a stole bearer. In September

2003, he was ordained Diaconate by

Archbishop Torkom Manoogian,

the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

He continued his advanced

theological studies at the Theological

Faculty of the Patriarchate and upon

his graduation served as secretary

to the Chancellor of the Ecumenical

and Foreign Affairs Department

of the Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Fr.

Avagyan is enrolled at the Claremont

School of Theology and is expected

to graduate in three years. He will be

serving the parish in La Vern. He is

married and has one son.

Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan also demonstrated

his conviction of faith: “I

people,” said Rev. Aivazian, pastor

of St. Paul Armenian Church

in Fresno. “What was striking to

me was that all these authors were

either victims or survivors of the

Genocide. So they lived through

terrible times, [as the Genocide

was] probably one of the greatest

tragedies in our history. And their

faith, which was reflected in those

writings, was extremely inspiring.”

Rev. Aivazian said that an overarching

goal in writing his book

was to help provide spiritual fortitude

to Armenians around the

world, thousands of whom have

experienced extreme hardship in

the past few decades because of political

and social upheaval, racial

hatred, and dislocation.

“I started translating [some of the

writings] for my parish newsletter,

and the reaction was so positive

that even at that time, many years

ago, I thought someday it would be

nice to collect all these in one volume,”

Rev. Aivazian recalled. Since

completing the collection two years

ago, he has focused on editing the

am so thankful to our archbishop

who gave us the opportunity to become

priests to encourage the faith

of our people and spread Christ’s


Fr. Nerses will be the priest for

the newly formed parish in Santa

Clarita. He is married to Araksya

and together they are expecting

their second child. Fr. Nerses was

born in Ararat, Armenia. In 1998 he

attended the Vazkenian Theological

Seminary in Sevan. After graduation,

he pursued his advanced

theological studies at the Kevorkian

Theological Seminary where he

submitted his thesis “The New Age

Movement and the Root Causes.”

When he graduated from the seminary,

he was assigned to serve at

the Department of Finance and

Economy at the Mother See of Holy


Fr. Nerses is also enrolled in the

Theological Studies program at the

Claremont School of Theology and

is expected to graduate in three


The ordination was followed by a

reception in the Agajanian Hall of

the church. Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz.

V. Yardemian offered the invocation

and opening remarks wherein

he spoke about the rejuvenation of

the Church in context of the Latin

saying: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda.

The consul of Armenia, Armen

Liloyan, congratulated the newly

ordained priests and expressed

his delight in learning about the

Providing spiritual comfort in trying times

pieces, writing introductions to

each entry, and giving them added

context by including his own comments

and thoughts.

Echoes of Faith is dedicated o

Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan. “He

was like a mentor to many, including

myself,” Rev. Aivazian said. “He

was a founder of the Armenian

Church Youth Organization of

America. [Echoes of Faith features]

a very inspiring article that he had

written when he was a young priest,

in 1935.”

The book consists of 28 writings,

arranged according to the liturgical

calendar, starting with Christmas.

Some of the authors, such as

Archbishop Yeghishe Tourian, are

well-known. The younger brother

of famed poet Bedros Tourian,

Yeghishe Tourian was the Patriarch

of Constantinople and Jerusalem.

Another author whose work appears

in the book is Bishop Papken

Guleserian. In a piece about

Easter, Bishop Guleserian “says

there is a blessing at moments

of death, a blessing at a moment

unique nuances of Armenian traditions

in the diaspora. “It was so

wonderful to witness the members

of the Armenian Church partake

in a spiritually uplifting and

traditional service that has been

the spiritual fabric of our faith for

centuries,” the Armenian consul

said. “It gives me great pleasure to

be a part of this ordination today

and see these two young men rededicate

their lives to the church

and become the leaders who will

help guide the community in

strengthening their tie to their

holy faith.”

Chair of the Stewardship Committee,

Dr. Vahram Biricik, who

worked months prior to organize

the two-day event, wished the

newly ordained priests a “fruitful

service in their new capacity as well

as success in their studies.”

of birth, a great blessing in the

presence of God when two people

make a commitment to spend

their lives together in marriage,”

Rev. Aivazian explained. “So with

all of this you really come across

not only individuals who are eloquent

speakers and prolific writers,

but, above and beyond, people

of faith. And I’m very much in

touch with the fact that our nation

needs that type of message

right now. That’s why I thought,

instead of sharing my own homilies,

I would share theirs, because

they inspired mine.”

Rev. Aivazian believes that the

most important thing to note about

the writings in the book is that

their authors, despite experiencing

horrific tribulations, never gave up.

“At times, in our own lives, when

we encounter difficulty, we give up

hope and are ready to throw in the

towel. These people never did,” he

said. “I always struggle with the

questions, ‘What made these people

go on How did they keep their

strength, their inspiration, their

Left Very Rev.

Frs. Dajad Dz.

V. Yardemian

and Baret Dz.

V. Yeretsian,

and Frs. Diran


and Nerses


facing Abp.



Below: the bew

priests have been

crowned. Photos:

Hilma Shahinian.

Toward the end of the evening,

Archbishop Derderian presented

the godfathers of the priests, Mr.

and Mrs. Heros Kajberouni and

Mr. and Mrs. Nishan Drderian

(who could not attend the ceremony),

with framed letters of commendation.

The two priests then

received pectoral crosses from the


Archbishop Hovsepian, who

served as primate for the Western

Diocese for 32 years, commented

on the profundity of a

person responding to the call

of priesthood: “It is important

to realize that it is not an individual

who solely makes a decision

to become a priest. We must

understand that the Lord graces

us with wisdom and we are responding

to the call of His service.”

hope’ But when you read the book,

it’s obvious: it was their faith [that

kept them going]. That’s what they

say in almost every aspect of [their


Echoes of Faith, published by St.

Nerses Seminary, will be officially

released in Fresno on October

26, during the St. Paul Armenian

Church parish banquet; in Los Angeles

on October 28, at the Western

Diocese; and in New York on November


Rev. Aivazian is already working

on his next project, which will

showcase the writings of his favorite

author from Echoes of Faith,

Bishop Guleserian. “That man

was way ahead of his time – in his

thinking, his understanding of

church, faith, and gospel, and his

personal experience with Jesus

himself,” Rev. Aivazian said. “He

has a series of articles commenting

on the [teachings] of Jesus.

They were written over 70 years

ago but they are so relevant today.

Life is life, no matter when you

look at it.”

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 5


Armenia Fund launches 11th International Telethon Campaign

Telethon 2008’s “My

Home, Armenia

logo unveiled

LOS ANGELES – Armenia Fund-

U.S. Western Region announced

the launch of its 11th International

Telethon campaign. The live fundraising

program will air in all major

Armenian communities in the U.S.

and across the globe on November

27, 2008, from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00

p.m. PST as well as on the Internet,


On October 10, Armenia Fund’s

longtime supporters and donors

gathered at the residence of Armen

Khachatourian and Maria

Mehranian to unveil the 2008

Telethon logo. The unveiling has

become a tradition over the past

years and marks the launch date of

the campaign. Present at the dinner

reception was the former president

of Nagorno Karabakh Republic,

Arkady Ghoukassian. The

president currently serves on the

International Board of Trustees of

Armenia Fund.

Also present at the event were

representatives of all Armenia

Fund Board member organizations:

the Armenian Assembly of

America, the Armenian Catholic

Exarchate of America, the Armenian

Democratic Liberal (Ramgavar)

Party, the Armenian Evangelical

Union of North America, the

Armenian General Benevolent

Union, the Armenian Relief Society,

the Armenian Revolutionary

Federation, the Social Democratic

Hunchakian Party, the Western

Diocese of the Armenian Church,

and the Western Prelacy of the Armenian


Attendees were provided with

updates on the progress of various

Armenia Fund projects, including

the Hadrut Regional Hospital, Togh

School, and the Amaras highway

– all major projects of the U.S. Western

Region affiliate of the Fund.

Mrs. Mehranian, chairperson of

Armenia Fund, Inc., welcomed the

guests and thanked them for their

continuous financial and moral

support. Abp. Moushegh Mardirossian,

Prelate of the Western

Prelacy, offered the opening prayer

and his blessings. Arch. Mardirossian

commended the projects of

Armenia Fund and its “dedication

to enhancing the lives of the Armenian


Sarkis Kotanjian, executive director

and public relations manager

of the Fund’s Western U.S. affiliate,

provided an extensive update

on the progress of major projects.

Kotanjian also reminded the guests

that Armenia Fund not only focuses

on infrastructure and rural development,

but continues to provide

monetary assistance to families

and children affected by war.

Edik Balaian, the artist who

designed the 2008 Telethon logo,

briefly commented on the concept

of the logo, mentioning that its are

from the palette of legendary artist

Minas Avetisyan.

Armenia Fund Honorary Member

and philanthropist Vahe

Karapetian, who has supported

Armenia Fund since its inception,

introduced the former president of

Karabakh. In his remarks, Karapetian

commended Armenia Fund’s

recent projects and praised its interim

management in Yerevan.

President Ghoukassian and Armenian

Consul General Armen

Liloyan, along with the leadership

of Armenia Fund, unveiled

the logo. It features an Armenian

village house with a tricolor smoke

rising from its chimney. The slogan

of the Telethon campaign is “My

Home, Armenia.”

Armenia Fund maintains continuity

of its programs,” said Ms.

Mehranian. “This year’s Telethon

will include both infrastructure and

economic development projects in

the villages of Armenia and Nagorno

Karabakh. We are also excited

to see unprecedented participation

from Armenia. Despite the difficult

global financial environment, we

believe we are going to have great

results for this year’s Telethon.”

Ms. Mehranian invited Very Rev.

Fr. Baret Yeretsian, who was

representing Archbishop Hovnan

Derderian, Primate of the Western

Diocese, to offer his blessings

and closing remarks. Fr. Yeretsian

commended the Fund’s “continuous

commitment to the development

of Armenia and Karabakh.”

The event also secured the participation

of 400 community members

in the Armenia Fund Annual Gala,

which will be held on Sunday, November

23, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency

Century Plaza Hotel in Century

City, California. The event will

be attended by Bako Sahakyan,

president of Nagorno-Karabakh

Republic. The evening’s keynote

speaker will be the newly-appointed

minister of Diaspora Affairs of Armenia,

Hranush Hakobyan.


(818) 243-6222

From left, Executive Director Sarkis Kotanjian, Vice-chairperson Ara Aghishian,

former Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian, Chairperson Maria Mehranian,

and Development Director Greg Boyrazian.

Governor Schwarzenegger appoints Maria Mehranian to

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board

Maria Mehranian

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On October

16, California Governor Arnold

Schwarzenegger appointed

La Canada community activist, urban

planner, and businesswoman

Maria Mehranian to the Los Angeles

Regional Water Quality Control

Board (larwqcb).

As a managing partner of the

Cordoba Corporation, a civil-engineering

and construction management

firm, Ms. Mehranian has led

projects ranging from the Master

Plan of the largest produce-distribution

network in China to planning

subway stations in Southern

and Northern California.

At Cordoba, she has served as

managing partner since 1992 and

previously served as vice-president

of urban and transportation planning,

from 1986 to 1992.

Ms. Mehranian (see profile,

Community Section, September

22, 2007) is also the chairperson

of the Armenia Fund-U.S. Western

Region, a member of the American

Planning Association, and serves

on the California Hospital Medical

Center Foundation Board of Directors.

Her appointment to the larwqcb

requires confirmation by the

California Senate.

“Water supply and quality continue

to remain a major challenge

in the Los Angeles region

and Southern California,” said

Ms. Mehranian to the Armenian

Reporter. “Our need for water has

almost always exceeded our supply

and we have had to depend on

innovative measures to provide

the necessary resources for our

continued growth.”

The community activist, who has

served as a planning commissioner

for the City of La Canada-Flintridge,

where she lives, said that

California’s population is expected

to reach 50 million by 2030, and the

health of the state’s citizens and

the state’s economy hinge on the

availability of clean water.

“In this light, water becomes

more than an environmental concern,”

she said, “it becomes an issue

that needs to be dealt with on all

levels, including the efficient and

innovative use of water to sustain

and develop our urban fabric.”

As an urban planner working in

the field for more than 25 years, Ms.

Mehranian said she has come to understand

land use and public-policy

issues that affect the development

of Los Angeles. She said she intends

to offer her expertise to the

larwqcb in an effort to make this

important shift in paradigm.

“I accept this appointment with

great humility,” she said to the Reporter.

“I assure you that during my

term as a board member, I will adhere

to the mission set forth by the

larwqcb, to preserve and enhance

water quality in the Los Angeles region

for the benefit of the present

and future generations.”

Ms. Mehranian said she will do

what she can to assist the larwqcb

in addressing regionwide and specific

water quality-control concerns,

monitor and enforce waste-discharge

requirements, implement

and enforce local storm water-control

efforts, enforce water quality

laws, and inform the public on all

water-quality issues.

Las Vegas poker tournament to benefit

Armenian Monument project

LAS VEGAS – The Armenian

American Cultural Society of Las

Vegas (aacs) will hold its Second

Annual Armenian Poker Tournament

on Saturday, November 15, at

the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.

The event will begin at 1:00 pm.

at the Hard Rock Casino’s newlyopened

poker lounge, considered

one of the best of its kind in Las


The $10,000 prize pool is

based on 100 entrants, and the

buy-in is $250. Proceeds from

the tournament will benefit the

Las Vegas Armenian Memorial

project. The aacs was founded

in 1978 and incorporated in 1981

as a 501(c) (3) Nevada nonprofit


Those who wish to register for

the tournament can call the Hard

Rock Casino at (800) HRD-ROCK

or (702) 639-5000 and ask for “the

Cage.” Participants can also register

in person at the Hard Rock Casino

on the day of the tournament, beginning

at noon.


(702) 400-2052

Let us know what’s on your mind.

Write to us at

The next big step in the

fight against breast cancer

It’s the one we take together.

Hope starts with us.

Sunday, October 26

Bergen Community College


And 27 other sites in N.Y. and N.J.


Join the Walk!

© 2008 by the American Cancer Society. All rights reserved.

College student

needing cash

for books

Part-time sales

positions available.


6 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Adventures From History


– Der Zor

Part I of


by Tamar


We arrive in Der Zor, deep in the

heart of the Syrian desert, at one

o’clock in the morning. I’m traveling

with my father, Nazareth, our

driver, Toros and his son, Appo.

We’ve been on a journey through

the ancient Armenian kingdom of

Cilicia, now the southeastern end

of Turkey. The day started early in

Kessab, an Armenian village on the

far northwestern edge just across

the Turkish border. Toros’ minibus

has no air-conditioning. We’ve been

drinking copious amounts of water

to combat the heat and dehydration

but it quickly made its way to

the surface of our skin. We’ve been

driving five hours without having

to stop. We approach the sparkling

city on the horizon as it rises out

of the dark, flat expanse. It’s alive

with people shopping and strolling

down the main boulevard as it is

Ramadan, the Muslim holy month

of fasting. Toros stops to ask for

directions to our hotel and soon we

pull up to a modern hotel blazing

in electric lights. Across the street

we notice an edifice decorated with

a familiar Armenian motif. I approach

to read the writing over the

door and discover that it’s the outer

wall of the Holy Martyr’s Armenian

Church, the memorial built for the

one and a half million victims of

the Armenians Genocide who died

here in 1915. Traveling through the

lands of my long ago ancestors, it

was necessary to make a pilgrimage

to Deir es Zor where their ancient

story ended and the new one


In the morning our little entourage

makes its way across the street

to the new stone church built in

1990 by the Holy See of Antilias in

Beirut, Lebanon, to replace the old

wooden one that had stood in its

place for decades. The outside wall

is imposing and made of blocks of

stone with Armenian motif-ed columns

flanking the arched doorway.

We knock on the heavy wooden

door and a few minutes later the

caretaker opens the doors to lets

us in. Atop the dozen steps leading

from the door is a large stonepaved

and spotlessly clean courtyard.

The perimeter is decorated

with symbolic remembrances like

the ever flowing water spouts, the

eternal flame, khatchkars (stone

slabs carved and decorated with

Armenian style crosses) and carved

replicas of various Armenian genocide

monuments from around the


In the center of the courtyard

is the two-storied circular stone

church. I enter its cool confines

from its only door and suddenly

everything is bathed in a soft yellow

light. Across the door is a small

altar decorated with the usual paraphernalia:

red velvet altar cover, an

Armenian cross, an incense holder

and a couple of candles. The most

unusual feature is the opening in

the center of the floor, like the

mouth of a well, where a column

decorated in bas relief covered in

gold leaf rises from the center.

To the left of the altar is a circular

stairway leading down to the entrance

of the subterranean chamber

where the walls are decorated

with inscribed Armenian verses

from the bible. In the center is the

base of the column with a shelf

about three feet from the floor.

It’s lined with bulbous apothecary

jars labeled with the names of the

historic Armenian cities and filled

with the soil from each place. They

are different shades of dirt, some

more rocky or sandy than others.

On the floor spanning the circumference

of the stone columns are

wedge shaped Plexiglas topped

cases. They are shallow and flush

with the floor, filled with sand and

toped with bones. There are carefully

laid skulls, shin bones, pelvic

bones, jaw bones and teeth. I don’t

find them as difficult to look at as I


Through the doorway on the opposite

end is another room with

display cases holding quotations

from various personalities of the

time like Enver Pasha, one of the

masterminds of the Genocide, U.S.

Ambassador Morgenthau, journalists

and others who witnessed the

perpetration of the mass deportation,

killings and atrocities. The

walls are lined with photographs of

images from the march. I’m familiar

with these images, having been

raised on a steady diet of them every

April during high school when

student assemblies were held in

memoriam of our ancestors. Over

the years I have become hardened

to the images of pain and death

but in this collection are a few photos

that are new to me. The first

is of three Turkish generals posing

with two decapitated heads placed

on a small table laid with a white

cloth. They have taken care to set

up the tableau in the photo. There’s

a backdrop and a beautiful rug on

the floor. The white cloth, in sharp

contrast to the dark surrounding,

has a lace trim. The decapitated

heads are placed carefully facing the

camera. The generals stand proudly

behind their prize. The second is

of a skeletal body of a woman lying

dead in the road. She is flanked

by her two children, also dead by

her side with mouths agape. The

third is of a dismembered body

of a woman lying on the ground

with her legs tossed wide towards

the camera. She’s been clearly tortured

and her genitals have been

stretched so wide that it is now a

gaping hole. Her head has been decapitated

and tossed on the ground

near her hip where it looks into the

camera. There’s the photo of the

men lying side by side in a mass

grave. They’re clothed but many are

missing their shoes. Standing on

the side of the grave overseeing the

fruits of their labor are the soldiers

who shot them.

The men were the lucky ones since

they were rounded up first and

shot, just outside their villages, before

the women and children were

collected for the long march to the

desert. The men were killed before

the Ottomans devised slower and

more barbaric methods of killing.

Boredom was a common complaint

of the soldiers during the months it

took to transfer hundreds of thousands

of people to the outer edges

of their empire. They needed entertainment

to sustain them and the

helpless women and children under

their supervision became ready targets.

The last photo is of a woman

who no longer looks line one. Her

hair is cut short and sticking out

unevenly from her scalp. She is

so emaciated that nothing exists

but the skin covering her skeleton

and her large eyes gazing into the

camera. She’s alive and gnawing

on a piece of bread while holding

it with both hands. I wonder if she

considered herself lucky to be alive

or did she wish she had died with

the other members of her family

Did she even have any thoughts beyond

eating the precious piece of

bread in her hands

Arpa International Film Festival highlights

LOS ANGELES – From October

24 to 26, the 11th Annual

Arpa International Film Festival

will screen 50 films from 21 nations,

including Armenia, Australia,

Canada, China, Congo, Czech

Republic, Ecuador, France, Iran,

Ireland, Italy, Romania, Sri Lanka,

Switzerland, Tobago, Trinidad,

Turkey, UK, and Venezuela.

Festival highlights will include world

premieres of several films, a panel discussion,

and an awards ceremony. The

festival will be held at Hollywood’s

Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood

Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028).

The Arpa International Film Festival

is produced by Arpa Foundation

for Film, Music, and Art (affma),

a nonprofit organization dedicated

to artists exploring issues of

identity, multiculturalism, war, exile,

genocide, and global empathy.

Festival at a glance

Friday, October 24,

Theatre 1/Theatre 2

6:00 p.m. - Shorts Program 1;

My Big Fat Armenian Family

8:00 p.m. – Opening-night film:

The River Ran Red; plus The Flyboys

1:00 p.m. – Strength and Honour;

Familiar Voices

Saturday, October 25,

Theatre 1/Theatre 2

12:00 p.m. - Shorts Program 2;

Yai Wanonanable – Enemy of God

1:45 p.m. - We Drank the Same

Water; filmmaker panel discussion

3:15 p.m. - Mary Apick’s Checkpoint

and Iranian Film; Music Video


6:00 p.m. - Float; Shorts Program


8:00 p.m. - Rita Hayworth

tribute, featuring Blood and Sand;

Shorts Program 4

10:15 p.m. - Sela Maniyo; Children

of the Congo

The Executive Board of the Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools (CASPS) with Archbishop Moushegh


Prelate and Executive Council meet with

casps Executive Board

Sunday, October 26:

Theatre 1

11:00 am - The Kolaborator; The

Morganthau Story; Armenia: An

Open Wound

1:00 p.m. - A Road Less Traveled:

The Handjian Story; S.F. Hye

3:00 p.m. - Darfur Now and Q&A

with Ted Braun

6:00 p.m. - Arpa awards ceremony

- red carpet/cocktail hour

7:00 p.m. - Arpa awards ceremony,

emceed by ReelzChannel’s Jill


9:00 p.m. - Reception

Premieres and a tribute

Arpa’s highlight events include

the world premiere of J. Michael

Hagopian’s The River

Ran Red on the festival’s opening

night, on Friday, October 24,

at 8:00 p.m. The screening will

be followed by a reception copresented

by the Armenian Film


Other Friday highlights include

Mark Mahon’s Strength and

Honour, starring Michael Madsen

and Richard Chamberlain

(10:00 p.m.); Familiar Voices,

with Mia Farrow; and The Flyboys,

starring Jesse James and

Steven Baldwin.

Serge Avedikian’s We Drank

the Same Water will screen on

Saturday, October 25, at 1:45 p.m.,

and Tadeh Daschi’s The Witch

of Portobello, based on Paulo

Coelho’s novel, will screen on at

6:00 p.m.

Later that night, Arpa will present

a new 35mm print of 20th

Century Fox’s Blood and Sand.

On the heels of the Vanity Fair

November cover story featuring

actress Amy Adams as film

icon Rita Hayworth, Arpa will

salute Hayworth’s breakout film,

by director Rouben Mamoulian.

Blood and Sand will screen at

8:00 p.m.


the evening of October 14, the Executive

Board of the Committee

for Armenian Students in Public

Schools (casps) visited the Prelacy,

where it met with Archbishop

Moushegh Mardirossian and

Executive Council Chairman Dr.

Garo Agopian. Former Executive

Council member and Prelacy representative

to casps Dr. Hagop

Der Megerdichian also participated

in the meeting.

The discussion centered on issues

related to Armenian students

attending public schools in Glendale

and North Hollywood and the

support that casps receives from

parents, as well as an update on upcoming

casps projects.

Filmmaker panel


Filmmakers Tadeh Daschi, Hrag

Yedalian, Mark Mahon, Eric Nazarian,

and Roger Kupelian will

discuss their current and upcoming

films during a special program dedicated

to contemporary projects.

The panel event, which will be

held on Saturday, October 25, at

1:45 p.m., is open to all filmmakers,

film students, and festival guests.

The panel will be moderated by producer

Zoe Kevork.

Awards ceremony

The festival will honor award-winning

actress and international activist

Mary Apick with the Arpa Foundation

Award on Sunday, October 26.

The awards ceremony will start at 6:00

p.m. with a red carpet/cocktail hour.

The Arpa Foundation Award will

be presented to Apick by Emmywinning

producer and past Arpa

Foundation Award recipient Robert

Papazian (The Day After, Rome,

Nash Bridges, Coffy). Additionally,

there will be a screening of Apick’s

1987 film, Checkpoint, on Saturday,

October 25, at 3:15 p.m.

Award recipients will also include

Theodore Braun, who will receive

the Armin T. Wegner Award for his

film Darfur Now; and Marco Khan,

who will be named Breakthrough

Artist of the Year for his performances

in 10,000 B.C., Iron Man,

and Don’t Mess with Zohan.

Honorees and award-winners

will be recognized at a ceremony

attended by such celebrities as

Patricia Kara (Deal or No Deal),

Frankie Jay Allison (Miami Vice,

Ocean’s 11), Ken Davitian (Borat),

and the Hollyscoop Girls.

The event will be hosted by ReelzChannel’s

Jill Simonian.


(323) 663-1882

The Prelate and Dr. Agopian

commended casps for its commitment

to the Armenian youth

and reaffirmed the support of the


Later in the evening, the casps

Board members attended the

meeting of the Executive Council

and reported on their work and


The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 7


A night of art in the city that never sleeps

Haik Kocharian

showcases his music

and pictures at New

York’s Drum Lounge

by Antranig Dereyan

On October 16, New York-based

painter, photographer, musician,

and filmmaker Haik Kocharian

held a multimedia event at the

Drum Lounge in New York City.

The showcase program comprised

an exhibition of Kocharian’s photographs,

which were displayed

throughout the venue; a screening

of his film Charlie; and a musical

performance, featuring Kocharian’s

vocals and guitar and accompanied

by a band.

The event was kicked off with a

viewing of the artist’s photos, which

included a wide range of subjects.

Joyce Artinian, an audience member

who was seeing Kocharian’s pictures

for the first time, commented: “I am

fond of the photo with the little girl

sitting on the stoop in front of the

menswear shop as well as the one

with all the pigeons flying around in

front of the lady.”

Charlie, a black and white film,

tells the story of the titular protagonist,

who narrates episodes in

his struggle to extract meaning and

purpose out of the challenges facing

his life. The film was shown on

pbs in July.

“It is the psychological world of

one person, Charlie, who worries

about his financial wellbeing, [so

much so] that he misses out on opportunities

in his life that he should

enjoy,” Kocharian explained. “In a

psychological sense, he kills himself

doing that. He is a murderer of his

own identity because he is constantly

worried about the concept of life

rather than just living through it.”

Charlie resonated with the audience.

“I thought the narration in

the first half was amusing and honest.

Many people can relate to it,”

Artinian said.

Following the movie’s screening,

Kocharian took the stage to perform

a set of his songs.

“I have realized that as I get older,

I experience more and more back

pain, so I am going to start with a

song about back pain, titled ‘Back

Pain,’” he told the audience.

Teeming with sarcastic lyrics,

including biting commentary on

relationships, break-ups, and sex,

Kocharian’s music drew mixed reactions

from the audience, though

sympathetic amusement remained

a constant. Among the songs he

performed were “Naked Man and

Fresno Harvest Festival set for October 31

Haik Kocharian

showcases his art

in photographs

and on stage.

Naked Woman,” a number he has

written when he was a teenager,

and “In and Out.”

Many had high praise for Kocharian’s

style and said he came

across as an engaging storyteller.

“He sings like he is reciting poetry,”

one woman noted. “He is not really

singing but rather telling stories.”

“I think my music is universal and

can connect with every age group

because my subjects are universal,”

Kocharian said. “I feel alive when I

am on the stage. Any reaction I can

evoke, whether laughter, seriousness,

amazement, or even disgust

in many cases, whatever emotion I

can evoke, is a gift.”

Audience member Laurie Harrisen

said of Kocharian: “He is very

sincere in his music and his art in

general. Everyone was entertained

by the humor of the music, but he

is also getting across a serious message

that is common to a lot of us.

[It’s about] loneliness, heartbreak,

and feelings of being stuck in one’s

life. He is a very open person and

he stays true to himself and the

crowd with his music. His set was

like a reel of his life.”

You share the same

community. Discover what

happens when you share

the same experience.

FRESNO, Calif. – The First

Armenian Presbyterian Church

announced that it will celebrate

111 seasons of Thanksgiving by

hosting its Seventh Annual Harvest

Festival on Friday, October 31,

from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. The event

will take place in the Church Fellowship

Hall, 430 South First

Street at Huntington Boulevard

(midway between Huntington

Boulevard and the Kings Canyon/

Ventura Promenade).

The organizers said the festival

is designed for children ages preschool

through sixth grade, their

families, and “for the young at

heart.” Admission is free and open

to the public.

Festival activities and attractions

will include “a gourmet hot

dog dinner, bounce house, carnival

games with candy prizes, the amazing

California Clown, Ringo Bingo,

the ultimate Dance Dance Revolution

experience, Sierra snow cones,

cotton candy, and nonstop popcorn.”

Guests of all ages are invited

to wear friendly costumes to the

“open house” seasonal gathering.

Chartered by pioneering agriculturalists

on July 25, 1897, the First

Armenian Presbyterian Church

is a member congregation of the

Presbyterian Church (USA) and

the Armenian Evangelical Union

of North America. Rev. Mgrdich

Melkonian is senior pastor, Rev.

Aren Balabanian is associate pastor,

and Shant Barsoumian is interim

youth director.


(559) 237-6638

Visit us at

Very Rev.

Fr. Barthev

Gulumian during

his lecture.

Year of Christian Education

lecture series continues

GLENDALE, Calif. – On the

evening of October 14, a lecture

in the Year of Christian of Education

series took place at St. Mary’s

Church in Glendale, under the auspices

of and with the participation

of Arch. Moushegh Mardirossian,


The keynote speaker was Christian

Education Department Codirector,

Very Rev. Fr. Barthev

Gulumian, who was invited by

Master of Ceremonies Mr. Hagop

Tchaghatsbanian to present his

lecture on “How to Foster Christian

Armenian Education in our

Schools and Homes.”

The evening also included an artistic

program, in which members of

the newly-established youth choir

participated with hymns and spiritual

songs, accompanied by choir

organizer Armine Derderian.

The event concluded with the

Prelate’s closing remarks and benediction.

For more information about

Relay For Life or to join an

event near you, visit

or call 1.800.ACS.2345.

Let us know what’s on your mind.

Write to us at

Paint the Town Purple in

celebration of Relay For Life on

May 1, May Day For Relay.


8 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Prelate continues to visit schools

Tavlian Pre-School.

LOS ANGELES – Archbishop

Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate,

continued his visits to Prelacy

schools in the Los Angeles area to

convey his blessings for the 2008-

2009 school year.

On the morning of October 15,

the Prelate visited Levon and Hasmig

Tavlian Pre-School in Pasadena,

where he was greeted by director

Helen Manoucherian and school

administrators. The Prelate was

accompanied by St. Sarkis Church

Pastor Rev. Fr. Khoren Babochian,

Board of Trustees and Ladies’

Auxiliary members, and Board of

Regents member Maggie Sarkouni.

The students had prepared

a program for the Prelate, which

they performed during his visits to

the classrooms. The Prelate spoke

to the students about the parable

of the Good Shepherd and presented

them with religious and educational


In the afternoon, the Prelate visited

Armenian Mesrobian School,

accompanied by the pastors of

Holy Cross Cathedral, Rev. Fathers

Nareg Pehlivanian and Ashod

Kambourian, Board of Trustees

members, and Mrs. Sarkouni.

They were welcomed by Principal

Hilda Saliba and administrators.

The Prelate visited classrooms and

conveyed his blessings and good

wishes to the students.

On October 17, the Prelate visited

the North Hills and Encino

campuses of Ferrahian School.

The day began with a visit to ars

Ashkhen Pilavjian Pre-School in

North Hills.

The Prelate was accompanied

by Holy Martyrs Church Pastor

Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian,

Executive Council member

Khatchig Yeretzian, Board

of Trustees Chairman Vartan

Minassian, and Board of Regents

member Dr. Al Tomassian.

They were welcomed by

Principal John Kossakian, Director

Vehik Gabrielian, and

administrators. There took place

an artistic program, in which renowned

singer Alla Levonian

participated. Afterwards the

Prelate conveyed his message to

the students.

At Ferrahian’s Encino campus,

the Prelate attended a celebration

of Armenian Culture Month

presented by the students at

Avedissian Hall. The event also

included a lecture by Christian

Education Co-director Very Rev.

Fr. Barthev Gulumian. The

event concluded with the Prelate’s

remarks, blessings, and

good wishes.

Los Angeles City and California State employees celebrate

diversity and learn about all things Armenian

LOS ANGELES – On October

15, as Disability and Diversity

Day 2008 was celebrated

by employees of the California

Department of Transportation

(Caltrans) and the City of Los

Angeles Department of Transportation

(ladot), Armenian

culture was prominently showcased

at the event. The celebrations

took place across the

street from the Los Angeles-Yerevan

sister city sign in downtown

Los Angeles.

The Armenian presence at the

event was made possible by a

small group of Armenian employees

of Caltrans, who set up

a booth to tell their colleagues

about all things Armenian. Visitors

could view maps of Armenia

and displays of Armenian costumes

and art, as well as listen to

Armenian music.

Organizer Shahe Terjimanian,

who has worked as a transportation

engineer at Caltrans since

1991, told the Armenian Reporter

that there are about 30 Armenians

currently working in Caltrans’ new,

state-of-the-art building.


39 Broadway, Suite 950, New York, New York 10006

(646) 459-7556 or (718) 751-5254

Representing people who have suffered catastrophic injuries

Construction accidents

Slip/trip and falls

Defective products

Train/airplane accidents

Nursing home negligence

Also speaks Armenian and Russian

Car/bus/truck accidents

Elevator/escalator accidents

Fire and explosion

Negligent supervision/security

Animal attacks

“After several years of witnessing

Diversity Day without Armenia being

represented, I volunteered to

represent Armenia this year,” Terjimanian

said. “I designed our banner


had our graphics department

print it out. I knew that everyone

knew about Mount Ararat, but not

everyone knew that it was a national

symbol of Armenia and all

Armenians. I also added the [Armenian]

flag and alphabet to complete

the banner. I got many Armenians

in Caltrans and city employees involved.”

Helping Terjimanian were Garabed

Kevorkian from Caltrans

and Vahan Pezeshkian from

ladot, who worked on the Armenian

fliers that were handed out to

those visiting the booth.

Also on hand was Steven Dadaian

from Caltrans, who spoke

to those gathered about Armenian

musical instruments. Dadaian

subsequently introduced Jivan

Gasparyan, Jr. and fellow

band members oudist Antranig

Kzirian and bassist Vicken

Momjian, who performed a selection

of their music. Terjimanian

estimates that some one

thousand state and city employees

turned out to listen to the


Karine Partamian from Caltrans

pitched in by providing

most of the displays at the Armenian

booth, and Arthur Vardanyan

from Caltrans prepared a

PowerPoint presentation about


“Our aim was to offer non-Armenians

a chance to envision Armenia

through their experience

at the booth, taste Armenian

delicacies,” Terjimanian said. The

delicacies didn’t have to come

from far; they were freshly prepared

by Harry Begian, whose

coffee shop is located inside

Above: From left,

Alec Mardirossian,

Karine Partamian,

Arthur Vardanyan,

Barkef Karapetian,







and Shahe

Terjimanian. Left:

Playing Armenian


the Caltrans Building on Main


Terjimanian said that when Armenian

music was being played, a

handful of Armenians started a

shurch bar (circle dance). Organizers

hope to book a professional

Armenian dance group for next

year’s Disability and Diversity


“One of the most interested

visitors, who was a fellow employee

at Caltrans, told me that

he never knew our history was

‘that old,’” Terjimanian said. “He

asked if it was as ancient as the

Persians’, and I answered that it

was just as old.”

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 9


In pursuit of inner truths

Nancy Agabian’s new

memoir chronicles

her ongoing quest

for self-discovery

by Karine Chakarian

Nancy Agabian’s new memoir, Me

as her again: True Stories of an Armenian

Daughter, comes with a

warning. “Nonfiction advisory

Armenian gossips and busybodies

beware,” the author writes. “If you

happen to know my family members

and believe they are described

in this memoir, you will come down

on the wrong side of fiction versus

nonfiction. They are lovely people

and don’t deserve to be judged as

they appear in this text.”

Published by Aunt Lute Books,

Me as her again is Agabian’s third

book. It begins with the time when

she had just moved to Los Angeles,

at 22, and reminiscences of writing

poetry and growing up in an

Armenian family – which led her

to a pursuit of self-discovery. Agabian

is careful to note that because

the book is based on memory and

memory is fiction, two people can

remember an event in completely

different ways. “I feel very protective

of my family and don’t want

people to misunderstand them,”

she says. “I also think that a book

is a book and separate from the

people it’s about.”


first bell sounded for the Hovnanian

School of New Jersey on

September 8, marking the beginning

of a new academic year for

kindergarteners to 8th graders.

The Early Learning Center (ELC),

nursery, and pre-kindergarten

returned one day later, on September

9. After a few days, all

the students were acclimated to

their new “homes” and the novelty

in their daily lives. However,

each year is different, as exciting

things happen every day at the


Tuesday, September 23, was

Back to School night. The multipurpose

room was teeming with

parents who had come to meet

with the new teachers as well as

the inveterate faculty. After the

opening remarks and introduction

of the faculty by Principal Anahid

Garmiryan, school nurse Carole

Apkarian shared health issues

with the parents. Lydia Baldassarre,

librarian, spoke about the

activities in the library to bring

about a new generation of readers.

Karen Nargizian, co-chair of the

PTO, reviewed the past and present

activities of the organization.

Conceiving a medley of fiction

and nonfiction is not new to Agabian,

who has spent years creating

performance art based on life experience.

All about identity

Born in Massachusetts, Agabian

began writing poetry after receiving

a B.A. in art and moving to

Los Angeles. Literary expression

became a tool she learned to use

for personal development. “I was

writing to explore truth,” she says.

Her musings led to poetry readings,

which eventually developed into

one-woman performances encompassing

universal motifs of sexual

and racial identity. The era was the

1990s. “It was a close-knit art community

and everyone was working

around the same themes at the

time,” she says. She would conceal

these autobiographical shows

from her relatives for years as she

grappled with the same topics she

wrote about.

In Los Angeles she would go on

to collaborate with Anne Perich to

form the folk-punk duo Guitar Boy.

Together they would produce a collection

of unconventional songs

about the art world and popular

culture. Their CD, Freaks like me,

released in 2000, is an eclectic collection

of songs with titles like “I

Could have Saved Kurt Cobain” and

“Don’t Fall off the Getty Center.”

It was also during this time that

Agabian published her first book,

Princess Freak, a collection of poems

and performance-art text, and

taught workshops at literary and

The assembly over, parents met

with teachers in the classrooms

and learned about the academic

program of this year.

On Thursday, September 25, 6th-

8th graders went to the St. Vartan

Cathedral in New York City and

participated in the welcome ceremony

for the president of Armenia,

Serge Sargsian. It was a long

trip, but as 7th-grader Melissa

Kinoian remarked, “It is not every

day that you can meet a president,”

after presenting the president

with flowers and a special

memento prepared by the class.

The school had several special

visitors too. On Monday, September

22, Ara Papian, former ambassador

of Armenia to Canada,

visited the school in commemoration

of Armenia’s Independence

Day. In a roundtable discussion

with 7th and 8th graders, he offered

a history of the Treaties of

Sèvres and Lausanne to the students’

rapt attention and interest.

On Wednesday, September 24,

Archbishop Norvan Zakarian,

primate of the Armenian Diocese

of France, paid a special visit to the

school during a trip to New York. “I

was looking forward to seeing the

Nancy Agabian.

art centers like Beyond Baroque,

where she encouraged others to tell

their life stories.

After spending nine years in Los

Angeles, the life of a struggling artist

and the material she had created

about her experiences forced

Agabian to reevaluate her direction.

She shifted gears, received a threeyear

fellowship to attend Columbia

University, and moved to New York.

It was there, at the Columbia University

School of the Arts’ Writing

Division, that she would further

develop her prose. Me as her again

would become the fruit of this labor.

The power of roots

Agabian’s journey in the book begins

with her memories of growing

up Armenian in America. “We

weren’t really meshed in an Armenian

community,” Agabian states

about her family. “I went to Armenian

church and Friday-afternoon

Armenian school, but as a kid it felt

really foreign to me.”

The pressure of assimilation and

her identity as an Armenian-American

led her, at the age of 30, to

Turkey with her artist aunt to find

her grandmother. Back home in the

United States, she would have her

grandmother’s audio tapes translated

to English in order to learn

more about her family’s history.

While Agabian knew that her

grandmother was a Genocide survivor,

the magnitude of what that

meant didn’t resonate with her until

she began writing and imagined

what it was that her grandmother

had experienced. “It forced me to

mourn something I didn’t know I

had to mourn,” she says.

Fulbright Scholar in


In 2005, Agabian was invited by

an organization called Utopiana

to perform in Armenia. The developing

republic’s struggle to define

itself in its new geopolitical role

touched a familiar nerve in Agabian.

“There were so many struggles

for people to survive and so many

different ideas,” she says.

She was awarded a Fulbright

Scholarship, which allowed her to

return to Armenia the following

year. She recalls: “My idea was to

write about the artists as a way to

write about the social issues: the

way woman’s roles were changing,

school I have heard so much about,”

he said.

Finally, on Wednesday, October

1, Dr. Lilit Galstyan, a member of

the Armenian parliament and executive

director of the Hamazkayin

cultural and educational organization

in Armenia, paid a visit to the

school and saw several classes in


the way that gay people weren’t

really coming out but there were

the first expressions of people who

were gay and meeting each other.”

In the year she spent in Armenia,

Agabian taught at Yerevan

University, kept a blog to record

her observations, and was awarded

a second grant through CEC Arts

Link, which enabled her to conduct

writing workshops at the Women’s

Resource Center.

It was also in Armenia that she

would co-write her second book,

In the Unspace, a collection of writings

on the theme of Armenian

women’s identity. Agabian’s contribution

is written in English and

in journal style. The other two authors,

Shushan Avagyan and Lara

Aharonian, wrote in Armenian and

French, respectively. Avagyan combined

personal experience with

her literary critique of Micheline

Aharonian Marcom’s book The Daydreaming

Boy, and Lara Aharonian

drew from her experiences at the

Woman’s Resource Center to explore

her life’s journey.

Appearances at Beyond Baroque

and Abril Bookstore in Glendale

were only short forays during

Agabian’s recent West Coast booksigning

tour to promote Me as her

again. Before the second leg of her

tour, she returned to New York to

continue teaching creative-writing

classes at Queens College and begin

work on a new book, which will

depict her experiences in Armenia.

For more information on Nancy

Agabian’s books, visit her website


The Hovnanian School starts new school year with a slew of activities

Orthodox Prayer Service to be hosted at St. Vartan


School students

and principal


Garmiryan (c.)

with President

Serge Sargsian

of Armenia and

Abp. Khajag


Between the

president and

the principal

is Amb. Tatoul


On October 11, the Hovnanian

Alumni School started its third year

of Saturday activities, with graduates

of the classes of 2006–2008 attending.

Open to UN

community, general


NEW YORK – Members of the

United Nations community and

Orthodox Christians in the New

York metro area will gather for

the annual Orthodox Prayer Service

and reception at St. Vartan

Armenian Cathedral in New York

on Thursday, October 30 at 6:30


Archbishop Khajag Barsamian,

Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian

Church of America (Eastern),

will preside over the service

and deliver the homily. Ambassador

Negash Kebret Botora,

permanent representative of the

Federal Democratic Republic of

Ethiopia to the United Nations,

will speak after the service. Raffi

V. Balian, a foreign service officer

at the U.S. Department of State

and a member of the Diocesan

Legate’s Committee, will serve as

master of ceremonies. The theme

for this year’s event will reflect

the UN Millennium Development

Goal to stamp out poverty and inequality.

Organized under the auspices of

the Standing Conference of Canonical

Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

and the Standing Conference of

Oriental Orthodox Churches, the

Orthodox Prayer Service is a tradition

begun in 2001 to give Orthodox

Christians an opportunity to

come together for worship and to

learn more about each other’s culture

and heritage by engaging with

representatives from the United


For Armenian-Americans, the

event has been particularly important

as it builds upon the community’s

relationship with the United

Nations at a time when increased

attention is drawn to the geopolitical

situation in the Middle East

and Armenia.

The prayer service was last held at

St. Vartan Cathedral in 2006. This

year, as the Cathedral marks its

40 anniversary, it will once again

welcome clergy, ambassadors and

members of the general public for

an evening of worship and conversation.

For more information, please

call Maral Serce at the Diocesan




10 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Support our friends running for


Artur Davis (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

American Samoa

Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D.), a

member of the House Foreign Affairs

Committee, voted in favor of

the H.Res. 106.


Ed Pastor (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Gabrielle Giffords (D.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res.


Raul Grijalva (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


See last week’s Reporter.


Diana DeGette (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Ed Perlmutter (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Salazar (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Marilyn Musgrave (R.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Chris Murphy (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Chris Shays (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Joe Courtney (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Larson (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Rosa DeLauro (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

District of Columbia

Eleonor Holmes Norton (D.), a

member of the Armenian Caucus

and co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106.


Gus Bilirakis (R.), a member of

the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res.

106. A member of the Armenian

Caucus, he spoke at the September

2008 Capitol Hill Karabakh event

Kendrick Meek (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Mario Diaz-Balart (R.), a cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Ron Klein (D.), a member of the

House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.


Jack Kingston (R.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Jim Marshall (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Barrow (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Lewis (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.


Madeleine Bordallo (D.), a cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Mazie Hirono (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Neil Abercrombie (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Bobby Rush (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Dan Lipinski (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Danny Davis (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Donald Manzullo (R.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res.


Janice Schakowsky (D.), a member

of the House Caucus on Armenian

Issues and co-sponsor of the

H.Res. 106.

Jerry Costello (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Jesse Jackson (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Luis Gutierrez (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Mark Kirk (R.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. He supported

Rep. Knollenberg’s July 2008

amendment to eliminate a $3.9 million

allocation of military aid to


Melissa Bean (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Peter Roskam (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Phil Hare (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.


Julia Carson (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Mark Souder (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Peter Visclosky (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Bruce Braley (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


John Yarmuth (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Charlie Melancon (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Michael Michaud (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


John Sarbanes (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Steny Hoyer

The House majority leader, Mr.

Hoyer stood firmly for the Armenian

Genocide resolution

in the face of vitriolic attacks

jointly orchestrated last October

by the Bush administration and

the Turkish lobby.

Chris Van Hollen

Mr. Van Hollen is one of the

members of the House Democratic

leadership who stood on

principle and rejected pressure

to forsake the Armenian Genocide

resolution last October.


Ed Markey (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Markey cosigned

a letter asking for extra aid

to Armenia in the wake of the war

in Georgia.

James McGovern (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and

co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106. Mr.

McGovern attended the 2008 Congressional

commemoration of the

Genocide and co-signed a letter

asking for extra aid to Armenia in

the wake of the war in Georgia.

John Olver (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Tierney (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Barney Frank

A member of the House Democratic

leadership, Mr. Frank

spoke at the September 2008

Capitol Hill Karabakh event and

co-signed a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of

the war in Georgia.

The Armenian Reporter and the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC) jointly urge

Armenian-Americans to support our friends running for the House of Representatives. Last

week, we focused on the California delegation. This week we consider the rest of the nation.

In our endorsements, as always we have given special consideration to members of the

Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. We have considered candidates’ interest in and

support of Armenian-American issues, including co-sponsorship and support of H. Res. 106,

which affirms the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide. We have also noted where members

have taken additional steps to support the Armenian-American agenda in Congress.

In several cases, we urge Armenian-Americans to oppose members who have opposed or

withdrawn their support of House Resolution 106. The House Foreign Affairs Committee

adopted the resolution in October 2007 over the very strong opposition of the Bush administration

and the Turkish lobby. That led to an even more intense effort to kill the resolution

as it headed for the floor of the full House. The administration and the Turkish lobby mobilized

their resources across the country, making the fight for the resolution a top story for

most news organizations for a few days.

This was a seminal matter. Members of Congress were being asked by the administration and

a foreign state to suppress a proud chapter of American history – the efforts of the State Department,

Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, and U.S. consuls in the Ottoman provinces in 1915–17 to

save the Armenians, and the broad response of the American people to appeals for help. Why

Because an American ally, Turkey, was blackmailing the United States: If the resolution was

adopted, the Turkish prime minister wrote ominously in the Wall Street Journal for October 19,

2007, Turkey, would take action that would “not be in the interests of either the U.S. or Turkey.”

We could not and cannot accept that the appropriate U.S. response to such a threat would

be to coddle the Turkish government.

On Election Day, November 4, let the Armenian-American voice be heard loud and clear at

the polls.


Michael Capuano (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Niki Tsongas (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Richard Neal (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Steve Lynch (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Lynch

co-signed a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of the

war in Georgia.

William Delahunt (D.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res.

106. He is a member of the Armenian



Candice Miller (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Joe Knollenberg

A co-chair of the House Caucus

on Armenian Issues – in a competitive

race – Mr. Knollenberg,

a Republican, has tirelessly led

efforts to move the Armenian-

American agenda forward in

Congress. This summer he fought

to eliminate a $3.9 million allocation

of military aid to Azerbaijan.

(He had heralded his intentions

in an article for the Armenian Reporter,

“Enough is enough, Azerbaijan,”

June 21, p. 22.)

Thaddeus McCotter

The chair of the GOP Policy

Committee, Mr. McCotter cosigned

a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of

the war in Georgia.

Dale Kildee (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Dave Camp (R.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Conyers (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Mike Rogers (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Sander Levin (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Tim Walberg (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Betty McCollum (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and

co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106. Ms.

McCollum attended the 2008 Congressional

commemoration of the


Collin Peterson (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Peterson

Ashwin Madia

Mr. Madia, a Democrat, is running

for an open seat. In meetings

with Armenian-Americans, he

has spoken clearly of his support

for Armenian-American issues.

Tim Walz

A leader among first-term members

of Congress, Mr. Walz, a

Democrat, has been an outspoken

supporter of the Armenian-

American agenda. He spoke at

the September 2008 Capitol Hill

Karabakh event.

co-signed a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of the

war in Georgia.

Keith Ellison (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Michele Bachmann (R.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Emanuel Cleaver (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Wm. Lacy Clay (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Bennie Tompson (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

North Carolina

G.K. Butterfield (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Melvin Watt (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 11

the armenian


the House of Representatives


Jon Porter (R.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Shelley Berkley

Ms. Berkley, a supporter of the

Armenian Genocide resolution,

spoke at the September 2008

Capitol Hill Karabakh event. She

is a Democrat.

New Hampshire

Paul Hodes (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Joseph Bradley

Mr. Bradley, a Republican and a

supporter of Armenian-American

issues, seeks to reclaim a seat he

lost in 2006 to Carol Shea-Porter

– who co-signed a letter in opposition

to the Armenian Genocide.

New Jersey

Albio Sires (D.), a member of the

House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.

Frank Pallone, Jr.

A co-chair of the House Caucus

on Armenian Issues, Mr. Pallone,

a Democrat, has tirelessly

led efforts to move the Armenian-American

agenda forward

in Congress. He has campaigned

for increased U.S. engagement

with Karabakh outside the mediation


Christopher Smith (R.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs

Committee, voted in favor of the

H.Res. 106. He is a veteran member

of the Armenian Caucus.

Donald Payne (D.), a member of

the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.

A member of the Armenian Caucus,

he co-signed a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of

the war in Georgia.

Frank LoBiondo (R.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Robert Andrews (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Rodney Flelinghuysen (R.), a cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Rush Holt (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Scott Garrett (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Garrett

co-signed a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of the

war in Georgia.

Steve Rothman (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Rothman

spoke at the September 2008 Capitol

Hill Karabakh event.

New York

Anthony Weiner (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Carolyn Maloney (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and

co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106. Ms.

Maloney attended the 2008 Congressional

commemoration of the

Genocide and co-signed a letter

asking for extra aid to Armenia in

the wake of the war in Georgia.

Carolyn McCarthy (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Charles Rangel (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Edolphus Towns (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Eliot Engel (D.), a member of the

House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.

He is a member of the Armenian


Gary Ackerman (D.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res.

106. He is a member of the Armenian


Jerrold Nadler (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

John Hall (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

John McHugh (R.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Jose Serrano (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Joseph Crowley (D.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res.

106. He is a member of the Armenian


Kirsten Gillibrand (D.), a cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Maurice Hinchey (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Michael Arcuri (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Nita Lowey (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. (However, as

chair of the Foreign Aid Subcommittee,

she opposed Rep. Knollenberg’s

amendment to eliminate a

$3.9 million allocation of military

aid to Azerbaijan.)

Nydia Velazquez (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Steve Israel (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Tim Bishop (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Yvette Clarke (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Betty Sutton (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Dennis Kucinich (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Steve Chabot (R.), a member of

the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.

Steven LaTourette (R.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Tim Ryan (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

David Krikorian

Mr. Krikorian is an Armenian-

American activist running as an

independent in what local media

characterize as a “wide open” race.

Zach Space (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


David Wu (D.), a member of the

House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.

Earl Blumenauer (D.) a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Peter DeFazio (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Allyson Schwartz (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Chaka Fattah (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Fattah

co-signed a letter asking for extra

aid to Armenia in the wake of the

war in Georgia.

Charles Dent (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Jim Gerlach (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Joseph Pitts (R.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Mike Doyle (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Robert Brady (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

We oppose


Jeff Flake (R.), a member of the

Foreign Affairs Committee, he voted

against the H.Res. 106 and was publicly

dismissive of Armenian-American

concerns during the debate.


Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R.), Ranking

Member of the Foreign Affairs

Committee – and of the Armenian

Caucus – she voted against the

H.Res. 106.

Robert Wexler (D.), co-chair of the

Turkish Caucus and an outspoken

opponent of Armenian-American

concerns. A member of the Foreign

Affairs Committee, he voted against

the H.Res. 106.


Rahm Emanuel (D.) worked

against the H.Res. 106.


Dan Burton (R.), an outspoken

opponent of Armenian-American

concerns. A member of the Foreign

Affairs Committee, he voted against

the H.Res. 106.


Ed Whitfield (R.) worked against

the H.Res. 106 in October 2007. He

is a co-chair of the Turkish Caucus.

Rhode Island

James Langevin (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106. Mr. Langevin

co-signed a letter asking for

extra aid to Armenia in the wake of

the war in Georgia.

Patrick Kennedy (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and

co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106. Mr.

Kennedy spoke at the September

2008 Capitol Hill Karabakh event

and co-signed a letter asking for

extra aid to Armenia in the wake of

the war in Georgia.

South Dakota

Stephanie Herseth Sandli (D.), a

member of the Armenian Caucus

and co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106.


Zach Wamp (R.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.


Al Green (D.), a co-sponsor of the

H.Res. 106.

Charles Gonsalez (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Ciro Rodriguez (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Gene Green (D.), a member of the

House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.

Kenny Marchant (R.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Lloyd Doggett (D.), a member of

the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Michael McCaul (R.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

received a call from President

Bush in opposition to the

H.Res. 106. Mr. McCaul voted in

favor of the Genocide resolution.

Sheila Jackson Lee (D.), a member

of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

voted in favor of the H.Res. 106.


Jim Matheson (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Russ Carnahan (D.), a member of

the Foreign Affairs Committee, he

voted against the H.Res. 106. He

was a co-sponsor of the resolution

but withdrew his co-sponsorship.

North Carolina

Virginia Foxx (R.) worked against

the H.Res. 106. She is active in the

Azerbaijani and Turkish caucuses.

New York

Gregory Meeks (D.), a member

of the Foreign Affairs Committee

and of the Armenian Caucus, he

voted against the H.Res. 106.

Puerto Rico

Luis Fortuno (R.), a member

of the Foreign Affairs Committee

and of the Armenian Caucus

– he voted against the H.Res. 106

– after a call from President Bush.

He was a co-sponsor of the resolution

but withdrew his co-sponsorship.


Bill Shuster (R.) worked against

the H.Res. 106. He is co-chair of the

Azerbaijani Caucus.

John Murtha (D.), a member of

the Democratic leadership, broke

with Speaker Pelosi and Majority

Virgin Islands

Donna Christensen (D.), a cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


Frank Wolf (R.), a co-sponsor of the

H.Res. 106, attended the 2008 Congressional

Genocide commemoration.

Eric Cantor

A member of the House Republican

leadership, Mr. Cantor has

been supportive of Armenian-

American issues.

Jim Moran (D.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Robert Scott (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.


Brian Baird (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R.), a

co-sponsor of the H.Res. 106.

David Reichert (R.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Jim McDermott (D.), a member

of the Armenian Caucus and cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.


James Sensenbrenner (R.), a cosponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Paul Ryan (R.), a member of the

Armenian Caucus and co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

Ron Kind (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Steve Kagen (D.), a co-sponsor of

the H.Res. 106.

Tammy Baldwin (D.), a co-sponsor

of the H.Res. 106.

A word of thanks – see page 19m

Leader Hoyer on the issue of the

H.Res. 106; he co-organized a press

conference against the resolution.

(He is running unopposed, however.)


Steve Cohen (D.) worked against

the H.Res. 106. He co-organized a

press conference against the resolution.


Kay Granger (R.) worked against

the H.Res. 106. She is a co-chair of

the Turkish Caucus.

Ruben Hinojosa (D.) a member

of the Foreign Affairs Committee

and a co-sponsor of the H.Res.

106 -- he voted against the resolution.

Solomon Ortiz (D.) worked

against the H.Res. 106. He is a cochair

of the Azerbaijani Caucus.

Ted Poe (R.), a member of the

Foreign Affairs Committee, he voted

against the H.Res. 106. He is an

outspoken opponent of Armenian-

American concerns.


Adam Smith (D.), a member of

the Foreign Affairs Committee

and of the Armenian Caucus -- he

voted against the H.Res. 106.

12 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Armenian, Greek supporters of Obama in New York to host

joint fundraiser

NEW YORK – With a little more

than two weeks to go in the 2008

presidential election, Armenian-

American and Greek-American

supporters of the Obama-Biden

ticket in Manhattan will show their

support by hosting a fundraiser.

The event, which will take place

on October 28 at Lafayette Bar and

Grill in downtown Manhattan, will

feature community figures from

the Armenian and Greek communities,

as well as actor Tate Donovan,

an Obama supporter.

“This is a great opportunity for

Armenians and Greeks to come

together and rally for the Obama-

Biden ticket,” commented Nicole

Vartanian, Armenians for Obama

New York activist. “Both senators

have proven to have solid support

on Armenian and Greek American

issues, and come November 4th, it

will be a true victory for all Americans

when Obama wins the presidency.”

In January of 2008 Senator

Obama released a statement to the

Armenian-American community

expressing his support on key issues

on US-Armenian relations,

recognition of the Armenian Genocide,

a peaceful settlement of the

Nagorno-Karabagh conflict in-line

with the principles of self-determination

and democracy, and working

to end the Turkish and Azerbaijani

blockades of Armenia.

Mr. Obama has also called for an

end of the Turkish occupation of





Above: Armenians for Obama NY activist Karine Birazian

and actor Tate Donovan at Obama fundraiser in nyc. Left:

Armenians for Obama NY activist Nicole Vartanian with

actress Sarah Jessica Parker at Runway for Change event

in nyc.

Gary Ishkhanian, a headache authority, was appointed medical

director of Mount Vernon Hospital

Gary Ishkhanian.


Iskhanian, MD, was appointed

medical director of the Mount Vernon

Hospital, a 196-bed community-based

teaching hospital.

Dr. Ishkanian is a graduate of

Fordham University; he received his

medical degree from St. George’s

University School of Medicine in

Grenada. He completed his residency

at Mount Vernon Hospital,

where he served as chief medical

resident and was awarded the Francis

T. Rogliaro Award for outstanding

medical resident.

A diplomate of the American

Board of Internal Medicine, a diplomate

the American Board of Quality

Assurance and Utilization Review

Physicians Organization, and

a fellow of the American College of

Physicians, Dr. Ishkhanian is also

a member of the American Headache

Society, the National Headache

Foundation, and the International

Headache Society.

Dr. Ishkanian is an assistant

clinical professor of medicine

and the director of primary care

for the Department of Medicine

of St. George’s University School

of Medicine as well as an adjunct

assistant clinical professor

of medicine at New York Medical

College. He is also a faculty

member of the Internal Medicine

Residency Training Program

at Mount Vernon Hospital; this

program accepts only 24 highly

qualified medical school graduates

yearly from an application

pool of thousands.

Since 1991, Dr. Ishkhanian has

been a member of the medical staff

at Mount Vernon Hospital, and he

joined the medical staff at Sound

Shore Medical Center in 1998. Dr.

Ishkanian has also been on staff at

a number of area long-term care

facilities – including most recently,

the Wartburg Adult Care Community.

Dr. Ishkanian is also in private

practice in Mount Vernon.

His expertise in his specialty has

resulted in Dr. Ishkanian’s involvement

as principal investigator in

numerous clinical research trials

on headache and in the publication

of many peer-reviewed papers on

the subject.


The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 13


Calendar of Events

New York


2 - Nancy Agabian reads from

“Me as her again: True Stories of

an Armenian Daughter.” SUN-

DAY, OCTOBER 26, 3 - 4:30 pm,

LGBT Center, Room 410, 208 W.

13th Street, NYC 10011, btwn

7th and 8th Aves, $1-$5 donation.

Sunday, November 2, 7

pm, Bluestockings Bookstore,

172 Allen Street, NYC btwn

Stanton and Rivington, NYC

10002, Free. Info:




the Garden City Hotel, Garden

City, NY. 5 P.M. - 10 P.M. Featuring

Arthur Apkarian and

his band. Price per person $150.

For reservations, please call

Arlene Aprahamian at (516)

365-7808 or Adele Aghazadian

at (516) 365-1044 by October




WITH DIABETES” comprehensive

workshop for the general

public sponsored by AAHPO

(Armenian American Health

Professionals Organization) at

7:00 pm. at the Armenian Society,

39-03 Little Neck Parkway,

Little Neck, Queens, NY with

the participation of nine prominent

medical professionals. No

charge for the workshop. Limited

seating. For further information

please call AAHPO officers

Dr. Larry Najarian (908)

781-2020, cell (908) 451-3746 or

Dr. Arthur Kubikian at (718) 786-




ZAAR & MUSIC. Sponsored by

Holy Cross church of Armenia,

580 W. 187th Street, NYC. Traditional

Armenian dishes &

pastries, choereg, katah, keshkeg,

karput, keofteh, manti,

simit, etc. Food to eat or to

take home. Call in advance,

for your orders. Sunday after

Church service from 12 noon

to 6:00 p.m.




DATE! Fourth annual NYC party.

Hosts: AGBU Young Professionals

of Greater NY, Armenian

Network Greater NY Region, NY

Armenian Students’ Assoc, AYF-

YOARF NY Hyortik Chapter,

AYF-YOARF NJ Arsen Chapter.

21+ w/ proper ID. Portion of

proceeds will go to Armenian

educational causes in NY/NJ

and Armenia/Karabagh. More

details to come.

DECEMBER 7 - Christmas

Family Brunch sponsored by

Armenian American Health Professional


at Clinton Inn,Tenefly NJ. Hold

the date.



the Friends of HMADS and

PTO at The Armenian Church

of the Martyrs Kalustyan Hall

8:00 p.m. featuring Varujan Vartanian

and his band with hors

d’oeuvres, full dinner and Champagne.

DJ and Santa Claus for

the kids. Adults: $ 100, Children

under 14: $ 60.For reservations

please call: school office: (718)

225 4826, Nyda: (516) 603 2809,

Shakay (516) 398 0410, Hovsep:

(718) 225 2515.

MARCH 28, 2009 - SAVE THE

DATE! ARS Centennial Gala

Banquet at the prestigious Yale

Club of NYC. Details to follow.


MAY 16, 2009- SAVE THE

DATE! HMADS Gala Dinner

Dance at Russo’s on the Bay. Details

to follow, for information

please call: (718) 225 4826.

New Jersey

OCTOBER 25 - Gala celebration

of the 50th Anniversary

of the Prelacy of the Armenian

Apostolic Church of

America under the jurisdiction

of the Great House of

Cilicia and the 110th anniversary

of the establishment

of the Armenian Church in

America. Marriott at Glenpointe,

Teaneck, New Jersey.

Details to follow.

OCTOBER 25 & 26 - FALL


- sponsored by St. Thomas Armenian

Church, E. Clinton

Avenue & Rt. 9W, Tenafly, NJ.

Sat. 12 -10 PM, Sun.12 - 6 PM.

Shish Kebab, Homemade Desserts

& Armenian Gourmet

Foods; RUG SALE !!! Performances

by AKH’TAMAR Dance

Ensemble on Saturday and

ANTRANIG Dance Ensemble

on SundayVendor Booths, Armenian

Bookstore & Artifacts,

Jewelry, Raffles, “White Elephant,”

Face Painting, CARNI-

VAL RIDES, & DJ Music. Free

admission and parking! For

more information call 201/567-

5446 or visit,

click on

calendar or directions.


NOVEMBER 2 — Sts. Vartanantz

Armenian Church Annual

Bazaar & Food Festival. 461 Bergen

Blvd, Ridgefield, NJ. Fri 5-

10PM, Sat 4-11PM, Sun 12-4PM.

Fabulously delicious Armenian

food homemade by the community

of Sts. Vartanantz. Shish

kebab, Armenian pastries, boutique

vendors! Live music Saturday

night! And a festival of fun

for the kids. Free admission. We

welcome everyone! Questions...

call the Church Office 201-943-






CENTER. Immediately following

Divine Liturgy. Ceremonies

will be presided by His

Eminence Archbishop Khajag

Barsamian. Reservation

deadline: Oct. 26. Adults: $25/

children under 14: $10. Mail

checks to: Diane Zoraian, 35

Colonial Drive, Allendale, NJ

07401. For more information

call the church office, (201)


NOVEMBER 15 & 16 — Tekeyan

Cultural Association Mher

Megerdchian Theatrical Group

presents Raffy Shart’s “My

Wife’s Name is Maurice” — a

comedy in One Act directed by

Harout Chatmajian. Oradell Elementary

School, 350 Prospect

Avenue, Oradell, NJ. Saturday,

November 15th at 8:00 pm and

Sunday, November 16th at 4:00

pm. Tickets: $35 and $25. For

more information and/or tickets,

please call Marie Zokian at

201-947-4365, Maro Hajakian

at 201-934-3427, Noushig Atamian

at 718-894-5878 or Missak

Boghosian at 212-819-0097.



WITH DIABETES” comprehensive

workshop for the general

public sponsored by AAHPO

(Armenian American Health

Professionals Organization) at

7:00 pm. at the Armenian Society,

39-03 Little Neck Parkway,

Little Neck, Queens, NY with

the participation of nine prominent

medical professionals. No

charge for the workshop. Limited

seating. For further information

please call AAHPO officers

Dr. Larry Najarian (908)

781-2020, cell (908) 451-3746 or

Dr. Arthur Kubikian at (718) 786-


DECEMBER 6 - Taline, Friends

& Santa Christmas Concert. At

St. Thomas Armenian Church

,E. Clinton & Highway 9W,

Tenafly, N.J. Sat.1:30 PM &

5:00 PM.Includes lunch/dinner.

Call Mary Ann, (201)871-9111;

Martha, (201)568-5315; Sirvart,

(201)265-5230; Church Office,


DECEMBER 7 - Christmas

Family Brunch sponsored by

Armenian American Health Professional


at Clinton Inn,Tenefly NJ. Hold

the date.

DECEMBER 31 – Sts. Vartanantz

Annual New Year’s Eve

Gala. At the Sheraton Meadowlands,

East Rutherford, NJ. Live

Music, open bar, mezze, full

dinner, desserts, prizes. Supervision

and Santa Claus for the



NOVEMBER 15, 2009 - SAVE


ONE CULTURE” A Cultural Festival

organized by Hamazkayin

Eastern USA Regional Executive,

with the participation of Traditional

Armenian Dance Ensembles

& Music Groups. SUNDAY,

NOVEMBER 15, 2009. Felician

College Lodi, New Jersey. Details

to Follow.



VEST BAZAAR, Saturday,

Noon – 8 PM. First Armenian

Church, 380 Concord Ave, Belmont.

Armenian and Middle

Eastern delicacies, including

manti, cheoreg, yalanchi,

kufte, pastries, fresh nuts and

dried fruits while they last!

Kebab served all day, children’s

activities at lunch and

dinner. Marketplace featuring

books, plants, games. All welcome.

MBTA and handicapped

accessible. For info: call 617-

484-4779, or

Newport Beach,


NOVEMBER 9—The Armenian

EyeCare Project will host its Seventh

Annual Newport Gala on

Sunday evening, November 9, at

six in the evening, at The Balboa

Bay Club, Newport Beach. The

event will honor Nishan and

Ruby Ann Derderian with a Lifetime

Humanitarian Awards and

celebrate “Bringing Sight to Armenian

Eyes” for sixteen years.

Dinner is $500 per person and

proceeds will benefit the Project’s

programs to eliminate preventable

blindness in Armenia.

For advance reservations and

additional information, contact

the AECP office toll free at 866-


Buenos Aires, Argentina

NOVEMBER 9 - 12 - “Armenian

Women Interacting in Worldwide

Arenas,” Armenian International

Women’s Association’s

5th International Conference,

Sheraton Libertador Hotel. Info:, 617-926-0171,



Lake Worth, FL

2 BR/2 BATH,




(201) 664-7551

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


Subscription Coupon

the armenian


annual rates

U.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75

Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)

Edward D. Jamie, Jr. Funeral Chapel, LLC

208-17 Northern Blvd. Bayside, NY 11361

Tel. 718-224-2390


Serving the Armenian Community Since 1969

Edward D. Jamie, Jr.-NY&NJ Licensed Funeral Director




Check Enclosed OR Charge My:

Mastercard Visa Amex Discover


mail coupon to: armenian reporter

p.o. box 129, paramus, nj 07652


fax coupon to (201) 226-1660

(credit card orders only)

14 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


From Armenia, in brief

Asian bank to fund

feasibility study for

Armenia-Iran railway

At a press briefing in Yerevan, Armenia’s

Prime Minister Tigran

Sarkisian said that the Asian Development

Bank will fund a feasibility

study for the construction of

an Armenia-Iran railway. The study

will cost $1.5 million.

According to Armenpress the

prime minister said that the study

will then be presented by the bank

to the private sector, “which may

also participate in the project. We

will invite our strategic partners to

participate in the project.” He went

on to say that he believes that by

the following year there will be serious

progress in the actual implementation

of this project.

Transport and Communication

Minister Gurgen Sarkisian told

journalists that the project is expected

to cost approximately $1.5–2

billion and be implemented in five

years time.

According to RFE/RL the project

has been under discussion for years

by the Armenian and Iranian governments.

Armenian authorities

have recently signaled their desire

to finally get it off the drawing

board, with President Serge Sargsian

declaring its implementation

one of his administration’s top economic


WiMax broadband

wireless Internet

service launched in


Comstar – United TeleSystems (a

component of AFK Sistema) Armenian

project – a national telecom

network, Comstar-OTS was

launched in Yerevan with the participation

of Russian President

Dimitry Medvedev and President

Serge Sargsian on October 21. According

to company officials the

network will offer WiMax broadband

wireless Internet service

in Yerevan and another 18 cities

throughout Armenia. This telecommunication

system is beneficial to

countries like Armenia which has

difficulty with access to services because

of its geographic location.

A feasibility study

is underway

toward a rail link

between Iran and

Armenia. Photos:



Medvedev and

Serge Sargsian at

WiMax. Photo:

According to Mediamax, president

of Comstar-OTS, Sergey

Pridantsev at a news conference

said that this network is

not only unique in Armenia but

“one of the first telecommunication

networks of its kind in the

world.” The company has already

invested $4.6 million in Armenia

for this service.

According to the company, 24

multisectoral base stations have

been installed to assure the communication.

Airspan Networks

Company (U.S.) is the supplier of

the network equipment. The network

is intended to provide a full

spectrum of telecommunications

services to both companies and private

residences, including services

in data transfer, digital telecommunication,

high-line Internet access,

organization of corporate networks

(IP VPN), etc.

The company currently has 600

clients and is expected to welcome

another 400 by the end of the year.

Comstar is the biggest communication

operator in Moscow based

on financial indicators and subscriber


Prime Minister Sarkisian at the Global Innovation Forum.

Global Innovation

Forum for Education

and Development kicks

off in Yerevan

The Global Innovation Forum for

Education and Development organized

by the UN Global Alliance for

ICT and Development (UN GAID),

UN e-Leaders Committee, Athgo

International and the Ministry of

Economy of Armenia took place in

Yerevan October 21-24.

The forum was attended by students

and young entrepreneurs

from several countries, where

they discussed telecommunication

in the context of education

and innovations. According to

Opposition decides to suspend rallies temporarily

by Armen Hakobyan

YEREVAN – Levon Ter-Petrossian,

the first president of Armenia and

now a leader of the opposition, has

announced a temporary halt in all

mass protests. He made his announcement

at a mass rally on October


The decision to suspend rallies

for two months was not unanimously

accepted by the various organizations

within the Armenian

National Congress headed by Mr.


Jirayr Sefelian, who is a

member of the Armenian National

Congress, announced

that he does not agree with the

decision to stop the rallies, but,

nevertheless, will not disobey it.

Levon Zourabian, the coordinator

of the congress’ central office

announced that all their supporters

who were disappointed

by this decision will understand

the significance behind this step

and rid themselves of their emotional


During the rally, Mr. Ter-

Petrossian as usual gave a long

speech. He accused the current

president of making a “sharp turn

toward the West” at the cost of relations

with Russia. (This announcement

came on the eve of the official

visit of the Russian president to

Armenia.) Mr. Ter-Petrossian also

alleged that in order to solve his

issues of legitimacy with Western

countries, Mr. Sargsian is prepared

to sacrifice Armenia’s state interests

and is submitting to strong international

pressure in the settlement

process of the Nagorno-Karabakh

issue and is on the way to making

severely damaging compromises.

The former president – who was

forced from office for urging “severely

damaging compromises” in

Karabakh – suggested that under

such circumstances the opposition’s

public struggle could be used

as a tool in the hands of the international

community and so that is

Mediamax Prime Minister Tigran

Sarkisian at the opening of the

forum said that the government of

Armenia is striving to determine

the country’s real potential in the

sphere of information technologies.

He stressed the importance

of developing this sector because

“as opposed to our neighbors, we

have no resources other than the

intellectual one.”

The Minister of Economy Nerses

Yeritsyan said that Armenia is

striving to become a global player

in the IT sphere and that

the government is stimulating

development in this


According to the organizers of

the forum, the objective is to concentrate

on the basic tools that facilitate

the creation of innovative

solutions, particularly, systematic

and quality educational opportunities.

Currently, proper education is

not widely available in developing

regions, thus slowing innovation

and hampering the implementation

of existing ICT. Consequently,

the forum will focus on ways to

improve educational opportunities

and quality through ICT, specifically

focusing on building ICT

skills among young people. To this

end the impact of access, connectivity

and relevant local content in

meeting educational and analytical

needs will be examined and methods

to overcome the obstacles discussed

and presented.

UN Under-Secretary

General Cheick Sidi

Diarra in Armenia

The UN Under-Secretary General,

Cheick Sidi Diarra arrived in

An antigovernment rally in Yerevan on October 17. Photo: Photolure.

why he took the decision to stop all

political actions and to concentrate

on the defense of opposition members

who were imprisoned after the

clashes on March 1, resolving the

organizational issues of the opposition

congress, and establishing its


Attendance at Mr. Ter-

Petrossian’s rallies has been dwindling.

Edward Sharmazanov,

member of parliament and a member

of the Republican Party of Armenia,

said he believes that the opposition

has exhausted its resources

for struggle through rallies. f

Cheick Sidi Diarra.

Yerevan to take part in the Global

Innovation Forum for Education

and Development on October 22.

While in the country he met with

the president, prime minister and

minister of economy of Armenia.

According to Arminfo General

Cheick Sidi Diarra said that IT in

Armenia must be developed in

parallel with infrastructure development.

He added that underdeveloped

rural regions needed just

as much attention. “Society must

be ready to apply the achievements

in IT-sphere as well as actively integrate

the technologies into the

economy and daily life,” the UN official


General Sheick Sidi Diarra

is also the High Representative

of Landlocked Developing

countries. During a press briefing

on October 21 he said that

there are 31 such states in the

world. According to the general,

the UN Almaty Program of

Action became the first global

document, directed to securing

the special needs of developing

landlocked countries. The program

contains special measures

and recommendations concerning

the policy in the sphere of

transit transportations, development

of transport infrastructure

and assistance to trade

development. Almaty Program

of Action provides for financial

and technical help to this group

of countries.

Armenia ranks 102nd

in Press Freedom Index

prepared by Reporters

without Borders

Every year Reporters without Borders

issues its Press Freedom Index.

The organization prepares a

questionnaire with 49 criteria that

assess the state of press freedom

in each country. The questionnaire

includes every kind of violation

directly affecting journalists (such

as murders, imprisonment, physical

attacks, and threats) and news

media (censorship, confiscation of

newspaper issues, searches and harassment).

It also includes the degree

of impunity enjoyed by those

responsible for press freedom violations.

This year Armenia ranked 102,

with Azerbaijan coming in last in

the South Caucasus. Georgia was

ranked 120, Russia 141, Belarus 154,

and Uzbekistan 162. The bottom

three were Turkmenistan, North

Korea, and Eritrea. Most of the

European Union member states

ranked in the top 40 with the exception

of Italy which came in 44th

position. The United States ranks

the 36th.



The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 15


A calm oasis in the heart of Yerevan

Lovers’ Park opens

thanks to the

Boghossian family

by Maria Titizian

YEREVAN – “We envisage a park

that is beautiful and unconventional

in its manifestation and worthy

in its content; a gift from my

family to the city of Yerevan,” Albert

Boghossian said. His family

is responsible for the complete revitalization

of Lovers’ Park in the

heart of Yerevan. “This park, with

its special landscape is meant to be

a place for people who can escape

the pressures of daily life can take

a pause, relax and find serenity. A

place where lovers can share their

emotions in a powerful and unusual

environment, a place where an artist

or a poet can find inspiration to

complete their creation. A place for

Yerevantsis and visitors of Yerevan

to simply spend some good time.”

With the cooperation of the Hayastan

All-Armenian Fund and the

Boghossian Foundation, the official

opening of Lover’s Park took place

on October 17, a particularly sunny

autumn day. The 1.6-hectare park

was designed by Pierre Rambach

of Switzerland who has designed

many gardens with eastern influences.

“I tried to give the magnitude

of the natural movement of terrain,

Republican Party

loses in Syunik and


by Armen Hakobyan

to create tenderness and sensuality

by the outlined curves of passages.

I also sought to express a sense of

freedom, releasing the trees from

the old rectilinear structure by an

eye-catching appearance of the hills,”

explained Mr. Rambach. “To create a

place for the meeting of cultures or

solitary meditations, to create a place

where the urban turmoil fades into

oblivion and leaves yourself to be

lulled by the whisper of water. Also a

place, where generations meet with

the help of a play-ground for kids,

not far from the one reserved for

games for elderly people.” According

to the Boghossian Foundation, even

though the park was conceived in

the tradition of Japanese landscaping,

in composition and spirit it is a

reflection of modern Armenia.

Local project management was

Local elections continue in

Armenia’s regions

YEREVAN – The ruling Republican

Party of Armenia has lost in a number

of recent local elections.

Local elections took place in Etchmiadzin

on October 19, where Karen

Grigorian, son of General Manvel

Grigorian (who is president of the

Yerkrapah Volunteers Union) ran

against Hakob Hakobyan, who is

a member of the Republican Party

Council and a former member of

parliament. Mr. Grigorian was being

supported by another general,

Seyran Saroyan, who was said to

be a supporter of opposition politician

Levon Ter-Petrossian.

More than 20,000 registered

voters turned out on election day

in Etchmiadzin. Mr. Grigorian received

12,208 votes while Mr. Hakobyan

received only 6,994. Mr.

Hakobyan has decided to appeal

the results of the election.

Local elections in Lori province

did not take place without controversy.

In one of the largest villages,

Odzun, the incumbent was

a Republican Party member, Melik

Ayvazian, who declared that

he had won the vote for village

head by 7 votes. After a recount

it became clear that Mr. Ayvazian

had won 1,078 votes and his rival

Arsen Titanian had received

1,123 votes. Since there were 69

scrapped ballots, it was decided

to hold new elections in Odzun in

three weeks.

In Syunik, a traditional Republican

stronghold, the party secured

seats only in Kajaran and Agarak.

In both villages the Republican

candidate was running unopposed.

In Kapan, in the center of

the province, the ARF’s Arthur

Atayan achieved a clear victory

(10,859 votes), while the incumbent

mayor, Republican Armen

Karapetian received only 7,741

votes. In Meghri the incumbent

mayor, again a Republican, lost to

a non-partisan candidate. In Sisian,

Aghasi Hakobjanian of the

Prosperous Armenia Party won,

beating out the ARF and the RPA.

The next big test will be on October

26, when mayoral elections are

slated to take place in Armenia’s

second largest city, Gyumri. f

Reach over 100,000 Armenians

with your message

Advertise in the Armenian Reporter, on the new

USArmenia Television, and on Armenia TV on

the Dish Network. For more information, from the

Western U.S. call 818.800.3311 or from the Eastern

U.S. call 201.226.1995.

From left: Sarhad Petrossian, Pierre Rambach, and Albert Boghossian.

handled by architect Sarhad

Petrossian, working with architect

Naneh Toumanian.

Ara Vardanyan, the acting executive

director of the Armenia

Fund said, “Together with the

Boghossian Foundation we have

spared no efforts in order to restore

the park, as well as have

done our best to provide a fresh

touch and new quality. I hope

that the park will continue to be

a favourite place for relaxation.”

The revitalization of the park

cost $1.3 million; it boasts an artificial

lake with islets, several

waterfalls, over 20 stone compositions,

and beautifully manicured

lawns and flower beds. The park is

wheelchair accessible and even has

jogging paths. Decorative lights

are presented throughout and the

If you want peace you must train well

NATO military

training concludes

successfully in


by Armen Hakobyan

YEREVAN – Driving along dirt

roads, the column of military trucks,

which had transported humanitarian

aid to the village, returned to the

peacekeeping forces base. Suddenly

an all-terrain vehicle emerged and

raising a plume of dirt squeezed in

between the column and the advance

guards, which was about half

a kilometer ahead. The sound of an

explosive was heard, smoke started

to rise and automatic rifle shots

began. Two snipers who were lying

in ambush on nearby hills started

to fire on the column of vehicles.

The soldiers, who came out of the

advance guard vehicles, quickly

oriented themselves to the situation,

took their positions and with

covering shots started approaching

their endangered comrades. While

resisting the ambushing terrorists,

they called for help from the rapidresponse

team, which quickly arrived

with three armed vehicles

and the terrorists were finally surrounded

and rendered harmless.

It can be said that the operation

ended successfully, especially

if we take into consideration that

soldiers from 14 countries were included

in the peacekeeping forces.

They spoke to one another and

exchanged data and commands in

multi-accented English.

This “military” action took place

on October 19, at the Armenian

Defense Ministry’s military training

center close to Balahovit village,

within the framework of NATO’s

Cooperative Longbow/Lancer military

trainings. The “explosion” was,

of course, fake and the shots were

A view of the new Lovers’ Park in Yerevan.

blank cartridges. Armenian Defense

Minister Seyran Ohanian,

Commander Allied Land Component

Command Headquarters

Heidelberg, Lieutenant General

Roland Kather (Germany), Deputy

Commander Land Component

Command Heidelberg Lieutenant

General John D. Gardner (USA)

and Armenian and foreign highranking

military personnel and officers

attentively followed the “war”

from a nearby hill.

During a briefing with journalists,

Lieutenant General Roland

Kather noted that during a meeting

that very morning he had thanked

Mr. Ohanian, “as his efforts helped

the Cooperative Longbow/Lancer

military trainings to take place.

This morning my Deputy, General

Gardner confirmed that the Armenian

government and the Defense

Ministry have exerted every effort

in order to ensure the success of

the military trainings. These trainings

proved that Armenia is ready

to become a member of NATO’s

Partnership for Peace family and I

can clearly announce: welcome to

this family.” General Kather had

headed NATO’s forces in Kosovo in

2006–2007 and had gotten to know

the Armenian soldiers. According

to the general, the professionalism

and preparedness of Armenia’s

peacekeeping battalion had left an

excellent impression.

As far as the Cooperative Longbow-

08 commander headquarters

and Cooperative Lancer- 08 military

trainings, during which hundreds

of participants from 17 countries

were welcomed in Armenia for

about a month and a half are concerned,

General Kather noted that

the results were excellent. He once

again noted that the political aim

of these military trainings was the

reinforcement of regional stability

and peace and the development of

level of cooperation between multinational


“Summarizing the results, today

we can record with satisfaction that

Boghossian Foundation has committed

to maintaining and being

responsible for the upkeep the park

for the next 21 years.

Taking part in the ribbon cutting

and opening ceremonies of Lovers’

Park was President Serge Sargsian,

Mayor of Yerevan Yervand

Zakharian, Mr. Boghossian representing

Boghossian Foundation,

Pierre Rambach, members of parliament,

ministers and other high

ranking officials.

During his speech at the opening

ceremonies, Mr. Boghossian said: “I

envision for this park to go beyond

its original purpose of a promenade

and to become a living place

throughout the year where artists

of different horizons, musicians,

sculptors, painters will perform at

the open air auditorium or expose

their art through the landscape.

Even in winter, when everything

is frozen and little outdoor activity

happens, I envision a festival

of lights and forms emerging from

the depth of the park bringing life

in the midst of winter and snow.”

The Boghossian Foundation was

created in 1992 by Robert Boghossian

and his two sons Jean

and Albert, jewelers based in Antwerp

and Geneva.


the military trainings served their

purpose by guaranteeing the high

standard of the mutually agreed

cooperation between more than

700 representatives from a dozen

countries. One of the important

achievements of the military training

was also the experience gained

by the participants of mutual cooperation

in similar situation,” Mr.

Ohanian said the next day during

his speech at the official closing

ceremony of the Cooperative Longbow/Lancer

military trainings Vazgen

Sarkissian military institute.

He added, “These military trainings

once again proved that differences

in language and nationality and

differing norms and approaches

cannot hinder reaching universal

goals. This is more than important,

when the issue concerns such

modern and universal issues, such

as peacekeeping and guaranteeing

international safety.” The minister

thanked the partner countries participating

in the military trainings

and all representatives of Armenia’s

different state departments

for their successful participation.

Robert Simons, the Special

Representative of NATO’s General

Secretary in the Caucasus and Central

Asia had also come to participate

in the closing ceremony of the

military training. The President of

Armenia, Serge Sargsian, had

met him that day. According to

the official statement, during the

meeting the President had said

that a European orientation continues

to be one of the priorities

of Armenia’s foreign policies and

cooperation with NATO is one of

its important elements. According

to Armenia’s president, the partnership

with the Euro-Atlantic alliance

will continue and Armenia

views this as a component in the

security of the country. Robert Simons

has evaluated the NATO-Armenia

cooperation process as very

successful and has noted that good

preconditions exist for further development

of relations. f

16 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


A bold leap into the unknown, kids and all

One family’s

repatriation story

by Nyree Abrahamian

YEREVAN – Raffi Niziblian and

Lara Aharonian are the quintessential

modern Armenian couple.

Married, with three beautiful children,

they have demanding careers

and a fulfilling family life . . . in

Yerevan. Raffi and Lara are part of

a growing repatriation movement

among diaspora Armenians. They

have been living in Armenia since

2003 with their three children:

Amassia, 8, Varanta, 6, and Vayk, 3,

who was born in Armenia.

The couple met and married in

Montreal, where they had both immigrated

with their families at a

young age. Raffi was born in Jordan,

spent his early years in Kuwait, and

moved to Montreal at the age of 9.

Lara was born in Lebanon, fled to

Cyprus during the war in 1990, and

moved from there to Montreal. The

two had a lot of common interests

and seemed to click from very early

on. “We’ve done a lot together,” reflects

Lara, “Scouting, school.... We

basically grew up together.”

Both Raffi and Lara developed an

early love for Armenia and had visited

the country during the Soviet

era; Raffi in 1990, with the Hamazkain

dance group (he was the lead

dancer), and Lara in 1985, as part of

a program in Lebanon that sent the

best students to a summer camp in


In 1999, to celebrate their first

anniversary, the couple came to

Armenia through the Land and

Culture Organization (LCO) to help

with the renovations of a church.

They returned with LCO in 2001

(this time to Shushi) with their first

daughter Amassia, who was hardly

a year old. They would take turns

with the baby and sometimes bring

her along to the worksite. “I used

to put her in her stroller and she

Raffi Niziblian.

Deem Commuinications

Deem is a full-service marketing

and communications agency

that covers advertising, PR and

events planning. Raffi Niziblian,

who has a background in communications

studies from Concordia

University, had an idea early on

of starting a radio station that

would link Armenia to the West.

“I think I created that with Deem,”

he says, “It brings a Western perspective

to marketing and communications

in Armenia. There is

a growing need for local and international

companies investing

in Armenia now.”

The young company has quickly

gained success and recognition,

working with such high profile clients

as Armenia Marriott Hotel,

Zvartnots International Airport,

Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Guy Manoukian and Nune

Yesayan, to name a few.

In two years, Deem has expanded

from a two-person operation

to a staff of eleven, plus designers

who they outsource work

to. The ‘Deem Team’ is a colorful,

energetic and diverse group.

“The most interesting part is our

staff,” says Raffi, “We’re a mix of

diaspora Armenians from Canada,

the United States, and Lebanon,

and local Armenian experts.” Currently,

Deem also has two interns,

from Argentina and Canada.

Asked about the challenges of

starting a business in Armenia,

Raffi responds, “There were actually

much fewer obstacles than

I’d imagined. Starting a business

anywhere in the world has its

challenges, but because I had experience

living and working in Armenia,

I had some insight on how

things function here. It was less

surprising for me to see a more

Middle Eastern/post-Soviet approach

to business.”

“A lot of diasporans, when

they start a business in Armenia,

think they’re still in the

West,” he goes on to explain,

“They’re shocked by something

as simple as having to wait a few

days to get a document signed

by the proper authorities. With

time, you learn to deal with all

of this. You don’t have to accept

the ways things work, but you

learn to deal with it. In order to

get a job done, you know there

are certain things you need to

do. You need to know how to

say things, how to put things…

there are certain subtleties and

innuendos that make all the difference.”

Another challenge that Raffi

faces as a repatriate doing business

in Armenia is networking. “I

have a strong networking base,”

he explains, “But not as strong

as the Hayastantsi who has his

classmates, neighborhood, community…

Especially in this type of

people-oriented business, that’s


But operating in the Armenian

business world as a diaspora-Armenian

has its perks, too. “Because

I’m from the West,” says

Raffi, “There’s a different kind

of business relationship, an extra

alertness. People don’t know

how a diasporan will react to their

methods, so they’re cautious.”

So naturally, being an “outsider”

works both for and against the

savvy Diasporan businessperson

trying to establish a successful

enterprise in Armenia.

As for Raffi, the venturesome

entrepreneur embraces the

bumps along the road, seeing

them as learning experiences and

opportunities for growth. “Every

day presents new challenges,” he

says, “Every challenge presents

new opportunities.”



would watch us work, eat, sleep,”

says Lara, “There were plenty of volunteers

around and they all loved

to play and have fun with her.”

Of course, when it came to

bringing their infant along to

Shushi, a neglected war zone

that received next to no foreign

aid, the new parents had their

concerns. “The food and water issues

were what worried me,” says

Lara, “Luckily, I was still breastfeeding

at the time, but water was

scarce. I would boil pots of water

at night, and put it aside in bottles.”

But in the end, it was worth

it. One of the main reasons they

brought baby Amassia along was

to baptize her at Saghmosavank,

a church that they had helped

renovate the previous year.

In 2002, Raffi was offered a position

as director of LCO and in

2003, when their second daughter,

Varanta, was just 8 months old, the

couple made the bold move to Armenia.

“Lara had long, African braids. I

had crazy, long hair and a beard. In

the winter, the kids were decked

out in funky Canadian gear…. We

were sort of the colorful family in

Yerevan,” laughs Raffi, “People stare

anyway, but we asked for it.”

While Raffi was settling into

his new position at LCO, Lara was

busy with exciting plans of her

own. “When I was volunteering,

my major problem was the situation

of women and how they’re

treated here,” she says, “I decided:

If I’m going to move here, I have

The Women’s Resource Center, the

brainchild of Lara Aharonian, is

the premier facility of its kind in

Armenia. “I decided that if I’m going

to move here, I have to change

something,” says Lara, “So first of

all, it was for me.”

With a master’s degree in French

comparative literature focusing on

French and Armenian feminist literature,

Lara was very involved in

women’s issues when she lived in

Montreal and volunteered much

of her time at a women’s resource

center affiliated with Concordia

University. So when the idea of

the WRC was in its early stages, she

decided it would be most logical to

be affiliated with a university.

She got in touch with Shushan,

a friend she had met years ago

while volunteering in Karintak

(near Shushi) and together, while

Lara was still in Montreal, they

began to brainstorm. “People suggested

to go through the American

University of Armenia, or the

French University,” she says, “But

the whole point was I wanted

to be accessible to has many local

women as possible.” So from

Montreal, she wrote several letters

to different departments of

YSU (Yerevan State University) to

find someone who was willing to

cooperate. She finally connected

with Gohar Shahnazaryan, a

professor in the sociology department

who was the first woman in

Armenia to do a Ph.D. on gender

issues, and together, in 2003, they

founded the WRC.

“It started very small, very grassroots,”

says Lara, “We fought to

get a small room from the university.

We’d have occasional round

tables, human rights training, and

students would come from all different


Eventually, the number of volunteers

grew and the center became

more active. They began to

talk about issues like sexual health

Raffi Niziblian, Lara Aharonian, with Amassia, Varanta, and Vayk.

to change something.” Her initial

frustration and lots of persistent

hard work led to the establishment

of Armenia’s Women’s

Resource Center, which is going

strong as the country’s leading

advocate of women’s rights,

creating an open dialogue about

gender relations, sexual health,

and human rights.

Women’s Resource Center

Lara Aharonian at the Women’s Resource Center.

After a few years of living in Armenia,

Raffi was recruited by VivaCell,

the top telecommunications

company in Armenia, to establish

their commercial department. The

position opened up a lot of doors

and helped him better understand

the business environment in Ar-

Continued on page 17 m

and reproductive rights. Lara began

a workshop called “My Body,

My Right”, a ten-session discussion

series that is still extremely


The university, traditionally

conservative in its values, was not

thrilled with the excitement and

buzz stirred up by the Women’s

Resource Center, and one day,

while at a conference in Istanbul,

Lara was informed that they were

kicked out of their cubby hole of a

room because “they stayed open

past university hours.”

“When I got the call that they

had closed down the Women’s

Centre, I was ready for it,” says

Lara, “I felt like it was time to

move on. Working within the

university’s time constraints and

conservative framework was restrictive.”

They moved everything

into their homes, quickly found

a small apartment, and in 2007,

moved into their current location,

a comfortable space on Zarubyan

Street in Yerevan’s center.

Today, the Women’s Resource

Center is one of Armenia’s most

reputable NGOs, with widereaching

projects in all regions

of Armenia and Karabagh. Last

February, they opened a branch in

Shushi whose focus is mainly on

women and peace building, and

on creating economic sustainability

for women. They have a gynecological

room with free consulting,

a service they hope to make

available once a week.

The Center in Yerevan now has

five paid staff and 21 active members

(who actually participate in

creating forums, classes and activities),

as well as hundreds of other

members who drop by from time

to time to participate in workshops

and use the resources. Their activities

include: women’s rights trainings,

round-tables on gender issues,

career seminars, “My Sexuality”

closed group discussions, prenatal

courses conducted with the help of

a midwife – Martha Boudakian,

“Mother and Child” mornings, film

and book clubs, and a new Sexual

Assault Drop-In Center and Hotline.

They publish booklets and

pamphlets on issues ranging from

breast cancer to human trafficking.

Members also travel regularly to

different regions of Armenia, conducting

courses with youth on topics

such as reproductive rights and

gender relations.

The impressive list of the organization’s

endeavors goes on. And

all members are encouraged to

bring whatever they can offer to

the table. “It’s in the name,” says

Lara, “It’s a resource center. You

bring your resources, and you receive

resources from others.” f

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 17


“With the people, for the people”

Opening ceremonies

of the Armenian

Relief Society’s 69th

General Assembly

takes place in


by Sosseh Tachdjian

YEREVAN – Over 200 women from

all over the world converged in Armenia

to take part in the Armenian

Relief Society’s (ARS) 69th General

Assembly. They had come from

Greece, Lebanon, Australia, France,

Syria, Canada, the United States

– 26 countries in all – bringing with

them an almost 100-year history

of dedication and commitment to

their people. Their motto is a reflection

of their purpose, “With the

people, for the people.” The women

of the ARS are truly inspirational

and the proof is in the pudding.

Established almost a hundred

years ago in New York City in 1910,

the ARS is the oldest Armenian

women’s organization, providing

educational and humanitarian assistance

to Armenians throughout

the globe. The ARS has affiliates in

26 countries who realize programs

such as building, operating and

subsidizing Armenian language

schools, community centers and

nursery schools; sponsoring orphans

and orphan meal programs

in Armenia and Artsakh; granting

scholarships to deserving and outstanding

students; building a longneeded

community infrastructure

in Javakhk, Georgia and providing

Left: Hasmig


with Armen

Topouzian. Right:

Hagop Der

Khachadurian of

the ARF Bureau.

critical maternal care and general

health services through the Mother

and Child Medical Clinic and Birthing

Center in Akhourian, Armenia.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian,

various ministers, including

the Minister of Education Spartak

Seyranian, Minister of Social

Affairs Arsen Stepanian, and

Minister of the Diaspora Hranush

Hakobyan, representatives from

USAID, AGBU, Hamazkayin Cultural

and Educational Association,

the Lebanese Ambassador to Armenia,

Armenia’s former first lady

Bella Kocharian, high-ranking

officials of the Armenian Revolutionary

Federation (ARF) Bureau

and Supreme Council of the party

were on hand to participate in the

official opening of the General Assembly

of the ARS in Yerevan on

October 18.

The evening’s host was Alvard

Petrosian, member of the ARS’s

board in Armenia and a member

of parliament elected on the

ARF ticket. Ms. Petrosian read the

message from Aram I, Catholicos

of the Great House of Cilicia,

afterward noting that Karekin

II, Catholicos of All Armenians,

had not sent a message, nor had

he sent a representative of the

Church to partake in the ceremonies.

Armenia’s prime minister

and minister of the diaspora

welcomed the participants and

wished them success in all their

future endeavors.

Hasmig Derderian, president

of the world body of the ARS, the

Central Executive Board, presented

a comprehensive report on the

activities of the organization over

the past several years and also

spoke about their preparations for

the ARS’s centennial celebration

for 2010. Ms. Derderian said that

along with the special activities

being organized globally to commemorate

100 years of work, they

A bold leap into the unknown, kids and all

have also established a Centennial

Fund which, to date, has already

raised over $1,000,000. This past

year, the ARS opened its archives

and during the opening ceremonies

presented the first collection

of their archives to the Armenian

National Archives’ Executive Director

Amatuni Virapian. During

her presentation, Ms. Derderian

also presented Armenian-American

benefactor Armen Topouzian

with a special plaque from the

ARS thanking him for his diligent

and selfless contribution to the

many nursery schools that the ARS

operates in Karabakh.

The ARS is a participating nongovernmental

organization (NGO)

at the United Nations. Since 1977

the ARS has been a member of the

United National NGO Department

of Public Information and in 1998

was accepted for roster status by

the UN’s Economic and Social

Council (ECOSOC). The ARS is also

an active member of UNICEF and

its Working Group on Girls; the

NGO Committee on the Status of

Women (CSW); the planning committee

of the NGO DPI Conference;

the CONGO NGO committees on

Mental Health, HIV/AIDS and Children’s


One of the most moving moments

of the evening was a speech

by Galya Arustamyan, chairperson

of the Mothers of Karabakh

Freedom Fighters Union who had

come to Yerevan from Stepanakert

to take part in the meeting. Ms.

Arustamyan lost a son during the

armed conflict with Azerbaijan in

the early 1990s. But she had come

to Yerevan with an important message

about the activities of the Armenian

Relief Society. She said that

the work carried out by the ARS

over the last two decades has had

a lasting impact on the people and

especially the children of Karabakh.

She thanked the ARS for its monumental

efforts to help the people of

Karabakh and wished the organization

continued success.

Closing the evening’s ceremonies

was a speech by Hagop Der

Khachadurian, member of the

ARF Bureau, who said that while

the ARS is one of the most experienced

and well-organized global

Armenian organizations, and while

their mandate is providing educational

and humanitarian assistance,

the organization should work more

closely with women’s and children’s

rights issues in the future.

The General Assembly of the ARF

wrapped up on October 24 in Yerevan.

Undoubtedly the women of

this organization will return to their

respective countries armed with

more energy and vigor to continue

serving their fellow Armenian. f

n Continued from page 16

menia, but soon, he decided it was

time to move on. “With time, I realized

that I needed to have my own

thing,” he says, “At 36, I decided to

start my own company.” And so in

2006, Raffi Niziblian and Arsineh

Khachikian fulfilled their mutual

vision with Deem Communications,

a full-service marketing and

communications agency.

With their professional endeavors

going strong and three school

age children, Raffi and Lara have

their hands full. Leaving a comfortable

life in Canada behind and

moving to Armenia is one thing.

Doing it with a young family is another.

People often ask them why

and how they did it, but Raffi and

Lara cannot be more pleased with

their decision.

“It started out as something

very emotional,” says Raffi, of

their decision to move to Armenia,

“But we approached it from a

rational perspective. We weighed

the pros and cons of raising our

children in Armenia versus Montreal,

and Armenia won. There are

more cultural opportunities here.

Safety and security are another

big issue. Here, they play with all

the other kids in the yard behind

our building, and we don’t have

to worry.”

At first, the couple had their

doubts about whether they were

taking something away from

their children by raising them in

Armenia, but those doubts soon

diminished. Lara was sure that

they had made the right decision

on their last trip back to Canada.

Their children were singing, dancing,

playing piano, and happily

entertaining themselves while

the other kids around them were

preoccupied with the latest video

game or Barbie doll. “They have

a more cultural upbringing here,”

she says, “And they’re happy with

small things. Now I’m sure that

this is the place. They’re receiving

a strong base here. In Canada,

most of my energy would go

towards raising them Armenian.

Here, I can focus more on raising

them as people, as good human

beings. The Armenian part

is natural.

“Healthcare is a major challenge

in Armenia,” she admits, “But you

have to know your resources…. I

was confident. I had read a lot.

I always keep myself informed,

and resources are available here.”

Lara decided to have her third

child, Vayk, in Armenia. “It was

an amazing experience,” she says.

“I have a good doctor that I trust,

who I can call whenever I want if

one of my kids is sick: something

that is not available in Canada.”

So everywhere has its advantages

and its drawbacks. Technologically,

the Armenian healthcare

system may not be the best

equipped, but there is a personal

touch here that you cannot find

anywhere else.

And as for education Again,

it’s not as big a challenge as one

might think. The children are enrolled

at Aregnaz, an alternative

Waldorf school, where they learn

Armenian, English, Russian, and

German. Plus, Lara teaches them

French at home. In North America,

it’s hard enough to raise bilingual

children. The Niziblian children

are simultaneously learning five

languages, and still find plenty of

time to play with the neighborhood

kids in the yard.

On to the tricky question. I ask

Raffi and Lara how their families

feel about their move to Armenia

and surprisingly, it’s not

that big an issue. “They’re happy

we’re happy,” says Raffi, “Just

not happy that they don’t get to

see their grandchildren, nieces

and nephew regularly.” Lara

continues, “They don’t like the

idea, but just a couple of years

ago, they started understanding

why we’re here. They figured, we

moved to Canada to escape the

war, for a better life, so why are

you going backwards But since

they started coming every summer,

they see that it’s a good decision.

I have three kids and a

very active life – something that

would have been next to impossible

in Canada.”

Looking to the future, Raffi and

Lara understand that many factors

can come into play like health,

world events, and family needs

back home, but their repatriation

is not a passing phase. “Nothing is

permanent,” says Raffi, “But we’re

here indefinitely.”


18 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008


Wedding in the mountains

Besides green and

black, Nagorno-

Karabakh also has

another color - white,

just like the snow

by Tatul Hakobyan

GANDZASAR, Nagorno Karabakh

– Recently my voluminous book

on the history, war, and negotiation

process of Nagorno-Karabakh

was published. I had worked on the

book for six years and during that

time had visited Nagorno-Karabakh

numerous times and walked

through the liberated territories. I

named the book Green and Black,

after hearing the impressions of

the conflict by one of the chroniclers

of the Karabakh war, director

and filmmaker Tigran Xzmalian.

While we spoke about the brutality

of the war, Tigran recounted

many events, but told me that his

most intense emotions were not

connected to the brutalities of

the war itself. He said that during

the war two colors were increasingly

visible in Karabakh: black and

green-khaki. The men wore khaki,

green camouflage, while the number

of their women in black continued

to increase.

“The increase of black was the

most depressing, the most acute

impression from the Artsakh war,”

recounted Tigran. During the war,

the usage of these two colors constantly

increased in Karabakh:

more and more mothers wore black

and more sons wore the military


However, if I had known that another

color also existed in Artsakh,

white, just like the snow, I would

probably have named my book

Green, Black and White.

On October 16, Bishop Yezras

Nercessian, Primate of the Diocese

of New Nakhichevan and Russia

, prayed on the grounds of the

13th-century church of Gandzasar,

a jewel of medieval Armenian architecture,

Saint Hovhannes Mkrtich.

He prayed for the Lord to bless 200

newlywed couples and keep them

united in their deep love until old


“May God protect you from all

temptations and danger. It is God’s

command that you all remain faithful

to one another and support and

protect each other until death. We

believe that this wedding in this

cherished place is a victorious celebration

for all of us; a holiday of

love and faith,” Bishop Yezras told

the 200 couples.

Standing amidst the colorful

autumn forest, 200 young brides

brought a new color to the scenery.

Their wedding gowns as white

as snow brought new meaning – an

Scenes from the big wedding day. Photos: Tatul Hakobyan for the Armenian Reporter.

end to the war, a farewell to arms;

victorious Artsakh henceforth

needs only peace and love.

I rushed from Gandzasar to Shushi,

where the wedding of another 500

couples took place on the grounds

of Sourp Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots

Cathedral, with the blessing of

Archbishop Barkev Mardirossian,

primate of the Diocese of Artsakh.

It was a unique scene.

That evening all 700 couples

walked down from Renaissance

Square in Stepanakert, toward the

stadium, where the biggest Armenian

wedding celebration was

to take place. More than 20,000

people had gathered at the stadium

and on the surrounding hills; a

fantastic number for Stepanakert,

with a population of only 40,000.

Bishop Barkev wished the newlyweds

eternal happiness, love, and

children in order to strengthen the

Artsakh fortress.

“Today, in this newly renovated

stadium, with God’s blessing, the

support of our benefactors, and the

caring attention of our authorities,

we congratulate 700 newlywed couples,

700 new Armenian families.

Your parents liberated the country

for this very day,” the bishop said.

The idea for this unprecedented

wedding belonged to Russian-Armenian

benefactor and businessman

Levon Hairapetian, whose

devotion to his birthplace, the village

of Vank in Martakert, is obvious.

He was the principal sponsor

and best man of the wedding.

Rouben Vardanian, Gevork

Mehrabian, Gagik Zakarian,

Danil Khachatourov, Sergery

Sarkisov, Ararat Tavadian, and

dozens of other Armenian benefactors

were also stood as best men.

Addressing the newlyweds and

the thousands of citizens gathered

at the stadium, Bako Sahakian,

the president of Nagorno-Karabakh,

said that the event had turned into

a pan-national event, because that

was the wish of its organizers.

“This wedding ceremony is unprecedented

in its nature, substance

and significance. We are

confirming our stance toward

human values and principles and

that we value the role and meaning

of family in our lives. The big

Artsakh wedding is the best way

to immortalize the memory of all

those who died during the war and

it is the best gift to those who are

currently defending the borders

of the fatherland and defending

its safety. This is also the continuation

of the respect and traditions

toward family, which we have inherited

from our ancestors,” said

Mr. Sahakian.

The president thanked the sponsors

and organizers of the event

and all those who had helped make

this important initiative become a


“Dear newlyweds, I congratulate

all of you from the bottom of my

heart. I am sure that the squeals

and laughter of children are going

to proclaim the well-being of our

country and nation and its eternal

path will continue through our

strong families,” Mr. Sahakian said.

The large wedding in Artsakh

lasted until midnight and ended

with fireworks. The toastmaster of

the wedding was much-loved actor

Ashot Ghazarian. Armenian pop

singers, as well as high-ranking officials,

political figures, and intellectuals

had come to Stepanakert

especially for the event.

This unprecedented event, which

will be remembered by the 700

couples and the Armenians of Artsakh

for a long time, has a very

important significance for the reinforcement,

strengthening, and empowerment

of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Carrying arms is not the only way

to keep and protect the fatherland.

It also requires using scythes and

spades and simply living on liberated

lands and forming families and

having children for that liberated



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

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The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008 19


Swan Lake. Photos: Photolure.

The statue of Arno Babajanian.

Living in


Yerevan vistas and the reasons for staying

by Maria Titizian

Swan Lake, nestled among weeping willows

on the corner of Toumanian and Teryan is

home to Arno Babajanian, sitting in front

of his piano, one hand extended in the air

immortalized in the form of a basalt statue.

The monument to the great Armenian

composer was the cause of much cultural

debate several years ago when it was unveiled,

because it did not fit into the mold of

the classical statues strewn throughout the

city. Those statues are so similar in style and

composition, that you could switch heads

and be no less the wiser of who it actually is

– Sundukian or Toumanian himself. The one

exception is the statue of Mother Armenia

perched upon a hill, with a sword in her

hand standing guard ready to protect the

homeland. A closer look at Mother Armenia

and you can’t help but notice that she looks

more like a man; nothing feminine about

her at all. But a statue to replace one of Stalin

in the 1950s would have to contain the

characteristics of all things imperious.

I have been guilty of being overly sentimental,

some might even argue borderline

delusional about my connection to this land.

And while I continue to live and learn about

Armenia, my friends and acquaintances continue

to wonder what it is that makes me

want to stay. Colleagues will often question

why I question things, “Ba, Maria jan, are you

just realizing what kind of country you are

living in,” or “You left a country like Canada

to come here; are you crazy”

Most times I am at a loss to try to put to

words the reasons for coming and the reasons

for continuing to cherish the lives we have

been able to create. I sometimes wish people

would just accept the fact that moving to Armenia

and staying here isn’t an anomaly.

This past week afforded me the opportunity

to remember why I love being being

here. Swan Lake for starters. When the manmade

lake was transformed into a skating

rink in the winter months in 2005, it without

a doubt added to the quality of life. Families

had somewhere to go in the winter to

spend time with their children. The skating

rink, with it’s $1 million dollar price tag, was

donated to the people of Yerevan by the city

of Moscow.

Last year the government of France refurbished

the fountains in Republic Square. Every

evening starting from 9 P.M til midnight,

Yerevantsis are able to enjoy a spectacular

water and light show set to music by Aznavour

and Khachaturian. Without exception,

there are hundreds of people there every

night. It too, like Swan Lake became a place

for families to take their children, meet up

with friends, and enjoy the Square, lit up and

glowing like soft candlelight. When we went

for the first time to watch the show, it was


This past week, thanks to the Boghossian

Foundation, Lovers’ Park opened its

doors to the residents of our capital city. I

was there on the day of the opening, having

arrived much earlier than the appointed

hour for the official ceremonies. I walked

around and then sat on one of the many

benches by a man-made lake and enjoyed

the beautiful autumn weather. A camera operator,

a former colleague, walked up to me

and asked why I wasn’t working – in other

words why wasn’t I interviewing the architect

or the officials from the Armenia Fund

Trustee contributions to the AGMM

Financial contributions by former and current members of the Board of Trustees of Armenian Genocide Museum

and Memorial (AGMM) for the benefit of the AGMM as of September 2006.

who were milling around the park. What he

didn’t realize was that, in my own way, I was

working. I was simply enjoying being in a

miraculously tranquil corner of a bustling,

noisy city, thanking the Boghossian family

for having the foresight to bequeath to the

city something so beautiful and worthwhile.

Something was added to the quality of my

life and I’m sure for the rest of the city’s

residents as well. The next day I took my

children so that they could share in my borderline,

delusional happiness. When we arrived

and saw that hundreds and hundreds

of people were streaming into the park, curious

to see the new gift they had received,

strolling around the grounds just as happy

as I was, I felt vindicated.

While we continue to reap the benefits

of all the qualitative changes taking place

in our city and country, we have our diaspora

compatriots to thank, we have foreign

governments to thank, and we also have

expats to thank. Russian-Armenian Levon

Haorapetian, formerly of the village of Vank

in Nagorno Karabakh, was singlehandedly

responsible for the betrothal of 700 young

couples in one day this past week (see opposite

page). When we started receiving

the photos that our reporter in Karabakh

had taken of rows of young brides in white

gowns standing with their grooms framed

by lush mountains, there was a collective

sigh of joy in the office. It was a day of national

celebration. 700 new families on the

n Continued from page 19

A word of thanks

We also take this opportunity to thank the

following members of Congress for their


Martin Meehan (D.-Mass.), who retired

in 2007, was an active member of the

House Caucus for Armenian Issues.

Mike Ferguson (D.-N,J.), who is retiring,

was a co-sponsor of the Armenian

Genocide resolution.

Michael McNulty (D.-N.Y.), who is retiring,

spoke on the record in February

2008 in support of the independence of

Karabakh and co-signed a letter asking

for extra aid to Armenia in the wake of

the war in Georgia.

Tom Allen (D.-Maine), a member of the

House Caucus for Armenian Issues, is

running for the Senate.

road to a new life, ripe with promise and

hope, a gift of $2,000 and a cow. What else

could you ask for

My son, for reasons I have decided not to

explore, has felt the shortcomings of this

country more acutely than the rest of us. He

hates inequality. He is always giving money

to beggars. He is incensed at what he sees

around him. He can’t understand the dynamics

of relationships here, nor can he understand

why people drive the way they do. My

fear has lately been that at some point he

would not see his future here.

I have tried not to pass judgement, but

to let him formulate his own opinions. The

nudging fear of not being able to justify all

that which is truly unjust to my young son

was momentarily lifted a few nights ago.

Talking about all these changes, about some

new directions that the government seems

to be implementing he said, “Wow, I didn’t

stop to think of all the good things happening.”

It’s true, we are all quick to pass

judgement, we are all impatient to finally

see the promised land as we individually envisioned


There are things on my own wish list. I

could ask for a quick and easy resolution

to the Karabakh conflict, access to the sea,

cleaner air, regular garbage pick up, more

parking spaces, more jobs, more civil liberties,

more quality of life.

But this week proved to me that over all,

we’re not doing too poorly.


Editorial: Support our friends running for

the House of Representatives

Al Wynn (D.-Md.), who lost the primary,

co-sponsored the Armenian Genocide


Ray LaHood (Ill.), who is retiring, co-sponsored

the Armenian Genocide resolution.

Jerry Weller (R.-Ill.), who is retiring, is a

member of the House Caucus on Armenian

Issues and co-sponsored the Armenian

Genocide resolution.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D.-Ohio), who

died on August 20, was a member of the

House Caucus on Armenian Issues and

co-sponsored the Armenian Genocide


Mark Udall (D.-Colo.), is running for the

Senate and received our endorsement

on October 11.

Tom Udall (D,-N.M.), co-sponsored the Armenian

Genocide resolution and is running

for the Senate.

Rick Renzi (R.-Ariz.), who is retiring, cosponsored

the Armenian Genocide


20 The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008

The Armenian Reporter | October 25, 2008

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