Number 69June 21, 2008the armenianreporterNationalRep. Joe Knollenberg calls for an end to militaryfunding for Azerbaijan, citing threats to stability“As the Co-Chair of the CongressionalCaucus on Armenian IssuesI believe there is no greater threatto stability in the South Caucasusregion than Azerbaijan’s apparentbuild-up to war with Armenia,” Rep.Joe Knollenberg, Republican of Michigan,writes.NationalMillennium Challenge Corporation board reviewsprogram progress, developments in ArmeniaThe Board of Directors of the MillenniumChallenge Corporation(MCC) is taking an active interest inthe political situation in Armenia,ceo Ambassador John Danilovichsaid at a public outreach briefingafter the board met on June 17.There was concern ahead of themeeting that the MCC board maysuspend or cancel its $235 millionOpposition politician LevonTer-Petrossian and his supportersplanned to proceed with a disallowedrally at the Matenadaranin central Yerevan on Friday, June20. Police on Thursday warned thatthey would prevent the rally fromtaking place.The rally was originally plannedfor Freedom Square, but city officialsdisallowed it, saying a children’sevent was planned at thetime. They proposed an alternativesite, a square near the Hrazdan stadium.The rally planners rejectedCommunitySteve Tashjian’s Classic Groove will perform on Friday, June 27, as part of ALMA’sjazz concert series.Opposition set to hold disallowed rally in YerevanA visit to colorful GorisTatul Hakobyan visited the provinceof Syunik and found that ithas the potential of becoming afantastic tourist area, but its monasteriesand wonders of nature arein need of attention.Goris, which is breathtakingfrom the nearby heights, hasbeen a city for more than 130years. With its 20,000 residentsArmeniaArmenia“I do not think the United Statesis taking this threat as seriously aswe should,” he adds. In view of thisthreat, Mr. Knollenberg is working“to zero out military funding forAzerbaijan.”fSee article on page 22mfive-year assistance program in Armeniabecause of concerns about“ruling justly,” Yelena Osipova andEmil Sanamyan report. No such decisionwas taken, but the board willcontinue to watch developments tosee whether Armenia remains eligiblefor aid, Mr. Danilovich said.See story on page 4mJazz Nights @ ALMA will feature Classic GrooveThe Armenian Library and Museumof America (ALMA) continues itsongoing Jazz Nights @ ALMA serieswith a concert by “Classic Groove”on Friday, June 27, at 8:00 p.m. Theconcert series takes place in a cafélikesetting at ALMA’s ContemporaryArt Gallery in Watertown, Mass.See story on page 13 mthe alternative and announced theywould gather at the Matenadaran.Officials disallowed that rally, citingsecurity concerns, but the organizerssaid they would proceedanyway.The rally was planned in part totest the administration’s commitmentto freedom of assembly onthe eve of the June 23 meeting ofthe Parliamentary Assembly of theCouncil of Europe, which is monitoringthe situation in Armenia.See more briefs on page 18 mtoday, it is a strategically importantcity and its development isof prime importance. The mayorof the city notes that Goris hasprospective directions for its economicdevelopment, includingtourism and small and mediumsize enterprises.See story on page 20 mCS Media Enterpriseslaunches USArmenia TVLargest Armeniantelevision operationlaunched in the U.S.marketBURBANK, Calif. – CS Media Enterprises,LLC, a partnership betweenthe Cafesjian Family Foundationand the Sargsyan family, haslaunched its first U.S.–based broadcastoperation, USArmenia Television.This new-age media entityhas been created to deliver news,information, and entertainment to21st-century viewers across a widerange of contemporary and emergingmedia platforms.The new channel, the largest Armeniantelevision operation everlaunched in the United States, isnow available on cable systems inSouthern California cities boastinglarge Armenian populations,and will soon be distributed coastto-coastin North America on theGlobecast World TV satellite service.In the near future, USArmeniaTelevision will be available aroundthe world via the Internet and cellphone webstreams.CS Media is developing a new mediaportal at USATV.com. The newportal will enable viewers to accessto the entire CS Media family ofcompanies – including USArmeniaTelevision, USATV, Armenia TV, CSFilms, Hye Film Studios, and theArmenian Reporter.CS Media Enterprises’ U.S.–basedoperations will be headquartered ina newly acquired 35,000 square footfacility in Burbank, the entertainmentcapital of the world and homeAmbassador MarieYovanovitch treadsArmenian Genocideissue carefullyby Yelena Osipova andEmil SanamyanWASHINGTON – The Senate ForeignRelations Committee on June19 considered the nomination ofMarie Yovanovitch for the postof the U.S. ambassador to Armenia.The nomination is likely to be votedon by the committee later thissummer. There was no immediateindication that the appointmentwould be blocked. The Armeniangovernment has made it clear thatit wants the position, which hasbeen vacant since September 2006,filled as soon as possible.Ambassador Yovanovitch beganher prepared remarks byaddressing the subject of theArmenian Genocide: “The U.S.government – and certainly I– acknowledges and mourns themass killings, ethnic cleansing,and forced deportations thatdevastated over one and a halfThe USArmenia Television building in Burbank. Photo: CS Media.to neighboring global media conglomeratesWalt Disney, ABC, WarnerBrothers, and NBC-Universal.In just a few weeks, USArmeniaTelevision has established itself asa major operator in the diasporatelevision market. The new channeldelivers an exciting lineup oforiginal and licensed programmingfrom a wide range of genres – fromnews and information to dramaand comedy.CS Media Enterprises’ new Burbankheadquarters has been outfittedwith state-of-the-art broadcastingequipment. USArmenia Televisionis the first Armenian televisionoperation in the world to broadcastin full high definition.USArmenia Television originalcontent is broadcast in the Englishlanguage. The high-quality programmingwill appeal to both Armenianand non-Armenian audiences aroundmillion Armenians at the end ofthe Ottoman Empire.”The nominee went on to describethe events “as one of the greatesttragedies of the 20th century, the“‘Medz Yeghern’ or Great Calamity,”the Armenian-language referenceto the Genocide previouslyemployed by President George W.Bush in April 2005 in yet anothereffort to avoid the term genocidethe world. USArmenia Television’sseasoned media professionals arealready developing new programmingand planning joint productionswith some of the largest media conglomeratesin Hollywood. Utilizingits global resources and its talentedteam of professionals, CS Media willproduce programs locally at USArmeniaTelevision’s newly establishedstudios in Burbank and at CS Media’svast studios and production facilitiesin the Republic of Armenia.Over the last decade, the CafesjianFamily Foundation and the Sargsyanfamily have built CS Mediainto the largest independent mediacompany serving the Armenia community.The launch of USArmeniaTelevision, the most significant investmentin the United States byan Armenian media company, willbe another major step in bring thecommunity closer together. fSenate panel considers nominee tohead Embassy in ArmeniaAmb. Yovanovitch (foreground) testifying on June 19 . Photo: Armenian Reporter.that the Turkish government opposes.She also acknowledged, “the administrationunderstands that manyAmericans and many Armenians believethat the events of the past thatI have referred to should be called‘genocide.’” She then repeated theBush administration’s justificationsContinued on page m
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008Nationalby Yelena Osipova andEmil SanamyanWashington briefingObama reiteratessupport for Genocideaffirmation“I share your view that the UnitedStates must recognize the events of1915 to 1923, carried out by the OttomanEmpire, as genocide,” Democraticpresidential hopeful BarackObama said in a June 16 letter toKenneth Hachikian, chairpersonof the Armenian National Committeeof America (ANCA), the organizationreported the next day.Sen. Obama issued a similarstatement on April 24 saying that“it is imperative that we recognizethe horrific acts carried out againstthe Armenian people as genocide.”And in a January 19 statement“On the Importance of U.S.-ArmeniaRelations” Sen. Obama pledgedthat, if elected president, he wouldrecognize the U.S. record on ArmenianGenocide, support Armenia’sdevelopment, and work to achieve“a lasting and durable settlement”in Karabakh “that is agreeable toall parties, and based upon America’sfounding commitment to theprinciples of democracy and selfdetermination.”The latest communication fromSen. Obama came in response tothe ANCA’s letter listing Armenian-American concerns ahead of theJune 19 Senate confirmation hearingfor the Bush administration’snominee for ambassador to Armenia(see coverage elsewhere in thisissue).“The Bush Administration’s refusalto [recognize the Genocide]is inexcusable, and I will continueto speak out in an effort to movethe Administration to change itsposition,” Sen. Obama wrote in hisletter.Meanwhile, the Turkish media,including the Turkish Daily News onJune 6, have reported on Turkey’sefforts to foster relations with Sen.Obama’s campaign team in part tochange his position on Armenianissues.Speaking at the Claremont GraduateUniversity on June 10, TurkishConsul General in Los AngelesHakan Tekin noted “that the lastthree presidents of the UnitedStates, they also had similar statementsduring the elections,” butdid not deliver on their pledgeswhen elected, Peter Musurlian ofGlobalist Films reported via www.youtube.com on June 16.At the same time, Mr. Tekin suggestedthat Turkish public mayalready favor Sen. Obama over hisRepublican candidate Sen. JohnMcCain who has consistently refusedto promise to change the U.S.policy on the Armenian Genocide.Senate Committeeurges U.S. to keep focuson Central Asia energySen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.) reiteratedhis concerns over Russianinfluence on energy supplies to Europein a Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee hearing on June 12. Sen.Lugar, who serves as the committee’sranking member (most seniorRepublican), touted Azerbaijan asan example to Central Asian states.“Central Asian nations need onlylook across the Caspian Sea toAzerbaijan to gain a sense of thepolitical benefits of maintaining asecond option for oil and gas exports,”he said in his opening speechin reference to the pipelines nowlinking Azerbaijan, Georgia, andTurkey and thus bypassing Russia.The United States has since soughtto link up oil from Kazakhstan andgas from Turkmenistan across theCaspian to Azerbaijan to be thentransported to Turkey and Europe.Barack Obama.Sen. Lugar also urged the trans-Atlantic community not to take“progress in Georgia and Azerbaijanfor granted” and continue to bolsterties with them. He welcomedthe recent appointment of the U.S.envoy to the European Union toalso serve as envoy on Caspian energy;both he and Committee chairSen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) have insistedon that since last year.“Ambassador C. Boyden Gray’sappointment lends significantweight to this initiative by virtue ofhis close relationship with PresidentBush,” Sen. Lugar said. Mr. Gray, aswell as the State Department’s twodeputy assistant secretaries SteveMann and Matt Bryza, visitedBaku earlier this month to discussenergy cooperation, Trend newsagency reported on June 3.Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, asenior advisor in Sen. BarackObama’s presidential campaignand national security advisor inCarter Administration, sharedmany of Sen. Lugar’s concernsabout Russia.“We should be more active in negotiatingparticularly with thosenon-Russian suppliers who in thelong run want to be accessible forthe world, but in the short run aresqueezed [by Russia],” he said, addinghowever that “long-term interdependencebetween the West andRussia” can have a mutually beneficialeffect.U.S.-Russia nuclearenergy deal discussedin CongressDemocrats in Congress have questionedthe administration’s trustin Russia and its willingness toset the U.S.-Russia Civil NuclearAgreement into force. PresidentGeorge W. Bush submitted theagreement to Congress on May 13for review.The deal is part of U.S. efforts towin international support for U.S.-championed sanctions againstIran while facilitating U.S. companiesin their efforts to secure newnuclear power plant constructioncontracts internationally. A similardeal on nuclear energy withTurkey came into force on June 2following congressional approvalearlier this year. (See this page inthe February 9, 2008 ArmenianReporter.)At the June 12 House ForeignAffairs Committee hearing, concernsfocused on Russia’s unwillingnessto back the United Statesin imposing harsher sanctionson Iran over its nuclear program.President Bush made the issueof Iran sanctions the focus of histour of Europe that ended thisweek.“We want to hear whether, [theRussia-Iran nuclear weapons-related]cooperation has ceased – andwhat assurances, if any, Moscowhas given our government,” committeechair Howard Berman (D.-Calif.) asked Acting Undersecretaryof State John Rood.Mr. Rood responded that assurancesreceived were sufficient to“mitigate” U.S. concerns and thatthis agreement would establish alegal basis for a mutually beneficialnuclear cooperation internationally.“In [certain areas] Russia possessesexperience and facilities not widelyavailable in the U.S.,” he said.Having Russia as the supplier ofIranian nuclear fuel will decreasethe likelihood of Iran enriching itsown uranium, Mr. Rood told thehearing. He added he has serioussuspicions about Iran himself, butsaid the United States needs Russiancooperation to promote globalnon-proliferation.Meantime, Rep. Edward Markey(D.-Mass.) disapproved ofPresident Bush’s recent promiseRichard Lugar.to also send nuclear equipment toSaudi Arabia.“This is a very dangerous policyand you have to have high standards[for countries you deal with]if you don’t want to see [a spreadof nuclear weapons in the] MiddleEast,” he said.Turkey seeks selfsufficiencyin weaponsproductionTurkey is working to achieve selfsufficiencyin arms and aspires tobecome a global arms supplier, accordingto a study made public atWashington’s Jamestown Foundationon June 17.The study’s author, Dr. AndrewMcGregor said that Turkey’s annualarms exports would reach $1.5billion in the next three years andthat the country is aggressivelyseeking to increase its marketshare. The author noted frequentdisputes between Turkey and itstraditional weapons supplier – theUnited States – as one importantmotive for boosting domestic production.Turkey is also modernizing itsown armed forces, which is alreadyone of the world’s largest, to betteraddress asymmetric threats posedby Kurdish insurgents, and “enableTurkey to remain a regional powercapable of independent action outsideits borders if it feels its nationalintegrity is threatened,” said Mr.McGregor.See http://www.jamestown.orgfor the full report.fSenate panel considers nominee to head Embassy in Armenian Continued from page for not doing so, citing efforts toreconcile Armenia and Turkey.Just two committee members,Senators Ben Cardin (D.-Md.) andRobert Menendez (D.-N.J.), werepresent as the testimony was deliveredlate on Thursday; other senatorssubmitted statements for therecord.Pressed by Sen. Menendez, whorepeatedly referred to U.S. documentsfrom throughout the 20thcentury describing the ArmenianGenocide, Amb.Yovanovitch saidshe could not deviate from administration’spolicy and use the term.Sen. Menendez described theadministration’s position on thematter as “ridiculous,” while alsoexpressing “great admiration” forthe nominee and her “modest answers.”Other committee members, includingSenators Barbara Boxer(D.-Calif.) and Barack Obama(D.-Ill.) (see this week’s WashingtonBriefing on this page) issuedwritten statements criticizing theadministration’s policy on the ArmenianGenocide.In his statement, committeeRanking Member Richard Lugar(R.-Ind.) suggested that the absenceof a U.S. ambassador fromArmenia has been “detrimental toboth U.S. and Armenian interests.”The Armenian government hasexpressed the wish to see a newambassador to Armenia approvedas soon as possible. The new nominationcomes at a difficult period inU.S.-Armenia relations stemmingfrom U.S. criticism of the Armeniangovernment’s handling of theFebruary 2008 presidential electionand its aftermath.Ambassador Yovanovitch was introducedby former Senate majorityleader and longtime Armenian-American ally Robert Dole, whosubstantiated the need for a U.S.Ambassador in Yerevan by citing“very serious problems” in a “politicallyweak” Armenia.Sen. Cardin, also a supporter ofArmenian-American issues, usedthe opportunity to question thecredibility of the Armenian government’sdescription of the March1 violence and asked whether theUnited States continued to pressfor an independent inquiry. (Sen.Cardin, who is co-chair of the bicameralHelsinki Commission, alsocriticized the government at thatcommission’s hearing on Armeniaheld in April.)While calling the post-electionsituation “disturbing” in her writtentestimony, Ambassador Yovanovitchacknowledged the recentestablishment of a parliamentarycommission to examine the clashesbetween police and demonstrators.In her testimony, she noted thatthe United States seeks “to help theArmenian government and the Armenianpeople restore democraticmomentum” and that “it is up tothe Armenian government to takethe necessary steps, so that the[Millennium Challenge] Compactprogram could continue.” (See astory on the program on page 4.)Citing Armenia’s economic progressand security cooperation withthe United States and NATO, shedescribed U.S.-Armenia relationsas “broad and deep” and pledged tostrengthen the bilateral “partnership”if approved as ambassador.The post of the U.S. ambassadorto Armenia has been vacant sinceSeptember 10, 2006, when theState Department recalled AmbassadorJohn Evans ahead of timebecause he used the term Genocidein public remarks in the UnitedStates in 2005.The president nominated AmbassadorRichard Hoagland toreplace Mr. Evans. Mr. Hoagland’sresponses to the Senate committeewere construed as a denialof the veracity of the ArmenianGenocide, and committee approvalwas uncertain. After Mr. Hoaglandrevised his answers in writing,the committee approved hiscandidacy. However, it never cameto a vote in the full Senate becauseSen. Menendez used a Senateprocedure under which he wasable place a “hold” on the mattercoming to a vote. The president renominatedMr. Hoagland in 2007,but Sen. Menendez continued toblock a vote. The president finallywithdrew the nomination.In the meantime, the U.S. missionin Armenia has been led bychargés d’affaires. The first wasDeputy Chief of Mission AnthonyGodfrey; at the expiration of histerm, retired Ambassador RudolphPerina was sent to Armenia forsome three months as chargé. Thepost is now held by Deputy Chief ofMission Joseph Pennington.Ambassador Yovanovitch is a 22-year veteran of the Foreign Servicewho just concluded a three-yearassignment as U.S. ambassador toKyrgyzstan. Prior to that appointment,from August 2004 to May2005, Ms. Yovanovitch was senioradvisor to the then-Undersecretaryof State for Political Affairs MarcGrossman.From August 2001 to June 2004,Ms. Yovanovitch was deputy chiefof mission at the U.S. Embassy inUkraine. From May 1998 to May2000, Ms. Yovanovitch was deputydirector of the State Department’sRussia Desk; she had beenposted with embassies in Canada,Russia, the United Kingdom, andSomalia.Her educational background includesa B.A. in history and Russianstudies from Princeton Universityin 1980 and a master’s from the NationalWar College in 2001.Born in Canada to parents of Serbianand Russian descent, she grewup in Connecticut and is fluent inRussian and French.f
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008InternationalState Department, Congressional panel discussU.S. policy in Armenia and its neighborhoodArmenian Genocide,Turkish blockade,Karabakh are focusof hearingby Emil SanamyanWASHINGTON – The Foreign AffairsCommittee of the House ofRepresentatives and the AssistantSecretary of State for Europe andEurasia on June 18 held a rare publicdiscussion of U.S. policies in theCaucasus region.The hearing, titled “Caucasus:Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders,”was an opportunity for lawmakersto express their discontentwith the Bush administration’s policyon the Armenian Genocide, lackof action on the Turkish blockadeof Armenia, and threats by Azerbaijanto go to war over Karabakh.The administration in turn usedthe opportunity to reiterate itsconcerns about Russia, Iran, andrecent domestic developments inArmenia and, to a lesser extent,Azerbaijan.The hearing was called by thecommittee chair Howard Berman(D.-Calif.), a member of the ArmenianCaucus, just weeks after Rep.Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) introduceda legislative measure titled “Endthe Turkish Blockade of ArmeniaAct” that, if passed, would requirethe Secretary of State to report onsteps taken by the United States toend Turkey’s blockade of Armenia.The legislation, introduced onMay 15, came as efforts to secureHouse adoption of the ArmenianGenocide resolution, passed in theForeign Affairs Committee last October,appear to have stalled in theface of unprecedented oppositionfrom the Bush administration.On the ArmenianGenocideAssistant Secretary Dan Fried answering questions from House Foreign AffairsCommittee members on June 18, with California Democrats Adam Schiff and JimCosta (right) in view. Photo: Armenian Reporter.Rep. Schiff, as well as Reps. JimCosta (D.-Calif.), Ed Royce (R.-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.)and Diane Watson (D.-Calif.),also used the opportunity to grillAssistant Secretary Dan Fried onthe administration’s opposition toGenocide affirmation. There wereheated exchanges.Like Secretary of State CondoleezzaRice last year, Mr. Friedavoided giving a yes-or-no answerwhen pressed on whether hethought the Armenian experiencein the Ottoman Empire should bedescribed as genocide. Instead heargued that congressional recognition“would not contribute” to thecause of improved relations betweenArmenia and Turkey.Rep. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.) wasthe lone committee member to expresssupport for this position ofthe administration, saying that itwas not up to Congress to “bestow”terms on the “awful thing” thathappened to Armenians.Secretary Fried did acknowledgethat the record on “mass killings”and “forced exile” of Armenianswas “very clear” and that the administration“never denied theseevents” and that the president continuesto mark them annually in astatement.He went on to say: “I’ve made itclear to everyone in the EuropeanBureau that they are welcome topresent any alternative views onthis or any other issue in-house,and I’ve made clear that such viewswill be heard and respected.”On Turkey’s blockadeMr. Berman began the hearing bynoting that Turkey’s closure of itsland border was “quite possibly illegal,”citing Ankara’s obligationsunder the Treaty of Kars and regulationsof the World Trade Organization,of which both Turkey andArmenia are members.“It’s baffling why Ankara wouldwant to pursue this land blockade,which also harms the economyof eastern Turkey [and] seemsmanifestly contrary to the strategicinterests of Turkey, whichpurports to be a solid member ofthe Western alliance,” Mr. Bermanargued.“The land blockade has done absolutelynothing to persuade Armeniato alter its policies on theNagorno-Karabakh issue – the ostensiblecause of the land blockadein the first place. Nor is there anyprospect that it will do so,” Mr. Bermancontinued.“Armenia has demonstrated itsresolve to support the Armeniansof Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey ismore likely to win influence withthe Armenian government if itpursues a policy of good-neighborlinessthan if it slams the borderclosed,” he said.In response, Mr. Fried pointedto direct air links between Armeniaand Turkey and trade conductedthrough Georgia, also frequentlycited by officials from Ankara asevidence that Turkey was not quiteblockading Armenia. He said thatthe United States would certainlywelcome an opening of the landborder as well and that such anopening should not be linked tothe Karabakh peace process.But when pressed by Reps. Costa,Royce, and Schiff, Mr. Fried didnot reveal any steps to achieve theborder opening beyond raising theissue.Meantime, Turkish Caucusco-chair Rep. Robert Wexler (D.-Fla.) said that he remained “hopeful”that Armenia and Turkey willfind ways to improve relations,pointing to the recent exchangeof messages between the two governments.Mr. Fried said he agreed thatthe exchange was “promising” andeven suggesting that such an improvementcould come “quickly.”But in his testimony he acknowledgedthat reconciliation betweenArmenia and Turkey will requiresteps that “will not be easy.”Howard L. Berman’s opening statement“Turkey needs to come to termswith a dark chapter in its history:the mass killings and forced exile ofup to 1.5 million Armenians at theend of the Ottoman Empire,” hesaid. “For its part, Armenia mustbe ready to acknowledge the existingborder and disavow any claimon the territory of modern Turkey,and respond constructively to anyefforts Turkey may make.”On KarabakhMr. Berman, Mr. Royce, Mr. Sherman,as well as the ArmenianCaucus co-chairs Reps. Joe Knollenberg(R.-Mich.) and FrankPallone (D.-N.J.), who althoughnot committee members took partin the hearing, also expressed concernsover Azerbaijan’s posturingin the Karabakh conflict.Mr. Berman suggested that as inthe Middle East, U.S. policy shouldnot be solely focused on achievinga peace agreement but that theUnited States should also reducetensions by promoting mutuallybeneficial projects between partiesto the conflict.Mr. Knollenberg and Mr. Roycereferred to increases in Azerbaijan’smilitary spending and quotedstatements of its president, IlhamAliyev, about his readiness to goto war; they wondered what UnitedStates was doing about that.Mr. Fried, while describing Azerbaijan’s“bellicose” rhetoric as “unhelpful,”disagreed that it intendedto go to war, pointing to the recentmeeting between Mr. Aliyev andPresident Serge Sargsian of Armenia.“We’ve also explained to them,frankly, that Azerbaijan’s wealthcomes from the export of gas andoil, and that a war puts that at riskvery quickly,” Mr. Fried said. Headded, “it is also the judgment ofthe United States that Azerbaijandoes not have a military superiorityover Armenia and that a warwould be costly to both sides andunwinnable by either one.”Also expressing “concern aboutAzerbaijan attacking Armenia becauseof a territorial dispute” waslongtime Turkey and Azerbaijansupporter Rep. Dan Burton (R.-Ind.). Pointing to a need for energyindependence, he also stressed theimportance of minimizing prospectfor conflicts in energy-rich areas,such as the Caucasus.Rep. Bill Shuster (R.-Penn.), cochairof the recently establishedAzerbaijan caucus, who was alsoinvited to the committee hearing,noted Azerbaijan’s cooperationwith the United States on energyand security issues and wonderedwhether Congress should accedeto the “Muslim ally’s” requests andfully repeal restrictions on U.S. assistanceto Azerbaijan, known asSection 907 of the Freedom SupportAct.Secretary Fried responded thatexisting conditional waiver authority,approved by Congress in 2001,provides sufficient opportunitiesfor the United States to conductrelations with Azerbaijan.Mr. Pallone and Mr. Sherman arguedthat the United States shouldmove to expand relations with theNagorno-Karabakh republic andrecognize its people’s right to selfdetermination.“We supported the independenceof Kosovo, and we ought to takesome of the same attitudes and applythem to the NK conflict,” saidMr. Sherman, while Rep. Pallonesuggested “de facto” recognition ofKarabakh’s independence and liftingof existing restrictions on U.S.engagement with Karabakh.Other concernsSecretary Fried referred during thehearing to the continued tensionsbetween Russia and Georgia overthe breakaway region of Abkhazia,suggesting that “unremitting anddangerous pressure from Russia”on U.S.-supported Georgia “risk[s]igniting a wider conflict.”Mr. Fried also touched on U.S. effortsto undermine Russia’s dominanceof Eurasian energy marketsby facilitating energy developmentin Azerbaijan and Central Asia.Concerns about Russia’s as wellas Iran’s policies were also expressedby Reps. Gene Green (D.-Tex.), Ted Poe (R.-Tex.), DavidScott (D.-Ga.), and others.Mr. Berman, the committeechair, specifically asked Mr. Friedwhether any of the Caucasus countriessupplied Iran with uranium,saying a rumor to that effect wasgoing around. Mr. Fried said he wasunaware of any such supplies, butwould check further.Finally, Rep. Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) asked whether Islamic radicalsfrom Al Qaida had infiltratedany part of the Caucasus. SecretaryFried responded that such effortshad been made in Russia’s NorthCaucasus and Azerbaijan, but notin Georgia or Armenia. f—Yelena Osipovacontributed to this story.Delivered at thehearing, “TheCaucasus: FrozenConflicts and ClosedBorders”Between the Black Sea and theCaspian Sea lie the countries of theCaucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan,and Georgia. Due to disputes thathave festered over the course ofmany years, there are enough compellingquestions involving thesethree countries and their neighborsto occupy us all day long. Duringthe course of this hearing I’dlike to focus on the frozen conflictsaffecting economic and politicalintegration in the region, and howU.S. foreign policy is responding tothem.I’d like to start with one of themost puzzling and problematicmatters: the Turkish land blockadeof Armenia, in place since 1993. It’sa punishing policy that holds theArmenian economy back and enormouslyincreases the cost of muchof Armenia’s trade with other nations.The land blockade is also, quitepossibly, illegal, as it seems tobreach Turkey’s undertaking inthe 1922 Treaty of Kars to keepits border-crossings with Armeniaopen. And it violates the spirit ofthe World Trade Organization, ofwhich both Turkey and Armeniaare members.It’s baffling why Ankara wouldwant to pursue this land blockade,which also harms the economy ofeastern Turkey, and is thereforeclearly contrary to its own interests.It’s no secret that many Turkishbusinessmen, especially in theeast, have been lobbying for liftingthe land blockade.It also seems manifestly contraryto the strategic interests of Turkey,which purports to be a solid memberof the Western alliance. Withoutan outlet to Turkey or Azerbaijan,Armenia is forced to rely on itsconnections to two of Turkey’s historicalrivals, Russia and Iran – andgiven how antithetical the Iranianregime is to the secular, modernTurkish government, it seems oddthat Ankara would want to undertakeany actions that will enhanceTehran’s influence in Yerevan.Continued on page mHouse Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Howard Berman (D.-Calif.) opens theJune 18 hearing, with the Committee’s Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.-Fla.) Photo: Armenian Reporter.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008InternationalMillennium Challenge Corp. watching Armenia developments$235 million in aidover five years atstakeby Yelena Osipova andEmil SanamyanWASHINGTON – The Board ofDirectors of the Millennium ChallengeCorporation (MCC) is takingan active interest in the politicalsituation in Armenia and discussedit at its meeting on June 17, MCCChief Executive Officer AmbassadorJohn Danilovich said at the publicoutreach briefing the same day.There was concern ahead of themeeting that the MCC board maysuspend or cancel its $235 millionfive-year assistance program in Armenia.The terms of MCC grants requirerecipient countries to maintainstandards of ruling justly, investingin people, and maintainingeconomic freedom.While no decision was taken onthe suspension of MCC-funded programsin Armenia, Mr. Danilovichindicated that the board has been“encouraged” by Armenia’s mostrecent steps and will continue towatch developments to see whetherArmenia remains eligible for aid.Mr. Danilovich said he communicatedthe MCC’s concerns to thegovernment of Armenia followingthe March board meeting in awarning letter to then-PresidentRobert Kocharian and more recentlythrough communicationswith President Serge Sargsian.The messages sent to the Armeniangovernment are part of anMCC policy process that governspotential suspension or terminationof assistance. Mr. Danilovichsaid that the board wanted to makeit clear to President Sargsian thatArmenia now has the opportunity“to make the reforms that are necessarywith regards to the rightsto public assembly, the creation ofan ad hoc bipartisan commissionto investigate the election, to takecertain action with regard to politicalprisoners and to continue inother areas of reform to take Armeniaon the path of democracy.”Furthermore, the land blockadehas done absolutely nothing to persuadeArmenia to alter its policieson the Nagorno-Karabakh issue– the ostensible cause of the landblockade in the first place. Nor isthere any prospect that it will doso. Armenia has demonstrated itsresolve to support the Armeniansof Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey ismore likely to win influence withthe Armenian government if itpursues a policy of good-neighborlinessthan if it slams the borderclosed.Why hasn’t the State Department– which opposes the landblockade – spoken out more forcefullyon this matter? Certainly it’sin our interest to diminish Iran’sinfluence among its neighbors, notto enhance it. Ambassador Fried,I’m hoping you’ll lay out for us thesteps our government has takenand is taking to convince our allyTurkey to end, once and for all,this counter-productive practice ofclosed borders.And by no means is Turkey Armenia’sonly problem in the region.I’m deeply concerned by the seriesof increasingly bellicose statementsSimilar recommendations toArmenia were made by the ParliamentaryAssembly of the Councilof Europe in April.Mr. Danilovich welcomed the reformsalready enacted and signedinto law over the past severalweeks. The “MCC board is expectingthat the Armenian governmentwill continue to make the appropriatereforms so that our cooperationon the poverty-reduction programscan continue as fruitfully as it has[so far],” Mr. Danilovich added.MCC board member and InternationalRepublican Institute (IRI)president Lorne Craner said thereform efforts are “a measure ofimportance that the Armenian governmentattaches to MCC.” He saidthe board will continue to closelymonitor the process and the otherways in which the Armenian governmentwill improve on democracyand human rights.“I am confident that at least atthe next few meetings we are goingto get reports on how Armeniais doing in respect to these issues,”he said. Mr. Craner stressed, however,that board meetings are notrequired for the MCC to take actionon the Armenia compact, shouldevents warrant a more immediateresponse.Compact movesforward despite “hold”on one projectMr. Danilovich said that the program’simplementation in Armeniais continuing and that the MCC is“very pleased” with many parts ofit.However, when asked by the ArmenianReporter, Mr. Danilovichconfirmed that about a month agothe corporation had put on holdthe commencement of negotiationson a package of road projectsin order to send a clear message tothe Armenian government aboutits concerns.“We are considering our positionon that as we go forward and wewill be making some decisions onthat regard in the coming weeks,”Mr. Danilovich added.Although on March 12 Secretaryof State Condoleezza Rice said ina congressional hearing that the 20-made over the past year about Nagorno-Karabakhby senior Azerbaijaniofficials, as well as the steadyincrease in Azerbaijan’s defensebudget as that nation acquires moreoil wealth. The serious breakdownearlier this year in the 14-year-oldcease-fire has been widely blamedon Azerbaijani provocations. Mr.Ambassador, how do you see thissituation, and what is the status ofnegotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh?Turning to Georgia, in recentweeks, we’ve seen increasingly aggressiveRussian behavior towardthe region of Abkhazia: Moscowhas established official ties withthe separatist government there,issued passports and citizenship toits residents, dispatched a Russianjet to down a Georgian reconnaissancecraft, and deployed railwaytroops to the region under dubiouspretenses.It was dispiriting to hear the newRussian president, Dmitry Medvedev,dismiss offers of foreign mediationof this conflict during hisfirst official meeting in early Junewith Georgian President MikhailSaakashvilli. Although the UnitedStates and the European Unionexpressed support for the GeorgianPresident’s peace initiativesday state of emergency in Yerevandeclared on March 1 had “made itnecessary to suspend” some of U.S.assistance programs, other officialsdenied that any “suspension” occurred.In a March 20 interview withthe Armenian Reporter, Deputy AssistantSecretary of State MattBryza said that any MCC suspensiondecisions would be based on a“subjective judgment” on whethera country has made “large amountof backtracking” from democraticstandards.Economic performanceand MCC eligibilityIn addition to such subjective criteria,Armenia’s annual eligibilityfor the MCC program is determinedbased on its democracy, economicfreedoms, and social spending ratingswhen compared against countriesin similar economic condition.Because of Armenia’s improvedeconomic performance, it has graduatedfrom the lower-income to thelower-middle income category. As aresult, starting this year its indicatorsare judged relative to less poorcountries.Asked by the Armenian Reporterwhether this would have an impacton Armenia’s eligibility, Mr. Cranerresponded in the negative. “Thisis not the issue in Armenia,” Mr.Craner said. “The issue in Armeniais [about] the election” and its aftermath.Howard L. Berman’s opening statementn Continued from page during their recent summit inSlovenia, follow-up efforts by EUforeign policy chief Javier Solanaand your deputy Matt Bryza to encouragepeace talks have garneredlittle traction. Mr. Ambassador,what steps will this Administrationtake in the coming months tohelp prevent further escalation ofthis conflict? And do you supportcalls for the Russian-dominatedCIS peacekeeping force to be replacedby a neutral EU contingentas one means of mitigating theconflict?And finally, I’d like to address anissue with long-term implicationsfor U.S. foreign policy throughoutthe region: the prospect ofdemocratization and political developmentin the South Caucasus.Lately in the wake of elections inthe region, there has been a worryingtrend of large-scale protestsand forceful police reaction. Thisexplosive combination has the effectof silencing the oppositionand strengthening ruling politicalregimes in a region that is stillstruggling to establish its democraticcredentials.Last fall, the Georgian governmentimposed a sweeping state ofemergency following demonstrationsby thousands of protestersMr. Danilovich said the MCC hasa certain level of “fluidity” aboutthe indicators, as the corporationrecognizes that they are not perfect:the indicators may suffer froma time-lag or inaccurate information.However, he said, the MCC hasa special Policy Improvement Programto find out ways to target variousaspects of institutional functioningand improve that performanceon an annual basis, in casea country has “started to slip” inits indicative performance, whichinitially had allowed it to join theMCC.Inside-the-beltwaystruggle underway forMCC fundsThe board meeting came at a difficulttime for the four-year-oldcorporation. Sen. Judd Gregg (R.-N.H.) offered an amendment lastmonth seeking to strip the MCC ofmore than half a billion dollars inunspent funds in Fiscal Years 2008and 2009, to be used for humanitarianaid around the world. (Seethe May 24 issue of the ArmenianReporter.)According to a June 16 postingon the Center for Global Development’sblog, “the rumor has itthat the original $525 million rescissionof FY08 funding to theMCC [proposed by Sen. Gregg]has been reduced in conference[to reconcile Senate and Houseover a government that appearedout of touch with the people. Armeniaexperienced violent clashesthat left eight people dead followingMarch presidential elections.And Azerbaijan could suffer asimilar fate during its presidentialelections in October, as thegovernment is already crackingdown on the media and opposition.Mr. Ambassador, we wouldwelcome your assessment of thedemocratic prospects of thesecountries, which are of suchgreat strategic importance to theUnited States. Given unstable regimesand considerable politicalacrimony, what is the potentialJohn Danilovichon right withLorne Craneron June 17.Photo: ArmenianReporter.versions of the spending bill] toaround $60 million.”Mr. Danilovich argued that theeffort to rescind the funds arosein part from a misunderstandingof the way MCC operates. It takestime to determine eligibility andcarry out negotiations with eligiblestates, and multiyear contracts requirecommitted funds upfront.“The notion that we are sittingon money is wrong,” he said, addingthat programs that have beenlaunched are already bringing benefitsto farmers from Honduras toArmenia.Further, Mr. Danilovich said thatthe campaigns of presidential hopefulsJohn McCain and BarackObama have both pledged to supportthe program. The MCC wasinitiated by President George W.Bush at a time when conventionalforeign aid programs, administeredthrough U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID), havebeen cut.Mr. Danilovich said he expectsthe corporation’s total financialdisbursements in the field to risefrom $500 million currently toclose to $1 billion before the endof 2008. At its June 17 meeting,the MCC board approved a fiveyear$480 million compact withBurkino Faso, the seventeenthcountry worldwide slated to receiveMCC funds.fconnect:http://mcc.gov/countries/armeniafor fostering sustainable dialogueon a multi-party, parliamentarylevel? I would also be grateful ifyou could address the questionof how the U.S. administrationis holding these governmentsaccountable for human rightsabuses, while at the same timeworking to achieve lasting peacebetween them.It’s a tall order; we don’t have allthe time in the world to address allthe matters we’d like to today, soI’m going to stop at this point andturn to my colleague and friendIleana Ros-Lehtinen, the rankingmember of the committee, forany comments she may wish tomake.fReach over 100,000 Armenianswith your messageAdvertise in the Armenian Reporter, on the newUSArmenia Television, and on Armenia TV onthe Dish Network. For more information, from theWestern U.S. call 818.800.3311 or from the EasternU.S. call 201.226.1995.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 5CommunityWestern Diocese ordains two priestsby Lory TatoulianHOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Twodeacons, Vahe Abovian and MayisShahbazyan, knelt on the altarand kissed the purple and goldencolored robes before ArchbishopHovnan Derderian, Primate ofthe Western Diocese, placed theembroidered vestments over theshoulders of the young men. Asthundering hymns echoed throughoutthe sanctuary and wafts of jasmineincense drifted in the air, thetwo deacons partook in a series ofrituals that marked their passageinto priesthood.Over 500 attendees, includingDiocesan clergymen from acrossthe state and former PrimateArchbishop Vatche Hovsepian,gathered at the St. John GarabedArmenian Church in Hollywood onMay 26 to witness the ordinationof Abovian and Shahbazyan. Asthey will devote their lives to theirnew sacred vocation, the two menwill assume new names, signifyingtheir role as spiritual leaders.The deacons did not know whattheir new names would be up tillthe moment Archbishop Derderianuttered them for the first time ashe anointed the young men’s foreheadswith consecrated oil (muron),thus administering the ordination.Mayis Shahbazyan will now takethe name Fr. Khajag and Vahe Abovianwill be called Fr. Avedis. Theirlast names will remain.It has been more than a decadesince the Western Diocese’s last ordinationof priests. The clergy andthe Archbishop see the inductionof the new priests as a positive stepfor the church.“This is a milestone in the life ofthe Western Diocese,” ArchbishopDerderian said. “It is not only theordination of the two priests weare celebrating, but a new beginningin the life of the church. Ordinationsare a high point for theDiocese because it is only throughnewly ordained priests that thechurch is revitalized.”Currently the Diocese has 11 candidatesawaiting elevation to therank of priest. In addition to theirFresno mourns the passing of Richard DarmanianRenownededucator served inseveral Armenianorganizationsby Alik HovsepianFRESNO, Calif. – The FresnoArmenian-American communitylost a beloved friend and leader,Richard Darmanian, who passedaway on June 10. He was 81 yearsold.Hundreds of mourners gatheredto pay their last respects on June14, when he was laid to rest. “I washonored all my life and am honorednow that he was a part of my life,”said Meher Chekerdemian, a friendand colleague of Darmanian. “Tome, he was a guy that you alwayslooked up to. He was a guy that youlooked to to relax, to just get backto reality, to get back on the rightroad, and to just start thinkingmore rationally. He always madeyou feel that way.”Darmanian was born on November21, 1926, in Sacramento, California.He and his family moved to theCentral Valley when he was a child.After graduating from Carutherstheological training, candidates arenow required to obtain a Master’sdegree in divinity to complete theireducation.“We are supporting them in everyway possible to make sure that ouryoung priests receive the best education,and are spiritually preparedto serve the Lord and the communityof the church,” the Archbishopsaid.In a time when few Armenianmen are choosing to becomepriests in this country, Shahbazyanand Abovian stand out by decidingto devote their lives to the oldestChristian institution in the world.Shahbazyan remembers goingto church as a young boy with hisgrandmother in Gyumri and feelingdeeply moved by the music ofthe Divine Liturgy. As he grew olderand more curious, Shahbazyansought to deepen his experienceand knowledge of the church. Heattended the Gevorkian SeminarySchool in Echmiadzin, where he resolvedto become a priest.“As I became an adult and learnedabout the church, I began to understandthe meaning behind therituals and the music,” Shahbazyanexplained. “I began to really understandthe beauty of the Divine Liturgyand grasp the meaning of theprayers.”Before Shahbazyan got married,he told his then-fiancée, Tamara,The ordinationof VaheAbovian – nowFather Avedis– and MayisShahbazyan– now FatherKhajag.that he wanted to become a priest.She replied by telling him that ithad always been her wish to beinvolved in the church. The couplemarried and had a son, Haik.In the Armenian church it is requiredthat a deacon first be marriedbefore becoming a priest. Ifa deacon chooses to take a vowof celibacy, he is appointed to theecclesiastical order as an apegha,and given a cowl (a monk’s hood),which symbolizes the renunciationof worldly pleasures.Fr. Shahbazyan will be serving asparish priest for the St. Leon Cathedral,slated to be built next tothe Diocesan headquarters in Burbank.High School in 1944, he earned aBA in history and a Master’s degreein guidance and counseling fromFresno State College.In 1952 Darmanian began histeaching career at Roosevelt HighSchool in Fresno, where he taughtmathematics, history, and government.He also served as counselorand dean at Roosevelt High School.Darmanian was one of the veryfirst Armenian-American administratorsto serve in the Fresno UnifiedSchool District. In 1969 he wasappointed as assistant principalof Edison High School, and principalin 1972. Then, in 1979, he wasappointed as principal of HooverHigh School. From 1984 until hisretirement in 1988, he served asdistrict administrator in the Divisionof Instruction, overseeingthe district’s high schools. He alsochaired the California State AccreditationCommission VisitingCommittees, helping ongoing accreditationprocesses for sevenhigh schools throughout the state.Darmanian was a very activeand influential member of Fresno’sArmenian community. In 1950 hebecame a member of the ARF, inwhich he went on to serve severalterms, variously as a member ofthe Regional Executive Committeeand the Central Executive Committee.Between 1952 and 1970 heserved as regional secretary of theAmerican Committee for the Independenceof Armenia (ArmenianNational Committee – ANC). Hesubsequently served as executivedirector of the ANC Central CaliforniaChapter, from 1988 to 1996.In 1960 Darmanian had the honorto serve as a pallbearer for nationalhero Soghomon Tehlirian.Darmanian was one of thefounding members of the ArmenianCommunity School of Fresno,which opened its doors in 1976,and served as chairman of theBoard of Education for six years.In addition, he served as chairmanof the Armenian CommunityCouncil of San Joaquin Valley forseveral years.Darmanian was also active inthe church. A long-time memberof the Holy Trinity Armenian ApostolicChurch, he served on itsBoard of Trustees for several years.From 1988 to 1998 he served as amember of the Executive Councilof the Western Prelacy of the ArmenianApostolic Church of NorthAmerica. He was appointed to thePrelacy’s Education Council twice,in 1990 and 1994.Other organizations and programsin which Darmanian servedincluded the California State University,Fresno, Armenian StudiesAdvisory Board; the FresnoConvention Center; the RedevelopmentAgency PAC; and the ExchangeClub of Fresno.Darmanian was deeply devotedto his family – his wife, Armon,whom he married in 1949, their sixchildren: Aram, Charlotte, Margaret,Christine, Suzanne, and Marion;and seven grandchildren. Darmanianlived on a farm for mostof his life and had a passion forfarming.In 1995 Darmanian took a tourof historic Armenia, during whichhe visited his ancestral home inMoush. Friend and fellow touristNazig Messerlian said that Darmanianlit up when they made abrief stop in Moush. The tour alsoled them to Mount Ararat, whereDarmanian got up in front of thewhole group to sing Mer Hayrenik.Messerlian noted that she wastouched by his patriotism andcourage.“He was truly a mentor and I felthe was a fatherly figure for me,”said Berge Apkarian, who workedwith Darmanian on the Board ofthe anc Central California Chapter.“He pulled me aside, he always gaveme advice, and he was proud tosee the younger Armenian generationalongside with him, engaged“The first step I am going to takeis to see what the community wantsfrom me as a priest,” Fr. Shahbazyansaid. “I also want to introduce theteachings of the church to our youth.We are in serious need of this. Theyouth needs to start coming to thebadarak [Holy Mass] once again.”Fr. Abovian is the newly appointedyouth director of the ArmenianChurch Youth Organization (acyo),a position that requires him to createawareness among the youthabout their religion, history, andculture.Fr. Abovian also felt a connectionwith the Armenian church from ayoung age. In Yerevan he lived bythe neighborhood house of worshipand he remembers always havinggreat respect for the ceremoniesand teachings of the church.“To be a priest is to really understandthe soul of the people and reallyhelp them,” Abovian said. “Workingwith the youth has always beenmy passion. It will be my missionto help the acyo grow and make iteven more relevant for the youth.We will be there to give direction.”Abovian is married to Arminehand together they have three children:Gor, Nareh, and Ani.Following the ceremonies ofordination and consecration, thecongregants gathered inside thehall of the Taglyan Cultural Center,where Armenian Consul GeneralArmen Liloyan and Diocesan Boardmembers offered congratulatoryremarks.Richard Darmanian.in such activities that were dearto his heart. He was proud to havefolks share his values, work withhim closely for the advancementof the Armenian cause. I hope wecan teach the younger generationwhat he taught us.”“Those of us who were close tohim [are better persons today] becauseof him,” Chekerdemian said.“That’s important to me because[I’ve learned a lot from] his character,his temperament, his philosophy,his values, his approach tosolving problems, and his approachto organizing.”
6 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008CommunityTHIS ARMENIAN LIFEOn the roadby TamarKevonianIn total, Hilma and I traveled 3,160miles during our road trip – witha carful of camping equipmentand Hilma’s very serene dog, Cece.(See columns under the same titleover the last two weeks.) We hadreached our goal of meanderingour way north toward Seattle tovisit with friends. We spent a weekin the rainy city waiting for clearweather to be able to see the spectacularMount Rainier and the terrifyingMount Saint Helens on ourreturn drive to Los Angeles.We packed our bags but found itdifficult to leave Aren, our gracioushost, and his comfortable home.We spent days talking, drinking tea,playing cards, and laughing to thepoint of tears.“Let’s play one more hand,” Arensuggested, trying to persuade us tostay a bit longer.“OK. One hand,” agreed Hilma.Convincing us took no effort onAren’s part.One hand led to several morebut we finally tore ourselves awayand began our journey toward LosAngeles. Once on the highway, thequestion was which road to take.Although we both felt ready to returnhome, we didn’t want to passup the opportunity to see as manyof the sights along the way as wepossible could. This time therewere two main destinations on ouragenda: the dramatic Oregon coastand the awe-inspiring Redwoodforest in Northern California.During our initial meeting withAren and Sophia – another friendwho had settled in Seattle ten yearsbefore – we had discussed the unavailabilityof Aren’s favorite cookie,nazouk (an Armenian pastry). LuckilySophia had found them at thelocal grocery store and immediatelypurchased a large batch of them forher new friend. We feasted on themwith freshly brewed cups of tea aswe sat on the back patio overlookingthe lush, green landscape andthe sound of pouring rain.“I wonder if they make any othertype of Armenian pastry,” askedAren. The question prompted acloser inspection of the label andwe discovered that the bakery waslocated in Portland, a mere twohours south of where we were.With a little investigation and alot of nerve, we placed the call tothe bakery and obtained the nameand phone number of the owner.Now that we were back on the road,our desire to have unexpected adventuresand meet new people tookhold of us. We decided to call Mike.“Hello, Mike,” I said, “we’re visitingPortland from Los Angeles.We discovered your nazouk and wewant to meet you.”“I’m in Mount Hood,” he said,“come to the house.” Mount Hoodis southeast of Portland. It is a perpetuallysnow-covered mountainwhere Winter Olympic athletestrain during the summer. Hilmaand I had stopped there for a nightand stayed at the historic TimberlineLodge, built during the Depressionas part of President FranklinRoosevelt’s New Deal.Two hours later we pulled intoMike’s elongated driveway, past thepair of horses grazing in the greenfields, and were greeted by him.“Call me Miruzhan,” he said, extendinghis hand. “Mike is just forthe Americans who can’t say myreal name.” He was tall and lean,with a receding hairline and thedistinctive gait of Armenian men.He was trailed by another man,equally tall and with a full head ofsalt and pepper hair. Both seemedto be in their late 40s.“And this is my best friend, Roubo,”Miruzhan said and ushered usinto the house.“Welcome to my home,” he saidand introduced us to his wife,daughter-in-law, grandchildren,and Roubo’s wife. After a round ofvigorous hand-shaking and introductions,we noticed the activity inthe kitchen and the fully laid diningtable.“We only came for coffee,” I exclaimed.“But you haven’t eaten,” he respondedas he placed the wine andvodka on the table.“We can’t drink; we still have along way to drive today,” Hilma said.“We have to toast,” Miruzhan said,shocked at the uncivilized idea ofletting this opportunity to meetnew friends pass without sealing itwith a toast. And toasting withoutalcohol would be unheard of.“We’ll have coffee after that,” hesaid, trying to break down our resistance.It was unrealistic of usto expect that we would not havebeen treated to a feast, true to theArmenian spirit of hospitality. Evenwith such short notice, the tablewas overflowing with grilled meats,noodles, cold cuts, a variety ofcheeses, and various other delights.It became clear that when, earlier inthe day, Miruzhan told us he was “inMount Hood,” he meant it literally.After we had spoken over the phone,our new friends had cut short a familyouting on a beautiful Saturday afternoonto be home in time to meetus, complete strangers.Now, a couple of hours and halfa dozen toasts later, we were backin the car, heading to the Oregoncoast. The familiar feeling of beingon the open road with a good friendand a dog that made no sound returnedin an instant.During the course of the longstretches of road, Hilma and I developeda familiarity that may nothave occurred during the usualcourse of events. Prior to this experience,we simply met at partiesor over cups of coffee. But for themiles and miles of empty highwaystretching before us, with nothingto do but talk, I would never haveknown about Hilma’s penchant foropen bodies of water such as rivers,lakes, creeks, ponds, or evenpuddles; her absolute addictionto nazouk or her love of salads; oreven her gift for mimicry, cheatingat cards, extremely dry sense of humor,or ability to build a roaringfire from the faltering embers of along-dormant fire.What she learned about me wasmy adeptness at camping and cookingand tolerance for dogs, regardlessof my resistance to all threeand my love of the infinite horizonof the ocean.Our long conversations, which includeda wide array of topics, wereinformative, funny, but most of alltherapeutic. We started this tripwanting to get away from the grindof our daily lives with its constantdeadlines and personal dramas, andended it with a sense of peace andrenewed purpose. We began tacklingour lives as soon as we arrivedhome – Hilma with a long-overduespring cleaning of her home and mewith an endless series of meetingsI’d avoided for several weeks.We were good travel partners butit was time to come home. ExploringIdaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevadawould have to wait till nexttime Hilma and I answer the everpresentcall of the open road. NAVASARTIANGAMESby Tenny IssakhanianAvanesianVAN NUYS, Calif. – TheHomenetmen 33rd NavasartianGames are in full swing and sofar things are running smoothly,thanks in large part to WesternRegion Program CoordinatorSevag Garabetian. He is one of onlyfive staff members employed byHomenetmen to serve the WesternRegion’s 17 chapters and 8,500-personmembership. “He’s the heartand soul of this,” says Western RegionChairman Steve Artinian ofSevag.For almost 20 years, Sevag hasserved Homenetmen in a variety ofcapacities, from his early days as asoccer player for the Glendale AraratChapter to being the PasadenaAzadamard Chapter Scoutmasteruntil age 27. Now in his fourth yearas program coordinator, Sevag isprimarily responsible for schedulingand planning the athleticactivities of the Navasartian andKAHAM Games. This can rangefrom seeking athletes for openingceremonytorch relays to securingfacilities for the games, schedulingthe games, finalizing the rosters,and acquiring all the necessary citypermits in a timely manner.Making NavasartianhappenPreparations for the NavasartianGames get underway annually inJanuary so that the tournamentmay commence in May. This is nosmall task. Sevag describes the twomajor phases of the preparations.Phase 1 involves securing facilitiesand permits, primarily for theBirmingham High School site. “Forone weekend, we try to get a facilitythat can offer more than threegyms,” Sevag says, explaining thedecision to use facilities in Hawthorneon one occasion this year.“Hawthorne has five gyms, so that’sfive courts going on at the sametime, 12 games per court per day,60 games a day. That’s 120 gamesover a single weekend that we tryto crank out.”Using Hawthorne has alreadyproven exciting and well-receivedby participants this year. “The floorin the main gym was put in andsealed on Wednesday and we usedit on Saturday,” he says. “It was abrand new floor to play on. Thatfloor was used in the NCAA [NationalCollegiate Athletic Association]Regional Finals this year. Soit was a benefit and exciting for ourplayers.”Even after 33 years, the NavasartianGames – or at least the planningaspect of it – always have unexpectedcircumstances that ariseand keep the organizers on theirtoes. This may include the leak inthe Birmingham High School poolthis year, a problem that redirectedthe tournament swimming competitionsto Los Angeles Pierce College,in Woodland Hills.During Phase 1, Sevag also assiststhe Regional Athletic Council,chaired by Nyree Derderian,to revisit and modify tournamentrules and regulations based on theprevious year’s successes and failures.“And then, we wait for thechapters to submit their teams,” heexplains.“Once the teams are in, anotherseries of long nights begins,” hesays. In Phase 2, Sevag focuses ongrouping the teams for competition,scheduling the games, andaccommodating participants’ availability,taking into considerationSevag Garabetian gears up forthe Navasartian Gamesgraduations, holidays, and distancefor non-Southern California chapters.Glendale…Birmingham… what’snext?What started out as a tournamentheld at Glendale High School nowtakes place at Birmingham HighSchool in Van Nuys. “Birminghamis the largest public school in theL.A. area,” Sevag points out. PlusHomenetmen needs enclosedgrounds in order to count attendeesand charge admission so thatthey may recover some of theircosts.Simply put, however, to theWestern Region’s delight, the tournamentand the number of participatingchapters, now standing at 17,continue to grow. “Glendale HighSchool just became too small forour purposes, for the festival, theparade, the stadium. So for the finalweekend, [Birmingham] is theonly venue that can accommodateour needs,” Sevag states, referringto the nearly 30,000 attendees ofthe Herculean Armenian communityevent. “And we’re already atthat breaking point where we’rethinking that [Birmingham] is alittle too small.”The here and nowThis year’s Navasartian Games willoffer a four-day closing weekendrunning July 3 to 6, with a fireworksdisplay on Thursday, July3, and Sunday, July 6. While sometraditions – such as the array ofsingers, the festival, the parade,and the pomp and circumstanceof the weekend’s festivities – arecarried over, others have been updated.The annual banquet, for instance,will be held a week beforethe closing weekend on the CBSStudios lot. “This creates a differentambiance,” says Sevag, expressinghis thrill about the new location.In addition, some of the rules ofthe games have been revised. Themen’s-division basketball gameswill last longer because rules havebeen changed such that the gameswill stop at every whistle blown.“And the championships should bea lot more exciting because we’veadded two more teams to our premierdivision,” Sevag explains. Thecap increase to 14 will foster a morecompetitive spirit, he believes.Closing weekendAfter the Western Region stafftemporarily moves its offices to Birminghamon July 3, Sevag and histeam will get to work, be it printingscoresheets, setting up canopieson the soccer field for playersand spectators alike, setting up airconditioners inside the gymnasia,staying informed about game results,updating this information onthe Internet, and supervising andregularly visiting all the games thatare simultaneously taking placeover the course of the weekend.Something else Sevag must keepclose tabs on during the final weekendis adequate security. “Fightshave broken out but they’ve beenquenched immediately,” he recalls.“It’s always good to be proactive anddo preventative maintenance.”It is easy to underestimate thesheer volume of variables that requirealignment and the difficultyof juggling all the moving parts necessaryfor realizing the NavasartianGames each and every year. Sevag’srole behind the scenes and the factthat he spends 49 weekends a yearon Homenetmen-related work areclearly a labor of love that makesthe annual tournament a reality.Even before becoming programcoordinator, his commitment tothe organization and tournamentwas evident. Honorary PresidentVahagn Thomasian, a 30-yearHomenetmen veteran himself, says,“I remember Sevag at Homenetmenwhen he was a kid. He was alwaysrunning around. He was that kidwho was always at Navasartian,who was always at Homenetmen. Ican’t think of Homenetmen withouthim.”To Sevag, Homenetmen has alasting unifying effect on Armenians.“It’s a community. It’s friendship.It’s camaraderie,” he notes.“So when people say, ‘I play for [soand-so]chapter,’ I say, ‘No, youdon’t. Your chapter’s name has aname above it on your jersey. That’swho you play for. The organizationis who you play for.’” He continues,“It’s not about winning or losing, nomatter how much emphasis is puton that. It’s about Armenian kidscoming together, playing together.”As the festivities of the finalweekend near, Sevag offers sometips. “The Navasartian Games arethe largest event in the L.A. areafor the Armenian community,” hesays. “It’s a family-oriented event,so everybody should attend at leastonce. With the festival, it’s a freeconcert, games, some really goodfood.” Drawing from personal experience,he continues, “Everybody’sgot to be a little patient with theirfood. There’s a lot of people they’retrying to serve and they’re tryingto do it with a certain quality sothat people aren’t disappointed.”But whether you’re going for thefood, music, fireworks, or sports,there is one thing to keep in mind,above all. “Keep yourself hydrated,”Sevag advises. “It’s going to get hotover there.”connect:homenetmen.netHomenetmenWestern RegionProgramCoordinatorSevag Garabetian.Photo: Courtesyof TennyAvanesian
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 7Communityanc honors Davidian and Mariamian Educational Foundation“Organization ofthe Year” offersvital after-schoolprogram forArmenian studentsin public schoolsby Natalie NahabetGLENDALE, Calif. – On June 5,the Armenian National CommitteeGlendale Chapter honored the Davidianand Mariamian EducationalFoundation (dmef) as the “Organizationof the Year.”Established in 1987, the foundationprovides an after-schoolArmenian-education program forArmenian children attending publicschools. The program is offeredin 26 schools throughout SouthernCalifornia and is taught in rentedfacilities on the campuses.As Onnik Hayrapetian, coordinatorof the program and thefoundation’s educational director,explained, there are one-hourclasses four days a week. “Everygroup attends four hours per week,”he said. “One hour is singing, threehours [are devoted to] languageand cultural activities.” The studentsperform the Armenian songslearned during the program atvarious public events. In addition,there are dance, drama, and chessclasses. Students can also join socceror tennis teams.The program is open to studentsbetween the ages of six and 15. Thefirst six years are considered the elementarylevel, after which somestudents remain in the program.The decision to continue with theprogram “depends on the student,”Hayrapetian said. Sixth-grader HakopTer-Akopyan, who has been attendingthe program for five years,said, “I don’t think I will continue.I know my language fluently.” Hestarted to attend the program afterhe transferred from an Armenianprivate school and decidedhe wanted “to make his Armenianbetter.”The sentiment is shared by anotherstudent, Avetis Odabashian.His favorite class is Armenianreading. His classmate, HeghineSetaghiyan, said her favorite classis Armenian writing. Her momused to work at the program, andshe “liked the classes, so I decidedto come.”Hayrapetian expects that mostof the program’s 1,000 studentswill sign up for the 2008-2009 academicyear. In July, the foundationsends out flyers to families,urging them to register their children.Flyers are also sent to thecommunity at large and the hostpublic schools themselves. Theyearly tuition for the program is$425 for the first child, and $350 forthe second and third child. Hayrapetiansaid that the tuition coversonly around 60% of the budget.The remainder is paid for through“donations and events, especiallythe annual dinner dance.” Hayrapetianadded that “Armenian organizationsand some individualsalso support the program.”Every November, the dmef organizesa teacher appreciation nightto thank those teachers, both Armenianand non-Armenian, whohelp with the educational program.Another annual tradition is themember reunion, or the dinnerdance.Telethon on June 22For the first time in its history, thefoundation will hold a telethon toraise funds for its program. Theevent will take place on June 22,2008, from 6:00 p.m. until midnight.It can be viewed on LAView(Channel 287) and Horizon (Channel285), both on Charter Cable.Hayrapetian said that through thetelethon, the foundation seeks toimprove and expand its educationalprogram, reach out to the Armeniancommunity, and secure betterpay for a faculty of some 55 teachers.Currently the teachers are paidminimum wage.Anahit Kamalian, a 16-yearveteran of the program, teachesfrom first to sixth grades. She“loves the foundation, [and wantsto] do the best for our studentsso they can protect their languageand know who they are.” She saidthe program “helps the studentslearn English better and easier”and gives them the opportunity“to think in both [Armenian andEnglish] languages.”The foundation has strong supportfrom parents and the Armeniancommunity, as well as teachersand principals of the schooldistricts in which the program isoffered. On their part, local, state,and federal government officialsrecognize the after-school programas an important step for buildinga strong community and keepingthe children away from gangs,drugs, and violence. The studentsare taught to respect diversity andlive in a multicultural society as responsibleand law-abiding citizens.Vahik Satoorian, chairmanof the dmef Board of Directors,said that the Glendale UnifiedDistrict’s Language Magnet Academyhas incorporated the dmefprogram’s Armenian classes intoits curriculum. “This is somethingour community waited very longfor,” he noted. The milestone wasachieved thanks to “the request ofthe foundation, our initiation, andour very good relationship withthe school district.”Registration for the 2008-2009academic year begins on the secondweek of July and will remainopen until August 31.Dr. Harout Yaghsezian named Harbor-ucla Medical CenterFaculty Member of the YearRecognized for his accomplishments in the medical field, Dr. Harout Yaghsezianis also active in a number of Armenian-community endeavors.LOS ANGELES – During its annualjoint meeting with the LosAngeles Biomedical Research Instituteon June 3, the Staff Associationof the Harbor-ucla MedicalCenter named Dr. Harout YaghsezianFaculty Member of the Year.While announcing the award, Dr.Robert Morin, laboratory directorand chairman of the Departmentof Pathology at Harbor-ucla, extolledDr. Yaghsezian’s knowledge,enthusiasm for teaching, and abilityto forge professional friendshipswith residents and faculty alike.Upon completing his medicalstudies at the Yerevan State MedicalInstitute in Armenia, Dr. Yaghsezianreceived specialty trainingin combined anatomic and clinicalpathology at the Thomas JeffersonUniversity Hospital in Philadelphia.Dr. Yaghsezian went on to receivesub-specialty fellowship training incombined cytopathology/surgicalpathology at ucla Medical Centerin Los Angeles, completing his educationin 1992.Dr. Yaghsezian is a diplomate ofthe American Board of Pathologyin Anatomic and Clinical Pathologyas well as a diplomate of theAmerican Board of Cytopathology.He is also the director and physician-in-chargeof the CytopathologyDepartment of the KaiserPermanente Regional ReferenceLaboratories, a professional staffassociate at Harbor-ucla MedicalCenter, and the author of over adozen articles published in medicaljournals. Dr. Yaghsezian is amember of various national andinternational medical societiesand serves on numerous committeeswithin the Kaiser Permanenteorganization.Following the fall of the SovietUnion and Armenia’s independence,Dr. Yaghsezian was instrumentalin initiating a modern Pap smearprogram in Armenia by training cytotechnologistsin state-of-the-arttechniques.Dr. Yaghsezian, who lives inEncino, California, is also active inthe Armenian community. He hasserved as chairman of the ArmenianGeneral Benevolent UnionSan Fernando Valley Chapter, secretaryof the Armenian AmericanMedical Society, and a member ofthe Armenia Fund Executive Board,Los Angeles. Currently Dr. Yaghsezianserves as vice-chairman of theagbu Asbeds. He is also a memberof the Western Diocese CathedralFundraising Committee as well asthe US Medical Advisory Board ofthe Armenian American WellnessCenter in Yerevan, Armenia.Upon receiving his Faculty Memberof the Year Award, Dr. Yaghseziannoted that his volunteer workon the faculty of the Harbor-uclaMedical Center is “time well-spentand a contribution to my own personaland professional growth.” OPEN HOUSE Saturday & SundayJune 21st & 22nd 2 PM-5 PMYou share the samecommunity. 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8 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008CommunityThe agenda: radiant healthFresno’s Dr.Altebarmakianstrives to ensurethe well-being ofthousandsby Alik HovsepianAs chief physician at Kaiser Permanentein Fresno, Dr. Varoujan Altebarmakianhas done so much goodin a short amount of time – not justin his profession but in Armenia aswell. Despite a hectic schedule, thecompassionate doctor somehowalways manages to make time forhis staff. During our interview, Ithought we’d be interrupted constantly– given that Dr. Altebarmakianruns four facilities in FresnoCounty – but that was not the case.We were not interrupted, not once.I was baffled. How does a chief physicianof a very large establishmentsit through an interview undisturbed?“I have an open-door style ofmanagement,” Dr. Altebarmakiansays. “Anyone who walks in duringthe day, as long as my door isopen, I stop everything I’m doingand meet their needs. That’s howI’ve managed to survive here foreight years. It’s a very demandingjob, especially when you wantto know everything and be everywhere,so that you can at least leadyour team.”Since moving to Fresno as chiefphysician at Kaiser Permanenteeight years ago, Dr. Altebarmakianhas helped the organization makea remarkable turnaround. At thetime of his arrival, the Fresno centerrated the lowest of the 19 medicalcenters in Northern California.“Back in 2000, we made a commitmentthat by 2009 [we would bein] the top 3 of the organization,”Dr. Altebarmakian says. But by thefirst quarter of 2008, the Fresnofacility had surpassed expectations,reaching number 2.Dr. Altebarmakian says that amajor problem facing him and themedical center when he moved toFresno was understaffing of a lot ofspecialists. He says he lost no timeto fill those gaps and soon beganto see a change. “After the understaffingproblem settled down, wedeveloped a team and I delegateda lot of authority to my assistantsand also to physicians, who do parttimeclinical and part-time administrativework,” Dr. Altebarmakianexplains. “Together we run thismedical center and a lot of thingsrun very smoothly because of theteams I have.”Critically urgent situations arethe norm in a large medical facility.“Everyday there are crises – suchas human resources, or when surveyorscome in; you are in highgear because you have to stop everythingelse,” Dr. Altebarmakiansays. “There are labor, regulatory,and media issues that come up.”In addition to overseeing the hiringand firing of all employees andall operations of the medical officebuilding (non hospital) for all fourfacilities in Fresno county, Dr. Altebarmakianmanages to fit in 5%clinical time in the field of urology.“I love taking care of my patients,and my specialty allows me to dothat,” he says.The making of a doctorand an activistDr. Altebarmakian was born andraised in Beirut, Lebanon. Afterreceiving his medical degree fromthe American University of Beirut,he moved to Rochester, New York,where he completed the UrologicalVaroujan Altebarmakian.Residency Program at Strong MemorialHospital. He had receivedseven job offers in New York. Butjust a month short of graduation,while in Boston, he met someonefrom Sacramento who let him inon a job opening there. The followingweekend he flew to Sacramento,where he interviewed for the positionand eventually was offered thejob.After working as staff urologist atKaiser Permanente Medical Groupin Sacramento, he took a trip toLebanon, to determine whether itwas a good idea to move back to hisbirthplace. After having left Lebanonduring the civil war, “Can I live[in the country] with the mindsetthat I have now, knowing that mostof my friends who are still therestill have the old mindset?” heasked himself. Ten days into his vacation,he knew Lebanon was notfor him. “I was changed, they hadchanged, and the impact of the warhad changed the country dramatically,”he says. “I realized I could notlive there, so I came back and said,‘This is where I want to live for therest of my life.’”Working as a urologist in Sacramento,Dr. Altebarmakian foundhimself “bored” after office hours.He then decided he wanted to bea lawyer and began attending Mc-George University. That was alsothe time he started getting involvedin the Western Diocese Council.Before the end of the first semesterof night school, during one ofthe council meetings, he met hisfuture wife, Lena, whom he knewfrom Lebanon. They soon marriedand moved to Fresno to begin theirnew life together.Dr. Altebarmakian has been activein the Western Diocese Councilever since, and held a leadershipposition for 12 years. A couple ofyears ago, he was appointed to theSupreme Spiritual Council by theCatholicos of all Armenians.Dr. Altebarmakian is also involvedin Mer Doon, a nongovernmentalorganization that provides afamily environment and educationalopportunities to young adults inArmenia who have outgrown theirchildhood homes in orphanages orcome from seriously disadvantagedfamilies. “We have full-time peoplewho take care of them as parents,”Dr. Altebarmakian explains. Theyoung men and women “are taughtEnglish, French, or Russian and aregiven spiritual nourishment.” MerDoon also helps its beneficiariesget a college education or acquirevocational skills through the collaborationof local businesses.Healthy communitiesDr. Altebarmakian says that mostsuccessful Armenian leaders share alot with their community, throughwhat he calls the four Ts: talent,treasure (funds), time, and touch(heart.) He adds that his motto,as well as that of his organization,“is to make sure that wherever weserve our members, we make ourcommunities a healthier place anda better place to live. If you don’tshare, as far as I’m concerned, youare not a leader.”So what’s Dr. Altebarmakian’s visionfor healthcare? Disruptive innovation.“In every industry therecomes a time where no matter howmuch good you get, you’re becomingan expert in it for a very smallgroup of clients,” he says.One example of disruptive innovationin the healthcare industry,according to Dr. Altebarmakian, isthe concept of minute clinics. Analternative to emergency rooms,minute clinics treat simple ailmentssuch as ear or bladder infections. Dr.Altebarmakian says such ailmentsdo not require a doctor’s expertise.Instead, nurse practitioners canprovide care and prescribe medications.Currently there are only a fewminute clinics in the United States,but more and more are openingup. Dr. Altebarmakian expects thateventually there will be a shortageof doctors and doesn’t think theneeds of uninsured individuals willbe met. Given the inevitable shortageof doctors, he feels that nursepractitioners should handle simplecases while experts should practicein their fields of specialty.Dr. Altebarmakian also believesthat technological advances shouldbe applied more vigorously in theprovision of medical care. For example,he says, a range of healthissues can be addressed throughsecure e-mail communication betweenpatients and doctors. “Youhave to find the balance betweenthe touch and the technology,” hesays, adding that the current mindsetmust change among consumersand physicians as well as at theeducational level.Garbis Der-Yeghiayan appointed aspresident of American Universityfor HumanitiesLOS ANGELES – The Board ofDirectors of the American Universityfor Humanities (auh) recentlyannounced the appointment ofGarbis Der-Yeghiayan as presidentof the university.An educator of 30 years, Der-Yeghiayan holds doctoral degreesin educational management andleadership as well as human developmentand social policy. He is thepresident of Glendale, California’sMashdots College, which is an affiliateof the auh’s global networkof universities.Der-Yeghiayan is the author of 14books on education, history, andcurrent affairs. He serves on theboards of several nonprofit organizationsin Southern California. Heis also active in Rotary International,in which he served as its firstArmenian-American district governor,in 1999-2000. Last year Der-Garbis Der-YeghiayanYeghiayan was bestowed with RotaryInternational’s highest honor,the “Service Above Self” award.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 9CommunityDeportation of Arthur Mkoyan and his family on hold – for nowby Alik HovsepianFRESNO, Calif. – Fathers’ Dayhad a whole new meaning this yearfor Ruben Mkoian, the father ofArthur Mkoyan, the 17-year-oldBullard High School valedictorianfacing deportation to Armenia. Rubenwas released from a detentionfacility in Arizona and reunitedwith his family on June 14 in Fresno,just in time to celebrate Fathers’Day. “It is like a gift for me,” Rubensaid.The release comes just a few daysafter Senator Dianne Feinsteinintroduced a Senate bill that wouldhalt the deportation of ArthurMkoyan, his father, and his mother,Asmik Karapetian. “I have decidedto introduce a private bill onbehalf of Arthur Mkoyan and hisfamily,” Senator Feinstein said in apress release sent out by her office.“This is a family that has deep rootsin the community and has workedhard. The children have excelled inschool. So I am introducing a privatebill to ensure that they canstay in this country.”Since the bill is still pending, itbrings the deportation to a standstill.If passed, the bill would grantthe family permanent legal residency.However, private bills rarelypass. According to cnn, none ofthe 21 private immigration bills introducedlast year and the 117 billsintroduced in 2006 were passed.Arthur’s family had entered theUnited States with tourist visas in1992, after fleeing the former SovietUnion. According to the family,they left Armenia in order toescape persecution. They soughtpolitical asylum because, they said,they feared for their safety if theywere to return to Armenia; but thatrequest was denied in 2002. TheNinth Circuit Court of Appeals rejectedthe family’s appeal, statingthat it had not demonstrated thatArmenian officials would be unwillingto protect Ruben Mkoian or(Lef to right)Arthur Mkoyan’sfriend TimmyTroung, ArthurMkoyan, andArthur’s youngerbrother ArsenKarapetian.that he would be tortured if he returnedto Armenia.U.S. Immigration and CustomsEnforcement, the largest investigativebranch of the Department ofHomeland Security, ordered thefamily to leave the country andreturn to Armenia after arrestingArthur’s parents in April. RubenMkoyan was sent to a detentioncenter in Arizona and his wife wasreleased to return home to care forArthur and his younger brother,who was born in the United States.Arthur and his mother were orderedto leave soon after his June10 graduation from high school.After being apart from his familyfor 64 days, Ruben said he is spendingFathers’ Day at home with hisfamily. “Our friends came over andwe’re going to barbecue,” he said.“Today I’m resting, thinking abouteverything – how it all started andwhat happened. I’m checking thecomputer, because I never saw thethings that were going on the computeror on TV, but I’m going to lookat everything. I’m keeping busy.”A student with a 4.0 grade pointaverage, Arthur has been acceptedto the University of California,Davis, where he hopes to studychemistry, in pursuit of a career inpharmacy or dentistry. His hopesand dreams are now on hold. Forthe moment, Arthur is looking forwardto spending the summer withhis parents and friends. “I neverthought this would happen,” hesaid. “It’s like a big miracle – thecertain fact that we were about tobe deported… and now everythinghas calmed down in our lives.” Theatrical professionals from Armenia are on an educational exchangein Boston, thanks to the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Assoc.CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – OnJune 12, the Cambridge Sister CityAssociation (cysca) welcomed 10theater professionals from its “sistercity” of Yerevan, and from theArmenian city of Vanadzor. Thegroup includes theater directors,administrators, producers, art directors,educators, playwrights,fundraisers and public relationsand marketing specialists. All willparticipate in a three-week trainingprogram aimed at improving theatermanagement in Armenia.The participants included RubenAbrahamyan, assistant generalmanager at the State MarionetteTheater in Yerevan; RubenBabayan, director and art managerat the Tumanyan State PuppetTheater in Yerevan, and headof the acting/directing departmentat the Institute of Theaterand Cinema; Hovik Chakhmakhchyan,director of the AbelyanState Drama Theater in Vanadzor;Armen Harutyunyan, deputydean of the Theater and CinemaDepartment at the Yerevan StateInstitute of Theater and Cinema;Tsolak Galstyan, Open AirEvents manager of the Hay FestInternational Theater Festival inYerevan; Narine Grigoryan, lecturerat the Yerevan State Instituteof Cinema and Theater, andproducer at the State Puppet Theater;Tigran Mkhoyan, directorof the Hamazgayin State Theaterin Yerevan; Mane Mkrtchyan,executive director of the armmonoInternational ShakespeareOne-Man-Show Festival, in Yerevan;Vardan Mkrtchyan, lecturerat the Yerevan State Institute ofTheater and Cinema and actor atthe Hamazgayin Theater; EminTorosyan, chief administratorand deputy director at the HamazgayinState Theater.The program includes meetingswith leading theater companies inCambridge and Greater Boston, aswell as university theater programsand professional associations. Visitsinclude seminars, round tablediscussions, and hands-on trainingcovering specific objectives of theprogram which include: modernbest management practices in thetheater, fundraising techniques,public relations, marketing, cooperationwith universities and businessesand how to attract youngand talented artists.The group will also travel to NewYork City to meet with performingarts specialists.Despite a rich history, say theorganizers of the exchange, theaterand performing arts in Armeniahave fallen on hard times.The economic crisis following independencein 1991 has left thedramatic arts poorly funded ina country where most resourcesstill come from the state. Theatermanagers in Armenia are not familiarwith new business practices– thus the chief goal of thisprogram is to expose the participantsto modern practice in thetheater, to educate them aboutU.S. cultural and managementHealthcare expert and far vice chair has made a lastingcontribution to America and Armeniapolicies and encourage internationalcooperation.Another aim of the programis to share with the participants’local history, and American cultureand values. Housing will beprovided by local volunteer hostfamilies. The trip will continuethrough July 1.The Cambridge-Yerevan SisterCity Association (www.cysca.org)was founded in 1987 and has sponsoredexchange programs for a varietyof elected officials, professionals,students and citizen diplomats.The current exchange visit is beingfunded through the CommunityConnections Program, managed bythe Bureau for Europe and Eurasiaat the U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment (usaid). NEW YORK – As a registerednurse with a Masters of PublicHealth, Annette Choolfaian hasmade her mark in America’s medicalarena as a health policy expertand hospital administrator. Buildingon a meaningful 40-year career,she currently serves as professorand chair of the Health Policy andManagement Department at theNew York Medical College Schoolof Public Health.The internationally respectedmedical professional is also vicechair of the board for the Fundfor Armenian Relief (FAR), the humanitarianaid agency of the NewYork-based Eastern Diocese of theArmenian Church. In well over adecade of volunteer service withFAR, Choolfaian has developednumerous programs to improvethe quality of the healthcare andmedical education in the Republicof Armenia.Her efforts for Armenia werea natural extension of a primaryfocus of her career in the medicalfield: improving access and qualityof health care for all Americans.Fund for Armenian Relief (far) vicechair Annette Choolfaian, honoredwith Ellis Island Medal of Honor.“Annette is one of the greatestleaders of far,” said far chairRandy Sapah-Gulian. “Her roleas an experienced professional andpublic health manager has been instrumentalin designing and seeingthrough almost every far project,especially healthcare-related projects.Throughout both her professionallife and her volunteer workwith far, she has shown a commitmentto help others lead healthier,happier lives.”Ms. Choolfaian, who resides inFort Lee, N.J., and East Hampton,N.Y., was instrumental in conceivingand building far’s HomelessChildren’s Center in Armenia. Underher leadership, the HomelessChildren’s Center has grown to becomethe leading child protectioninstitution in Armenia – offeringa modern foster care system andproviding programs that enable atriskfamilies to remain together.Choolfaian also has designedand implemented fellowship programsfor senior members of theArmenian Ministry of Health andother healthcare managers, allowingthem to gain access to the latestmedical practices and techniques.“She is truly a visionary, who cansee the importance of far’s evolvingmission in providing assistanceto the people of Armenia,” saidArchbishop Khajag Barsamian,Primate of the Eastern Diocese andPresident of far. “She is, indeed,a highly respected healthcare professional,but, more importantly,a selfless giver of her time, talent,and treasure. She is a loyal to thefar family and I know that withcommitted volunteer leaders suchas Annette Choolfaian, Armeniawill grow stronger.”“After the earthquake in ArmeniaI realized that the preservationof Armenia’s people, language,culture and history wascritical,” said Annette Choolfaian.“Our brothers and sisters werestruggling to maintain their independenceand I felt a responsibilityto help them achieve a strongand healthy society. far was anorganization that was doing thisand it had leadership and visionthat I respected. I joined them intheir efforts with great pride andadmiration.”In addition to working with far,Ms. Choolfaian serves as a memberof the international advisorycommittee for Yerevan State MedicalUniversity and also been anadvisor to Armenia Fund usa onthe development of a primary careclinic in Nagorno-Karabakh, aswell as an advisor and reviewer forseveral usaid projects in Armenia.As reported in the May 24 editionof this paper, Annette Choolfaianwas one of the six Armenian-Americanhonorees who received thisyear’s Ellis Island Medal of Honor,in a festive ceremony on May 10.Of the distinction, Ms. Choolfaiansaid: “I am deeply honored toreceive this award and accept it inhonor of my parents who struggledto come to this country and workedso hard to build a good life for theirfamily. They instilled in me the importanceof helping others and encouragedme to give back in whateverway possible.”“If I have been able to make a difference,it is because of their love,nurturing and support,” she said.For information on the Fundfor Armenian Relief, visit www.farusa.org.
10 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008CommunityWhitney Museum lends Arshile Gorky’s The Artist and HisMother to the Eastern Diocese for art exhibitionNEW YORK – For one day thisweek, the Manhattan headquartersof the Eastern Diocese of theArmenian Church of America washome to one of the 20th century’smost famous works of Armenianart.The Artist and His Mother (c.1926-36) – arguably the most recognizablepainting of Arshile Gorky– was on display at the Diocesanheadquarters on Thursday, June 19,as part of “Art @ the Cathedral: GivingForm to Faith,” an exhibitionorganized to celebrate for the 40thanniversary of the consecration ofSt. Vartan Cathedral.The painting is part of the collectionof the Whitney Museumof American Art in New York, andwas loaned to the Eastern Diocesefor the opening day of the exhibitby the museum’s board of trustees.“We extend our appreciation tothe board of trustees of the WhitneyMuseum,” said ArchbishopKhajag Barsamian, the DiocesanPrimate. “This unprecedented loanis truly an exceptional addition toour exhibition.”A spokesman for the Diocese saidthat the granting of such a loan is“an unparalleled homage to the celebrationof the 40th anniversary ofSt. Vartan Armenian Cathedral.”As the focal point of the openingday of the six-day Diocesanart exhibition, the Gorky paintingstood alongside a wide range ofpost-World War II and contemporaryartworks, by artists includingReuben Nakian and HovsepPushman.The occasion also marked a “reunion”of sorts for The Artist andHis Mother and other paintingsby Gorky, which were on displayfrom the Diocese’s own collectionof the artist’s works. Thisyear marks the 60th anniversaryof Gorky’s death, making theWhitney Museum’s loan particularlysignificant to the Armenian-American community.Vicki Hovanessian, who actedas curator of the exhibition, said,“We are truly grateful to Adam D.Weinberg, the dynamic directorof the Whitney Museum, and tothe Whitney Museum’s dedicatedboard of trustees, who have madethis very rare loan possible for thecommemoration of the 40th anniversaryof the inception of St. VartanArmenian Cathedral.”“It is a great honor for the artistswho undoubtedly have beeninfluenced by Gorky to be exhibitedside by side with this iconicpainting, The Artist and His Mother,”Mrs. Hovanessian added. “TheArmenian-American communityholds this painting as a poignantsymbol of Armenian culturalheritage, and the Whitney Museumhas enabled us to displaythis masterpiece in an Armenianinstitution.”The official opening of “Art @ theCathedral: Giving Form to Faith”included the exhibition, a reception,and a concert in the cathedralsanctuary featuring ŞahanArzruni, Lucine Amara, andAni Aznavoorian (details willappear in next week’s Reporter).While the Whitney painting wason exhibit for the opening dayonly, the balance of the exhibitionwill remain on view throughJune 24.Right: Arshile Gorky’s iconic paining,The Artist and His Mother, was loaned bythe Whitney Museum to the EasternDiocese for the opening day of theDiocese’s exhibit, “Art @ the Cathedral:Giving Form to Faith.”St. Vartan Cathedral’s Avaks group concludes an active spring seasonFr. Mardiros Chevian, Dn. Sebuh Oscherichian, and members of St. Vartan Cathedral’s Avaks group pose for a photo duringa visit to the Ararat Center.by Florence AvakianNEW YORK – The Avaks of St.Vartan Armenian Cathedral in NewYork have been at it again. This dynamicgroup of seniors, who meeteach Thursday for lunch and an interestingprogram, kept up an energeticschedule of activities for theirspring season.Highlighting the list was athree-day trip to historic Montreal,Canada, in early May. Traveling bybus, the group had guided tours ofold Montreal, Mount Royal, NotreDame Church, St. Joseph Shrineand Olympic Park, with a specialvisit to the Armenian Cathedral ofMontreal.Also on the Avak itinerary was athree-day trip to the Ararat Centerin the Catskill Mountains inupstate New York, in early June.The spring season’s activities concludedwith the group’s traditionalpicnic on the cathedral plaza.Among other events for theDorothy Baldadian, survivor of the Genocide, dies at 98cathedral Avaks group were lecturesby Holy Martyrs ArmenianChurch pastor Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian,St. Gregory the IlluminatorMission parish councilchair Dr. Svetlana Amirkhonian,Zohrab Center director RachelGoshgarian, Diocesan ArmenianStudies coordinator Gilda Buchakjian-Kupelian,and fitnessinstructor Arpine Dod.Musical presentations wereoffered by St. Vartan Cathedralchoirmaster Khoren Mekanejian,St. Vartan Choir soloist Maro Partamian,and piano players JeannetteChirikjian and Anna Mintanjian.The group also enjoyedviewing a number of Armenianthemedfilms.The Avaks groups meets everyThursday for a one-hour bible sessionwith Dn. Sebuh Oscherichian,after which there is lunch and aneducational program. For informationon the Avaks’ schedule, contactthe group’s director, Fr. MardirosChevian, at (212) 686-0710. CHERRY HILL, N.J. – DorothyBaldadian, one of the few remainingsurvivors of the ArmenianGenocide in the area, passed awayon May 4, at the age of 98.Dorothy Baldadian was born inErzurum, on November 21, 1909,to Garabed and Verkin Parnagian,originally from Arabkir. Garabedran a prosperous import-exportbusiness, and had relatives workingfor him in various countries.Her daughter Ruth Melian recalledan episode from Dorothy’schildhood on the eve of the ArmenianGenocide. “On one of histrips to Persia, [her father, Garabed]brought Dorothy a beautifulchina doll, which she cherished.Her mother Verkin kept it high ona shelf with her beautiful chinaplates, and Dorothy could onlyhold it on special occasions. In 1914,when the family portrait was taken,Dorothy was allowed to hold herprecious doll for the photograph.“One day in 1915, there was aknock at the door and the gendarmesnotified them, and allArmenian Christians living in Erzurum,that they had three daysto prepare for relocation. Garabedsold all of their possessions andbought horses and carts for thejourney. Dorothy pleaded to takeher china doll, but her mother toldher they could only take necessities.Dorothy was strapped onto a horsewith her younger brother Martin,and her brothers Edward, Peter,and Dickran walked alongside.“On the third day of the marchall of the men were taken, orderedto dig their own graves, and killed.Verkin, with her five childrenbravely continued marching towardthe desert of Der Zor, as she andher children endured many hardshipsand witnessed many atrocities.They were miraculously savedthrough the efforts of a relative anda righteous Turk. Verkin, Dorothy,her younger brother Martin, andoldest brother Dick arrived at EllisIsland in 1920, leaving brothersEdward and Peter in an orphanageuntil 1927, when Verkin became anAmerican citizen and had enoughmoney to send for them.“In 1983, Dorothy went to a largefamily reunion in the Catskills, andmet a relative from Canada. Heasked if anyone knew the identityof the people in a family portraitwhich his father brought with himfrom Ethiopia. It was the Parnagianfamily portrait taken in 1914.He gave it to Dorothy and she wasthrilled to see her father’s picturefor the first time. And of course,she was holding her precious chinadoll,” recounted Mrs. Melian.Dorothy Parnagian married SamuelBaldadian in June 1933, and hadthree children: Ruth, Arthur, andJoyce. She was a life-long memberof Holy Trinity Armenian Churchof Cheltenham, Pa., and as theDorothy Baldadian (1909-2008).only driver in her circle of Armenianwomen she would pick up theother members of her church guildto drive them from South Jersey tochurch meetings. She was namedthe local agbu chapter’s Mother-ofthe-Year,served as matron of theShooshanig Chapter of the Daughtersof Vartan, and was a volunteerfor Contact Community Helplinesin Cherry Hill.As the revered matriarch of alarge extended family, DorothyBaldadian kept in touch with andhelped support family membersaround the world.Her daughter Ruth remarked thatthe pre-eminent facet of Dorothy’slife was her faith. “ Mother was awonderful Christian role model,always thanking God for the freedomsof this wonderful country.She went to meet her Lord on May4 in her 99th year. We are certainHe welcomed her with, ‘Well done,good and faithful servant.’”Dorothy Baldadian is survivedby her three children, Ruth Melian,Arthur Baldadian, and Joyce Hoyle;six grandchildren, Lisa and DavidMelian, Jon and Melissa Hecksher,Henry and David Watts; and greatgrandchildrenJames and OwenHecksher, and Trevor and AlexandraWatts.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 11CommunityArmenian Primate of Iraq speaks to U.S. National Council of Churchesmembers about status of Christians in IraqNEW YORK – The leader of theArmenian Church in Iraq lamentedlast week that too few Americansare aware of the Christian presencein Iraq.“It is important for the Christianworld to take this factor into account,”said Archbishop AvakAsadourian, Primate of the ArmenianChurch of Iraq, during a June12 meeting with ecumenical leadersat the Interchurch Center in NewYork, headquarters of the NationalCouncil of Churches of Christ inthe U.S.A.The meeting was hosted by ArchbishopVicken Aykazian, presidentof the NCC, and by the Rev.Dr. Michael Kinnamon, the nccgeneral secretary.Archbishop Asadourian is himselfthe general secretary of the Councilof Christian Church Leaders in Iraq,which was formed in June 2006 tomaintain communication withdifferent Christian bodies and tochannel humanitarian supplies tothe people in need.Media reports give many Americansthe impression that Islam isthe exclusive religion in Iraq, ArchbishopAsadourian noted. ButChristianity traces its roots in Iraqto the first century mission of St.Thomas the apostle to Mesopotamia.“Christianity is indigenous tothe land since apostolic times,” thearchbishop said. However, he said,“thousands of Christians are emigratingto Jordan, Syria and elsewhere,as are many other Iraqis.”According to Archbishop Asadourian,prior to the toppling ofthe Saddam Hussein regimein 2003, Christians and Muslims– Sunni and Shia – lived amicablywith one another. “Christians arewell respected in Iraq,” he said, andadded that now, with insurrectionand terrorism a part of daily life,there has been a large emigrationacross the spectrum of Iraqi society,including Christians.Archbishop Asadourian himselfleft Iraq a number of weeks beforethe March 2003 U.S. invasion, reportedlyto visit an ailing mother inthe U.S. He returned to the countryat the end of March of that year.A Voice of America report onthe April 20, 2003 Easter celebrationat an Armenian Church inIraq – the first such observancesince the ouster of Hussein – describedhundreds of local Armeniansgathering, looking wearybut expressing “joy and relief theycould celebrate anything at all.”The voa reported one attendee assaying: “Today, well, it is the happiestday for us that we could celebratethis very religious day, aftergetting rid of Saddam Hussein’sregime.... That was our most difficulttrouble and problem. Since1979, or even 1968, we sufferedtoo much hardship, everythingfrom that regime. There was nodemocracy; there was no freedom,no just simple life.”Asadourian described today’sIraq as “a wounded country – a severelywounded country.”“Iraqis were under the strain ofseveral hardships stemming frommany wars, including the 13-yearoldembargo, which in and of itselfis an act of war,” according toArchbishop Asadourian. The coalitionembargo of Iraq, “causedgreat harm to the population,” hesaid.“People are aware that they canleave home alive and never returnto their families,” Asadourian said.“My cathedral closed for a year anda half because of the lack of security.What Iraqis need, before anythingelse, is security.”“There is a tragedy in Iraq nowbecause the promises made toIraq were never kept. Our naturalresources, which are tremendous,must be utilized for the bettermentof the Iraqi people,” he said.“Until now, the infrastructure inIraq is in shambles, and peopleare still waiting for basic necessities,so they may live in a normalfashion. For example, we werepromised clean water but what wegot is Blackwater” – a coy referenceto one of the private securitycontractors employed by theU.S. Department of State in Iraq.(Four Blackwater employees wereambushed and killed, and theirbodies hung on a bridge to cheeringIraqi crowds in 2004; in 2007,Blackwater employees shot andkilled 17 Iraqi civilians, at least14 of whom were killed “withoutcause” according to the fbi.)“It is very difficult to live underthe shadow of death for so manyyears. It takes its toll on you,” ArchbishopAsadourian said.Rev. Kinnamon said that memberchurches of the ncc were “very concernedabout our Christian sistersand brothers in Iraq and throughoutthe Middle East” and will beseeking ways to bring their plightto the attention of the Americanpeople and the U.S. government.The ncc has been very critical ofthe U.S. invasion and occupation ofIraq since before the war itself.Among the ecumenical leadersattending the meeting withArchbishop Asadourian were Fr.Haigazoun Najarian, vicar ofthe Eastern Diocese of the ArmenianChurch of America; Fr.Vahan Hovhanessian, pastor ofthe Armenian Church of the HolyMartyrs of Bayside, N.Y.; the Rev.Mark Arey, ecumenical officer ofthe Greek Orthodox Archdioceseof America; Clare J. Chapman,ncc Chief Operating Officer; andChris Ferguson, World Councilof Churches representative to theUnited Nations.Anna Kayaloff, proprietor of Le Vieux Paris, and New Yorkcommunity activist, dies at 89NEW YORK – Anna Kayaloff aprominent sponsor of Armenianaffairs and wife of Jacques Kayaloff,the author of numerous booksincluding The Battle of Sardarabad,died quietly at her home on June3, after a serious illness. She was 89years old.A funeral on June 6 held at theFrank E. Campbell Funeral Homein Manhattan was conducted byFr. Moushegh Der Kaloustian andFr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St.Illuminator’s Cathedral.Mrs. Kayaloff was known for hercontributions to Armenian schoolsand community life in New York.She and her husband were instrumentalin the establishment of theArmenian chairs at Columbia andHarvard universities.What follows are excerpts fromthe eulogy delivered by her daughterIsabelle during the funeral.A woman of courageand tenacity, ofgenerosity andeleganceby Isabelle J. KayaloffOften it is the closest relatives oroffspring who bear the brunt ofresponsibilities. In mother’s case itwas no different, and I as her daughterknew her well and, particularlyafter father died, I understood herworries and insecurities as her infirmitiesgrew with age. But shewas determined to overcome thesechallenges and remain independentand mobile as long as she could, andcontribute to the society around her.In that I think we succeeded, thanksin large part to the support of manydear friends who visited her regularly.In particular Andrea and AnniePampanini, Reese and Katherina Albright,Karen Richardson and Mrs.Makroughi.Behind Anna Kayaloff’s sometimetough exterior resided a warmperson and courageous womanwho had lived through two worldwars – an experience that coloredher approach to life permanently.She was born in Kislovdsk inRussia in 1918 to a prominent RussianArmenian family, and had toflee with her parents as the RussianRevolution took hold. Afterbrief stay in Paris the young familymoved to Bucharest, and that iswhere my mother grew up.She studied hard and obtainedher baccalaureate, became juniortennis champion of Romania, andwanted to continue her studies atuniversity in 1936-7, but was preventedby my grandparents – somethingthat would not occur today.As a result, all her life Ania (asshe was called) felt deprived ofthat educational opportunity andstrived to improve herself and acquireknowledge. In later years shewould meet a soulmate in JacquesKayaloff – curious, intelligent, sophisticatedand interested in peopleand intent on exploring theworld. Both were sometimes foolishlygenerous, but always elegantin spirit.But back to Ania and Romania.What was remarkable at thattime, as war broke out in Europeand the Nazis occupied Romania,was that mother volunteered as anurse for the enlisted soldiers’ hospital.In the end she became headnurse and received the Red CrossAward for her dedication and service.The experience left a seriousimprint on her that remained forthe rest of her life. She had no illusionsabout hospital care and theneed to provide gentleness andlove to sick people, and the effortthat involved.As the Red Army approachedRomania in 1943, once again thefamily was uprooted and Ania andher mother fled to Paris to remainthere until the Liberation of Parisin August 1944. Unfortunately,grandfather did not join them; hewas eventually arrested by the RedArmy and sent to Siberia for hardlabor. Ania never saw her fatheragain.In 1945 in Paris she met JacquesKayaloff; they fell in love and wereAnna Kayaloff (1918-2008).married, and she migrated to theUnited States where she found anew home and made new friends.After the experiences of the war,the contrast between the abundanceand richness of life in theUnited States and war torn Europewas not easy to absorb. Tothis day Ania would berate peoplefor waste – waste in food, wastein consumption, and waste in possessions,sometime to the pointingof upsetting well-intentionedfriends.She made a good home for herhusband, and I was born shortlyafter they settled here. My grandmotherIsabelle Avakoff followedthem to New York in 1950.It was at this time that peoplefirst met the formidable duo of mygrandmother and mother, whostarted a successful design and antiquebusiness. Over the years, LeVieux Paris would become a centerfor fashionable French interiordesign. Both ladies poured theirhearts and souls into a successfulbusiness, which at one point furnishedthe private quarters of theWhite House.This happy period was only to bemarred by news in 1957 that grandfatherhad died after 10 years in aSoviet labor camp. After that, grandmotherand mother became evenmore inseparable, and the strongbond between mother and daughterremained until the very end.The late Anna Kayaloff with the late Catholicos of All Armenians, His HolinessKarekin I Sarkissian.Before he died grandfather managedto smuggle out a letter whichmother kept for many years, thefull contents of which I only becameaware of recently. His adviceto his daughter and to his granddaughterwas simple: (1) have asound profession that you can alwaysfall back no matter what, (2)know languages, and (3) do not befooled easily. From that time onwardmother relentless pursued aprogram that would insure that heronly daughter would have a chance,and that her “tool box,” so to speak,would be well-equipped for the realworld. It was an aspect that I didnot always appreciate growing up,or willingly accept as a teenager.The little family unit consistingof father, granny (my mother’smother), Ania and myself occupieda precious time; many people passingthrough our lives on Park Avenueat that time felt the warmth,generosity of spirit, and sophisticationthat emanated from the house.My mother in particular loved toentertain and create an extraordinaryatmosphere with good foodand wine and elegant surroundingsfor some memorable evenings withartists and musicians, mixed withWall Street executives.That time was to pass, too. Withfather’s retirement as presidentof Louis Dreyfus Corp., and thenews that he had Parkinson’s disease,that extraordinary worldslowly disappeared as the diseasetook hold and he grew weaker andweaker.During this period Ania nursedhim night and day until his deathin 1983, to be followed shortlythereafter by Granny’s. Theseevents brought to an end the familyunit, and a new set of dynamicsset in – involving the next generationof mother and daughter. Butthis time, driven by the exigenciesof the modern world and careerresponsibilities, the tool box hadto be expanded even more. Whatwas clear – and that is what mothertaught me more than anyone else– was that we as individuals had aresponsibility to others, in friendship,in love, and in understandingand providing moral support.There are no big people, or littlepeople. We are all human beingsand have wants, desires and needs,and these must be shared and addressed.In her last years, mother devotedher energies to the New York PublicLibrary, and many Armenian causessuch as the church, the Armenianschool, and an old age home in Yerevan.She developed her own circleof devoted friends. It is duringthis period that she published hermemoirs and described the impressionsof a century through the eyesof a courageous and tenacious, butgenerous and always elegant, lady.We love her, and will miss her.
12 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008CommunityPreservation meets no boundaries at almaAn Armeniantreasure for 37 yearsby Tom VartabedianWATERTOWN, Mass. – Eversince she came aboard as executivedirector of the Armenian Libraryand Museum of America last year,Mariam Stepanyan has workedovertime to bring this 37-year-oldfacility to another standard. She’slaunched more social and culturalexhibits, including an eclectic seriesof jazz nights; gotten more artistsinvolved in a bigger demographicarea; attracted a non-Armeniancrowd (40 percent of those attendingjazz concerts), and launched anewer and fresher website.The 32-year-old Yerevan nativeisn’t done yet – not by a long shot.She sees an untapped market inchildren’s activities and looks toshare some of alma’s most vitalexhibits, beginning in the fall withArmenian Legionnaires (Gamavors).A Genocide exhibit has been onthe road 12 years and gets updatedperiodically. One of her pet peevessince being promoted in 2005 fromoffice manager is a distinct lack ofexposure.As prominent as this buildinghas remained at 65 Main Street, inthe heart of Watertown Square, ittroubles her to hear talk of nonchalanceand ignorance.I told her that an Armenian tellerat a nearby bank had been shockedto learn of alma’s proximity, andadmitted she didn’t know its identity,much less its whereabouts.“I find that pretty discouraging,”says Stepanyan. “I want to makesure the secret is out and thatpeople who come here appreciatewhat we do. I want to boost thosenumbers.”About 7,000 visitors are apt tocome through alma’s door in agiven year. In January, a joint Holocaust/Genocideexhibit drew over300. With an increase in paid members(1,500), donors (2,500) andtrustees (42), there’s no shortage ofexposure.Only Stepanyan wants more.“We’re the largest independentArmenian museum in the diaspora,and care about generations,” shepoints out. “More programs forchildren should be open and free tothe public. The heritage and cultureis in their hands.”Of particular consequence is amammoth exhibit titled “Who arethe Armenians?” which openedlast fall and tells the epic story ofthe people’s trials and tribulations,with a rich repository of artifacts.As diverse as the culture itself,the showpiece could be an archer’sbronze belt worn around 700 B.C.,or a silver coin that was mintedbefore the time of Christ; a Bibleprinted in the 17th century, or a“dog collar” that was worn by a victimof the Armenian Genocide in1915.Some objects were part of an extensivecollection donated by privatebenefactors. But many itemswere cherished family heirloomsthat were simply collecting dust inpeople’s closets and attics.A constant learningexperienceThe staff of Watertown’s Armenian Library and Museum of America. Pictured (l-r): Gary Lind-Sinanian, curator; Christie Hardiman, public relations/membership;Mariam Stepanyan, executive director; Karine Marino, finance administrative officer, and Berj Chekijian, technical consultant. Photos: T. Vartabedian.Much of alma’s success over theyears can be attributed to the husband-wifeduo of Gary and SusanLind-Sinanian, who’ve beenaboard over the past 22 years.While Gary handles most all thehands-on responsibilities as “curatorpersonified,” his wife servesas textile coordinator. For her, it’sbecome a release valve from her 37years with the Perkins School forthe Blind, where she teaches homeand personal management.“I consider alma to be the greatesttreasure in the diaspora,” saysGary. “The collections are enormousand diverse. Sometimes wedon’t realize what we have. That’smy job. It’s a constant learning experience.”A look at April’s itinerary showedan exhibit on Armenian villagepeople; another on Armeniantextile art; a classical concert andjazz night; a public forum on theArmenian Genocide; a presentationtitled “Hymayil: The ArmenianPrayer Scroll,” and “Who are theArmenians?”The great poet Diana Der-Hovanessianappeared in May to discussArmenian poems in translation.A photographer showed up with50 prints to be hung. Not knowingwhere he should assist, Gary toldhim to go for a cup of coffee andhe would handle it. By the timehe returned, the exhibit had beenhung better than he could haveimagined.Gary Lind-Sinanian started as avolunteer in 1986 and became actingdirector five years later. Both heand his wife are also noted for theirArmenian dance performances,each well-rehearsed and authentic.Gary is Swedish/Irish by descent– but meeting Susan modified that.Now he considers himself “an adoptedArmenian.”“I’ve approached Armenian historyas an outsider,” he admits.“Susan was at alma as a staffer andI just tagged along. She admiredthe textiles and nobody was takingcare of them. Both of us have beenpart of alma ever since.”Gary takes charge of all the exhibits–- both the creative sideand the installation – and all artifacts,whether it involves storage,cataloging, or acquisitions.To say that he’s become a catalystfor preserving and expanding alma’scollection is an understatement.“Aside from our trustees, Gary isthe most important asset to alma,”says Stepanyan. “He puts manyhours into the job. It’s remainedhis passion.”Gary and Susan traveled to Armeniain 2007. Because of their vastmuseum experience, they were invitedby the Tufenkian Foundationto help establish similar programsin Armenia – under the most adverseconditions possible.1971 – alma is organized initiallyas a charitable trust.1972 – Two rooms are rentedat the First Armenian Church inBelmont for storage and limitedactivity.1974 – The Oral History Projectis launched, resulting in over600 hours of taped interviews ofGenocide survivors.1975 – Donation by Adele andHaig Der Manuelian Family Collection.1976 – First exhibit and openhouse at the parish house; displayat Boston Museum of Fine Arts.1978 – Commencement of intermittentcultural events.1980 – alma’s collection passes1,400 hours of recorded oral history.1985 –- Leasing of 4,000 squarefeet in the basement of the FirstArmenian Church, to include a library,exhibit gallery, conferenceroom, and work space.1986 – Formal opening of thelibrary and museum with parttimestaff; donation of the Dr. H.Martin Deranian Heirloom Collection;exhibit of Moses Gulesianon saving the U.S.S. Constitution.1988 – Purchase of the formerCoolidge Bank headquarters inWatertown Square at 65 MainStreet.They went to Sushi as consultantsto design a local museum for thecommunity in Nagorno-Karabakh.By the time the Lind-Sinanianswere done, they had created a developmentplan for a museum/artcenter similar to alma.A photo of the couple by theruins of the Zvartnots Cathedralwas thought-provoking. This wasSusan’s first trip to Hayastan. Garyhad been there before.1990 – Renovations completedand formal opening of alma’snew headquarters; Gary Lind-Sinanianhired as full-time actingcurator.1991 – Donation of Paul andVicki Bedoukian Collection ofArmenian artifacts; exhibitionof Walter and Laurel KarabianCollection of Kutahya Ceramics.1992 – Donation of Arthur T.Gregorian Collection of ArmenianInscribed Rugs; acquisitionof the Alice Odian Kasparian Collection.1994 – Gontag issued to almaby Catholicos Vasken I, dedicatedto the memory of Stephen Mugarand Marian Graves Mugar.1995 –- First major Genocideexhibition.1996 – alma’s 25th anniversarybanquet, celebrating Armenianwomen and honoring MicheleBagdasarian Simourian; almaparticipates in the Ellis Islandexhibit.1997 – Acquisition of the ShalianCollection.1998 – Genocide exhibit in theRhode Island Holocaust Center.1999 – Sergei Parajanov Exhibitfrom Armenia; benefit banquethonoring Haig Der Manuelian;Jack Kevorkian Exhibit.A breath of new lifeBy most standards, Stepanyan isa relative newcomer to alma butwasted no time getting acclimated.She came armed with three Mastersdegrees in EnvironmentalPolicy, Public Administration, andPolitical Science.She is married with a 14-montholdson and lives in Watertown.Supervising a staff of six paid em-alma chronology through the yearsContinued on page 13 2000 – alma’s website is established;donation of BedoukianCoin and Library Collection.2001 – alma helps launch thewebsite of the Armenian NationalGenocide Memorial Museum Instituteof Yerevan.2002 – Armenian Music Exhibitfunded by the Margosian MemorialFund; Armenia Tree Projectrelocates its Boston office in alma’sMugar Building; GenocideExhibit at Massachusetts StateHouse.2003 – Donation of Georgesand Eliza Bezdjian Jewelry Collection;completion of alma’s librarybook cataloging project.2004 – Relocation of the libraryto the 4th floor; Mena TopjianChildren’s Program; ArmenianBible Exhibit.2005 – alma’s traveling GenocideExhibit at the Texas StateHouse and Mogan Cultural Centerin Lowell; completion of theChurch Plaque Project in Armenia;Mariam Stepanyan hired asoffice manager.2006 – Baptismal dove wasloaned to be exhibited in Berlin,Germany.2007 – Mariam Stepanyan appointedexecutive director; sixunique artifacts from Bedoukianand Karabian Collections loanedto galleries in Marseille, France.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 13CommunityAbove: Curator Gary Lind-Sinanian began as a volunteer in 1986, and has been with alma ever since. Above right: Susan Lind-Sinanian serves as ALMA’s textile curator, when she isn’t tending to her full-timejob as a home and personal management instructor at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, where she has worked 37 years. Continued from page 12ployees can be challenging, andadded to that are 20 regular volunteersand 50 others who reliablycome on board for special eventsand needs.At any given time, you’re apt tofind Haig Der Manuelian poringthrough the archives. On paper,he’s listed as board chairman.A more appropriate title might be“devoted servant.”He’s been part of the tapestrysince 1975, when he donated hisfamily collection. Credit Der Maneulian’sperceptive imaginationfor the “Who are the Armenians?”exhibit.The 3,200-square foot buildingremains an imposing site in WatertownSquare, long attracting Armenianvisitors from throughout theworld.The first two floors house themuseum. Contemporary art galleriesand offices comprise the thirdand fourth floors, with quarters forArmenian non-profits like Projectsave, Armenian Tree Project, andthe Mesrop Boyajian Library. Thebasement is used as a textile conservationcenter.A wish list for items needed arethe enhancement of an electronicdatabase for archiving and storingthe library catalogue ($2,500);a climate controlled, free-standingdisplay case for religious artifacts($6,000); hard-board for the pianofor acoustic purposes ($1,250), and alarge (7-by-9 foot) Da-Lite projectorscreen ($700).alma in briefStats on America’sArmenian treasurehouse> Founded in 1971 by variousindividuals from the Armeniancommunity; alma’s missionwas to protect Armenian publicationsand artifacts locatedin the United States from furtherloss or dispersion; and tocollect, preserve and presentthe culture, history, art andcontributions of the Armenianpeople.> The museum averages 14different exhibits annually andcontains over 20,000 artifacts,including prehistoric, Urartian,religious, ceramic, and otherobjects; medieval illuminations;5,000 ancient and medieval Armeniancoins; 3,000 textiles; 930rare books; and 170 rugs, manyof which are inscribed in Armenian.> alma is the only independentArmenian museum in theMuseum hours are Thursdays,6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Fridays and Sundays,1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays,opening at 10:00 a.m.“Both triumph and despair pervadeArmenia’s rich history,” Stepanyanpoints out. “We continue tobreathe new life into a country thathas struggled over the years amidnumerous obstacles. alma is notjust an investment into Armenia’spast, but in the future.” diaspora, funded solely throughindividual contributions.> An active board of trusteesand volunteer base augmentsthe six-member staff, headed byMariam Stepanyan.> The library contains over26,000 catalogued titles, datingback to the Garabed Gospel ofA.D. 1207, along with a large collectionof books on oriental rugsand the Armenian Genocide.> The textile collection isamong the largest outside ofArmenia. Curator Susan Lind-Sinaniancontinues to act as consultant.Items are housed in aclimate-controlled space in thebasement, where they are photographed,documented, andcatalogued.> alma’s work in Armenia andKarabakh since the 1988 earthquakehas remained impressive– particularly its efforts to assistmuseums and make Armenia’sheritage and culture more accessible.Jazz Nights @ alma will feature Classic GrooveMariam Stepanian, alma’s executive director, inside the gallery and museum.Steve Tashjian’sClassic Groovewill perform onFriday, June 27,as part of alma’sjazz concertseries.WATERTOWN, Mass. – TheArmenian Library and Museum ofAmerica (alma) continues its ongoingJazz Nights @ alma serieswith a concert by “Classic Groove”on Friday, June 27, at 8:00 p.m.Band leader Steve Tashjian(woodwinds) will be joined by AshleyAlexander (vocals), Steve Labonte(drums and vocals), KevinMagarian (guitar), Lee Lundy (bass)and “Face” (piano). The group willperform renditions of jazz balladsand mainstream standards, including“Blues in the Night,” “Summertime”and “Stepping Out.”The Jazz Nights @ alma concertseries takes place in a café-like settingat alma’s Contemporary ArtGallery. The concerts feature performancesby both established and upand-cominggroups from the NewEngland and surrounding areas. Pastconcerts have included performancesby Vardan Ovsepian, John Baboian’sThe Be-Bop Guitars, Earthsound andthe Armen Donelian Trio.Tickets are $10 each and almamembers receive two free ticketswhen they purchase four. Advancereservations are welcome and maybe made by e-mailing email@example.com calling (617) 926-2562.Patrons who arrive at the concertearly will also have the chance tovisit the Museum at no extra charge.The Museum doors will open 30minutes before the concert, allowingvisitors to explore “Who are theArmenians?” and other exhibits ondisplay. alma is located at 65 MainStreet, in Watertown. For informationabout the June 27 event, visitalma’s website www.almainc.org.For information on the band, visitwww.classicgroove.net.
14 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008CommunityFinal inning for alma’s spring sports raffleWATERTOWN, Mass. – Withthe Boston Celtics having securedthe nba Championshipthis week in spectacular fashion,the Armenian Library and Museumof America (alma) is closeto wrapping up its fourth annualsports raffle campaign, which isleading up to the prize drawingon July 1. All proceeds from thiscampaign go towards financingalma’s exhibits as well as culturaland educational programs for thepublic.The sports raffle offers participantsthe chance to win sixphenomenal sports packages tohome games of New Englandteams as well as various otherprizes.This year’s grand prize featuresa Fenway Park Luxury Box with22 seats to a Red Sox and TorontoBlue Jays game to be held on September13. The package is valued at$8,000, and includes parking, foodand beverages.Other prizes include four seatsin a luxury box to a New EnglandPatriots game; four EMC-Clubseats to a Red Sox vs. Yankeesgame; as well as four tickets eachto Boston Celtics and Bruinsgames. Author and Boston Heraldsportswriter Tony Massarotti hasdonated 25 autographed copies ofhis latest book, Dynasty: How theRed Sox Became a Baseball Powerhouse,to be raffled off as additionalprizes.The prizes come from the generosityof alma’s trustees in an effortto help raise funds so that almacan continue to provide enrichingexhibits and programs for the community.Supporters are encouragedto take advantage of a special promotionoffering one free ticket tothose who purchase three tickets.To purchase tickets, call (617) 926-2562, ext. 3, or e-mail Mariams@almainc.org.For information aboutalma’s spring sports raffle, visitwww.almainc.org.Richard Hovannisian’s lecture atClark University available onlineWORCESTER, Mass. – ClarkUniversity’s Strassler Family Centerfor Holocaust and GenocideStudies welcomed Dr. RichardHovannisian to lecture for oneweek during the spring semester.Serving as the “Robert Aramand Marianne Kaloosdian andStephen and Marian Mugar DistinguishedVisiting Scholar,” Prof.Hovannisian delivered lecturesin classes, met with doctoral studentsand faculty, and presenteda free, public lecture, “Must WeStill Remember? The ArmenianGenocide as Prototype,” to a largeaudience.Taner Akçam set to join Clark University faculty as professor ofArmenian Genocide studiesA video of Prof. Hovannisian’slecture, in which he analyzed themurderous violence against Armeniansin the Ottoman empirein relation to subsequent genocidesin the 20th and 21st centuries,is now available online atwww.clarku.edu/offices/mediaservices/videoarchive/playvideo.cfm?id=126.A member of the ucla facultysince 1962, Prof. Hovannisian isprofessor emeritus of Armenianand Near Eastern History; he wasthe first holder of the Armenian EducationFoundation Endowed Chairin Armenian History at ucla. WORCESTER, Mass. – ClarkUniversity has officially announcedits appointment of historianTaner Akçam to occupythe “Robert Aram and MarianneKaloosdian and Stephen andMarion Mugar Professorshipin Armenian Genocide Studies.”Professor Akçam is known forhis bold and authoritative scholarship,using Turkish sources, onthe Armenian Genocide, whichwas the basis of his acclaimed2006 book, A Shameful Act: TheArmenian Genocide and the Questionof Turkish Responsibility.NEW MILFORD, N.J. – Foronce not sporting the uniformsthat most of them have worn thepast 11 years, students of HovnanianSchool’s class of 2008 celebratedtheir upcoming graduationin style on Saturday, June14, during the annual dinnerdance.More than 200 family membersand friends applauded the graduatesand their escorts, who wereintroduced with the sound of thedhol and zurna echoing in the background.The school’s Parent-TeacherOrganization spent days preparingthe school’s auditorium forthe festive evening. School alumniHaig Gulian, Anoush Gulian,and Anahid Kaprielian participatedby preparing a slideshowof the graduates and their daysat the Hovnanian School to thepeppy theme song from the televisionshow, “The Courtship ofCalendar of EventsProf. Akcam will be joiningClark’s Strassler Family Centerfor Holocaust and Genocide Studies,effective July 1. Formerly avisiting professor of history atthe University of Minnesota anda visiting scholar at the ArmenianResearch Center, Universityof Michigan–Dearborn, Akçamserves on the editorial board ofGenocide Studies and Prevention,the official journal of the InternationalAssociation of GenocideScholars.At Clark, Akçam will teach thehistory of the Armenian GenocideEddie’s Father.” The slide showconcluded by showing the graduatesdancing the shoorch barand the history of the modernMiddle East.The director of the StrasslerCenter, Debórah Dwork, RoseProfessor of Holocaust History,said that “Prof. Akcam is as renownedfor his scholarship ashe is for his courageous politicalactions championing freedomof the press, the right to pursuescholarly investigation, and theprotection of civil liberties. Weare delighted and very proud thathe has joined our faculty.”In a June 1 editorial, the WorcesterTelegram and Gazette stated:Hovnanian School pto holds itsannual dinner danceThe soon-to-be-graduating 8th grade class of the Hovnanian School.while in Armenia, during theirclass trip this past April. “Clark’s choice of a Turkish-bornprofessor, Taner Akçam, as chairmanof Armenian genocide studiesis a welcome demonstration of afirm commitment to free inquiry,academic fairness and historicaltruth.”Taner Akçam, who will join theStrassler Family Center for Holocaustand Genocide Studies at Worcester’sClark University effective July 1.Apo Torosyan’s Voices will be shown atthe Golden Apricot and Long Island filmfestivalsNASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. – ApoTorosyan’s film Voices will be shownat the Long Island InternationalFilm Festival on Wednesday, July 9,at 4:30 p.m. The 2007 documentarychronicling the recollections of severalArmenian and the Greek survivorsof genocide will be screened atBellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Avenue,in Bellmore, N.Y.The Long Island InternationalFilm Expo (liife) is one of the area’slargest regional film festivals,which features independent filmsfrom around the world, as well asincludes directors, speakers, andactors in a week of screenings, lecturesand symposia. liife will becelebrating its 11th year from JulyVisit us atreporter.am9 to 17. Log onto the website www.liifilmexpo.com for details.Voices will also play as part of the5th “Golden Apricot” InternationalFilm Festival, which will run July 13to 20 in Armenia, at a venue locatedat No. 5 Byron Street, in Yerevan.The seven-day celebration of filmand culture will include prominentguests in the field from Armeniaand the world. For detail log ontothe festival website, www.gaiff.am.Apo Torosyan’s films and artinstallations have been on viewthroughout the U.S. and Europe.His forthcoming website, www.aramaifilms.com, will contain informationabout his activities andfilms.Northern CaliforniaJUNE 22 - 10TH ANNIVER-SARY CELEBRATION ANDGRANTING “AVAK KAHA-NA” TITLE UPON REV. FR.SARKIS PETOYAN. Location:St. John ArmenianChurch, 275 .Olympia Way,San Francisco, CA. 1:00 pmAdmission: $20 and $10. Formore information . contactSt. John Armenian Church,415-661-1142; firstname.lastname@example.org.JULY 27 - ARS CENTENIALCHARITY GOLF TOURNA-MENT. Location: CrystalSprings Golf Course, 6650Golf Course Dr, Burlingame,CA. tba Admission: tba. Formore information contactArmenian Relief Society, 650-296-5050; email@example.com.JUNE 27 - AGBU YPNC SUM-MER MIXER!. Location: EtiquetteLounge, 1108 MarketStreet, San Francisco, CA.June 27th 9:00PM-2:00AMAdmission: $15 - $20. For moreinformation contact AGBUYPNC-Vahan, 650.521.2384; firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 28 - FACING THEMOUNTAIN ARMENIANS &TURKS IN DIALOGUE. Location:The California Instituteof Integral Studies, 1453 MissionSt, San Francisco, CA. 10am - 5 pm Admission: FREE.For more information contactHealing the Wounds of History,510.595.5500, ext 11; email@example.com.SEPTEMBER 5 - WILLIAMSAROYAN CENTENNIALCELEBRATION - RECEPTION& CONCERT. Location: GreenLibrary, Stanford University,557 Escondido Mall, Stanford,CA. 3:00 - 6:30 PM Admission:Free. For more informationcontact Stanford UniversityLibraries, 650-725-5813; firstname.lastname@example.org.SEPTEMBER 6 - ST. ANDREWCHURCH FOOD FESTIVAL.Location: St. Andrew ArmenianChurch, 11370 S StellingRd, Cupertino, CA. 11 am to 10pm Admission: free w/ coupon.For more information contactSt. Andrew Church, (408) 257-6743; email@example.com.SEPTEMBER 27 - ELEMENTBAND LIVE IN CONCERT.Location: Bayside PerformingArts Center, 2025 Kehoe Ave,San Mateo, CA. 8:00pm Admission:$25, $35, $50. For moreinformation contact HomenetmenSanta Clara ANI Chapter,(408) 406-5522; firstname.lastname@example.orgArmenian Relief Society, 650-296-5050; email@example.com.SEPTEMBER 28 - SERGEYKATCHATRYAN WITH AR-MENIA’S ERASIA ORCHES-TRA AT DAVIES SYMPHONYHALL. Location: Davies SymphonyHall, 201 Van Ness Avenue,San Francisco, CA. 4:00pm Admission: tbd. For moreinformation contact NaiyrySarkiss, firstname.lastname@example.org.OCTOBER 4 - ISABELBAYRAKDARIAN, SOPRANO.Location: Herbst Theatre, 401Van Ness Ave, San Francisco,
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 15CommunityCalendar of EventsCA. 8pm Admission: $65/$40.For more information contactSan Francisco Performances,(415) 398-6449; email@example.com.OCTOBER 25 - ST. JOHNFOOD FESTIVAL. Location:St. John Armenian Church,275 Olympia Way, SanFrancisco, CA. 12:00noon-12:00midnight Admission:N/A. For more informationcontact St. John ArmenianChurch, 415-661-1142;firstname.lastname@example.org.NO-VEMBER 1 - KZV ARME-NIAN SCHOOL BANQUETWITH VARTAN GREGORI-AN. Location: Saroyan Hall,825 Brotherhood Way, SanFrancisco, CA. 6:30 PM Admission:tbd. For more informationcontact Ani Ayanian,; email@example.com.Southern CaliforniaJUNE 13 - VISA LIVE AT THEDERBY!. Location: Derby, 4500Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles,CA. 10 pm Admission: $15.For more information contactKnoup Presents, ;firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 14 - ELEMENT BANDLIVE! JUNE 14 & 15. Location:El Portal Theatre, 5269 LankershimBlvd, North Hollywood,CA. 8PM, 7 PM Admission: $50- $20. For more informationcontact Ara Dabandjian, (818)249-1428; email@example.com.Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.JUNE 15 - POMEGRANATEWHISKY COMEDY CABARET.Location: El Portal Theatre,5269 Lankershim Blvd, NorthHollywood, CA. 3 PM Admission:$25. For more informationcontact Lory Tatoulian, ;firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticketson www.itsmyseat.comJUNE 15 - CHILDREN’SSTORYBOOK READING/THEATER SHOW. Location:Children’s Storybookreading Theater, 3347 N. SanFernando Rd, Glendale, CA.3:00-5:00pm Admission:$5 Children/$7 Adult. Formore information contactHomenetmen Glendale AraratChapter, 323-256-2564;email@example.com.JUNE 15 - FATHER’S DAYPICNIC. Location: Edison Park,21377 Magnolia St, HuntingtonBeach, CA. 1:00 Admission:Free. For more informationcontact Armenian ChristianFellowship of Orange County,805-748-1096; Sabadjian@acfoc.com.JUNE 15 - TALINE & FRIENDS:LET’S SING & DANCE CON-CERT. Location: CSUN PlazaDel Sol Performance Hall, 18111Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA. 5PM Admission: $22. For moreinformation contact TalineMusic, (818)726-8748; firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 17 - NEW DANCECLASS. Location: ARS Arazchapter, 361 E Magnolia Blvdsuite C, Burbank, CA. 7:30 pmAdmission: $40.00 donation.For more information contactARS Araz Chapter, (818) 640-6513; email@example.com.JUNE 19 - HEAT EXPOSURE.Location: Facade Night Club(formerly known as IVAR),6356 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood,CA. 10:00 PM Admission:Call For INFO. For moreinformation Contact NuzikEntertainment & ArmenianChronicles, (818) 935-9818;firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 20 - LATIN JAZZ NIGHT.Location: Armenian Society ofLos Angeles, 320 W.Wilson Ave.#107, Glendale, CA. 8:00 pmAdmission: Donation: $12. Formore information contact ArmenianSociety of Los Angeles,; Leyla2000@sbcglobal.net.JUNE 20 - GRISHA GORY-ACHEV: LOS ANGELES FLA-MENCO CONCERT!. Location:Barnsdall Gallery Theater,4800 Hollywood Blvd, LosAngeles, CA. 8:00 PM Admission:$25-$35. For more informationcontact itsmyseat.com,818.249.1428; email@example.com. Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.JUNE 21 - RUBEN HAKH-VERDYAN FOR WORLDPEACE FOR LIFE. Location:Convention Center Hall G,1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles,CA. 8:00pm Admission:$50-$300. For more informationcontact Worldpeaceforlife,818-588.5250; firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 21 - WALK OF LIFE. Location:Griffith Park, 4730 CrystalSprings Dr, Los Angeles, CA.8 AM - 2 PM Admission: $25.For more information contactABMDR, 323-663-3609; email@example.com.JUNE 21 - MAXIM ANDWOUROUD AT PHOENICIA.Location: Phoenicia Restaurant,343 N Central Ave, Glendale,CA. 9:00pm Admission:Reservation only. For moreinformation contact PhoeniciaRestaurant, 818-502-3333;firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 22 - AESA/YPI PICNIC.Location: Casa Adobe Park,1330 Dorothy Drive, Glendale,CA. 12:00 pm Admission: $22.For more information contactAbraham Bouyadjian, 626) 440-4541; Abraham.Bouyadjian@parsons.com.JUNE 22 - SUMMER CON-CERT FOR CHILDREN. Location:glendale public libray, 222E Harvard St, Glendale, CA.2.00pm Admission: $15.00.For more information contactHermine Tomanian, 818/248-9010; email@example.com.JUNE 22 - EAST OF BYZAN-TIUM - FUNDRAISER PRE-SENTED BY AFFMA. Location:CASITAS STUDIOS, 3191Casitas Ave, Los Angeles, CA.6pm Admission: Donation Appreciated.For more informationcontact AFFMA, ; firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 22 - DAVIDIAN-MARI-AMIAN TELETHON 2008. Location:LA View, 6054 San FernandoRd., Glendale, CA. 6:00pm - Midnight Admission:Donations. For more informationcontact Vahik Satoorian,909 373 7876; email@example.com.JUNE 24 - NANOSATELLITELECTURE. Location: ARME-NIAN SOCIETY OF LOS AN-GELES, 320 W. WILSON AV-ENUE SUITE 107, Glendale,CA. 8:00 pm Admission: Free.For more information contactAESA, (818) 547-3372; firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 24 - NANOSATELLITELECTURE. Location: ARME-NIAN SOCIETY OF LOS AN-GELES, 320 W. WILSON AV-ENUE SUITE 107, Glendale,CA. 8:00 pm Admission: Free.For more information contactAESA, (818) 547-3372; email@example.com.JUNE 27 - FOOL FOR LOVEJUNE 27 - JULY 26. Location:Luna Playhouse, 3706 San FernandoRd, Glendale, CA. 8:00PM Admission: $25. For moreinformation contact LunaPlayhouse, (818) 500-7200;LunaPlayhouse@sbcglobal.net.Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.JUNE 27 - BOURJ HAM-MOUD/HALEB NIGHT. Location:Pasadena ArmenianCenter, 740 E. WashingtonBlvd., Pasadena, CA. 8:00 PMAdmission: $30. For more informationcontact AYF Pasadena“Nigol Touman” Chapter,626.818.4101; firstname.lastname@example.org.JUNE 28 - NAVASARTIANVICTORY BALL. Location: CBSStudio Center, 4024 RadfordAve, Studio City, CA. 7:00 PMAdmission: $150. For more informationcontact Homenetmen,(818) 244-3868; email@example.com. Tickets onwww.itsmyseat.com.JUNE 29 - WORLD CHARITYPOKER TOUR. Location: Palladio,1018 E. Colorado St., Glendale,CA. 10:00a.m. to 8:00p.m. Admission: $200 per seat.For more information contactCalifornia Community Care,(818)438-8885; Calcomcare@yahoo.com.JULY 3 - HOMENETMEN33RD NAVASARTIAN GAMES/FESTIVAL JULY 3-6. Location:Birmingham High School,17000 Haynes St, Van Nuys,CA. 4:00 PM - Midnight Admission:TBD. For more informationcontact HomentemenWestern USA, (818) 244-3868;.JULY 3 - LITERARY EVE-NING. Location: Glendale PublicLibrary, 222 E. Harvard St,Glendale, CA. 07:00-09:00 PMAdmission: Free Admission.For more information contactArmenian Writers Associationof California, 818-500-1532;firstname.lastname@example.org.JULY 11 - BLACK & WHITEMASQUERADE PARTY. Location:Sportsmen’s Lodge,12833 Ventura Blvd, StudioCity, CA. 7:30 PM Admission:$65. For more informationcontact Homenetmen Glendale“Ararat” Chapter, (323)256-2564;.JULY 12 - NATALINE’S FASH-ION LEGACY. Location: MercedesBenz of Calabasas, 24181Calabasas Rd, Calabasas, CA. CallFor Detail Admission: Donation.For more information contactNataline Sarkisyan’s Foundation,(818) 512-5423, or www.myspace.com/fashionlegacyJULY 12 - MBFAF: MY BIGFAT ARMENIAN FAMILY OF-FICIAL MOVIE RELEASE. Location:Glendale High School,1440 E. Broadway, Glendale,CA. 4:00 pm or 7:00 pm Admission:$12.00. For more informationcontact OhanianFilms, N/A; Sevak.Ohanian@Armenian-movie.com.JULY 13 - ZVARTNOTSDANCE ENSEMBLE. Location:Glendale High School Auditorium,1440 E Broadway, Glendale,CA. 6:00 PM Admission:Call For Details. For more informationcontact Zvartnots,(818) 265-0506;.JULY 13 - VAHAGN TUR-GUTYAN & FRIENDS LIVECONCERT. Location: PasadenaJazz Institute, 260 E ColoradoBlvd Suite 206, Pasadena,CA. 8 p.m. Admission: $15-$25.For more information contactPasadena Jazz Institute, (626)398-3344; email@example.com.JULY 20 - 2ND ANNUAL GEN-NEXT BEACH BONFIRE. Location:Huntington Beach, comingsoon, Huntington Beach,CA. 5:00 PM Admission: $20.For more information contactGenNext with support fromYPLA and YPOC, (626) 794-7942; firstname.lastname@example.org.Tickets on www.itsmyJUNE 29 - LAYSCA PRES-ENTS: SUMMER CONCERT.Location: Ford Amphitheatre,2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, LosAngeles, CA. 7:00 PM Admission:$25, $35. For more informationcontact LAYSCA,(818) 752-0052; email@example.com. Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.seat.com.JULY 11 - BLACK & WHITEMASQUERADE PARTY. Location:Sportsmen’s Lodge, 12833Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA.7:30 PM Admission: $65. Formore information contactHomenetmen Glendale “Ararat”Chapter, (323) 256-2564;.JULY 31 - PILGRIMAGE TOARMENIA AND KHARABAGH.Location: NA, NA, Glendale,CA. Call Admission: $2790 +Tax. For more informationcontact Valo Khalatian, (818)679-8878; firstname.lastname@example.org.SEPTEMBER 13 - 2008 4THANUAL ARMENIAN FESTI-VAL OF ORANGE COUNTYSEPT 13, 14. Location: LagunaHills Community Center, 25555Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA.12:00 PM to 8:00 PM Admission:$ 5.00. For more informationcontact Paul Aslanian,888-HYE-FEST; email@example.com.AUGUST 15 - ARMENIANNAVY BAND LIVE IN CON-CERT. Location: Walt DisneyConcert Hall, 111 S Grand Ave.,Los Angeles, CA. 8pm Admission:$40-$100. For more informationcontact Artists forKids, 818-808-8222; firstname.lastname@example.org.AUGUST 16 - AN EVENINGOF KATCHATURIAN: THECOMPOSER & HIS BALLET.Location: Alex Tehatre, 216North Brand Boulevard, Glendale,CA. 7:30 PM Admission:$20 – $48. For more informationcontact Media City Ballet,(818) 243-ALEX;.AUGUST 23 - SAVE THEDATE: ADAA WEEK - AUGUST23, 25-27, 2008. Location: StarsPalace Theatre, 216 N. BrandSubscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zipBlvd., Glendale, CA. 8:00PMAdmission: $200.00. For moreinformation contact ArmenianDramatic Arts Alliance, ; email@example.com.SEPTEMBER 25 - SAVE THEDATE: OC TREX 2ND CHAR-ITY GOLF TOURNAMENT.Location: Arroyo Trabuco GolfClub, 26772 Avery Parkway,Mission Viejo, CA. 11:30 a.m.Admission: $195.00. For moreinformation contact OrangeCounty Chapter CharitableTrust, Depoian 949.376.9511;firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.SEPTEMBER 26 - HOMENET-MEN 3 DAY ENSENADACRUISE - SEP 26-29. Location:Long Beach Harbor, 925 HarborPlaza, Long Beach, CA.Call For Info Admission: $310+. For more information contactHomenetmen, WesternUSA, (818) 667-6369; firstname.lastname@example.org.OCTOBER 5 - ISABELBAYRAKDARIAN WITH THEARMENIAN CHAMBER PLAY-ERS. Location: Renée & HenrySegerstrom Concert Hall, 615Town Center Drive, CostaMesa, CA. 7:00 pm Admission:$30-$195. For more informationcontact Philharmonic Societyof Orange County, 949-553-2422; email@example.comOCTOBER 12 - ANCWR AN-NUAL BANQUET. Location:Not determined, Not determined,Los Angeles, CA.5:30 Admission: Not set. Formore information contact ArmenianNational CommitteeWestern Region, 8185001918;firstname.lastname@example.org.OCTOBER 24 - ARPA INTER-NATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.Location: Egyptian Theater,6712 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood,CA. 6pm Admission:$11-$25. For more informationcontact AFFMA, 323-663-1882;email@example.com.NOVEMBER 15 - ANOUSH-AVAN ABRAHAMIAN EDU-CATIONAL FUND. Location:Palladio, 1018 E Colorado St,Glendale, CA. 7:00 pm Admission:$100.00 per person.For more information contactOfik & Roza, (818) 363-7865; firstname.lastname@example.org.Check Enclosed OR Charge My:Mastercard Visa Amex DiscoverExp.mail coupon to: armenian reporterp.o. box 129, paramus, nj 07652orfax coupon to (201) 226-1660(credit card orders only)
16 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008CommunityAt the Open Society Institute in NYC, activists from Armeniacall for action from the diaspora and the Westby Aram ArkunNEW YORK – Three activistsfrom Armenia gave their assessmentof post-election conditions inthe republic and issued a call foraction during a June 12 middaydiscussion on Armenia’s post-electionchallenges, sponsored by theCentral Asian Project of the OpenSociety Institute (osi).The Armenian panelists includedDr. Larisa Minasyan, executivedirector of osi Assistance Foundation-Armeniasince 2000, Dr.Amalia Kostanyan, board memberof the same organization, aswell as chair of the board of TransparencyInternational Armenia,and journalist Levon Barseghyan,founder and president of thengo Asparez Journalists’ Club inGyumri. The three arrived in NewYork after two weeks of advocacymeetings in Europe and the UnitedStates with various governmentaland non governmental representatives.This event was one of osi’s rareopen forum sessions in New YorkCity focusing on Armenia. Some15 audience members listened tothe speakers’ talks and afterward,consonant with the aim of the organizersto “enhance policy debateon key issues,” had the opportunityto ask questions. All three speakersspoke fairly fluent English. The audiencewas a mix of Armenians andnon-Armenians, including universitystudents, academics, and staffof human rights organizations andthe United Nations.OSI itself is a private foundationbased in New York City and establishedand chaired by financier andphilanthropist George Soros. Togetherwith a series of Soros foundationsin Eastern Europe, countriesof the former Soviet Unionlike Armenia, and, by now, dozensof other countries around theworld, its goal, according to the osiwebsite, is “to shape public policyto promote democratic governance,human rights, and economic, legal,and social reform.” osi-New Yorkadministers initiatives which areIt can be anticipatedand prevented,says the author ofa new book – andthe Armenian caseshould have beenby Florence AvakianNEW YORK – At United Nationsheadquarters on Thursday,June 12, Dr. David Hamburg, De-Witt Wallace Distinguished Scholarat New York’s Weill Cornell MedicalCollege, discussed his newly publishedbook, Preventing Genocide, toa standing-room-only audience ofdiplomats, United Nations officials,journalists, and staffers.The book contains a chapter dedicatedto the history of the ArmenianGenocide. Dr. Hamburg, whois also president emeritus of theCarnegie Corporation of New York,and has been a professor at Stanfordand Harvard universities, aswell as president of the Instituteof Medicine, National Academy ofPanelists in the Open Society Institute discussion on post-election Armenia. Pictured, from left, Michael Hall, Dr. AmaliaKostanyan, Dr. Larisa Minasyan, and Levon Barseghyan. Photo: A. Arkun.implemented by local Soros foundationsin various countries.Amalia Kostanyan revealed thatshe and her colleagues were onan advocacy trip whose purposewas “to introduce our assessmentof the situation in Armenia, toshare our concerns and [opinionsconcerning] what should be doneby all interested parties – donororganizations, non governmentalorganizations (ngos), media, [and]diaspora – and to learn what is theopinion outside of Armenia andsee what are the windows of opportunityto keep Armenia on ademocratic track.”Situation seriousMichael Hall, osi’s regional directorfor the Caucasus and CentralAsia, while introducing the speakers,called the current situation inArmenia quite serious.Ms. Konstanyan amplified thepoint, while providing her perspectiveon developments. Ms. Konstanyansaid she felt that politicalarrests, control of the media, andthe restriction of human rightsin connection with the February19 presidential election were notsurprising. She said that she andothers had been warning peopleinside and outside Armenia of therestriction of rights, control overthe judiciary and media, and themonopolized economy. But theinternational community largelyignored this, she said, as Armeniawas considered a stable and reliablepartner.Genocide is not like a tsunamiSciences, stated that he had been“strongly advised by the Turks notto write about the Armenian tragedy.”As a result, he said, “I knew I hadto write about it. The genocide ofthe Armenians was much worsethan we know. Some say the genocidewas a function of World WarI, but it went back 30 years from1915,” he declared, and mentionedthe Turkish massacres against Armeniansfrom 1894 onward.“It was a consistent pattern overthree decades, going from small,medium, to the God-awful genocidestarting in 1915.”“The slaughter was much worsethan we thought,” he repeated.“There is no decent basis for suchbrutality. How can you face up tothis, and say it did not happen?”It was the crackdown after 9days of post-election rallies thatcaused great concern, according toMs. Konstanyan. After the expirationof the state of emergency onMarch 20, print media, includingthe several antigovernment newspapers,resumed publication, andrepresentatives of the oppositionhave become more frequent guestson television than they were beforethe presidential election campaign.Ms. Kostanyan’s assessment,however, was otherwise:“Despite problems before, we hadthe luxury of expressing ourselves,but [now], we have lost all thesedemocratic values of expressingourselves.” She called Armeniansociety polarized, with no politicaldialogue and very low trust in politiciansin general.Ms. Kostanyan referred to theresolution issued in April by theParliamentary Assembly of theCouncil of Europe (pace), as away of guiding Armenia in thewake of the election and its sequel,which included short-termprovisions (liberalizing restrictionson public assemblies or rallies,releasing “persons detainedon seemingly artificial and politicallymotivated charges,” andstarting an independent investigationinto the events of March1), as well as long-term ones(on legislation, media independence,and political dialogue).Ms. Kostanyan faulted Armenia’sgovernment for addressing theshort term provisions in such away “that it is impossible to starta political dialogue or regain publictrust.”UnexpectedlycompetitiveLarisa Minasyan took to the microphonenext, and pointed outthat for the first time in years thepresidential elections unexpectedlyturned out to be competitive.In the past the opposition partieswere no match in skill or populartrust for the resources of theincumbent. Referring to the stateof emergency, she said, “The provisionswere clearly excessive andantidemocratic. They would notprevent future political casualties,but [instead would] intimidatethe media.”Ms. Minasyan said she felt thathuman rights were still being violated,and the opposition and governmentare in a standoff. Much ofcivil society took sides. However,though there were some 5,000non governmental organizationsregistered in Armenia in April2008, only a handful joined theprotests. “The core of civil society,which has public good at the coreof its agenda, is depleted – and Ihave to say with huge pain and regret,it has not been strong in thefirst place,” she said.Ms. Minasyan advised donorsand others abroad to “rethink themandate,” as a truly independentcivil society is needed. She and theother representatives were urgingTurkey must admitguilt and express greatregretDr. Hamburg stated that Turkey is“too good to say it never happened.Look what the Germans have doneto come to terms with their ownhistory. In order for Turkey to beadmitted into the European Union,it has to admit the genocide, expressgreat regret, and determinethat it never happens again.”Expressing some hope on thesubject, he noted that some Turkshave come to terms with it. Hepointed out that a few Turkishacademics some years ago wantedto have a “factual meeting” on theArmenian Genocide, but when theTurkish government didn’t permitit, they went to a private universitywhere they conducted theirmeeting. “This is a hopeful sign,”he said.Focusing on the message of hisbook, Dr. Hamburg said that somepeople say genocide is like a “tsunami”– that it can’t be detected untilthe last minute. “This is not true. Itis evident long before it happens,talking place in countries that needhelp and have mounting tensionsthat are evident.”Addressing the “pillars of prevention,”he included among thesehelping pro-actively; having democraticinstitutions; fostering equitablesocial and economic development;educating against humanviolence; preventing abuses in thecourts; and putting restraints onweaponry.He paid tribute to former UnitedNations Secretary-General Kofi Annanfor formulating the documenton the prevention of genocide andethnic cleansing. “This was firsttime that any high level person wasappointed for this position,” he said,referring to Juan Mendez, who waspresent in the audience. “Annanbuilt short, medium, and long terminstitutions which were applied tothe situation in Kenya.”UN should be atforefront in preventinggenocideDr. Hamburg also credited formerSecretary-General Boutros Ghali,and the current Secretary-GeneralBan Ki Moon, with helping to preventinggenocide. The United Nationsshould be at the forefront inpreventing genocide, he said, but ithas “powerful constraints againstit.”“It is at the mercy of the most bellicosestates,” he said.Among its other limitations, hementioned the absolute veto in theSecurity Council by the five powerfulnations – the veto of any one ofthem kills a resolution. Also, somecountries in the General Assembly“interfere in stopping violence,” hestated.diaspora Armenians in particular“to evaluate the moment as veryimportant and realize that there isno alternative to democratic development.”Levon Barseghyan gave his perspectiveon the mass media. Newspapersin Armenia are not influential,he said, as the largest circulationof any daily is no more than10,000 copies. Television is themost influential, with 44 stationsin Armenia, he said. But he foundthat television stations were undergovernment pressure not to broadcasta diversity of opinions or makedisinterested news policy.LeverageOne audience member felt thatthe Western assessment of theelections shifted from fairly acceptingto critical as time wentby, and wondered what was theunderlying cause. Ms. Minasyanfelt that the initial assessmentswere only preliminary, and ittook time to continue to collectinformation. However, she foundsome initial assessments inconsistent,as many violations werespecified, yet the general conclusionwas that the elections werelargely in line with internationalstandards.Another listener questionedwhether diasporan Armenian organizationsdid not have too much atstake in their partnership with thepresent authorities in Armenia tobe able to challenge the status quo.If this was the case, what could individualsdo on their own outsideof Armenia? Ms. Minasyan replied:“The diaspora has such great leverage.It should realize how importantit really is. It is as vital, or, Iwould say at the moment, more vital,to have instead of heating androads, an independent judiciaryand the protection of rights. Thesethings matter for the security ofthe country.”Ms. Kostanyan felt that at leastthe individuals of the diaspora couldbe carriers of democratic values, andcould help more with the independentmedia as an investment for thefuture.He acknowledged that a countryin trouble may not want outsidehelp, but the United Nations hasopportunities to build relationshipswith countries through itsmany organizations such as theUN High Commissioner for HumanRights, unesco (UN Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization),who (World HealthOrganization), unido (UN IndustrialDevelopment Organization),among many others. These organizationshave “ports of entry,” hestated.In conclusion, Dr. Hamburgpointed out that viable strategiesto eliminate prejudice must bemade and promoted, as well as theneed for problem solving, and thebuilding of fair, resilient politicalprocesses. “Needed are sympathy,empathy, and respect.”Those participating in thepanel discussion with Dr. Hamburgwere Dr. Robert Orr, assistantSecretary-General for PolicyPlanning; Dr. Francis Deng, specialadvisor for the preventionof genocide to the current Secretary-GeneralBan Ki Moon; andDr. Jean-Marc Coicaud, head ofthe United Nations University inNew York.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 17ArmeniaArmenian Habitat team partners with FullerCenter for HousingArmenian Habitatbreaks with Habitatfor HumanityInternationalNew interest chargesat issueby Maria TitizianYEREVAN – Habitat for Humanity(HFH) International has brokenties with several affiliates includingHabitat Armenia. Habitat sellshomes at no profit to low-incomefamilies after building or rehabilitatingthe homes with the help ofvolunteers – including the ultimatehomeowners.HFH International has introduceda new inflation adjustment policythat requires affiliates to chargeinterest on loans provided to thehomeowners.According to Ashot Yeghiazarian,director of Armenian Habitat,the status of Armenian Habitat asa nongovernmental public organizationin the Republic of Armeniadoes not allow it to charge intereston loans given to beneficiary families.To charge interest, ArmenianHabitat would have to register as acredit organization or affiliate withone. The HFH Europe and CentralAsia Area office rejected the optionof creating a credit organization,Mr. Yeghiazarian said, because theteam does not have the requisiteexperience.Meri Poghosyan, the formerresource development managerof Armenian Habitat, said thatHFH International’s inflation adjustmentpolicy, if applied legallythrough a financial institution,would mean at least a doubling ofthe monthly repayment amount.Armenian Habitat could no longerwork with the same target group,she said.A new partnershipPrior to disaffiliation, ArmenianHabitat team members registeredthe Fuller Center for Housing Armenia,which will work in covenantpartnership with the Fuller Centerfor Housing (TFCH). On May 2 theyissued a press briefing about theirpartnership, which will build andrenovate homes in Armenia at nointerest.The Fuller Center for Housingwas founded in 2005 by MillardFuller, the founder and onetimepresident of Habitat, and currentlyhas programs in 35 U.S.communities and in 12 countriesaround the world. Mr. Fuller wasdismissed from Habitat Internationalin 2005 after clashes withits board.Fuller Center for Housing Armeniahas already started the completionof 25 half-built houses ineight Armenian communities, andis hosting four teams in the summerand fall of 2008. Internationalvolunteers can still sign up for thetrips in August and October.Fuller Center for Housing Armeniais also starting a partnershipFuller Center seeks volunteersMinneapolis, Minn. – The FullerCenter for Housing’s “GlobalBuilders Program” announcedthat it will begin building housesin Armenia, and it is looking forvolunteers from America to travelto Armenia to work alongside localpeople and prospective homeowners.The dates of available work tripsare August 2 to 15, and October 5to 19, 2008.The team leaders for the constructionprojects are “experiencedindividuals with a passionfor Armenia and for lending ahand to the needy,” according tothe announcement.The announcement also statesthat each volunteer’s costs for thetrip are expected to be approximately$1,600 to $1,900, not includingairfare.Using volunteer labor and donationsof money and materials,the center “rehabilitates simple,decent houses with the help ofthe homeowner (partner) families,”which are “sold to partnerfamilies at no profit, financedwith affordable, no-interestloans,” said the release.Prospective homeowners makea down payment, pay a monthlymortgage, and invest their own“sweat equity” labor into buildingtheir own Fuller Center home andhomes for others. The homeowners’monthly mortgage paymentsare used to build other Fuller Centerhouses, according to the pressnotice.For information on the Armeniabuilding program, or to registerfor a volunteer construction team,contact Volunteer@FullerCenter-Armenia.org. The organization islocated on the Internet at www.FullerCenter.org and www.Fuller-CenterArmenia.org.fReach over 100,000 Armenianswith your messageAdvertise in the Armenian Reporter, on the newUSArmenia Television, and on Armenia TV onthe Dish Network. For more information, from theWestern U.S. call 818.800.3311 or from the EasternU.S. call 201.226.1995.The Zalinyans(above) andKhacharyans(right), whohave lived indomiks sincethe early 90s,will have theirhalf-built housescompleted byTFCH Armenia.Photos: TFCHArmenia.with Heifer Project InternationalArmenian Branch. The eligiblebeneficiary families will receivepregnant cows, and be trained inagricultural topics. After threeyears the family will pass the calfto another low-income family. Thiswill be an income generation opportunitythat will allow familiesto easier make the repayments onthe loans.In an October 17, 2007, New YorkTimes article, “Habitat for HumanityExpels Several Affiliates,” StephanieStrom wrote: “ Habitat International... is asking all affiliates tosign a document of 23-plus pagesto replace the two-page ‘covenant’that has governed their relationshipwith headquarters for decades,and some affiliates have resisted. Itis also asking each affiliate to tithe– that is, to send the internationalorganization 10.4 percent of its donations.”As of October 17, twelveaffiliates had been expelled fornoncompliance.In a follow-up article in the NewYork Times on January 8, 2008,Ms. Strom wrote that one of theoldest affiliates of Habitat forHumanity International had fileda suit to protest this agreement.“The San Antonio affiliate, whichbuilt the first Habitat house, isseeking a court ruling that wouldallow it to continue to use theHabitat name without signingthe agreement, which it contendsgives the international organizationtoo much power over its assetsand operations.”Armenian Habitat was establishedin Armenia in 2000 andhas served 403 families to date. Ithas completed half-built housesand purchased apartments for272 families and renovated homes(roofs, sanitation, heating) for 131families. The organization reliesheavily upon volunteers, both localand international to realize theirprograms.His Holiness Karekin II hasalso worked closely with ArmenianHabitat with his annual WorkProject. Last year the Catholicosheld the launch of the 2007 WorkProject in the Gevorgyan seminary,Etchmiadzin. Local and internationalvolunteers, honored guests,and several Ngos and governmentrepresentatives gathered for theproject’s kick-off.A new affiliateMeanwhile, HFH International hasannounced the launch of a newAncient Country, Modern Financial Solutionsnational organization in Armeniawith a $3.7 million loan program.HFH International said it is partneringwith DIGH, a Netherlandsbasedhousing aid organizationand the First Mortgage Companyof Armenia to offer the program,which “will provide home loans toeligible families who earn 20 percentto 65 percent of the medianincome in Armenia. Habitat makesno profit from the loans.”DIGH will be loaning the fundsto First Mortgage Company at 8.59percent per annum and the mortgagecompany would then lend it tothe beneficiary at 13.5 percent perannum. First Mortgage Companyregularly provides loans to homeownersat 12–14 percent.The partnership will offer loans forup to five years for house renovationsand up to 10 years for completionof half-finished houses. ArmenianHabitat had been giving offering 5–7year terms for renovations, and up to20 years for half-built houses. FullerCenter Armenia plans to maintainthe longer repayment periods. fconnect:www.fullercenterarmenia.orgwww.fullercenter.orgwww.habitat.orgAn integrated financial services group offeringinnovative, flexible, affordable, easy access intermediationto a broad customer base,and a progressive forceencouraging investmentinto Armenia.
18 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008ArmeniaFrom Armenia, in briefPACE monitoring groupprepares its reportby Armen HakobyanParliamentary Assembly of theCouncil of Europe (PACE) monitoringcommission co-rapporteursGeorges Colombier (France,Group of the European People’sParty) and John Prescott (UnitedKingdom, Socialist Group) arrivedin Yerevan this week. Their mainobjective was to assess the extentto which Armenia has conformedto the terms of PACE resolution1609. The resolution, adoptedin the assembly’s April session,urged certain steps to enhance thefunctioning of democratic institutionsin Armenia. In the immediateterm, it called for an independentinvestigation into the eventsof March 1 in Yerevan, the urgentrelease of “persons detained onseemingly artificial and politicallymotivated charges,” and revisionsto the law on rallies and demonstrations.The resolution includeda warning that Armenia’s votingrights in the assembly could besuspended if those steps were nottaken by the next session, whichis scheduled to start on Monday,June 23.During the course of their twoday visit, on June 16–17, the corapporteursmet with PresidentSerge Sargsian, Speaker TigranTorosian, and Prosecutor GeneralAghvan Hovsepian. The co-rapporteursalso had meetings withparliamentary forces, including theopposition Heritage Party, as wellas with Levon Ter-Petrossian.The co-rapporteurs also met withindividuals detained on charges oftrying to overthrow the governmentby force.In a news release, President Sargsian’soffice announced that Mr.Prescott had “highly commended”the decision to form a parliamentarycommission to review theevents of March 1 and understood“that the allocated time to implementthe stipulations in the resolutionis not long enough to registerthorough developments.” Thepresident reaffirmed “Armenia’swillingness to continue to reinforcedemocratic amendments inthe future.”The co-rapporteurs had not announcedtheir conclusions as ofpress time.Commission set up toinvestigate March 1eventsby Armen HakobyanOn June 16, Armenia’s NationalAssembly decided to create an adhoc parliamentary commissionthat would investigate the eventsof March 1. The purpose of thecommission is to look for answersto the many questions raised in Armeniansociety about the circumstancessurrounding the clashesand fatalities of March 1 – and tocomply with Resolution 1609 of theParliamentary Commission of theCouncil of Europe, which called foran independent and credible investigation.Two deputies were to be appointedby each parliamentary faction asmembers of the commission. Thepresident’s Republican Party appointedHermine Naghdalian andSamuel Nikoyan; Mr. Nikoyan becamethe chair of the commission.Artashes Shahbazian and ArtsvikMinassian of the ArmenianRevolutionary Federation, AramSafarian and Naira Zohrabian ofthe Prosperous Armenia Party, andArtashes Avoyan and HovhanessMargarian of the Country of LawsParty were likewise appointed.The Heritage Party first announcedthat it had decided toboycott the activities of the ad hoccommission. Armen Mardirossianand Vartan Khatchadrianof the Heritage Party had proposedthat fully half the members of thecommission should come from theopposition. (Four of the five partieselected to parliament throughparty lists in May 2007 joined ina coalition in the tense situationthat developed in late Februaryand early March 2008. That decisionleft Heritage, with seven outof 131 members of parliament, asthe sole opposition party.) Theyhad also proposed that the oppositionshould have the right to inviteexpert witnesses without the consentof the majority. This provisionwas not included in the decisionto form the commission. However,the post of deputy chairperson ofthe commission was offered to theHeritage Party.On June 17, in a letter to thespeaker, Heritage leader RaffiHovannisian nominated MiasnikMalkhasian and Sasun Mikaelianas members of the commission.Mr. Malkhasian and Mr.Mikaelian are members of parliamentwho have been arrested inconnection with the events ofMarch 1. Mr. Nikoyan, the chair ofthe commission, responded thatunder parliamentary rules, partiescan only appoint members of theirown parliamentary factions to commissions.The arrested members ofparliament are still listed as membersof the Republican faction.The commission invited LevonTer-Petrossian to appoint representativesto participate in thework of the commission in an advisorycapacity. Mr. Ter-Petrossian’spress secretary, Arman Musinyan,told the Armenian Reporter thatSerge Sargsianmeetingwith GeorgesColombier andJohn Prescott (l.).Photos:Photolure.the parliamentary commission is amockery of an independent commission,an attempt to fool Europeand Armenian society.Mr. Nikoyan, the commissionchair, told the Armenian Reporterthat the decision of Heritage andMr. Ter-Petrossian to stay out of thecommission was a way of “avoidingresponsibility.” But, he added, hestill hopes they will change theirminds and participate.European Court findsfor A1+On June 17, the Strasbourg-basedEuropean Court of Human Rightsfound that in 2002 Armenia hadviolated Article 10 of the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights,Mesrop Movsesyan.which guarantees the freedom ofexpression, in refusing to renewthe broadcasting license of theA1+ television station. The plaintiffswere Meltex Ltd., which ownsA1+, and Mesrop Movsesyan, itsfounding chairperson.The court rejected the plaintiffs’claim that the decisions of Armenia’sNational Television and RadioCommission (NRTC) and those ofthe domestic courts had been politicallymotivatedIn early 2002, the NRTC announcedtenders for several broadcastingfrequencies, including band37, on which A1+ operated. OnApril 2, 2002, at a public hearing,the NTRC granted the frequency toSharm Ltd. on a points-based vote.The very next day A1+ was off theair. Meltex repeatedly took part inbidding for other bands and was refusedeach time.The station had been critical ofthe administration and it arguedin court that it lost the broadcastfrequency for that reason. The governmentargued that the law on radioand television sets out detailedcriteria for licensing frequencies,on the basis of which applicationsare assessed.The court noted that Armenianlaw at the time did not require thecommission to explain its decisions.European procedural rules, however,hold that decisions of publicbodies should come with explanations,which facilitate review. In theabsence of a formal record as to thereasons for the NRTC’s decisions,the court found that the NRTC’s decisions“did not meet the Conventionrequirement of lawfulness.”The court awarded the plaintiffs20,000 euros for non-pecuniarydamages and 10,000 euros forcosts and expenses. (The plaintiffshad claimed over a million eurosin pecuniary damages, which thecourt declined to award.)According to Mediamax, SecretaryGeneral of the Council of EuropeTerry Davis said, “The decisionof the Court is a victory forfreedom of expression. It shouldalso serve as a lesson to all governmentsinclined to arbitrary interpretationsof Article 10 of theEuropean Convention on HumanRights, which guarantees this essentialfreedom.”Mr. Movsesyan set up A1, anindependent broadcasting companyin Armenia in January 1991.It was shut down for a time duringthe presidency of Levon Ter-Petrossian, according to the courtrecord. A reorganized station, A1+,was granted a five-year broadcastlicense n January 1997. Since goingoff the air in 2002, A1+ has had anactive presence on the Internet.Parliament passesdraft law on DiasporaMinistryOn June 17, Armenia’s parliamentpassed a draft law on thestructure of the Armenian government,under which a new DiasporaMinistry would be established. Thenew ministry will start functioningas of October 1, 2008. Until now,the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hashad a special department dealingwith the diaspora.During the discussion of thedraft law, members of parliamentmade different suggestions aboutthe name of the ministry. TheArmenian Revolutionary Federation(ARF) recommended that thename be the Ministry of DiasporanAffairs and Repatriation. HoweverArmenia’s Minister of JusticeGevorg Danielian, the author ofthe draft law said it was decided toname it Diaspora Ministry to encompassall those issues pertainingto the Diaspora.Hrayr Karapetian, deputyspeaker of parliament and memberof the ARF faction, told the ArmenianReporter that the ARF had beenlobbying for the creation of such aminister for many years. “For countrieslike Armenia who have a largediaspora, it is essential to have aDiaspora Ministry that can assistin Diaspora issues, in areas fromeducation to culture and especiallyrepatriation,” said Mr. Karapetian.According to government estimates,there are some 5.7 millionethnic Armenians living throughoutthe world. The largest Armeniancommunities are in Russia(2 million), the United States (1.4million), Georgia (460,000) andFrance (450,000). Many diasporanArmenians are descendants of thesurvivors of the 1915 ArmenianGenocide.Public Council set up bypresidential decreeOn June 13, President Serge Sargsiansigned a decree to set up aPublic Council in Armenia, whichauthorities hope will stimulatepublic and political dialogue, especiallyafter the events of March1. A working group that includesrepresentatives of political forcesand other leading figures fromArmenian society has been establishedto coordinate the set-up ofthe Public Council. Garnik Isagulyan,advisor to the president, andSevak Lalayan, assistant to thepresident, have been charged withthis responsibility.The Public Council will only havean advisory status.Gevorg Danielian.IMF pleased witheconomic reform,predicts rise in inflationMartha Castello-Branco, MiddleEast and Central Asia head of missionfor the International Monetary Fund(IMF), was in Yerevan June 11–17. In apress briefing on June 17, Ms. Castello-Branco told journalists that the Fundwas pleased with the “government’sstrong commitment to economic reform,in particular with the focus onstrengthening tax policy and tax administration.”She said that to ensurethe credibility of the reform effort, allinitiatives must be implemented fullyand immediately.While Armenia seems to be headingtoward another year of doubledigitGDP growth, there has been arise in import demand and a reductionof appreciation measures. Whileinflation has risen in Armenia in recentmonths and inflationary pressurescontinue to be high in Armenia,the rates have been lower thanin the region thanks to a tighteningof monetary policy and a prudentfiscal policy by Armenia’s CentralBank, Mr. Castello-Branco said.Asked by the Armenian Reporterabout the affect of the planned additionof value-added tax (VAT) toagricultural products next year, Ms.Castello-Branco said, “The VAT onagriculture is in connection with[Armenia’s] membership in the WTO,which is a positive thing. In our view,. . . below a certain level [of production],there would have to be in placea very simple way of paying taxes. Ifyou are a larger organization, thenyou would operate within the VATprofit tax regime.” This statementfalls in line with the IMF’s positionthat to address tax policy deficiencies,it is imperative to introduce aVAT threshold to provide small businesseswith simpler procedures toassess and pay their taxes.Speaker of Armenianparliament meets withUNHCR repTigran Torosian, Armenia’sspeaker of parliament, receivedthe representative of the UNHCR,Bushra Halepota, in Yerevan onJune 17. Their discussion dealt primarilywith a draft law which hasbeen submitted to parliament regardingrefugees and asylum. Thedraft law will be discussed in severalparliamentary committees initiallyand then will be placed on thefloor for parliamentary debates inthe fall session.UNHCR experts will be invitedto take part in the parliamentarycommittees’ discussions. Accordingto Armenpress, Mr. Torosiansaid that the problem of refugeesemerged after Armenia regainedits independence followed by theKarabakh conflict which resultedin hundreds of thousands of Armeniansfleeing from Azerbaijan.Mrs. Halepota said the UNHCRhelped to develop the draft bill andis interested in its adoption so thatArmenia will have a new law whichcomplies with internationally acceptedstandards. In 1993, Armeniaratified the 1951 Convention onRefugees.Reach over 100,000 Armenianswith your messageAdvertise in the Armenian Reporter, on the newUSArmenia Television, and on Armenia TV onthe Dish Network. For more information, from theWestern U.S. call 818.800.3311 or from the EasternU.S. call 201.226.1995.
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 19ArmeniaFrom Armenia, in briefDefense minister meetswith secretary generalof CSTODuring a two-day working visit toRussia, Armenia’s Defense MinisterSeyran Ohanian met withNikolay Bordyuzha, the secretarygeneral of the Collective SecurityTreaty Organization (CSTO).According to the defense ministry’sspokesperson, the sides discussedissues on the developmentof the collective security system,military-technical, military-educationaland military-economic cooperation,and the upcoming sessionof the CSTO defense ministers. Armeniawill be chairing that sessionfor the first time.Aramais Grigorian.Government tries toreach out to farmersTigran Sarkisian, Armenia’sprime minister, ordered the creationof a task force and an interagencycommission to help farmersharvest, process, and export theiragricultural goods.Experts from the ministries ofagriculture, territorial administration,transport and communications,and economy will participatein the task force, including representativesfrom the police, the customscommittee, and other governmentbodies and agencies.The first meeting of this newlycreated body was chaired by AramaisGrigorian, Armenia’s ministerof agriculture. He expressed thegovernment’s willingness to ensurethat the agricultural sector in thecountry is able to flourish and toshow that it is one of the prioritysectors.According to the ministry, 700tons of apricots and 42.5 tons ofcherries have already been exportedfrom Armenia this year. Theminister said that they will ensurethat farmers will be able to exportand domestically sell their productswithout facing undue problems.A hotline has been set up in theministry for farmers facing difficultywhile trying to export theirgoods.Levon Aronian winsinternational chesstournamentGrandmaster Levon Aronian beatMichael Adams of the UnitedKingdome in the 13th and 14throunds, scoring 8.5 points and thuswinning the international chesstournament that took place in Yerevanfeaturing eight chess grandmastersfrom around the world.Peter Leko of Hungary came insecond, Alexander Morozevichof Russia came in third, and fourthplace went to Boris Gelfand of Israel.The awards ceremony took placeat the Opera and Ballet Theater onJune 15. President Serge Sargsianwho is also chairperson of theArmenian Chess Federation, wason hand to award the prizes. Mr.Aronian was awarded $70,000.The international tournamentwas named after Karen Asryan,one of Armenia’s leading chessplayers, an Olympic champion andgrandmaster who died tragically onJune 9 while driving his car in Yerevan,of an apparent heart attack atthe age of 28.President meets withpolice, sets groundrulesOn June 13, President Serge Sargsianmet with the leadership of theArmenian police to discuss problemsthat the police are facing inthe country, their role and activities.According to Mediamax, Armenia’spresident said that everythingmust be done to ensure that “Armeniantraffic police meet Europeanstandards.” He also statedthat owners of expensive cars withvanity numbers will not be allowedto get away with violations as theyhave in the past.“When an employee of the roadpatrolservice sees how rules ofthe road are violated by owners ofexpensive cars with gold numbers,he turns away and pretends that heis working by stopping and fininginnocent citizens. I demand that,starting from today, an end be putto this phenomenon. Not a singleviolation should remain unpunished,and if anyone tries to use violenceagainst the employee of thepolice, this will lead to very seriousconsequences,” said the Armenianpresident. Mr. Sargsian went on tosay that when people see that lawenforcementbodies are not actingproperly, they begin to form opinionsabout the legal system and thestate in general. Police should workwithin the confines of the law, andrespect human rights.Armenia’s Chief of Police AlikSarkisian assured the presidentthat the police structure is ready toensure the implementation of allchanges and recommendations.While discussing the clashes ofMarch 1, President Sargsian saidthat blame falls squarely on boththe opposition and the authorities.“If the level of police preparednesswas higher, we could have avoidedlosses,” he said, adding that therole of the police is to ensure andpreserve public order. “For each violationof public order, one shouldreact strictly, but strictness doesnot mean rudeness.”Armenia’s foreignminister meets withJavier SolanaEduard Nalbandian, Armenia’sforeign minister, met with JavierSolana, the European Union’sHigh Representative for the CommonForeign and Security Policy(CFSP) and the secretary general ofboth the Council of the EuropeanUnion and the Western EuropeanUnion. The meeting took place inBrussels during Mr. Nalbandian’sworking visit there on June 18.During their meeting Mr. Nalbandianand Mr. Solana discussedArmenia-EU cooperation, pACe ofLevon Aronian.implementation of the EuropeanNeighborhood Policy Action Plan,post-election developments in Armenia,as well as issues connectedwith regional security.Armenia’s foreign minister reiteratedArmenia’s commitment todemocratic reforms, reported onthe current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the results of themeeting between the Armenianand Azerbaijani presidents in St.Petersburg.Later in the day, Mr. Nalbandianmet with Belgian Foreign MinisterKarel de Gucht. They discussedthe developing cooperation betweenthe two countries.Center for hearingimpaired childrenopens in YerevanThe Armenian Association of SocialRelief opened the DialogueEducation and Integration Centerin Yerevan on June 16, withthe financial assistance of theEuropean Union, which allocated135,436 euros to this endeavor.The center will provide childrenwith hearing impairment a widerange of services.The head of the European Commission’sdelegation to Armenia,Raul de Luzenberger, told reportersduring the opening ceremoniesthat everything should be done toeliminate the notion that peoplewith disabilities cannot integrateinto society.The center will provide classesin sign language, social, legal,and psychological services free ofcharge.Second pan-nationaleducation conference totake place in YerevanAccording to Armenpress, theMinistry of Education will organizethe second pan-nationaleducation conference in Yerevanon July 25–27. The conference willdiscuss a broad range of pressingissues facing Armenian schoolsand strengthening ties betweenArmenia and Armenian schools inthe diaspora. Armenian villagers shot and killedby Azerbaijani armed forcesLevon Petrossian, a 21-year-oldresident from the village of Chinariin Tavush marz was shotfrom Azerbaijani positions whileworking in the fields on June 18at approximately 3:40 P.M. ColonelSeyran Shahsuvaryan, thepress secretary of the ArmeniaDefense Ministry, said that Mr.Petrosyan died en route to thehospital. Later that same day,at about 8:30 P.M., 50-year-oldRafik Soghoyan from the samevillage, was also shot, again fromthe same Azerbaijani positionsEduardNalbandian (l.)and JavierSolana.Participants will include expertsand heads of educational institutionsfrom Armenia and the diaspora.Madame Butterfly to bepreformed in YerevanGiacomo Puccini’s Madam Butterflywill be preformed for the firsttime in Armenia. It will be staged bythe Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theateron June 30 and July 4 and 6.The performance will be a jointeffort by the Ministry of Culture,the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theater,and the Philharmonic Orchestraof Armenia. The opera will bededicated to Puccini’s 150th anniversary.The opera will be directed bySukias Torosian.International karatecompetition to takeplace in AshtarakArmenia will be hosting the Asia2008 International Karate-KickboxingCompetition in Ashtarak,the capital of Aragatsotn provinceon June 28.Athletes from Pakistan, France,Syria, India, Iran and Armenia willbe competing. The president of theEuropean Shidokan Karate Federation,Giles Richard from France,will be attending the competition.This is the first time that Armeniahas hosted this type of sportingevent. The Armenian ShidokanFederation is based in Ashtarak. f—M.T. and died on the scene. SamvelMirzoyan, who tried to attend toMr. Soghoyan, was also shot andreceived injuries. According topanorama.am, Armenia’s DefenseMinister Seyran Ohanian hascontacted Andrzej Kasprzyk,the OSCE Chairman-in-Office’sSpecial Representative for theKarabakh conflict, to report onthis turn of events. Mr. Kasprzykadvised the minister that he willbe traveling to Baku on June 19to discuss this issue with Azerbaijaniauthorities.f
20 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008ArmeniaA visit to colorful GorisSyunik has thepotential ofbecoming a fantastictourist area, but itsmonasteries andwonders of natureare being neglectedby Tatul HakobyanSYUNIK – Three years ago, ShahenZeytuntsian, an Iranian-Armenianwho is now a citizen of Germany,together with two partners,opened Mirhav Hotel in the city ofGoris. The interior of the hotel isparticularly attractive. The lobbyresembles a museum furnishedwith old Armenian carpets, ceramicpitchers and copper objects.Mirhav is the name of a wild birdthat can be found in Zangezur. Thewriter Aksel Bakunts, himselffrom Goris, dedicated one of hisbest works to this bird. Touristsand diaspora Armenians visitingthe Tatev monastery complex usuallyspend the night in Mirhav.Mr. Zeytuntsian is not unhappyabout his and his partners’ businesssuccess, but complains aboutthe indifference of local and centralauthorities. He says that Goris canturn into a tourism center if theyensure certain preconditions: theillumination and cleanliness of thecity, road signs offering directions,and a number of other things thatseem small in themselves but arevery important for tourism.Mr. Zeytuntsian mentions severalsites in Goris and in the provinceof Syunik generally, which canattract foreigners and diaspora Armenians.He says that if those siteswere in decent condition, it wouldbe possible to increase the numberof tourists by 50 percent. Hebelieves that diaspora Armeniansmust be the investors, as localArmenian businesspeople do notinvest money outside the capitalcity and the businesspeople in theprovinces do not have large sumsof money.“There are a few places in thisprovince that attract tourists anddiaspora Armenians: Tatev monastery,Halidzor, Bghen monastery,Karahounj in Sisian, the cave drawingsin Ukhtasar, Davit Bek’s fortress,Khndzoresk, and the grave ofMkhitar Sbarabet. It is possible todevelop winter tourism in Syunik;there are hot springs, and skiingand adventure tourism can alsobe developed. The road leading toTatev monastery is in appallingcondition; there are no signposts,and there is not even a toilet in theterritory of the monastery complex,”Mr. Zeytuntsian says withsurprise.Many of the tourists visitingArmenia pass through this city, asthe Tatev monastery complex, oneof the most beautiful and attractivesites in Armenia, is in this region.In the 9th and 10th centuries,Tatev was the largest monastery inArmenia, with about 500 monks.Philosophers, musicians, and manuscriptilluminators worked in themonastery. In the 12th century theSeljuk Turks looted the treasuresof Tatev, burned about 10,000manuscripts, and left the monasterydeserted. Today Tatev has lostits place as a scientific and spiritualcenter, but the geographic locationof the complex at the edge of a deepravine continues to attract touristsand leaves fantastic impressions onthem as they leave the mountainsof Syunik.Goris as seen from on high. Photos: Armenian Reporter.During the Soviet period notonly was Tatev neglected, but itwas also deprived of clergy. For thepast eight months Fr. MichaelGevorkian has been appointed abbot.“The monastery has not hadany clergymen for 80 years. For thepast eight months, Deacon Samveland I conduct blessings three timesa day, and on Sundays we conducta divine liturgy. We have createda small choir in Tatev village andthey come and sing in the monastery.The presence of clergymen hasbreathed new life into Tatev. This isa haven of peace both in its locationand its sanctity,” says the abbot.Artashes Hovhanissian, a residentof Tatev village, has run themonastery complex for many years.He notes with happiness that overthe last several years the numberof tourists is constantly increasing.“Forty thousand foreignersvisit Tatev annually. With this hugenumber, hotels, food outlets, andother conveniences for tourists canbe established. The road from Goristo Tatev is in an appalling condition.The tourists principally complainabout that,” says Mr. Hovhanissian.In reality very little is beingdone so that tourists, as well asour compatriots living in the diaspora,feel good while visiting Tatev.The government has listed tourismdevelopment as an economicpriority.Painter Jhirayr Martirossianhas turned two rooms of his houseinto a bed and breakfast. He personallyinteracts with tourists andviews the interesting and attractivesites in Goris and the regionthrough the eyes of a tourist.“Feeling happy and satisfied withall that nature has given us is notsufficient. We must be able to carefor and preserve the wonders ofnature. If we manage to developtourism, then we will be able to restoreour local traditions and culture,the distinctive face of Zangezur.There are great possibilitiesfor the development of ecotourismhere: there are cliffs, mountainpeaks, gorges, and canyons, alpinemeadows and dark, deep forests,”says the artist.Goris is breathtaking from thenearby heights. On sunny daysthe panorama of the city is amazing,viewed from the heights ofZanger on the plateau leading toThe previouslyinhabited cavesof Goris are asight to behold.Karabakh or Shinahayr village. Thevista of the dark red and whiteroofs of Goris opens out in front ofyou. Until recently those roofs wereentirely burgundy and when youapproached the city from Yerevan,Goris opened out in front of youwith burgundy roofs. Now, some ofthe roofs have been renovated andthey are white.Kajik Mikaelian is the directorof the Aksel Bakunts museum. Themuseum was established 40 yearsago and during this time, Mr. Mikaelianhas gathered as many itemsas possible linked to the writer. Mr.Mikaelian emphasizes that Goris’scontribution of support to Nagorno-Karabakhduring the yearsof the Artsakh liberation war waspriceless. The director of the museumconfesses that the social conditionsof the people are far fromsatisfactory, but time is necessaryfor the nation to be able to standup and live the decent life they deserve.Now let us continue walkingalong Mashtots Street. (Likeother Mashtots streets across Armenia,this one was named Leninin the Soviet era and Tsarskayabefore 1921.) A two-storied house,in front of which stands GeneralAndranik’s statue, used to belongto one of the rich residentsof the city: Malentsian. In 1918General Andranik and his comrade-in-armsfound shelter foralmost a year in this very house.The bed, which was brought fromPoland and on which the generalslept, has been kept to this day.Currently four-year-old Edita,the great granddaughter of thewealthy Malentsian, sleeps onthat bed.Further down the same street,there is another two-storied building,on which is written, GareginTer-Haroutounian; Njhdeh, theleader of the battle for Zangezur’sliberation, made many speechesto the heroic Zangezuri defendersfrom the balcony of this house between1920 and 1921.Goris has been a city for morethan 130 years. There was a timewhen it was one of the most importantcenters in the Caucasus. AsBakunts writes, “Goris was a center:an administrative, military andeconomical center of a large province,which was the largest in theCaucasus and covered an area fromthe Southern mountains of LakeSevan to Araks.”Goris today, with more than20,000 residents, is located on thejunction between Artsakh and theArmenian-Iranian border. And irrespectiveof Nagorno-Karabakh’sfuture status, it is important thatthe rear line of the third Armenianrepublic is strong and forthat, the development of Goris,and in general Syunik, is of primeimportance.Mayor Nelson Voskanian notesthat Goris has a few prospective directionsfor its economic development;tourism and small and mediumenterprises are the primarydirections. “The main issue is thetime factor, as time is necessary torestore Goris and ensure good livingconditions for the people. ButI can assure you that those whosearch for jobs, find jobs,” says Mr.Voskanian.On the way to Shushi, in Nagorno-Karabakh,taxi driver BenikAmariants, whose sons have leftand settled in Russia, explained howcitizens in the Syunik province, especiallyin Goris, earn their living. “Theincome of some of them comes fromtheir relatives living abroad; somehave jobs in state enterprises; andsome work with the soil,” he says.Mr. Amariants was one of thoserare citizens of Armenia that Ihave met who, despite complainingof the difficulties of his life,did not blame the central or localauthorities of the country. “Thecountry cannot prosper if it doesnot have a railroad and ports.” Hehad in mind the bitter reality ofArmenia’s land blockade by Azerbaijanand Turkey, as a result ofwhich the Armenian railway endsat the borders with Azerbaijan,Nakhichevan, and Turkey. f
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 21ArmeniaArmenia enters high season for touristsEffect of March1 clashes not yetknownby Nyree AbrahamianYEREVAN – Tourism is one of Armenia’sfastest-growing industries.Between 2001 and 2007, inboundtourism grew by an average of 25percent per year. In 2006 alone,international visitors contributedan estimated $299 million to theArmenian economy. Income fromtourism now accounts for 4.7 percentof the country’s GDP.While Armenia is becoming anincreasingly popular destinationfor a wide range of tourists, withgrowing niche markets in ecotourismand adventure tourism, the Armeniandiaspora still accounts forthe majority of inbound tourists.Of the 381,136 visitors to Armeniain 2006, 62 percent were ethnic Armenians.Every year, thousands of Armenian-Americansvisit Armenia,with school groups, church groups,and volunteer organizations, andas individual travelers. Accordingto a diaspora survey conductedby USAID in 2007, 30 percent of allArmenian-Americans had visitedArmenia in the past five years. Ofthose, 38 percent did so more thanonce. Of the Armenian-Americanswho had never visited the country,half (48 percent) were extremelyor very interested in visiting in thenext five years. In 2007, diasporaArmenians were as excited as everabout visiting their homeland andthings were looking up for tourismin Armenia.This year, however, the Armeniantourism industry is shroudedby a lingering sense of uncertainty.While many aspects of life and workin Armenia have been affected bythe night of violence on March 1,in the aftermath of the Februarypresidential election, tourism maybe the aspect most at risk. Armeniahas just entered high season fortourism, and soon it will be clearwhether the tourist industry willbe hit hard.Syuzanna Azoyan, marketingdirector for the Armenian TourismDevelopment Agency (ATDA), hashad her eye on dwindling numbersin tourism since March 1. She hasseen the most significant declinenot in leisure or business tourists,but in visitors from the diaspora.“It is difficult to say sincewe do not yet have statistics, andsince high season is just beginning,”Ms. Azoyan said, “but there weresome markets that were affected byMarch 1. While the French marketis flourishing and has even grownsignificantly since last year, theItalian, German, and most significantly,diaspora markets have beenaffected.”Armenia’s tour operators cangive a good indication of the currentatmosphere. Susanna Gevorgyan,executive manager of SimaTours, has seen a drop in numbersfor tour packages that primarily attractdiaspora Armenians. In thepast few years, the company’s pilgrimagetours have been extremelypopular with ethnic Armeniansfrom the United States and Canada.So far, this year’s figures are uncharacteristicallylow. Nonetheless,Ms. Gevorgyan hopes for the best.“We are working very closely withour office in Philadelphia to turnthis around,” she said, “and we areconfident that tourism in Armeniawill pick up.” She hopes that peoplewill put the scope of the violence ofearly March into perspective, andKhachkars outside Noraduz near Lake Sevan. Photo: Armenian Reporter.recognize that Armenia is still avery safe country.David Khachian, Levon Travel’stourism department manager, seesthe effects of the post-electionpolitical unrest as significant, buttemporary. “There was a drop innumbers in March,” he says, “butthe majority of groups who hadplanned to come in March simplypostponed until May or June.” Severalschool groups from the LosAngeles area book their trips toArmenia with Levon Travel. “Noneof them canceled and only one ofthem postponed,” said Mr. Khachian.He is optimistic that this year’shigh season will not be affected bythe events of March 1. In the pastfive years, 82 percent of Armenian-Americans who visited the countrydid so between April and September.So time will tell whether Mr.Khachian’s optimism is justified.Volunteer tourism or voluntourism,as it has recently been coined,is a growing trend in Armenia. Butit appears that even this branchof socially conscious tourism hasbeen affected.Linda Yepoyan, BirthrightArmenia’s executive director, hasnoted an interesting shift in thedemographic of the organization’sparticipants. Birthright, an organizationwhich brings diasporaArmenians to Armenia to pursueinternships and volunteer opportunities,has typically drawn anoverwhelmingly high percentageof its volunteers from the UnitedStates. In 2007, 76 percent of BirthrightArmenia participants werefrom the Unites States. This year,of the participants registered sofar, only 56 percent are from theUnited States.While Ms. Yepoyan embraces theorganization’s new internationalprofile, with volunteers hailing forthe first time from Argentina, Belgium,and the Czech Republic, sheis disheartened by the significantdecrease in Armenian-Americanvolunteers. “The contrast in reactionsto the post-election eventsis really astounding,” said Ms. Yepoyan,“On March 2, 3 and 4, therewas a sharp increase in applicationsfrom Eastern Europe and the MiddleEast. My guess is that for thoseconsidering volunteering or sittingon the fence, they saw a movementtaking place and wanted tobe a part of it. Over the same fewdays, I received a flood of phonecalls from concerned parents in theUnited States, saying that their sonor daughter wanted to come to Armenia,but they didn’t feel it wassafe.”Why the same events can causesuch drastically different reactionsis puzzling. Perhaps MiddleEastern Armenians are more accustomedto political unrest andsee the events of March 1 as anisolated incident. Or perhaps thereare other factors that need to betaken into account. In any case, ithas become clear that political uncertaintycan intrigue some and intimidateothers. There is no doubtabout it, Armenian-Americans careabout Armenia. USAID’s 2007 surveyfound that 82 percent of recentArmenian-American visitors feelemotionally attached to the country.But are Armenian-Armeniansbecoming fair-weather patriots?In Yerevan, summer is here andthe streets are filled with a vibrantmix of locals and tourists enjoyingthe long, sunny days. The outdoorcafés around the Opera are bustlingwith activity well into the morninghours. There is a certain easygoingyet lively attitude that is characteristicof Yerevan in the summertime.The political situation may not besteady; it’s in flux. Almost everyevening, people of all ages gatherpeacefully on Northern Avenue,calling for political freedom andrespect for basic rights. The city’ssummer ambiance is not spoiledby this wave of political awareness.On the contrary, it’s revived. It’srefreshing to see people who actuallycare about a cause; who believethat through their peaceful protest,they do have the power to make adifference. Now more than ever, it’san exciting time to be Armenian.Now more than ever, it’s time toexperience Armenia.f
22 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008Editorialthe armenianreporterAn inquiry is launchedArmenia’s National Assembly has established an ad hoc commission to investigate the tragicevents of March 1 in Yerevan. The establishment of this commission is an acknowledgementby the parliamentary majority that the Armenian people have many unanswered questionsabout the events of that day – and the response to those events so far. The commission isalso intended to comply with a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council ofEurope, which called for an independent and credible inquiry.Each of the five parliamentary factions has been allocated two seats on the commission.The eleventh seat was allocated to a non-party member of parliament. Political groups outsideparliament, including the movement led by opposition politician Levon Ter-Petrossian,have been invited to participate in an advisory capacity.The choice to give each party equal representation – rather than allocating seats on aproportional basis – was a good one, as was the choice to include groups outside parliament.And although four of the parties in parliament are in a governing coalition together, eachretains its particular concerns and the need to be responsive to its electorate. Critics of thegoverning majority nonetheless believe they are underrepresented on the commission andare inclined to stay away.But it is high time to move from the question of the composition of the commission to theactual conduct of its inquiry.The commission is responsible for issuing a final report in October. More important thanthe commission’s conclusions, however, is the inquiry itself. We look forward to open hearingsin which political figures, criminal investigators, and rank-and-file eyewitnesses alikeanswer probing but respectful questions.The inquiry will have to be sensitive to the interests of the ongoing criminal investigationinto the events of March 1, but by the same token, the commission will provide parliamentaryoversight of the investigation.Now that it has been formed, the commission will have to earn the trust of the public bybeing open, transparent, and willing to ask uncomfortable but important questions. Welook forward to the process, as fraught as it may be.fEnough is enough, AzerbaijanI am fighting hard to zeroout military funding forAzerbaijanby Joe KnollenbergAs the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucuson Armenian Issues I believe there is nogreater threat to stability in the South Caucasusregion than Azerbaijan’s apparent buildupto war with Armenia.I recently had the privilege to participatein a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearingtitled, “The Caucasus: Frozen Conflictsand Closed Borders.” During the hearing Ihad a chance to question Assistant Secretaryof State Dan Fried on the actions the administrationhas taken to stop Azerbaijan’s warmachine.Azerbaijan continues to ready its militaryfor war and the scary rhetoric coming fromAzerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and otherhigh-ranking government officials proves it.Quotes such as “The war is in not yet over...”and “Our policies must be aggressive....” fromthe president of a country should not be takenlightly or brushed aside. Unfortunately, Ido not think the United States is taking thisthreat as seriously as we should.The U.S. policy towards the Caucasus regionis one of promoting stability through regionalcooperation. It is absolutely unacceptablethat the United States would turn a blind eyeto what is clearly a violation of U.S. policyin the region. The current U.S. administrationcontinues to request large amounts offunding for Azerbaijan’s military and alsohas made very clear their support for eliminatingSection 907 of the Freedom SupportAct, which strictly prohibits funding going toAzerbaijan’s military.Unfortunately, the administration is simplynot stepping up to the plate and doingwhat is necessary. I say enough is enough.Azerbaijan has had every opportunity, especiallyduring the Minsk process, to tonedown the rhetoric and turn up the cooperation.The United States must stand with Armeniaand force Azerbaijan to stop the warmachine and negotiate in good faith withtheir neighbor.Joe Knollenberg, a Republican, has representedMichigan’s Ninth District in Congress since 1992.Rep. Joe Knollenberg at the House ForeignAffairs Committee hearing titled, “The Caucasus:Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders.” Photo:Armenian Reporter.As a member of the House AppropriationsSubcommittee on State and Foreign Operations,and as Co-Chair of the Caucus, Ihave strongly advocated for Section 907 foryears. Any country that uses their military tothreaten an ally of the United States shouldnot be given military funding from the UnitedStates. It simply does not make sense.Furthermore, this year I am fighting hardto zero out military funding for Azerbaijan.Funding a military that is intent on attackingan ally is not good policy, and I will not allowU.S. dollars to be used against Armenians.Providing no military funding to Azerbaijanwill send the strongest signal possible thatthe United States does not condone their actionsand rejects their provocation of war.Now is the time that we put Azerbaijan’srhetoric to rest. I have worked to bring togethermembers of Congress from acrossthe country to support my effort to de-fundAzerbaijan’s military. The bipartisan group ofmembers from different areas of the countryproves the importance of the issue. I believewe can and must stop Azerbaijan fromthreatening Armenia.Working together we can ensure our success.fLettersBravo to “CulturalDecline”Sir:I’m writing in reference to a letter I foundon the Reporter online (print edition of May24): it was titled, “Cultural Decline?” by AniVartanian.Three words immediately came to me:“Bravo to her!”Finally someone out there is not afraid tocomment on, and bring light to, the actualtruth and happenings in our families andculture.She began by specifically asking the readerwhat comes to mind when you hear aboutArmenians; I was astonished at her boldnessand her candid responses to the question.Only a closed-minded person would seethem as opinionated. In her discussion ofthe declining society she feels we live in, thearticle makes reference to different culturegroups, to the family, and to the question ofhow we are supposed to conduct our lives.She states that we can’t function without theinteraction and cooperation of other groupsof people.This letter was exceptional, and I applaudthe writer for having the courage toput it all out in the open. We must facefacts, and realize that we can’t live behinda façade anymore. The writer’s integrationof religion, and whether or not yourfamily practices what our culture preaches,was fabulous.Ms. Vartanian, I totally understand you,and I applaud you. It’s about time someonewrote such things in public, instead of keepingeverything hidden. Just because a topic isnot being discussed, doesn’t mean it doesn’texist. Just because someone keeps quiet,doesn’t mean they have nothing to say. Unfortunately,many people don’t feel the sameway. We can only hope that these culturalfailures and realizations will provide a rudeawakening, and give people a much deservedwake-up call.I will end with Vartanian’s best quote,made as she discussed whether we shouldhave practical worries, or emotional concerns.She concluded: “Money can alwaysbe made. Character can only be shaped fromyour surroundings.”Bravo, Ani Vartanian!Very truly yours,Tamar SimonianParsippany, N.J.Black Sea drowningsSir:In a letter to the editor (14 June 2008) RichardG. Hovannisian remains unpersuaded bymy “supposed ‘debunking’” of claims aboutthe mass drowning of Armenians from Trebizondin the Black Sea in 1915. Perhaps hecredits an article published in the New YorkTimes on October 7, 1915, according to which10,000 Armenians were taken out to sea anddrowned in one afternoon.I made a detailed case regarding the allegedmass drowning in Trebizond in 1915in Armenian Forum several years ago (seehttp://www.gomidas.org/forum/icons.pdf).I also published the relevant documents ina broader work, United States Official Recordson the Armenian Genocide (Gomidas Institute,2004). In my review I argued that the weightof the available evidence was against the simpleassertion that Armenians were drowneden masse in Trebizond in 1915.Our most accessible source, U.S. ConsulOscar Heizer in Trebizond, stated that the5,500 Armenians in Trebizond were deportedin four caravans on July 1st (600 people),July 3rd (2,000), July 5th (2,000), and July18th (remaining Armenians). Based on Heizer’sreports, we also know that there were ahandful of cases involving the drowning ofa few dozen Armenian adults who were takento sea and either shot or simply thrownoverboard. Heizer also mentions that someArmenian children who were not deportedor absorbed into Muslim families weredrowned.Very truly yours,Ara SarafianLondonThe writer is director of the Gomidas Institute(UK).Tell us what you think. Write email@example.comArmenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPublisher Sylva A. Boghossian Editor Vincent LimaOffice managersEastern U.S. Lisa KopooshianWestern U.S. Atina HartunianCopyright © 2008 by ArmenianReporter llc. All Rights ReservedPeriodicals postage paid at Paramus, N.J., andadditional mailing offices.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PO Box129, Paramus, NJ 07652-0129.The views expressed, except in the editorial, arenot necessarily those of the publishers.Managing editor Christopher ZakianWestern U.S. Bureau Chief andArts & Culture editor Paul ChaderjianWashington editor Emil SanamyanAssociate editor Maria TitizianAssistant to the Editor Seda StepanyanCopy editor Ishkhan JinbashianArt director Grigor HakobyanLayout assistant Nareh BalianThe Armenian Reporter is your newspaper. We urge you to send us your news and yourviews.News. Please send your news to .Letters. Please send your letters to Letters should be no morethan 250 words long and may be edited for clarity. Please include your mailing addressand daytime telephone number.Commentary. Please send your essays to Essays and articlesnormally should be no longer than 900 words.Photos and artwork. We require high-resolution originals. 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The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008 23CommentaryWhat I didn’t see at the Turkish missionA talk on “coming toterms with the past” turnsout to be the same oldintolerance – in more waysthan oneby Florence AvakianNew York – What happened at the TurkishMission to the United Nations in New York,on Thursday, June 5, was not surprising. Iwas refused admission to a lecture in Englishby Prof. Turkkaya Ataov, titled, “The ArmenianQuestion: How to Come to Terms withOne’s Past.” It was sponsored by the Societyof Turkish-American Architects, Engineersand Scientists and Istanbul University AlumniAssociation (U.S.A.).Earlier on June 5, the Armenian Reporterhad received an e-mail informing it of theevent. In assigning me to cover it, the ArmenianReporter had called the sponsoring associationand given my name. As an accreditedUnited Nations correspondent, I was awareof the security situation and had also calledthe Turkish Mission, and was assured thateven though it was not sponsoring the lecture,I would have no trouble.Entering the Turkish Mission, I showedmy UN press pass, and went through thesecurity apparatus, but was told rudely thatmy name was not on the list, and therefore Ihad to leave. When I asked their names, oneanswered, “our names are secret.” Almostimmediately four burly men surrounded me,one not even an inch away from me. As Istood there showing my UN press pass, andstating that my assigned paper had made areservation, I noticed that several men carryingcameras and other recording equipmentbreezed through security without givingtheir names. Before leaving, I told them Iwould be writing about the experience, andspeaking of it on the regional Armenian radioprogram.Through my contacts, I received a paraphrasedreport of the Ataov lecture, whichhad been delivered in English. The report,however, was written in Turkish, so I askedan Armenian-American friend, originallyfrom Turkey, to translate it. What followsis my compilation of the translated, paraphrasedreport.This is coming to terms withthe past?According to the e-mail announcement ofthe lecture, Turkkaya Ataov is professoremeritus of International Relations at theUniversity of Ankara, and a member of theExecutive Council of International Organizationsfor the Elimination of All Forms ofRacial Discrimination (Geneva). If the titleof his June 5 talk sounded a little promisingto Armenian ears, the content was a far cryfrom “coming to terms with one’s past.”In his talk, Ataov stated that there is nodocument that shows that the Ottomangovernment organized and perpetrated theGenocide (soykirim). Turks must work hardand do their homework against the allegedArmenian claims, he said.During the lecture, Ataov showed documentsfrom a number of foreign parliamentswhich had passed resolutions asking theTurks to face their past.He said that the historic documents shouldbe put forth without any political objectivesin mind. Calling the Armenian claims false,exaggerated, and scandalous, he accusedFrance and other foreign parliaments ofhaving closed their doors to free research,and also berated editors and reporters. Heclaimed that he had called newspaper publishers,but they would not talk to him.Deportation and death causedby diseaseArmenians, Ataov said, were following the“martyr psychology,” and not reading the differentdocuments of their own history, becausehe said, they don’t have tolerance forother points of view. Concerning the deportationof the Armenians, he said that anydeaths had been caused by disease, but thatthe Armenians did not accept this.Ataov also accused public libraries inthe U.S. of having books written beforethe 1915 events, and containing a “badview” of the Turks. He claimed that Ottomanarchives were not given more importancebecause they were called “Turkisharchives,” and that these archives had nodocuments regarding the premeditationand implementation of the Genocide. Healso claimed that in third party publicationsand in those of the “old” Armenianarmy leadership during World War I writtenby Armenians, there was informationof why this genocide took place.He said that during the war preparationsby the Turks, the Armenians in the east hadkilled more than 120,000 non-Armenians,and that no Armenians had been brought tojustice. He accused Armenians, between 1914and 1918, of participating in “13 wars,” armingthemselves, killing Muslims, and helpingto participate with states that occupied theOttoman Empire. Only the Turks were punished,and this corresponds with the justiceof the victors [the Allies], he said.Nuremberg and Tokyo courtsnot independentHe also accused the Nuremberg and Tokyocourts after World War II of not being independent.He said they were comprised of themilitary representatives of the victors. Manycountries want to put Turkey on the witnessstand, he continued, but they themselveshave a dark past – he named Germany as onesuch country. Neither Turkey nor any othercountry should be chosen as a scapegoat, hedeclared.Without saying whether the Turks wereguilty of genocide or not, he said that MustafaKemal and the leaders of the Turkishrepublic knew everything that had takenplace, but instead of getting stuck in the past,they had constructed a new future for a newgeneration. This denied that this was donebecause the Kemalists wanted to hide thetruth, but rather because a new state was beingfounded, he said.Voicing his comments on the future, Ataovsaid that Turks should know the Armenianquestion in all its details, and speak upagainst people who put the blame on theTurks, and the Turkish state.Ataov, who will give similar lectures in SanFrancisco and Washington D.C., also claimedthat the U.S. Congress and U.S. public opinionare now listening more to the Turkishpoint of view.All of which must have sounded very reassuringto the audience that was permittedto attend his June 5 talk. The audience offewer than a hundred reportedly asked noquestions, and offered no opposition to thespeaker’s statements.fWhat’s with the labels in Russian in Armenia’s supermarkets?by Nyree AbrahamianWhen I first moved to Armenia, I was surprisedand annoyed by the amount of Russian– both spoken and written – still in use,17 years after the country’s independence.Over time, I grew accustomed to it and developeda more understanding attitude. Afterall, you can’t just flush out a languagethat people have grown up with, one thathas been a dominant language for over 70years. Besides, as the Armenian saying goes,“Inchkan lezou kides, ainkan mart es,” (whichtranslates roughly to “The more languagesyou know, the more complete you are as aperson.”) So I’ve decided to try to embracethe language, picking up bits of Russian vocabularywherever I can and even learningthe alphabet.Yet despite the rapid progress in my selftaughtRussian lessons, there are things thatstill irk me, like the price displays on grocerystore shelves. Every major supermarketin Yerevan has its prices displayed in Russian.This may not seem like too huge a deal,but when you’re comparison-shopping andthe 250 dram and 3,000 dram bags of riceare mixed up on the shelf, it matters. I’veasked a few clerks and cashiers why the pricedisplays are in Russian, and they typicallyanswer with a shrug, or “So that everyoneunderstands.” When I protest that I don’t understand,I receive in response a warm smileand an offer to help – which is nice, but stilldoesn’t answer my question. It’s not so muchthat I mind asking for help; it’s the principleof it. We are in Armenia, after all.My gut reaction was: it’s just the old Sovietmentality. There’s still a propensity towardRussian as the “elite” language. But I knewthere had to be more to it. So with equal partsof curiosity and frustration, I decided to pursuemy inquiry further, posing my questionsto the managers of five of Yerevan’s centralsupermarkets.The responses I got were mostly positiveand really got me thinking. Every single oneof them agreed that it would be more helpfulto customers if the price indicators on theshelves were in Armenian, since most localscan read both Armenian and Russian, butmore visitors and repatriates can read Armenianthan Russian.What’s stopping companies from makingthe shift is not a matter of pride or laziness,but one of infrastructure. “I agree that theseprice markers should be written in Armenian,”says Margarita, the manager of BestSupermarket, “but the computer system thatwe work with is all set up in Russian. It wouldbe difficult to change it, but there is a plan toswitch the program to Armenian.”Ardak, the manager of Star Supermarketon Amiryan Street, agrees that the entiresystem should be translated to Armenian,but sees two reasons for the delay in thischange: “Unfortunately,” he says, “there isstill, among the older generation, a tendencyto consider Russian as the ‘language of theeducated.’ But also, it’s the way the store isset up. The computer system that we use isa Russian one. I have heard that this maychange soon, and I hope it will.”Similar responses were given by the managersof another location of Star and twolocations of SAS Supermarkets. All were inagreement that the predominance of Russianin supermarkets is an infrastructureproblem and all told me that they plannedto change this in the future. But generally,they didn’t see it as a pressing matter. “Mostof our customers read Russian, and thosewho don’t can ask our employees,” said Elen,the manager of SAS on Mashtots Street, “Soit’s not a problem for most of our customers.But I see your point, and that is whyhead office hopes to change it soon.” Basedon these responses, I formed the conclusionthat in order for supermarkets to implementArmenian software, one of three conditionswould have to exist: it would either have tobe very cheap, of considerably better qualitythan the existing product, or mandated bythe government.As for the law....The third condition seemed the most plausible.Similar language laws exist in Armenia.For example, all packaged foods must includea list of their ingredients in Armenian. Whyshouldn’t there be the same sort of law aboutsignage? So I looked into it and found to mysurprise that it is in fact required by law thatall signs be written in Armenian. The Lawof the Republic of Armenia on Language requiresbusinesses “to conduct business in theArmenian language.”So the law exists, but is clearly not enforced,or perhaps selectively enforced. Ifall business is to be conducted in Armenian,not only should signage be in Armenian, soshould receipts. And the only way to produceArmenian receipts is by implementing Armeniansoftware.Upon learning of this law, I attempted tocontact the head offices of Star and SAS Supermarkets.At Star, neither of the managersthat I spoke to would even give me their headoffice’s number.I called SAS’s head office, and they simplyrepeated what the managers had told me: theprogram that they currently use is in Russianand soon they will change it to Armenian. Thelaw on language was adopted in 1993. Somehow,I don’t have much faith in their “soon.”Nor do I believe that the government willsuddenly start enforcing this legislation. I do,however, have faith in time. My hope restswith the new generation of Armenians, thosebeing educated in the post-Soviet era.The emphasis on Russian in the educationsystem has significantly decreased and parents’priorities for their children have changed.Lusine Boyajyan, a 31-year-old mother andYerevan native, states: “17 years ago, I wouldhave sent my daughter to a Russian school,because at that time, that was considered tobe the highest quality of education. But intoday’s free, independent Armenia, I want mydaughter to learn literary Armenian becauseI think that the Armenian language is beautifuland rich, just like our culture. The two gohand in hand. One cannot be preserved orenhanced without the other.”In a decade or so, Lusine’s daughter’s generation– a generation raised with a new respectfor their mother tongue and with farless educational background in Russian thantheir parents’ generation – will comprise thecountry’s managers and consumers. Withthe majority of the population more fluent inArmenian than Russian, the infrastructurewill have to change to meet their needs.So Yerevan’s supermarkets are not outto make my life difficult or to hinder mycomparison-shopping. They’re simply conductingbusiness as usual. Nobody is forcingthem to switch their computer systemto Armenian, and for the time being, asidefrom peeving a few customers, the systemis working just fine. But inevitably, the timewill come when this will no longer be thecase, and until then, we’ll just have to stickto the old saying: “Inchkan lezou kides, ainkanmart es.”fTrustee contributions to the AGMMFinancial contributions by former and current members of the Board of Trustees of Armenian Genocide Museumand Memorial (AGMM) for the benefit of the AGMM as of September 2006.
24 The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008Ensuring the Futureof Armenia’s PastProject Discovery! is dedicated to the discovery andpreservation of Armenia's archaeological and cultural legacy.Armenia has a long and continuous past that is both culturally richand historically significant. And yet, our history is largely unknown tothe academic community outside of Armenia primarily due to lack offunds available to Armenian scientists.Project Discovery! was organized tomeet this challenge. We have supportedarchaeological excavations, attendance byArmenian scholars at internationalconferences, publication of books,scientific journals and museum catalogues,websites, libraries and laboratories.We are unique, in that we are the only public charity dedicatedto supporting Armenian archaeology. We are joined in ourmission by an Academic Advisory Board of eminent scholars, bothArmenian and non-Armenian, from prestigious universities andresearch institutions across the US and around the world.At a time when exciting discoveries in Armenia are attractingthe attention of scientists from the international community, itTufts University professor Lucy Der Manueliandescribes Armenia as “an archaeologicalparadise”, containing a wealth of internationallysignificant archaeological material remains whichembody our heritage and testify to ourcontributions to world civilization.has never been more important to develop and support theinfrastructure of archaeology in Armenia.We are proud of the contribution weare making to discover and preservethe archaeological and cultural legacyof Armenia. Your enthusiastic supportover the past several years has enabledus to achieve major accomplishments –such as the establishment of a researchand conservation laboratory at YerevanState University, the publication ofAramazd: Armenian Journal of NearEastern Studies, and Terra Armenica, the first website of Armenianarchaeology and history, among many, many other projects.The past is a heritage we all share. Won't you join us in ourcommitment to preserve one of the world's earliest civilizations?Please send your tax deductible contribution to ensure the future ofArmenia's past.Project Discovery!Ensuring the Future of Armenia’s Past“Detail of Vishap” c 1,500 B.C.340 Lakewood Drive | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304 | 248.563.0016 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.projectdiscovery.net
The Armenian Reporter | June 21, 2008