National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

Vartkes L.Broussalian,Ph.D., dies at 80See story on page 8 mThis InternationalWomen’s Day, let’scelebrate ZabelYesayanSee story on page C4 mDram isstable aftersharp fallSee story on page 1 mWestern U.S. EditionNumber 104March 7, 2009the armenianreporterSenator Amy Klobuchar. Photo: steveleonardphoto.comArmenian-Americancommunity meets withSenator Amy KlobucharVisit us at the new reporter.amSee story on page 2 m

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009

Number 104March 7, 2009the armenianreporterAMAA gears up for Orphan and Child Careluncheon and fashion showThe Armenian Missionary Associationof America’s Orphan and ChildCare Luncheon and Fashion Showwill take place on March 21 at theBeverly Hills Hotel.This year’s luncheon theme is“Children Helping Children throughHope and Joy.” Given the harshArmeniaArmenia prepares to privatize social securityStarting in January 2010, workersin Armenia will see part of theirpay go into private pension plans.The government of Armenia adoptedthis decision in November,at a time when other countries areArmeniaCommunityNationalmoving away from private pensionfunds. Maria Titizian looks at therisks and benefits of the governmentplan.See story on page 15 mFirst anniversary of March 1 commemoratedArt in the marketThe installation forShadows byJackie Hayes, which continuesthrough March 21, invites visitorsto “walk with the ancestors”into the multicultural space of theMidtown Global Market in Minneapolis,juxtaposing the wisdomCommunityA year after the events of March1, 2008, which cost 10 lives, about20,000 people gathered near theMatenadaran in central Yerevanto hear opposition leader LevonTer-Petrossian speak. He struck aconciliatory tone. Meanwhile, PresidentSerge Sargsian lit 10 candlesat a church. The Catholicos of AllArmenians conducted a requiemservice at Holy Etchmiadzin. TatulHakobyan reports.See story on page 16 mCOAF, Cascade Credit provide loans to villagersThe principle is to teach peoplehow to fish, rather than simplypassing out fish. That is the basisof the Children of Armenia Fund’sproject of facilitating loans to thepopulation of Armenia’s ruralcommunities. Last year, CascadeCredit, working together withCOAF, provided loans to businessesin six communities in the Armavirprovince: Argina, Dalarik,Lernagog, Karakert, Miasnikian,and Shenik. Armen Hakobyan reportson the outcomes.See story on page 5 mUCLA to host major conference on Armenian studiesThe Society for Armenian Studieswill mark its 35th anniversary witha major conference titled, “ArmenianStudies at a Threshold.” Theconference will cover everythingfrom medieval literature, arts, history,and culture to sexual allegoriesin Armenian literature, fromArmenians in early modern eastcentral Europe to research on theCommunityof Armenian folklore with the lifeand work experiences of the vendorsand staff, many of whom arerecent immigrants. Lou Ann Matossianreports.See story on page 9 mcontemporary Armenian diaspora.Over 40 papers are to be deliveredconsecutively. In addition, a 12-member panel will discuss the stateof Armenian studies in the UnitedStates. An architectural exhibit willbe held in conjunction with theconference.See story on page 7 meconomic conditions of our worldtoday, the children of Armenia trulydo need the help of our childrenhere. The AMAA has in place a programthat helps support children indire financial need in Armenia.See story on page 12mArmenian Genocide resolutionto be introduced shortlyU.S. affirmation ofGenocide will taketime, backers sayby Emil SanamyanWASHINGTON – Speaking at anArmenian community event inFresno, Calif., on March 1, Rep.Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) said theintroduction of a resolution affirmingthe U.S. record on the ArmenianGenocide was imminent,the Fresno Bee reported the sameday. One of the resolution’s mainco-sponsors, Mr. Schiff said healso expected “an onslaught” bythe Turkish government opposingthe measure. American-Armenianadvocacy groups, meanwhile, havestepped up grassroots efforts toreach out to members of Congressand urge them to co-sponsor theresolution before it is introduced.Members of Congress warned Armenian-Americans,however, not totake the success of the resolution orpresidential affirmation for granted.Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.)told the Armenian Reporter that hewas “not particularly hopeful” thatPresident Barack Obama’s messageto the Armenian-American communityon April 24 this year “willcontain the word genocide.” Mr.Sherman was one of the lead sponsorsof the Genocide resolution inthe previous Congress.Mr. Sherman added that when itcomes to affirmation of the Genocide,he expected “no success in thenext 60 days,” pointing to Turkey’sPrices of importsrose quicklyFitch sees “stableoutlooks”IMF pledges $540 mlnin emergency loansby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – After propping upthe value of the dram for severalmonths by selling foreign currencyreserves, the Central Bank of Armeniaon Tuesday, March 3, allowedthe dram to float. The price of aU.S. dollar went from 305 drams to400 at once. After that initial panic,in which many people lined up tobuy dollars, the rate stabilized onFriday to 359 drams to buy a dollarand 355 to sell.Prices of many goods rosesharply. Some shops closed brieflyto adjust their prices. Panickedbuyers on Tuesday emptied theshelves of grocery stores. Driverscomplained about the newprice of petrol, which was upby 60 drams a liter, or 20 percent.A mobile phone that soldfor 155,000 drams in the morningPresident Barack Obama with Vice President Joseph Biden in Washington, March3. Both men are strong supporters of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.AP Photo: Gerald Herbert.importance to the Obama administration’sMiddle East priorities.Mr. Sherman spoke to the Reporterafter addressing an Armenian Assemblyof America advocacy conferencein Washington.Another congressional supporterof affirmation, Rep. Jim McGovern(D.-Mass.), struck a similar note.On the subject of the Obamaadministration’s approach to the ArmenianGenocide, “a lot still remainsunclear,” he told about 100 communityactivists at the conference.Mr. McGovern made the commentafter speaking with Secretaryof State Hillary Rodham Clintonprior to her departure on a tour ofEurope and Turkey this week. Headded that while he did not knowwhether the administration would“soft-pedal” on pre-election pledges,he “shared the apprehension” thatit might do so.During last year’s presidentialcampaign, both Mr. Obama andMrs. Clinton pledged to affirm theArmenian Genocide as president.“We believe that Barack ObamaDram is stable after sharp fallwas on offer for 200,000 drams afew hours later.The head of Armenia’s CentralBank, Arthur Javadian, announcedon Tuesday that the bankwas returning to its previous policyof allowing the dram to float withoutheavy intervention. He expectedthe dollar exchange rate to fluctuatebetween 360 and 380 in 2009.Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisiansaid he expected the price of goodsto drop in the next few days.According to official sources, Armeniasold $500 million of its foreigncurrency reserves in the pasttwo months. Experts say the CentralBank sold $730 million sinceOctober, about a third of the country’sreserves.remains a man of his word, and thatthis April our president, with theenergetic support of our friends inCongress, will finally override Turkey’sveto on U.S. recognition ofthe Armenian Genocide,” a sourcein Armenian advocacy circles said.Emphasizing Turkey’s importanceto the United States, PresidentObama called Turkey’s presidentand prime minister on February 16to discuss U.S. priorities for the MiddleEast. (The State Department’ssenior Middle East envoy GeorgeMitchell visited Ankara last week.)While the White House readout ofthe conversation made no mentionof Armenian concerns, Turkish officialsclaimed that Turkey’s oppositionto U.S. affirmation of the ArmenianGenocide was one of the mainissues raised by Turkish leaders.In a February 27 briefing, prior toMrs. Clinton’s visit to Ankara thisweek, outgoing Assistant Secretaryof State for Eurasia Dan Friedemphasized the “very rich agenda”Continued on page mOn Wednesday, March 4, a dollar cost 378 drams, down from 400 on Tuesday andup from 305 on Monday. Photo: Photolure.The World Bank and the InternationalMonetary Fund had urged thegovernment to stop propping up thedram, and they welcomed the dram’sdevaluation. IMF Managing DirectorDominique Strauss-Kahn immediatelypledged to disburse $540 millionin emergency loans to Armenia.The currency has lost value overrecent months because of a significantfall in Armenia’s export revenuesand a decrease in remittancesfrom Armenians working abroad.In 2007, Armenians abroad hadsent close to $1 billion home.The lower value of the dram willtend to benefit exporters, whoseforeign-currency revenues will goContinued on page 14 m

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009Nationalby Emil SanamyanSudan’s leader wantedover Darfur crimesIn a landmark ruling against a sittinghead of state, the Hague-basedInternational Criminal Court issuedan arrest warrant for Sudanesepresident Omar al-Bashir,news agencies reported.The March 4 warrant chargedMr. Bashir, who has been rulingSudan for 20 years, with crimesagainst humanity, murder, andforcible displacement in Darfur.The court said that its investigatorsdid not find enough groundsto charge Mr. Bashir with genocide,however.In response, Sudan ejected foreign-aidgroups and said it wouldWashington briefingPresident al-Bashir visitsTurkey's RecepTayyip Erdoganin Jan. 2008 APphoto.defy the ruling. The warrant wasalso opposed by the African Unionand the Arab League, as well as Chinaand Russia.The White House reacted cautiouslyto the ICC ruling, witha spokesperson for PresidentBarack Obama saying that ingeneral the United States believedthat all those who committedatrocities in Darfur should beheld accountable and that thereshould be an immediate end toviolence.United Nations officials estimatethat several hundred thousandhave died and some 2.7 millionhave been displaced during a sixyearcampaign against rebel groupsin Sudan’s Darfur province.The warrant is a first against aruling head of state by the court.Set up in 2002, the court can onlyprosecute crimes committed sinceits establishment and has, in additionto Darfur, investigated allegationsof crimes against humanityin the Central African Republic,Democratic Republic of Congo, andUganda. Last January it launchedits first-ever trial against a Congolesemilitia leader.While the International CriminalCourt has no power to enforceits warrants, wanted individualscould be detained in 108states that have signed on to thecourt’s Rome statute and haveratified it. While most Europeanand Latin American countriesand many African countries aremembers of the court, China, Russiaand the United States are not.In the former Soviet space, onlyGeorgia and Tajikistan have joinedthe court so far.The ruling was welcomed by theArmenian National Committee ofAmerica. The ANCA has for yearscampaigned with groups like theSave Darfur Coalition for tougherU.S. action to stop the violence thatthe Bush administration describedas genocide.In recent weeks, as part of thecampaign to win official U.S. affirmationof the Armenian Genocide,the ANCA has been highlightingthe ties between Mr. Bashir andthe Turkish government, in whatit has dubbed an “axis of genocide.”Last year, Turkey decided not toaccede to the court amid worriesthat some of its military commanderscould be prosecuted over theirtactics against Kurdish rebels, Zamanreported at the time.Turkish officials resumeWashington lobbying…As in years past, Turkish officialsintensified efforts to lobby the U.S.Congress ahead of the anticipatedintroduction of a congressionalresolution on the Armenian Genocideand a presidential statementon April 24.Speaking at an Armenian communityevent in Fresno, Calif., onMarch 1, Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.)said that the introduction of theresolution was imminent, the FresnoBee reported the same day. One ofthe resolution’s main co-sponsors,Mr. Schiff said he also expected “anonslaught” by the Turkish governmentopposing the measure.According to a Dear Colleague lettermade available to the ArmenianReporter, a delegation led by theTurkish parliament’s Foreign AffairsCommittee chair Murat Mercanwas hosted on the Capitol Hill onMarch 5. The letter was distributedby co-chairs of the Turkey CaucasusRep. Robert Wexler (D.-Fla.) andEd Whitfield (R.-Ky.) and vice cochairsSteve Cohen (D.-Tenn.) andVirginia Foxx (R.-N.C.).Separately, Rep. Eddie BerniceJohnson (D.-Tex.) distributed aletter opposing congressional condemnationof the Armenian Genocideand pointing to reports of highlevelmeetings between Armenianand Turkish officials. For his part,Rep. Bill Shuster (R.-Penn.) circulateda newspaper story that playedup Turkey’s importance for the anticipatedU.S. withdrawal from Iraq.Turkish officials were also due toraise their opposition with Secretaryof State Hillary Clinton, whowas due to visit Ankara on March 7.Community members meet Sen. Amy Klobucharby Paul Chaderjian…while Azerbaijanisfocus on CaliforniaA group of Azerbaijani officials wasback in the state with the largestArmenian-American population.Member of the Milli Majlis AsimMollazade, accompanied by Azerbaijan’sconsul general in Los AngelesElin Suleymanov, visited withmembers of California State Assembly,including Sam Blakeslee,Bob Blumenfield, Julia Brownley,Felipe Fuentes, Fiona Ma,and Lori Saldaña.The visit, a second such tour insix months, was intended to playup Azerbaijan’s importance, includingits efforts to turn “black gold”(oil) into “human gold,” Azerbaijanimedia reports said.Ms. Brownley and Ms. Saldañawere among California officialswho in September 2007 went toAzerbaijan, where they heard aboutthe misdeeds of the “destructive”Armenian diaspora.According to a February 24 Trendnews report, Mr. Fuentes sent a letterto President Ilham Aliyev, expressing“condolences” to Azerbaijanover its losses in the Karabakhwar. Mr. Suleymanov called the lettera “very important event since“Armenians provide false informationabout the [Karabakh] conflict.”Mr. Mollazade and other Azerbaijaniofficials were reportedly orderedto the United States as partof the Azerbaijani State Committeefor Work with Diaspora “actionplan.” According to APA, the planalso involved pickets, presentations,and exhibits held in Washington,New York, California, andelsewhere to highlight Azerbaijanigrievances against Armenians. fGenocide resolutionto be introducedn Continued from page Senator AmyKlobuchar chatswith John andMaida Domenieand othermembers ofthe Armenian-Americancommunity.Photos: VanessaRogers.Nadya Carson, Ida Gononian, Anahid Ghazarian, Charles Kracht, Senator AmyKlobuchar, and Anna Marie Norehad at the March 1 event.MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.– Foreignpolicy, the Republic of Armenia,displaced Iraqi-Armenians, thegenocide in Darfur, the U.S. economy,energy, and technology weresome of the topics discussed by U.S.Senator Amy Klobuchar (D.-Minn.)and members of the Armenian-American community last Sunday.The meeting was hosted by Gerardand Cleo Cafesjian and organizedby the U.S.–Armenia Public AffairsCommittee (USAPAC).“Senator Klobuchar has developeda strong interest in U.S.-Armeniarelations,” said John Waters,vice president of the CafesjianFamily Foundation and USAPACrepresentative. “Senator Klobucharhas co-sponsored SR 106, the ArmenianGenocide Resolution, andSR 65, condemning the assassinationof Hrant Dink. And she wasvery instrumental in successfullyunlocking additional assistance forIraqi-Armenian refugees.”Sen. Klobuchar – an attorney anda former county prosecutor – twoyears ago became the first womanelected to represent Minnesotansin the Senate. Because of her strongsupport of American-Armenians interests,community members wereexcited to have a chance to meetwith the senator and her husband,George Washington University LawSchool professor John Bessler.“I was very pleased to meet her.She spoke forcefully and spokeforthright,” said John Domenie ofNaples, Fla. Mr. Domenie, a formerWashington bank manager, and hiswife Maida, co-founders of the ArmenianAmerican Cultural Societyof South West Florida more thana decade ago, were among the dozensof community members thatgathered to meet the senator.“I think she was very well-informedon a very wide range ofissues,” said Mr. Domenie. “Shecovered economy and housingand politics. She covered so manythings, and it’s obvious that she’sa very enthusiastic supporter ofPresident Obama and his policies.”“I understand she’s been a goodadvocate for Armenian cause,” saidMrs. Domenie. “She made a verygood impression as a senator. Shewas persuasive, and she didn’t hesitateon explaining her positions.”After a brief introduction, Sen.Klobuchar talked extensively tothose gathered about a range of topicsfrom healthcare reform to energytechnologies. The senator saidshe is optimistic that “the economycountry can be turned around.”Speaking about U.S. ties with theRepublic of Armenia, Sen. Klobucharnoted that Armenia has faredbetter in its economic and democraticpractices than other nationsin the region, and that the UnitedStates can have an even more activerole in helping Armenia in itsongoing transition.“I wished her well for what she’sbeen doing for the Armenian people,”said Mark Nahabedian ofMarco Island, Fla. Mr. Nahabediantold the Armenian Reporter that he’sbeen with many “politicians” overthe years and that when they arespeaking, he often feels as if theyare thinking of someone or somethingelse. “But not Amy,” he said.“She gave everyone at the meet-andgreether undivided attention. Shewas a well-informed and sincerelyinterested in Armenian-Americanissues.”fconnect:klobuchar.senate.govshared by the United States and Turkey.Mr. Fried said that in additionto Middle East priorities, Mrs. Clinton’stalks would include a discussionof the efforts to “advance peacebetween Azerbaijan and Armenia’ssettlement over Nagorno-Karabakh.”In a comment about the lattersubject, Mr. Sherman describedKarabakh as an “Armenian territory,”where any settlement should“make sure that people of Artsakhare self-governing and safe.” WhileMr. Sherman reiterated his supportfor U.S. recognition of the Nagorno-KarabakhRepublic, he also acknowledgedthere was significantopposition to such a move.Both Mr. Sherman and Mr. Mc-Govern spoke at the Armenian Assembly’s2009 National AdvocacyConference that focused on effortsto win U.S. government affirmationof the Armenian Genocide aswell as recent academic research onthe subject of the genocide.Mr. Sherman is a senior memberof the House Foreign Affairs Committee.He has been a longtime andprominent supporter of Armenian-American concerns. Mr. McGovern isa member of the House Rules Committeeand also a strong advocate ofArmenian Genocide affirmation.Other scheduled conferencespeakers included Sen. John Ensign(R.-Nev.), Reps. ThaddeusMcCotter (R.-Mich.), Gus Bilirakis(R.-Fla.), Reps. Zack Space(D.-Ohio) and Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.);Major General Tod Bunting of theKansas National Guard; ArmenianGenocide scholar Hilmar Kaiser; aswell as Armenia’s Diaspora MinisterHranush Hakobyan and Directorof the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan. f

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009CommentaryDefending Artsakh’s interests in the United Statesby Vardan BarseghianStepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh– After I served nearly a decade asNKR permanent representative (ambassador)to the United States (August1999–January 2009), PresidentBako Sahakian recently asked meto return to Artsakh to continue mycarrier at the NKR Ministry of ForeignAffairs, where I have since beenappointed deputy minister.Taking the opportunity of thismedium, I want to, first of all, expressgratitude to everyone whohave contributed to the work of theOffice of the Nagorno-KarabakhRepublic in the United States (Artsakh’sEmbassy) and extended theirfriendship to me and my familythroughout these years. I look forwardto a continued engagementwith all our well-wishers and toseeing you in Artsakh frequently.This commentary will recap someof the accomplishments and offera look to the future of Artsakh’sdiplomatic mission in the UnitedStates now led by my able successorRobert Avetisian.Throughout my posting in Washington,the focus of our work hasbeen on defending and advancingArtsakh’s political and economicinterests in the United States, onexpansion of ties between our twocountries, and on promotion of ourshared objectives of regional peace,democracy, and prosperity.We engaged with the State Department,Congress, policy andacademic circles, media, and theArmenian-American communityto build support for Artsakh’s aspirationsto live in freedom andsecure from aggression, to facilitatehumanitarian and investmentprojects that have helped rebuildArtsakh’s war-torn infrastructureand also spurred economic development.We worked closely with our allieson Capitol Hill and the WashingtonbasedArmenian-American organizationsto ensure continuation andexpansion of U.S. direct economicassistance to Nagorno-Karabakh.It is fulfilling to see that in the fiscal2009 budget, Congress allocatedup to $8,000,000 for aid programsin Nagorno-Karabakh. I thank theU.S. government and the Americanpeople for this critical assistance.On political front, we continuallyeducated members of Congressabout Artsakh’s ongoing strugglefor freedom. As a result, over 100members of the House of Representativessigned letters urgingthe U.S. president to take note ofArtsakh’s progress and to promoteformal U.S. recognition of the Nagorno-KarabakhRepublic. In cooperationwith Armenian-Americanorganizations and our congressionalfriends, we organized severalCapitol Hill events dedicated toArtsakh, bringing together membersof Congress, prominent humanrights advocates and lawyers,and hundreds of activists.The office arranged and facilitateddozens of visits by senior NKRofficials to the United States. Theseincluded bilateral visits and thosein the framework of annual ArmeniaFund telethons that have generatedover $150 million for majorinfrastructure projects in Artsakhand Armenia.A sustained anddeepened engagementwith all branches ofthe U.S. government isneeded.Seeking to raise internationalawareness about our struggle forfreedom, we launched a first-everVartan Barsegian.comprehensive English-languagewebsite about Artsakh at Thanks to this websitewe met many well-wishers worldwide.Some of these new friendsended up sponsoring projects inArtsakh; many also volunteeredtheir skills and time.Mindful of the importance of themodern media in our outreach efforts,we launched ArtsakhOnline,a YouTube channel. One of our firstinstallments, a short documentaryfilm “Struggle for Freedom,” producedin cooperation with Los Angelesfilmmaker Peter Musurlian,has been watched over 10,000times.Since 1999, we have publisheda monthly newsletter distributedin print in Washington, the UnitedStates, and around the world.The newsletter was also availableonline. Last year, the newslettertransitioned to a more frequentelectronic-only format distributedby email.Our office monitored majormedia outlets, reacting when necessaryto misrepresentations ofArtsakh, while also promoting objectivecoverage. My letters to theeditor appeared repeatedly in theWashington Post, Washington Times,Wall Street Journal, and ChristianScience Monitor. In Washington ourwork has been covered by the WashingtonDiplomat, Diplomatic Traffic,Voice of America, and Eurasia Net.I had opportunities to speak atHarvard’s Kennedy School of Government,the University of Texas,the Zoryan Institute in Toronto,and elsewhere. Under my leadership,the office facilitated expert research,conferences, visits to, andpublications about Artsakh.We worked closely with theDetroit-based Armenian Children’sRelief Fund and other supportersto sponsor medical treatment fordozens of Artsakh children, as wellas wounded veterans; we also connectedbenefactors to humanitarianprojects in Artsakh.More recently, in cooperationwith the Armenian General BenevolentUnion (AGBU) and theAmericans for Artsakh (AFA) welaunched a series of profess trainingseminars for NKR officials. Thefirst session successfully concludedlast summer; the second session,focused on effective communicationand conflict resolution, is currentlyunderway in Stepanakert.Hundreds of friends, Armeniansand non-Armenians alike, havestood by the office throughoutthese years, providing financialsupport, volunteering their expertiseand time, and helping to advanceour common objectives.On behalf of my government, Ithank again the Armenian Assemblyof America, the Cafesjian FamilyFoundation, the AGBU, and theArmenian Missionary Associationof America and their leadershipfor extending critical financialand technical support throughoutthese years. Special thanks toArmen Kanayan of Stratomediafor his tireless volunteer efforts todevelop and maintain our website;I also want to single out JoanneAblett and Emil Sanamyan fortheir support.This is the short list of our effortsso far. What is next for Artsakh advocacyin America?As with any institution, greaterfinancial security of our office remainsa priority to be able not onlyto maintain but also to expand ouroperations. It is also time for Artsakh’sdiplomatic representation tohave its own roof in Washington.Our political agenda should remainin focus. The United Statesremains a global leader and one ofthe lead mediators in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, and thatmeans a sustained and deepenedengagement with all branches ofthe U.S. government is needed. InCongress, that means reaching outboth to our friends and opponents,as we have done in the past.Speaking with one voice on Artsakhis critical to success. Throughcollaboration with the ArmenianEmbassy and Washington-basedArmenian-American organizations,we have established this commonagenda on Artsakh: (1) expansionof U.S.-NKR relations; (2) continuationof U.S. direct aid to Artsakhwhile transitioning from humanitarianto development projects; and(3) safeguarding regional peace.Artsakh and the United Statesshare universal values of freedom,democracy, and peace. We bothfought fierce wars (although some200 years apart) to free ourselvesfrom foreign tyranny, to be themasters of our own destiny, and toenjoy the promise of liberty, equality,and justice for all.Sharing many of the modernchallenges, we are also partners inadvancing common goals of peaceand economic development. Thisis a great foundation to take theU.S.-NKR relations to the next level,ensuring unhindered communicationand collaboration.Expansion of U.S. economic aidto Artsakh while transitioningfrom humanitarian to developmentprojects is critical to ensuringthat all parts of the South Caucasusregion receive equal opportunitiesto rebuild war-damaged infrastructure,providing aid to refugees andinternally displaced persons, andensuring steady economic development.Drinking water, healthcare,and mine clearance remain on thetop of our priorities and Artsakhwill continue to be an effective andresponsible partner in advancingall aid programs.At the same time, consideringthe genocidal rhetoric and increasingcapabilities of our opponents,the possibility of renewed aggressionagainst the Armenian nationis unfortunately all too real.We are confident in our abilityto defend ourselves, but our overridingdiplomatic priority is topreempt a new war, saving liveson both sides of the current dividewhile building on a promise of apeaceful future for all.Artsakh’s noble struggle is continuingon political, diplomatic, economic,informational, and culturalfronts. Unity in purpose and actionremains the key to our sustainedsuccess in Washington and elsewherearound the world. fPhotographer Alexandra Avakian seeks to “humanize the other side”n Continued from page I was coming to ask them if I couldphotograph their Friday prayers.And they were very welcoming tome. Moreover, they protected mein this very dangerous facility, becausewhen you are deep inside aprison like that there are no armedguards around.World’s leastfrequented placesAR: What was the most dangerousplace that you have been to?Avakian: There are different levelsof danger.Living in Gaza, anything couldhappen any time. I was shot at byan Israeli sniper and beaten bloodyby Hamas just doing my job. It wasat the time of riots against YasserArafat’s Palestinian authority.[In the latter case] I had to gothe Hamas sheikh in the area thatI lived in to complain, because Icould not be beaten like that andcontinue living in that place. Andthe next day they ordered from theminarets that journalists are not tobe attacked.Somalia definitely was most dangerousin terms of going from placeA to place B. You could not do itwithout bodyguards. They couldkill you for a can of coke, your sunglasses,or nothing. I was there forfive months and people were dyingfrom starvation all around andclans were fighting each other.In the book there is a story abouta 12-year-old boy trying to kill me.For nothing. His gun was practicallyas big as he was. And I yelledat him, “I could be your mother.”And other gunmen around actuallytook his gun away from him. It wasa gamble, but it turned out OK.AR: And how was southern Sudan?How did you even get in there?Avakian: I was in Nairobi, Kenya,and wanted to cover Sudan, wherethe famine was getting worse. Witha few journalist friends we renteda little plane, with Time magazineand Reuters splitting the costs.We went and spent some timein Ayod, this tragic village with theIrish aid group Concern. The peoplewere starving to death therein large numbers. And the axle onthe plane breaks as it hits a hole inthe earthen landing strip on takeoffand we wait for another plane.And then we fly to this other village,Yuai, to photograph the rebel chiefand his guerilla fighters.The writers, including the Timecorrespondent, did their interviewsand they said “we are done”straight after they finished their interviewwith the commander. Andthe United Nations [people] said,“we are done too,” because theycould not operate anymore withthe front line getting so close.All the aid agencies left and Istayed along with two other journalistsbecause I did not have my storyyet. (In addition to starving civiliansI needed to cover the rebels.)I finally got out of there after beingstranded with no way out aftermy work was done, when an aidplane dropped some bags of foodand I jumped aboard. But all thepeople of that village were massacreda couple of weeks later if theywere too weak to run. I can neverforget them.From violence todialogueNow, for many years I no longercover open conflicts. By the timeNational Geographic first hired mein 1995 I felt I was really done. I hadseen too many funerals and I feltlucky to be in one piece.But before that, [covering conflicts]was my job and my calling.Starting with the Haitian uprisingagainst Jean-Claude Duvalier in1986 and through 1995, I was coveringconflicts.But I am still interested in revolutionsand revolutionary societiesare fascinating. And I love culture.I am always interested in coveringthe other side.What I think I havelearned is that all overthe world people wantto feed their families,they want freedom ofspeech and security,they want respect.Iran, for example, is fascinatingfor all those reasons. It is a very oldculture, by now also an old revolutionand also a long-time enemy ofthe United States.It is very interesting to go to theother side and capture the humanityof people. How they get up in themorning and have breakfast. Howthey dress. How they worship, whatevertheir religion. All these thingshumanize the other side and this isespecially important in a post 9/11world of deep misunderstandings.Because then I feel like there is achance for dialogue.AR: The recently elected PresidentBarack Obama has beentalking about the need for dialoguewith the Muslim world. Havingspent so much time in that world,what advice can you offer?Avakian: I am not an advocate.I always try to cover both sides. Ithink that is my duty as a reporter.What I think I have learned isthat all over the world people wantto feed their families, they wantfreedom of speech and security,they want respect. This is what allpeople share.Now, looking back at the manyconflict areas I covered it seemseconomics are at the root of manyconflicts. People need to have anopportunity to make a living, toprotect their families, and to builda decent life.fAlexandra Avakian is a senior member ofthe prestigious Contact Press Images, agency: Avakian’s National Geographic blog,book, gallery, bio and more visit:

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009NationalCOAF, Cascade Credit equip villagers to helpby Armen HakobyanARMAVIR, Armenia – The principleis to teach people how to fish,rather than simply passing outfish. That is the basis of the Childrenof Armenia Fund’s project offacilitating loans to the populationof Armenia’s rural communities.Last year, Cascade Credit, workingwith COAF, provided loans to businessesin six communities in theArmavir province: Argina, Dalarik,Lernagog, Karakert, Miasnikian,and Shenik.As a journalist for the past 15years, I have had the opportunityto become acquainted with variousprojects implemented in Armeniancommunities throughoutthe country and their results. In allthose communities where peoplereceived only fish, over time theygot used to begging for help. Whenthe charitable assistance vanished,there was virtually no qualitativeimprovement in their living conditions.The situation is completely differentwhere fishing rods are providedand people are taught howto fish. The new fishers treat theaid and its results with particularcare, maintain their pride, and justas importantly, learn how to usetheir hands and heads and earntheir daily bread by the sweat oftheir brows instead of constantlydepending on outside help.Perhaps the experience of theseobservations was the motive for myaccepting to go with COAF employeesto those villages within theirprogram to get acquainted withthe results of the project that wasbegun a year ago. I wanted to seethose villagers who had receivedloans and perhaps learn of theirsuccesses. I was happily surprised.Tractor driver Hakob Yengibarianis 38 years old and has an 18year old son, Hmayak, who willsoon be drafted into military service.Hakob also has another son,Nerses, and a daughter, Ani. As isthe way in the villages, Hakob andhis wife Anna share the worriesof the household with the entirefamily – all their children.The burden is not small. “Wecultivate land. We have a fivehectareplot and cultivate it all byourselves,” said Hakob and added,“It is OK, we are not complaining,it is very good. Comparedto last year it is very good now. Ihave bought a bull calf and haveincreased the animal population.Now we have seven bull calves,four dairy cows, and pigs. I havebeen able to develop through thisloan. I learned about this loanthrough our villagers and took aone-year loan. What have I done?Hakob Yengibarian with his tractor. Photos: Armen Hakobyan for theArmenian Reporter.Hakob YengibarianI will tell you: I bought two typesof seeds: barley and alfalfa; fourbull calves, two tires for the tractor;and paid for the agriculturalworks. This was a great supportas I already had the land, but Idid not have the money to work it,but when I took the loan thingsbegan to move forward. I mustrepay the loan in three years, butI have already managed to return400 thousand drams of the onemillion. I think I should be able toreturn it all very easily. Thanks toGod, and success to all those whoare implementing this project.”We get to know Hakob’s andAnna’s farm and the bull calvesand before saying goodbye, posefor a group photograph with thefamily and the pleasant employeesof COAF who have already becomemembers of the family ofthis formerly socially vulnerableand now successful farmer. fSuccessful formula:a good idea + clevercalculationWhile the car maneuvered the Yerevan-Armavirhighway, I chattedwith Ovsanna Yeghoyan, headof COAF projects. “The main aimof the cooperation between ourorganization and Cascade Creditis to increase the accessibility ofloans in rural communities. Eightmonths before the spring of 2008,when, together with CascadeCredit, we announced this cooperation,we had already developedthis joint loan initiative, which istruly unprecedented in Armeniafor rural communities. Loans areprovided on favorable terms, 11 to14 percent over 1 to 7 years. Theloan project is advantageous forrural residents as it offers an opportunityto receive a loan by puttingtheir property and machineryas collateral. The interest rate forwomen is 11.5 percent,” Mr. Yeghoyansaid. She also noted that theperson who receives the loan candevelop a flexible timetable withCascade Credit for repayment ofthe loan, taking into considerationthe specificity of the agriculturalseason.Ms. Yeghoyan noted that COAFbegan its work in the village ofKarakert. Having succeeded inrestoring and renovating infrastructure(including water pipelines,schools, and mobile healthclinics), COAF began in 2006 toextend the geographic coverage ofits activities. Using the principleof clustering, for three years nowthe foundation has been implementingthe Model Village Clusterproject.Cascade Capital (which is ownedby the Cafesjian Family Foundation,with which this newspaper isaffiliated) invested $1 million in theloan project.Initially about 100 villagersshowed interest in borrowing.Soon after the number of applicantsreached 340. Understandably,loans could not be allocated to everyoneand those applicants whopresented the more convincingprojects and could ensure repaymentof the loan, were accepted.Luisa SaroyanLuisa Saroyan. is a resident of Shenik.This 50-year-old woman fromGyumri, who has resided in Shenikfor 25 years, manages to keep hersmile and strength, even thoughher troubles are also not few. Thefact that for the past several yearsher husband has been ill is a greatsorrow for both her unemployedhusband and the members of herfamily. She has a large family: twosons, two daughters-in-law, andat present two grandchildren. Thefarm is also large: two and a halfhectares of land, dozens of bullcalves, about 100 lambs, sheep,pigs, and more.“We learned about the loan lastyear. People treated us politely,cordially, and kindly,” said Mrs.Saroyan only after setting the tablewith sweets and fruits for us.“They gave us 4 million drams. Wehad livestock and bought somemore. We have already repaid halfa million of it and soon we will repayanother half million. In otherwords, we do not have problemswith repayment. We sold the bullKhachatur AvetisianOfelia AvoyanOfelia Avoyan from the neighboringvillage of Karakert has alsotaken out a loan from this project.She has taken out a 3,000,000dram loan to be repaid in fouryears. Mrs. Avoyan, a former employeeat the Community Hall,has taken out the loan in orderto open a shop in the village nextto her house. She has opened asmall but, by village standards,medium-sized shop, startingfrom scratch. “I have been operatingthe shop for four months now.My income is sufficient and thisis where my family income comesfrom. Of course, there were risksin opening a shop, but this is theonly shop in this part of the village.After a while I saw that itwas profitable. I work within thelaw. We manage to keep our headsabove water and repay the loanwith this shop,” she told us. fSocially vulnerablevillager + correct loan+ work = successfulfarmerThe Shenik village of Armavirmarz entered the 21st century withits 1,000 residents without pipeddrinking water; it did not have pipeddrinking water during the SovietLuisa Saroyan with her farm animals.calves and bought sheep. We stillhave 30 bull calves, 2 cows, threesows, two of which will soon givebirth. The repayment terms areadvantageous, especially sincethey surprised us on the occasionof Mothers Day on April 7 – myloan has the lowest interest rateKhachatur Avetisian’s lavash bakery. Photo: COAF.Fifty-five-year-old Khachatur Avetisian,a resident of the village ofMiasnikian, has taken out a loanequivalent to about $10,000. Hehas used it for multiple purposes:furnishing his shop and increasingthe product range and opening alavash bakery. “We are very gratefulfor this loan. I have met manypeople who have taken out loans,but the loans provided by CascadeCredit are the most advantageousbecause of their interest rates.Their attitude is also very kind. Ido not use a single penny of thatloan for other purposes. I have twochildren, each of them has twosons, my mother is still alive, thankGod. We all work together, all ofus. In the beginning we wanted touse the loan to establish vineyards.However, when I received the moneythe seasons had already passed.We will try to implement that projectthis year. But one thing is clearto me: the loan is not a burden tous. For a hard-working man thoseOfelia Avoyan in her brand new store.years either. Today, as in the past,their drinking water is “imported”;it is brought and delivered to the villagersby tanker. Currently 40 litersof water sells for 200 drams. For domesticuse, the villagers use the waterfrom wells in their gardens.The representatives of COAF tellme that of the 107 loans, only twofaced difficulty. This means that for105 cases the project has succeededin its mission.fat 11 percent. We have used ourland and bull calves as collateral.I will say this: if you take out aloan and use it correctly and notfor buying sweets or furniture, ifyou work hard and with enthusiasm,you will profit. In our case,our whole family works.” fterms are not a burden,” said Mr.Avetisian with a contented smile,while showing us the newly constructedand fully operating bakerywith pride.f

6 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009CommunityMY NAME ISARMENA special date andcause for celebrationaeuna to salute Rev. BernardGuekguezian for 55 years of serviceby ArmenBaconArmenian Reporter columnist Armen D.Bacon is senior director for communicationsand public relations for the FresnoCounty Office. Ms. Bacon lives in Fresno,California, and is a wife, mother, professionalwoman, and writer. Since 2004,her thoughts and reflections about lifehave been published in the “Valley Voices”section of The Fresno Bee as well asthe Armenian Reporter. She also writes,produces, and hosts a radio series titled“Live, Laugh, Love” on Fresno’s K-jewel99.3 radio. She can be reached at call it our “Thursday NightDate.” After 33 years of marriage,it’s still an evening of romanceand heavy breathing when justthe two of us wine and dine, discussanything and everything,and celebrate our joint venture ashusband and wife. No matter howbusy our calendars might be andregardless of what the week haspiled onto our plates, we’re homeby six, spruced up by seven, andon our way out the door to a favoriterestaurant. For those nexttwo or three hours – it’s strictlyall about us. We share appetizersand entrees, thoughts and reflections,hopes and dreams, andthen finish off the evening withdessert. No calorie counting, nointerruptions – just time for thetwo of us to be together. The waitstaff knows to seat us in a quiet,private corner; our friends andfamily know not to intrude, andour Thursday night ritual has becomeeven more filling than thefood that is served at our table.In recent weeks, the conversationhas focused on a new chapterof life that is about to begin. Myhusband Dan is turning 60. By thetime this goes to print, it will be adone deal. To thwart off the depression,I have kept a close vigilby his side, constantly whisperingin his ear, “Don’t worry honey, 60is the new 40.” I think the harshestreality is just coming to termswith the amazing passage of time.It seems that only minutes agowe were newlyweds. He was freshout of law school and introducingme to his family. Before long, wewere birthing babies and raisinga family. Now, in the blink of aneye, life has fast-forwarded whilethe mailman delivers those ridiculousmailings from aarp (whichby the way, go directly into thegarbage can). Where has the timegone? How can my 26-year-oldboyfriend and fiancé be on thecusp of 60?I’d tell you to ask him, buthis buddies kidnapped him earliertoday and flew him to thecoast for a couple of rounds ofgolf. He called home at dinnertimeand you should have heardthe commotion – the noise levelwas obnoxiously loud and theywere laughing and howling likeimmature schoolboys – whichwas actually kind of cute. I probablysounded more like a motherthan a wife with my reaction. Itold him to have fun, please drivecarefully, buckle up for safetyand return home in one piece.After all – we have some seriouscelebrating to do this weekendand I’d hate for him to miss hisown party.While he perhaps is dreadingthis passage, I must admit thatI love birthdays, especially whenthey belong to those around me.Let’s face it - it’s the one time duringthe year when we have cause topause. This weekend, as my hubbyaccustoms himself to the big 6-0,we will sip champagne, fine dine– this time with an entourage ofclose friends, indulge ourselveswith a decadent cake, chocolate ofcourse, and the grandkids will arrivejust in time to climb onto hislap, sneak a finger full of frosting,and help him extinguish the blazingnumber of candles that adornhis birthday cake. I promise you,he’ll be in seventh heaven fromthat moment on. After everyoneleaves, we’ll turn down the lights,get into our sweats and take acandid look back on our lives. Inthe midst of all the reminiscing,we will marvel at the strengthand stamina of our longstandinglove affair.There will be one confession.I will apologize for not havingbought him a gift on this momentousoccasion. I admit he deservesthe moon. I’ll explain how I contemplateddevoting this entire columnto him – maybe transformingit to a gushy, romantic love letterfor the world to see, you know, asa personal declaration of my lovefor him, but I know it would haveembarrassed him to Hye heaven.Armenian men tend to be very privatewhen it comes to matters ofthe heart. I’ll share with him thatanother thought had also crossedmy mind - I was going to reformatthis column and create a list of the60 reasons why I adore him. Kindof corny, I know. And the editorswould most certainly have balked.[Maybe not. –Ed.] And knowingme, I would have run the list uppast 60, undoubtedly exceedingmy designated number of columninches. So that option was out ofthe question.Time is running short. WhileI search for resolve, I think I’lljust sit here and do some streamof consciousness writing, allowmy fingers to free associate onthe keyboard and fill the screenwith a collection of special momentsand memories that we haveshared through the years. I’ll printthem out, using a favorite font.Seeing this on paper will confirmmy hunch that I’m the luckiestwoman on the face of the planet.In a quiet moment between nowand the cake cutting ceremony, I’llshow it to him. And apologize onelast time for the fact that there isno tangible gift.But gift or no gift, it’s time tocelebrate – his life, our love andeverything in-between. As the sayinggoes, let them eat cake. So if Imay excuse myself – I’ve got to runout, order that cake and purchasesome candles. Lots of them. Afterall, Dan, my heartthrob, the man ofthe hour, is turning 60! FRESNO, Calif. – A hemisphericconvocation will salute a CentralCalifornia cleric for 55 years of pastoralministry in the Old and NewWorlds.The Armenian Evangelical Unionof North America will pay tributeto Reverend Bernard AsadoorGuekguezian for a half-centuryand half-decade of Gospel servicearound the globe.The milestone celebration willtake place at a gala banquet onSaturday, March 21, beginning at 6p.m. The banquet venue is the FellowshipHall of Fresno’s First ArmenianPresbyterian Church, 430South First Street at HuntingtonBoulevard.Banquet sponsorships, whichinclude multiple dinner tickets,are also available. Ticket orderingand other celebration informationis available by calling Edward andRoseann Saliba at 1-559-323-5502.The youngest of nine children,Reverend Guekguezian was bornnear Antioch, Turkey, in the summerof 1927. After attending localschools, he immigrated to theMiddle East in 1939 for furtherstudies at Armenian Evangelicaleducational institutions in Beirut,Lebanon and the Aleppo College ofSyria.He completed a combined courseof study at the American UniversityNEW YORK – Three notedprofessors from Yale, Emory, andColumbia Universities will addressvarious themes from PeterBalakian’s bestselling memoirBlack Dog of Fate, and Mr. Balakianhimself will present a reading fromthe new tenth anniversary editionof the book at a Columbia ArmenianCenter event on Friday evening,March 27, in New York City.Jay Winter from Yale and WalterKalaidjian of Emory are the twomain speakers, and Hamid Dabashiof Columbia will be servingas emcee.Black Dog of Fate has been incontinuous print since its publication,having gone through 24 printings.It received great publicity inAmerican media, including reviewsin many major newspapers like theNew York Times, and discussionson television programs like CharlieRose. University courses in variousparts of the United States usethis work, sometimes as a requiredtext. It has helped spread publicknowledge and discussion of theArmenian Genocide in this countryand abroad in a way that more formalacademic monographs cannot.Written with the style and insightof a poet, it remains personal andaccessible while dealing with issuesof violence, genocide, and nationalismthat continue to haunt theworld to this day. Mr. Balakian’swork no doubt has been one of anumber of factors leading to aof Beirut and the Near East Schoolof Theology in 1952, earning a bachelorof arts degree and a diploma intheology.Rev. Guekguezian served as alicensed pastor at the ArmenianEvangelical Church of Alexandria,Egypt, for two years and then cameto the United States for additionalministerial training. He studiedat Fuller Theological Seminary inPasadena and New York TheologicalSeminary, where he earned amaster of arts degree in Christianeducation.The Congregational Conferenceof Massachusetts ordained Guekguezianas a minister in 1959. Thatsame year he was called to serveas pastor of America’s oldest Armeniancongregation – the ArmenianCongregational Church of the Martyrsin Worcester, Massachusetts.During his seven-year tenure inthat pulpit, he engaged in doctoralstudies in modern European historyat Clark University.In 1966, Reverend Guekguezianaccepted a call to the ArmenianPresbyterian Church of Paramus,New Jersey, where he served for adozen inspiring years. On December10, 1978, he was installed as thetenth pastor of Fresno’s First ArmenianPresbyterian Church, theoldest Armenian religious institutionin California and the boyhoodgreater awareness and understandingof the events of the ArmenianGenocide in the West in the last decadeor so. Important public figureslike Samantha Power have reliedon Mr. Balakian’s work as a sourcefor their own writing.Black Dog of Fate has just comeout in an enlarged edition, twelveyears after its original publication,which includes two new chaptersabout Aleppo and Der Zor. So thisis an appropriate time to step backand examine this important contemporarywork and its continuinginfluence. The participants in theprogram at Columbia are well preparedfor this task.Mr. Winter is the Charles J. StilleProfessor of History at Yale University.A specialist on World WarI and its impact on the twentiethcentury, Mr. Winter is the authoror co-author of a dozen books, andthe editor of many more, includingAmerica and the Armenian Genocideof 1915.Mr. Kalaidjian is professor ofEnglish at Emory University. Heis the author of four books on20th-century American literature,and is the editor of the CambridgeCompanion to American Modernism.His research and teaching focuson transnational modern andcontemporary literature and culturespecializing in poetics, criticaltheory, and psychoanalysis. He hasexamined poetry on the ArmenianGenocide, including Mr. Balakian’scongregation of authors WilliamSaroyan and A.I. Bezzerides.Reverend Guekguezian’s ministryat the Fresno church was markedby outreach to native Californiansas well as to Armenian émigrésfrom the Near East and Republic ofArmenia. At the conclusion of hisrecord 22 years in the pulpit, theFresno congregation named himpastor emeritus.In addition to his pastoral duties,Rev. Guekguezian has servedmultiple terms as moderator ofthe aeuna, vice-president of theArmenian Evangelical World Council,vice-president of the ArmenianTheological Students’ Aid, Inc.,and member of the Presbytery ofSan Joaquin Committee on NewChurch Development.He is married to the former KnarKazanjian of Aleppo, and theyhave two sons, Reverend Ara RichardGuekguezian of Fresno andAsbed Bernard Guekguezian ofWest Newton, Massachusetts, aswell as five grandchildren.Headquartered in Glendale, California,the aeuna is an ecclesiasticalconfederation of ArmenianProtestant churches, missions, andfellowships in the United States andCanada. Reverend Joseph Matossianis minister to the union andReverend Avedis Boynerian isthe moderator.Scholars to analyze Black Dog of Fateworks, in The Edge of Modernism:American Poetry and the TraumaticPast.Mr. Dabashi is the Hagop KevorkianProfessor of Iranian Studiesand Comparative Literatureat Columbia University in NewYork. Professor Dabashi has written18 books, and edited four. Hiswritings are on subjects includingIranian studies, medieval and modernIslam, comparative literature,world cinema, and the philosophyof art (trans-aesthetics). A committedteacher for nearly three decades,Mr. Dabashi is also a publicspeaker around the globe, a currentaffairs essayist, and a staunch antiwaractivist.Mr. Balakian is the Donald M.and Constance H. Rebar Professorof the Humanities at Colgate University,and author of several booksof poetry and literary criticism, aswell as New York Times bestseller,The Burning Tigris, which won the2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize. Soonhis co-translation of ArchbishopKrikoris Balakian’s seminal memoir,Armenian Golgotha, will be publishedby Alfred A. Knopf.The evening program will beginat 6 p.m. with a reception withmeze at Columbia University’s InternationalAffairs Building Room1501 (Kellogg Center), at 420 W. 118St. Admission is free.connect:arkuna@earthlink.netLooking for the best and the brightest?Help Wanted with the Armenian 818-955-8407

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009 7Communityucla to host major conference on Armenian studiesLOS ANGELES – The Societyfor Armenian Studies will markits 35th anniversary with a majorconference titled, “ArmenianStudies at a Threshold.” The enigmatictitle may reflect the broadnature of the conference, whichwill cover everything from medievalliterature, arts, history, andculture to sexual allegories inArmenian literature, from Armeniansin early modern east centralEurope to research on the contemporaryArmenian diaspora.All these themes and much morewill be covered between Thursday,March 26 and Saturday, March 28at the ucla campus.Over 40 papers are to be deliveredconsecutively. In addition, a 12-member panel will discuss the stateof Armenian studies in the UnitedStates. An architectural exhibit willbe held in conjunction with theconference.The conference will bring togethermost – though not all – of themajor scholars who study thingsArmenian, and many of the newergeneration of scholars.The proceedings will end with abanquet on Saturday night. Pastpractice suggests that ProfessorRichard G. Hovannisian will givebanquet attendees, many of whomwill have missed the conference,a summary of all the papers presented.ContemporaryArmenian diasporaA panel chaired by Khachig Tölölyan,the leading scholar of diasporas,will focus on the contemporaryArmenian diaspora. The discussantis the prominent anthropologistAram Yengoyan.Sossie Kasbarian (Geneva)will seek to “reinvigorate” the conceptof diaspora with a focus onthe Armenian case. Susan Pattie(London) will ask of 21st-centuryArmenians, “Is Anyone Paying Attention?”Anny Bakalian, who dida survey of Armenian-Americansin the New York metro area in thelate 1980s and wrote a book basedon the results, will now focus on“Assimilation and Identity amongArmenian Americans in the 21stCentury.” Additional papers willfocus on France and Canada (AidaBoudjikanian, Montreal) and Argentina(Nelida Boulghourdjian,Buenos Aires,).Sexual perversionA panel, “Between Perversion andRepresentation: Sexual Allegoriesin Armenian Literature,” will bechaired by Rubina Peroomian,who will also serve as discussant.The panelists – Tamar Boyadjian,Talar Chahinian, MyrnaDouzjian, and Lilit Keshishyan– all women affiliated with ucla,will look at works by Grigor Tgha,Vorpuni, Nigoghos Sarafian, ShahanShanur, Gurgen Khanjian, anda woman, Violet Grigorian.Church politics andidentityIn what promises to be a well-attendedpanel, Ara Sanjian (Universityof Michigan, Dearborn)will speak on “The British ForeignOffice, the Church of England, andthe Crisis in the Armenian Churchat Antelias, 1956–1963.” MarlenEordegian (Vanderbilt University)will discuss the Armenian Patriarchateof Jerusalem in a paper titled,“Straddling Religion and Politics.”Paul Werth (Univ. of Nevada,Las Vegas), will discuss the Churchin czarist Russia. Abraham Terian(St. Nersess Seminary) will occupythe chair.Adana 1909 and theGenocideGeorge Shirinian of the ZoryanInstitute will chair a panel titled,“New Perspectives on the ArmenianGenocide.” It will feature TanerAkçam (Clark Univ.), who willspeak about Ottoman documentsand genocidal intent, Janet Klein(Univ. of Akron), who will focus onKurds, her area of expertise, LernaEkmekcioğlu (nyu), who will discusssexual violence as a “marker”during and after the Genocide,and Vahram Shemmassian (csu-Northridge), who will discuss therescue of captive Genocide survivorsin 1919–21.Professor Hovannisian will chaira panel on the Adana massacresof 100 years ago. The three panelistsare to include Dr. Peroomian,Ohannes Kılıçdağı (Istanbul),and Bedross Der Matossian(Cambridge, Mass.)The state of the artThe panel on the state of Armenianstudies will be chaired by MarcMamigonian (naasr). Panelistsare to be Prof. Akçam, Jirair Libaridianand Kevork Bardakjian(Ann Arbor), Prof. Hovannisian andS. Peter Cowe (ucla), RichardHrair Dekmejian (usc), BarlowDer Mugrdechian (csu-Fresno),Roberta Ervine (St. Nersess Seminary),Christina Maranci (TuftsUniv.), Simon Payaslian (BostonUniv.), Prof. Sanjian, and Prof. Shemmassian.Other panels will cover: Medieval literature andthe arts (featuring Theo van Lintand Robert Thomson, both of OxfordUniv., Sona Haroutyunian ofVenice, and Andrea Scala of Milan– who is dedicating a whole paper tothe name of the Latin language inClassical Armenian) Medieval history and culture(Anne Elizabeth Redgate ofNewcastle Univ., chair, Sergio LaPorta, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, Sara Nur Yıldız, Bilgi Univ., andTom Sinclair, Univ. of Cyprus) Armenian history as connectedhistory (Houri Berberian,CSU-Long Beach, chair, SebouhAslanian, Univ. of Michigan, AnnArbor – on world history’s challengeto Armenian studies – Prof. Cowe,Rachel Goshgarian, Zohrab Center,New York, and Elyse Semerdjian,Whitman College – on theArmenians of Ottoman Aleppo) Economy, Society, andCulture of Early Modern East CentralEurope, 14th–19th centuries(George Bournoutian, Iona College,chair, Andreas Helmedachand Bálint Kovács, Leipzig, andJudit Pál, Romania. Bálint Kovácsand Judit Pál will discuss Armeniansin Transylvania) Contemporary Armenia(Hovann Simonian, usc, chair;Khatchik Der Ghougassian,Buenos Aires, on “Market Fundamentalism,Economic Hardship,and Social Protest in Armenia”;Konrad Siekierski, Poland, “Nationand Faith, Past and Present:The Contemporary Discourse ofthe Armenian Apostolic Church inArmenia”; Tamara Tonoyan, NationalInstitute of Health, Yerevan,“hiv/aids in Armenia: Migrationas a Socio-Economic and CulturalComponent of Women’s Risk Settings”;Anahid Keshishian-Aramouni,ucla, “Inknagir Magazine:Frivolous Iconoclasm or Markerof Artistic Liberty?”; GregoryAreshian, ucla, Pavel Avetisyan,and Armine Hayrapetyan, Yerevan,“Archaeology in Post-SovietArmenia: New Discoveries, Problems,and Perspectives”Armenians, World WarII, and Repatriation (BarbaraMerguerian, chair; Levon Thomassian,csu-Northridge, SevanYousefian, ucla, and JoanneLaycock, University of Manchester,on various aspects of repatriation;Vartan Matiossian on combatingracial views during the firsthalf of the 20th century; GregoryAftandilian on World War II as anenhancer of Armenian-Americansecond generation identity; andAstrig Atamian, inalco, on Armeniancommunists in France. For the full schedule, visit—V.L.Visit us at

8 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009CommunityVartkes L. Broussalian, Ph.D., dies at 80White Houseeconomist andpublic policy advisorserved four U.S.presidentsGRANADA HILLS – VartkesL. Broussalian, Ph.D., of GranadaHills, Calif., died peacefully on February22, two days before his 81stbirthday.Dr. Broussalian was a brillianteconomist trained at the LondonSchool of Economics and ucla; hiscareer spanned more than half acentury. His dissertation providedadditional support for the groundbreakinghypothesis that individualssystematically underestimatethe rate of inflation, resulting inthe redistribution of wealth fromcreditors to debtors. Later he contributedto the development of anew field in economics, called PublicChoice, extending economic theoryto the analysis of governmentdecision-making. In his subsequentcareer in government, he specializedin the application of economictheory and econometric techniquesto establish the consequences of alternativeeconomic policies.He held senior-level positionsin various branches of the UnitedStates government, starting at theCenter for Naval Analyses, movingto the National Bureau of Standards,and then to the White HouseOffice of Management and Budget,where he served for 20 years. Heprovided analysis and guidanceon national policy ranging fromconsumer safety to gas rationing(during the 1970s gas crisis) to watersupply issues. He served in theJohnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, andReagan administrations.He had a second career in academiaand as a foreign-governmentadvisor. He taught and conductedresearch at several major universitiesincluding Duke, ucla, csuNorthridge, and the American Universityof Armenia. He consultedfor the newly formed democraticgovernments of Armenia and Moldovain the early 1990s, providingguidance on public policy and organization.Throughout his career, his colleaguesrespected his intellectualaptitude and appreciated his warm,endearing manner. His refinedcivility was evident and openedmany doors of cooperation andunderstanding; these qualitiesmade him an effective member ofany team. Known as a “careful anddeep thinker,” he was regarded as asource of informed and stimulatingdialogue by his peers. His impacton others was subtle, but sure.Dr. Broussalian also dedicatedboth his time and energy to Armeniancauses and community. He wasone of the original founders of theVartkes L. Broussalian, Ph.D. (1928-2009).Armenian Assembly of America aswell as a longtime supporter of theNational Association for ArmenianStudies and Research, Friends ofucla Armenian Language and CultureStudies, arpa Institute, and theAmerican University of Armenia.In recent years, he spent timewriting opinion papers and articleson current topics in economics, visitingthe public library and readingbooks encompassing a wide varietyof topics. He also enjoyed hislifelong passion listening to his favoriteoperas, attending opera performances,and becoming a masterbuilder of model war ships.Dr. Broussalian, a U.S. citizenof Armenian descent, was born in1928 in the town of Ramleh in whatwas then Palestine. His parents, Levonand Zepure, had survived theArmenian Genocide of 1915 in OttomanTurkey and had fled to Palestineto start a new life. In 1956, hemet and married Marie ThereseHassoun, who, after completingher master’s degree at ColumbiaUniversity, had recently returnedhome to Beirut to do research atthe American University of Beirut,where Vartkes was teaching at thetime. Very soon after marrying,they moved to the United Statesfor graduate studies and to builda new life. The couple was marriedfor 52 years.More than his dedication to hisprofessional career, Dr. Broussalianwas devoted to his immediate andlarge extended family. He is survivedby his wife Marie Therese,sons James (Beth) of San Diegoand Levon (Shannon) of ShermanOaks, and daughter CynthiaTusan (Robert) of Laguna Niguel.As the adoring “Medz Baba” (grandfather),he will be deeply missed byhis four grandchildren: Melanieand Michael Broussalian, andChristopher and Aline Tusan.He died before the birth of hisfifth grandchild. Dr. Broussalian issurvived by his mother, Zepure,who will be 104 in April, brotherDr. Sarkis Broussalian (Cathy),and sister Alice Minassian. Hisextended family includes many lovingnieces and nephews and theirfamilies.He will be remembered as a highlyintelligent, kindhearted gentlemanwith boundless determinationto learn more about the worldaround him. Even in his illness, hecontinued to study new ideas, learnrecent technology, and understandthe causes and effects of his battlewith cancer. In his last weeks he declared,“I think I will start readingfor enjoyment now.”Dr. Broussalian’s family expressedits gratitude to the leadingteam of sarcoma specialistswho treated him at ucla’s JonssonComprehensive Cancer Center.At his request, a luncheon celebratinghis life will be held April18 at the ucla Faculty Center, 480Charles Young Drive, Los Angeles,at 11:00 am. Inquiries and rsvpsmay be made to donations canbe made to Junior AchievementWorldwide f/b/o Junior Achievementof Armenia (1102 N. BrandBlvd., #61, Glendale California91202) or to ucla Foundation-DavidianFund c/o Friends of uclaArmenian Language and CultureStudies (PO Box 1372, Glendale, CA91209) or the National Associationfor Armenian Studies andResearch ( Gregory Ketabjian to offer apsychosocial analysis of theAdana massacres of 1909MISSION HILLS, Calif. – TheArarat-Eskijian Museum and theNational Association for ArmenianStudies and Research will presenta lecture by Dr. Gregory Ketabjian,“The Adana Massacres: A PsychosocialAnalysis,” with comments byR. Hrair Dekmejian, professor ofpolitical science and director, uscInstitute of Armenian Studies, onSunday, March 15, at 4:00 p.m., atthe museum, 15105 Mission HillsRd, Mission Hills, Calif.Drawing on Hagop Terzian’spersonal account of the Adanamassacres, The Catastrophe of Cilicia(published 1912), Dr. Ketabjianwill explore the use of social andpsychological methods by whichthe instigators of the 1909 Adanamassacres influenced averagepeople to commit torture, murder,and genocidal acts. He will alsodraw on more recent psychologicalexperiments and on comparisonswith the testimonies of participantsin the Mai Lai massacre duringthe Vietnam War and more recentabuses in Abu Ghraib in Iraq andGuantánamo Bay.Having watched his pharmacygo up in smoke and having lost hisnewborn son during the Adanamassacres, Hagop Terzian movedto Constantinople and opened anew pharmacy called Adana. A psychosocialexplanation of humanbehavior may be seen as a meansto demonstrate the reasons for theevents that culminated in the ArmenianGenocide in 1915, as well as anexplanation for the Turkish government’songoing policy of denial. Abetter knowledge among the publicabout these processes may help toprevent future genocides from beinginitiated, the museum and naasrsuggested in a news release. connect:1-818-838-4862mgoschin@mindspring.comLet us know what’s on your mind.Write to us

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009 9CommunityArt in the marketInstallation invitesvisitors to “walkwith the ancestors”by Lou Ann MatossianMINNEAPOLIS – While helpingher daughter research a schoolproject on the Armenian Genocide,artist Jackie Hayes was inspiredto create a work of her own. “Iam always thinking about how toframe the Genocide with my children,”says Ms. Hayes, who is of Armeniandescent, as she shares twohistoric images. “There are only afew of these photos in existence,and since my childhood, they havebeen an important part of whatholds the truth of the Genocideand are therefore laden with a specialsignificance for me.“I carry these kinds of imagesand sensations with me as I walkthrough my day to day,” she adds.“I am pretty sure this particularsensation – walking with my Armenianpast – is experienced uniquelyfor Armenians, though I know thegeneral notion of walking amongancestors is shared with other cultures.”Ms. Hayes’ installation forShadows,which continues throughMarch 21, invites visitors to “walkwith the ancestors” into the multiculturalspace of the MidtownGlobal Market, juxtaposing thewisdom of Armenian folklore withthe life and work experiences of thevendors and staff, many of whomare recent immigrants.A black shroud covers the entranceto the cavelike space, whichis bathed in an eerie green light. Anarc of skull-like face masks near thefloor, overlaid with a jumpy alternatingprojection of grainy blackand-whitephotos, creates an otherworldly,but not entirely somber,first impression.Wondering how others strugglewith their own complicated culturalidentities, Ms. Hayes occupied acorner of the Marketplace duringthe months of January and February,building her installation whileconversing with Marketplace workers.Their wisdom and knowledge,revealed in snippets of conversationprojected on a wall, suggestcommonalities with an Armenianproverb, rewritten in a spiral typographyrotating slowly overhead.“As I developed this piece andbegan to think about walking withancestors, I made the decision tocreate a work that would speak towhere I come from emotionally/spiritually in respect to my ancestors,”the artist explains. “Just asimportant, I created an avenue tospeak to the place of possibility– of transformation – where we canlook forward rather than back aswe walk through our lives as Armenians.I have used the metaphor ofthe earth, the horizon, and the skyas a way into representing thosewho came before us, those withwhom we walk, and places we aimto reach outside/above that whichwe are given.”Most recently a member of thefaculty in Goddard College’s MFAInterdisciplinary Arts program,Ms. Hayes has been an artist andarts activist for over 20 years inNorthern California, San Francisco,New York, and now Minneapolis.Trained as a theater directorand theorist, she has directedmany pieces in collaboration withplaywrights and performance artists.As the founder of the Minneapolis’Center for Performing Arts,Ms. Hayes spent 12 years managingdozens of artists and hundreds ofIn forShadows by Jackie Hayes, historic photographs of the Armenian Genocideby eyewitness Armin Wegner are projected over skull-like face masks, illuminatedin an eerie green. Melanie Heinrichstudents from different disciplines,as well as created performance festivalsin San Francisco and NewYork City.“Re-membering and re-constructingArmenian identity has been aconsistent theme in my work overthe past decade as I sort throughhow to honor and how to transformthe leftovers of genocide into anempowering experience,” she says.Guests will have a chance to experienceMs. Hayes’ work as theywalk through the exhibit installedin the northeast corner of the Market.forShadows will be open from 11a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday throughSaturday, and 5 p.m. through 8 p.m.Thursday through Saturday evenings.“I have given myself the flexibilityto keep this installation evolvingover the course of the monthso that I can shift, adjust, and addto the piece over time,” says Hayes.“My hope is that it functions as a vehiclefor contemplation and reflectionand in some way, through theThe wisdom ofan Armenianproverb, above,is juxtaposedwith snippetsof conversationin Jackie Hayes’installationforShadows.Melanie Heinrichlens of my own Armenian identity,bring us closer together.”, www.midtownglobalmarket.comor 1-612-872-4041

10 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009 11CommunityL-R: Anoush Gulian, Tanya Habibian, Alina Zoraian, Rita Khorozian, TalineRoyland, Derek Khorozian, Tatya Altunyan, Natalie Diratsaoglu.agau Alumni Associationoffers scholarshipsby June KashishianEAST RUTHERFORD – Thenext annual agau Alumni AssociationScholarship Awards Luncheonis scheduled for Sunday, June 28.The 46th annual agau AlumniAssociation Scholarship AwardsLuncheon was held on June 22,2008, at the Landmark II in EastRutherford, N.J. Over 150 peoplewere present to honor eight deservingArmenian-American highschool graduates. Honored alongwith the recipients was the IreneShenloogian Khorozian, whowas named agau Woman of theYear for her tireless efforts over thelast 20 years. The honoree has beenpresident of the organization honoringher since 2000.The scholarship committee memberschose the recipients out of dozensof students who applied for theaward. The committee is steered byJune Shenloogian Kashishian,Henry Hagopian, and FloraineHalejian. Over $11,000 was distributedto the graduates to attendthe college of their choice. The recipientswere Tatya Altunyan,University of Delaware; NatalieDiratsaoglu, The College of NewJersey; Anoush Gulian, RutgersUniversity; Tanya Habibian, TheCollege of New Jersey; DerekKhorozian, St. Thomas AquinasCollege; Rita Khorozian, WilliamPaterson University; Taline Royland,Monmouth College; AlinaZoraian, Quinnipiac University.After the awards were distributed,former recipient Raffi Khorozian,attorney at law and Paramus Boroughcivil prosecutor, spoke abouthis sister-in-law, Irene Khorozian,and how the agau helped him witha bond toward his college tuitionsome 20 years ago when he was astudent. He also spoke about howIrene Khorozian has been philanthropicall of her adult life andabout her volunteer work in hercommunity of Oradell, New Jersey.To date the agau Alumni hasawarded over $150,000 to deservinghigh school graduates. Anotheraward was made to scholarship recipientRita Khorozian, who wrotea spectacular essay on “What myArmenian Heritage means to me.”It was read by June Kashishian,and all those in attendance wereimpressed with the sentiments ofthe composition.Mrs. Kashishian, the emcee,spoke to the guests about the last60 years of the agau Alumni. Sheasked for the support of past recipientsand their extended families,in order to continue the group’smission.The Executive Board of the agauAlumni Association is made up ofIrene Khorozian, president; RoseKirian, vice president; DianeBurggraf and Alice Shenloogian,recording secretaries; MaryVarteresian, corresponding secretary;Grace Hagopian, treasurer;Shakeh McMahon, publicity/typing.To apply for a scholarship for2009, contact Irene Khorozian. connect:1-201-262-4625Visit us at the new reporter.amYou share the samecommunity.Discover what happenswhen you sharethe same experience.Let’s come together, and if onlyfor one day, unite in the fightagainst cancer. For moreinformation about Relay For Lifeor to join an event near you, call 1.800.ACS.2345.Paint the Town Purple incelebration of Relay For Life onMay 1, May Day For

12 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009CommunitySocial workers from Armenia to be trained in Boston areaCAMBRIDGE – The Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association, Inc.(cysca), has received a grant forthe training of 10 social workersfrom the regions of Armenia. Thegrant is sponsored and funded bythe usaid under its CommunityConnections program. The professionalsfrom Armenia will arrive inthe Boston area June 3, 2009, for anintensive three-week training programdeveloped by cysca aimedat the professional developmentof social-worker skills, especially inpractical applications of their work.The participants will be professionalsocial workers selected competitivelyfrom government agencies,ngos, and academic institutionsin Armenia. Social work inArmenia is relatively new, havingemerged as a public need since independencein 1991. Yet, while thereis adequate theoretical training inArmenia, there is a lack of practicalknowledge and experience in socialservices. The objectives of this projectinclude exposure to public/privatepartnerships; development ofneeds assessment capabilities, accountability,feedback, monitoringand evaluation techniques; fundingmechanisms; case managementand others. The overarching goalis to equip the participants withknowledge of how social servicesare conducted in the United Statesand to give them ideas and methodologiesthey may adapt in Armenia.Another important part of thetraining program is for cysca to assistthe participants in developingaction plans they can implement inArmenia.The training program organizedby cysca will be its 18th CommunityConnections project for Armenianprofessionals since 1997.Previous programs have focusedon a wide variety of themes suchas business, public health, environment,education, tourism andtourism education, business, historicpreservation, public health,employment, aviation management,museum management andtheater management. Knowledgeand ideas acquired by the participantshave been shared in Armeniawith a wider audience throughfollow-on programs organized byCommunity Connections alumniassisted by cysca, examples ofwhich are: an Armenia Export Catalog,guidebooks Armenia InvestmentGuide, How to Finance YourBusiness, How to Start and Run YourBusiness in Armenia, business skillstraining program, export marketingseminar, environmental dictionary,environmental educationseminar, booklet of EnvironmentalGames for Children, transportationmanagement CD, statisticalsurvey of businesses in Armenia,business seminars/conferences,museum management conference,and others.“We are honored that the usaidhas again chosen cysca to host aCommunity Connections trainingproject for Armenia”, commentedJack Medzorian of cysca. “Weknow that our programs are successfulwhen we visit Armeniaand observe first hand that theknowledge and ideas that ouralumni take home are implementedin their own native country.At the same time, we also learnfrom them, so it is truly a twoway street”.In addition to conducting atraining program for the socialworkers, cysca will recruit hostfamilies to furnish home stays toexpose the participants to everydayhome life in the usa. Anyoneinterested in volunteering to hostshould contact cysca staff at thee-mail addresses below. Also, cyscawill include in its program an“Experience America” sightseeingcomponent to acquaint the participantswith the culture, history,and values of American society.The Community Connectionsprogram is sponsored by the U. S.Agency for International Development(usaid) and administeredby its programming agent WorldLearning, Inc. It is designed topromote public diplomacy throughthe exchange of cultural ideas andvalues among participants, U. S.families and local community hostorganizations. It seeks to establishand strengthen links between U. S.communities, Armenia and otherformer Soviet republics.The program is directed by JackMedzorian, cysca Vice President,assisted by Alisa Stepanian, projectmanager, and Taya Battelle,project administrator. connect:jmedzorian@aol.comtmbattelle@aol.comcysca.orgamaa gears up for Orphan and Child Care luncheon and fashion show on March 21BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Theamaa Orphan and Child Care Luncheonand Fashion Show is almosthere. It is going to be absolutelyspectacular, with fashions fromNordstrom, modeled by 55 of ourgorgeous young models, an amazingsilent auction featuring pricelessitems – from handpaintedworks of art to magnificent jewelryto stays at five-star resorts to ticketsto incredible events – and all ata fabulous venue – the Beverly HillsHotel. This is truly a luncheon notto be missed.This year’s luncheon theme “ChildrenHelping Children throughHope and Joy” is also so very appropriate.Given the harsh economicconditions of our world today,the children of Armenia trulydo need the help of our childrenhere. And what better conduit thanthe Armenian Missionary Associationof America – a 91-year-old organizationthat has in place a programthat helps support childrenin dire financial need in Armenia.Let us remember that some of thechildren of Armenia are lacking thebasic necessities of life. They fearthat they will be forgotten in theturmoil of our world. While theeconomic strain is affecting peoplehere in the United States, it is farfrom the despair that is currentlyaffecting thousands of people inArmenia. The most innocent victims,the children, can only pray forhelp.Our children here are asking youto sponsor their brothers and sistersin Armenia. For a donation of$250, a sponsor can change the lifeof a child forever. What amountsto less than 70 cents a day is allit takes to provide a child with basicfood staples such as sugar, rice,flour, and macaroni. They will receivehygiene supplies and educationalsupplies. The children willalso become a part of the amaa’sspiritual and wellness programssuch as Sunday school, vacationBible school, summer camps, andmedical and dental care.At this year’s luncheon you cansponsor such a child and become apart of their life. For further sponsorshipinformation, please contactMaro Yacoubian at 1-818-434-9091,who is spearheading this year’ssponsorship drive.In 2008, the funds raised by theamaa Orphan and Child Care Committeefacilitated 2,687 scholarships,support of 20 kindergartensin Armenia and Karabakh, summerand day camps for more than 6,000children and teenagers, as well asmany art and sports programs. In2009, the amaa intends to reinforceand, if possible, duplicate itsefforts and assistance in Armeniaand Karabakh. Of course, this canonly be accomplished by your supportand attendance.On March 21, the Beverly HillsHotel is the place to be – amongfamily and friends – to be part ofan event that can change the livesof so many children in a land thatis far away by distance, but sovery close in our hearts. Let us bethankful for what God has blessedeach one of us with and share ourlove.connect:Arsine Phillips 1-213-509-4337.Visit us atreporter.amCalendar of EventsNorthern CaliforniaMARCH 7 - WORLD DAY OFPRAYER. Location: St. GregoryArmenian Church, 51 CommonwealthAve, San Francisco,CA. 11 am Admission: Free. Formore information contact BayArea World Day of Prayer ArmenianCommittee, 7 - HYE TAD EVE-NING. Location: Saroyan Hall,825 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco,CA. 6:30 pm. Admission:TBD. For more informationcontact ANC SF, 415- 387-3433; 8 - IGEFA LUNCHEON.Location: St Vartan Church, 650Spruce St, Oakland, CA. 12:30-3pm. For more information contactIGEFA 510-524-1993; 15 - CRD BENEFITCONCERT. Location: CaliforniaPalace of the Legion of Honor,100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA.2:00 pm. Admission: TBD. Formore information contact SupportCommittee for Armenia’sCosmic Ray Division, (650) 926-4444; 17 - SONOMA STATEUNIVERSITY ARMENIANGENOCIDE MEMORIAL LEC-TURE. Location: Sonoma StateUniversity/Warren Auditoriumin Ives Hall, 1801 E Cotati Ave,Rohnert Park, CA. 4:00pm -5:40pm Admission: Parkingfee only. For more informationcontact Christyne Davidian, 707-762-2995; 26 & APRIL 18- KZVE L E M E N T A R Y / M I D D L ESCHOOL OPEN HOUSE. Location:KZV Armenian School, 825Brotherhood Way, San Francisco,CA. 10am-Noon Admission:Free. For more information contactAnnie Bavoukian, 415-586-8686; 29 - SONOMA STATEUNIVERSITY HOLOCAUSTAND GENOCIDE MEMORIALGROVE OPENING CEREMONY.Location: SSU, 1801 E Cotati Avenue,Rohnert Park, CA. TBD- Afternoon admission: free.For more information contactChristyne Davidian, 707-762-2995; 30 - TREX FRATER-NITY 3RD ANNUAL CHARITYGOLF INVITATIONAL. Location:Roundhill Country Club,3169 Round Hill Rd., Alamo, CA.12:30 PM. Admission: $225.00.For more information contactTriple X Fraternity, (925) 837-8414; 5 - PALM SUNDAY LUN-CHEON. Location: SaroyanHall, 825 Brothehood Way, SanFrancisco, CA. 2:00PM Admission:$20 adults; $10 stud. Formore information contact KZV8th Grade Class, 650-369-5932; 5 - POLITICAL FORUMFEAT. CONGRESSWOMANJACKIE SPEIER. Location: CalvaryArmenian CongregationalChurch, 725 Brotherhood Way,San Francisco, CA. 1:30pm-3:30pm. Admission: No Charge.For more information contactArmenian Assembly of America,(626) 577-0025; 19 - AVETIS BERBERIANCONCERT. Location: BaysidePerforming Art Center, 2025 KehoeAve., San Mateo, CA. 5:00pm. Admission: TBD. For moreinformation contact AGBUSilicon Valley and Hamazkayin“Nigol Aghpalian” Chapter, 415-706-7251; 25 - CACC ANNUALBANQUET. Location: CalvaryArmenian CongregationalChurch, 725 Brotherhood Way,San Francisco, CA. 7:00 PMAdmission: $75. For more informationcontact CACC, 415-586-2000; 31 - YEREVAN DANCEGROUP ANNIVERSARY SHOW.Location: Cubberly CommunityCenter Theatre, 4000Middlefield Road, Palo Alto,CA. 6:00pm Admission: TBD.For more information contactHomenetmen Ani Chapter 6 - HYE EM YES SUM-MER DAY CAMP. Location: KZVArmenian School, 825 BrotherhoodWay, San Francisco, CA.8:30am-1:00pm Admission:$200.00 for the week. For moreinformation contact Annie Bavoukian,415-586-8686; CaliforniaMARCH 8 - ELEMENT BANDLIVE IN CONCERT. Location:California State University, 5300North Campus Drive M/S FF83,Fresno, CA. 4:00 pm Admission:$20 and $10. For more informationcontact Armenian ReliefSociety, 559-974-3089; 20 - TEXAS HOLD ‘EMPOKER TOURNAMENT. Location:Club One Casino, 1033 VanNess Ave, Fresno, CA. 5:30pmAdmission: $100. For more informationcontact Selma Chapterof the Triple X FraternityCharitable Trust, 559-284-9290; 27 - 29 ARMENIANEVANGELICAL CAREER FEL-LOWSHIP RETREAT Location:Bass Lake, 54432 Road 432, BassLake, CA. Friday Night - SundayAfternoon Admission: $175pp/$320percouple. For more informationcontact AECF 559-281-3411; 28 - ONE MAN SHOWCOMEDIAN, KRIKOR SAT-

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009 13CommunityCalendar of EventsAMIAN. Location: St. Paul’s ArmenianChurch Hall, 3767 N 1stSt, Fresno, CA. 6:30pm Admission:$30. For more informationcontact AGBU, 559-431-5259; 7 - CAL POLY SLO M.E. MUSIC/DANCE ENS. Location:Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,Spanos Theatre, San Luis Obispo,CA. 7 pm, for more informationcontact Cal Poly SLO at 562-941-0845; CaliforniaMARCH 7 - HAMAZKAYIN ANIDANCE COMPANY 35TH AN-NIVERSARY DINNER DANCE.Location: Ararat Home DeukmejianGrand Ballroom, 15105Mission Hills Rd, Mission Hills,CA. 7:00 pm Admission: $60.00.For more information contactHamazkayin Ani Dance Company,818-303-1516; 8 - GALA CONCERTAND RECEPTION - MOZART’SREQUIEUM MASS IN D MI-NOR. Featuring The Santa BarbaraChoral Society and Orchestra,conducted by Jo AnneGondjian Wasserman. Underthe auspices of His EminenceArchbishop Hovnan Derderian,Location: St. Peter ArmenianApostolic Church, 17231 ShermanWay, Van Nuys, CA. 4:00p.m. Admission: $55, Studentsunder 18 $35.00. For more informationcontact House of Hope– Mer Hooys, Inc., 818-340-2509; Seating islimited. RSVP: Susan Kardashian(818) 340-2509.MARCH 8 - ARS JAVAKHKFUND COMMITTEE, GALADINNER RECEPTION ANDF U N D R A I S E R - - A B O A R DYACHT CRYSTAL. Location:Yacht Crystal, 3439 Via Oporto,Newport Beach, CA. 4:00 PM to9 PM Admission: Donation: $150pp. For more information contactARS Javakhk Fund Committee,562-439-0551; 8 - MOSAIC III. Location:Alex Theatre, 216 NorthBrand Boulevard, Glendale, CA.6 PM Admission: TBA. For moreinformation contact Hamazkayin,(818) 935-3555; on 8 - BOOK EVENT:“SAFE HARBOR” BY LEONARDHOWARD & DAVID DERANI-AN. Location: Abril Bookstore,415 E. Broadway #102, Glendale,CA. 6:00pm Admission: free. Formore information contact AbrilBookstore, 818-243-4112; 11 - GREG’S 46THBIRTHDAY BASH. Location:Minx Resturant and Lounge,300 Harvey Drive., Glendale, CA.7:00pm. For more informationcontact Greg Krikorian, 818-903-6100; 11 - MELINEH KURD-IAN CONCERT - IN-THE-ROUND. Location: Zoey’s Ventura,451 E. Main St., Ventura,CA. 8:00pm Admission: $5. Formore information contact Zoey’sCafe, 805- 652-1137.MARCH 12 - DANCE. Location:St. Gregory Armenian CatholicChurch, 1510 E Mountain Ave,Glendale, CA. 8:30 pm Admission:$40.00 for 8 weeks. Formore information contact StGregory Armenian CatholicChurch, Dalila 818-232-1457; 13 - ARM. EVANG.CHS ALUMNI ASSOC. ANNUALBANQUET. Location: PhoeneciaRestaurant, 343 N. Central Ave.,Glendale, CA. 7:30 pm Admission:Donation. For more informationcontact CHS AlumniAssociation, 818-609-0833; 13 - SHUSHI MUSICSCHOOL SOCIETY’S 6TH AN-NUAL DINNER BANQUET. Location:Karoun Restaurant, 1240S. Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA.8pm Admission: $40 (Students$30). For more information contactShushi Music School Society,818-577-8480; 14 - USC AAA LUN-CHEON. Location: CastawayRestaurant, 1250 E Harvard Rd,Burbank, CA. 11:00 am Admission:$35.00. For more informationcontact USC ArmenianAlumni Association, 818-448-6404; 14 - ARMENIANSGO SIDEWAYS - PN SOLVANGWINE TASTING TRIP. Location:Meet at Sidewalk Cafe, 901 wGlenoaks Blvd, Glendale, CA.10:00 am Admission: $60. Formore information contact ANC-PN, 818-355-4209; 15 - THE ADANAMASSACRES: A PSYCHOSO-CIAL ANALYSIS. Location: Ararat-Eskijian Museum, 15105Mission Hills Rd Mission HillsCA 91345, Mission Hills, CA.4pm. Admission: free admission.For more information contactArarat-Eskijian Museum & NA-ASR, 818-838-4862; 15 - ARMENIAN DRA-MATIC ARTS NEXT QUAR-TERLY MEETING. Location:Black Maria Gallery, 3137 GlendaleBlvd., Los Angeles, CA. 3:00pm Admission: Free. For moreinformation contact ArmenianDramatic Alliance, 617-871-6764.MARCH 15 - NOR YERK. Location:Alex Theater, 216 N BrandBlvd, Glendale, CA. 7:00 PMAdmission: $75, $50, $40, $30.For more information contactArmenian Arts Fund, 818-244-2468; 15 - UNVEILING OFMARIAMIAN-DAVIDIAN HIS-TORICAL ATLAS BOOK. Location:3347 N. San Fernando Rd.,Los Angeles, CA. 4 p.m. Admission:Free Admission. For moreinformation contact Maiamian& Davidian Book Commitee,818-248-9126;MARCH 19 - MELINEH KURD-IAN IN CONCERT. Location:Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N. CahuengaBlvd., Los Angeles, CA. 9:00pmAdmission: $10. For more informationcontact Melineh Kurdian; 20 - ARMENIANAMERICAN CHAMBER OFCOMMERCE BUSINESSAWARDS GALA. Location:Hilton Hotel, Glendale, 100 WGlenoaks Blvd, Glendale, CA.7:30 PM Admission: $125.00.For more information contactAACC, 818-247-0196; or 21 - FCN SPRINGGALA. Location: Ararat HomeDeukmejian Hall, 15099 MissionHills Rd, Mission Hills,CA. 7:30pm Admission: $85. Formore information contact Karine,310-920-5948; Tickets on 21st & 22 - RAFAELKEROO PARDEZEH. Location:Roosevelt Middle School, 222 E.Acacia Ave., Glendale, CA. 7:00PM Admission: $30.00. For moreinformation contact W.E. Connections,818-500-0700; 22 - AFFMA’S 1ST AN-NUAL REEL COMEDY SHOWAT THE WORLD FAMOUS IM-PROV. Location: The World FamousImprov-Hollywood 8162Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA.7pm Admission: $25-$100. Formore information contact AF-FMA, 323-663-1882; Tickets on 26 - HOMENETMENYOUTH ACTIVITIES RAFFLE!Location: Homenetmen WesternUSA, 2324 Colorado Blvd,Los Angeles, CA. 8 PM Admission:$100. For more informationcontact Homenetmen,(323)344-4300; Tickets on 28 - SARO DANCE:KEF NIGHT. Location: The GreatCaesars, 6723 Foothill Blvd., Tujunga,CA. 8:00 PM Admission$55.00. Open Bar: Call for Info.For more information contactSaro Dance, (818) 324-0979; 28 - “DIAMONDS AREFOREVER”. Location: AGBUMDS, 6844 Oakdale Avenue, CanogaPark, CA. 7:00 P.M. Admission:$150 pp. For more informationcontact AGBU MDS PTO,818-404-5686; 29 - HIKE TO THE OB-SERVATORY. Location: GriffithPark, Fern Dell Dr. and Los FelizDr., Hollywood, CA. 1 PM Admission:free. For more informationcontact Ed at 29 - BLUE HOUR DVDRELEASE GALA. Location: ArmenianCenter, 740 E WashingtonBlvd, Pasadena, CA. 6 PMAdmission: $50. For more informationcontact Hamazkayin,818-790-7809; Tickets on 29 – 100 ANNIVER-SARY OF THE HEROIC RESIS-TANCE OF CHORK- MARZBAN,(Dort-Yol , a town in Cilicia). Location:Western Diocese of theArmenian Church, Kalaijian Hall,3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank,CA. 5:00pm. For more informationcontact: Noubar Hagopian818-360-5951 or Minas Kojayan818-782-7437.MARCH 31 - EVOLUTION ANDTHE PROBLEM WITH SCIEN-TIFIC FACTS RADIOACTIVEDATING AND AGE OF EARTH,QUOTES AND THEORIES. Location:The Armenian Societyof Los Angeles, 320 W. WilsonAvenue Suite 107, Glendale, CA.8:00 pm Admission: Free. Formore information contact ArmenianEngineers and Scientistsof America, 818-547-3372, 1 - FIFA - ESTONIA VSARMENIA SOCCER GAMESHOWING. Location: AGBUAlex Manoogian Pasadena Center,2495 E. Mountain St., Pasadena,CA. 8:00 pm Admission:Free. For more informationcontact AGBU Generation NextMentorship Program, 626-794-7942; 5 - 2ND ANNUAL ARME-NIAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL.Location: Woodbury University,7500 Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank,CA. 11:00 am Admission: FREE.For more information contactALL Armenian Student Association,818-624-2427; 19 - MIKHAIL SI-MONYAN, VIOLIN. Location:Raitt Recital Hall: PepperdineUniversity, 24255 Pacific CoastHwy., Malibu, CA. 2:00 PM. Admission:$25. For more informationcontact Center For TheArts, (212) 994-3540; 17 - DAVIDIAN-MARI-AMIAN 2ND ANNUAL TELE-THON. Location: DMEF, 658 WHawthorne St Unit B, Glendale,CA. 6:00 pm to Midnight Admission:Donation. For moreinformation contact MarietteKeshishian, 909-373-7876; 18 - ARMENIA ANDKARABAKH ILLUSTRATEDTRAVELOGUE AND AUTHOR-TALK WITH AUTHOR-PHO-TOGRAPHERS MATTHEWKARANIAN AND ROBERTKURKJIAN. Location: DistantLands Travel Bookstore, 56 S.Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA.7:00 pm to 8:15 pm. Free Admission.For more informationcontact Distant Lands, 626-449-3220; www.distantlands.comMAY 24 - ARMENIAN INDE-PENDENCE DAY FESTIVAL.Location: Little Armenia, HollywoodBlvd. and Alexandria,Hollywood, CA. 11am Admission:Free. For more informationcontact Armenian CulturalFoundation, 818-243-9264; 31 - 32ND ANNIVERSARYCHURCH BANQUET. Location:St. John Garabed ArmenianChurch, 4473 30th Street, SanDiego, CA. 12:30 pm. For moreinformation contact St. JohnGarabed Armenian Church, 619-284-7179; 6 - ARMENIAN FOODFAIR & FEST. Location: HolyCross Cathedral Grounds, 900W Lincoln Avenue, Montebello,CA. Noon - 10pm Admission:Free Admission. For more informationcontact Holy CrossCathedral, 323-727-1113; 16 - ANNUALCHURCH PICNIC AND GRAPEBLESSING. Location: MissionBay Park, Mission Blvd., SanDiego, CA. 12:00pm Admission:Free. For more information contactSt John Garabed ArmenianChurch, 619-284-7179; 5 - FIFA - AR-MENIAN VS. BOSNIA-HER-ZEGOVINA SOCCER GAMESHOWING. Location: AGBUAlex Manoogian Pasadena Center,2495 E. Mountain St., Pasadena,CA. TBA Admission: Free.For more information contactSubscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zipAGBU Generation Next MentorshipProgram, (626)794-7942; 9 - FIFA ARME-NIA VS. BELGIUM SOCCERGAME SHOWING. Location:AGBU Alex Manoogian PasadenaCenter, 2495 E. Mountain St.,Pasadena, CA. Admission: Free.For more information contactAGBU Generation Next MentorshipProgram, 626-794-7942; 10 - FIFA - ARME-NIA VS. SPAIN SOCCER GAMESHOWING. Location: AGBUAlex Manoogian PasadenaCenter, 2495 E. Mountain St.,Pasadena, CA. Admission: Free.For more information contactAGBU Generation Next MentorshipProgram, 626-794-7942; 14 - FIFA- AR-MENIA VS TURKEY SOCCERGAME SHOWING. Location:AGBU Alex Manoogian PasadenaCenter, 2495 E. Mountain St.,Pasadena, CA. Admission: Free.For more information contactAGBU Generation Next MentorshipProgram, 626-794-7942; 17 - ANNUAL BA-ZAAR- ARMENIAN CULTURALFESTIVAL. Location: St JohnGarabed Armenian Church,4473 30th Street, San Diego, CA.12:00pm Admission: Free. Formore information contact St.John Garabed Armenian Church,619-284-7179; Pasadena - For Rent, backhouse, great location, safe. 1 bdr,1 bth, living room, kitchen, Jacuzzi.Prefers non-smoker. Nopets. 1150/month. 626-376-3731 Seeking Armenian femaleroommate to share apt. in Burbank.Non-smoker. Karine 818-738-8843 Experienced Income Taxpreparer, licensed, bonded, registeredw/CTFC, all source ofincome. 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14 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009ArmeniaFrom Armenia, in briefOSCE Minsk Group cochairsin the regionYuri Merzlyakov (Russia), BernardFassier (France), and MatthewBryza (U.S.), the OSCE MinskGroup co-chairs, were in the regionmeeting with leaders in Armenia,Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijanthis week.While in Armenia the co-chairs,along with the personal representativeof OSCE Chairman-in-Office,Andrzej Kasprzyk, met with PresidentSerge Sargsian and ForeignMinister Edward Nalbandian.During their meeting, the co-chairsspoke about the present round ofdiscussions on the Karabakh negotiationprocess. According toArminfo, President Sargsian saidthat statements that contradict thelogic of the negotiation process donot contribute to process towardsettlement of the conflict.Mr. Nalbandian welcomed theFebruary 19 statement by the cochairs,criticizing Azerbaijan forthreatening renewed war. He said itcorresponds in full to the MoscowDeclaration and the 2008 Helsinkistatement of the OSCE ForeignMinisters’ Council.The co-chairs, who had been inAzerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakhearlier, also briefed the Armenianpresident about the results of theconsultations that took place inBaku and Stepanakert.The details of the meeting of theco-chairs with President Bako Sahakianof Nagorno Karabakh werenot disclosed except to say that thesides discussed a wide range of issues.President Sahakian’s press servicestated that the president onceagain confirmed Karabakh’s positionconcerning its mandatory participationin the negotiation process.On March 4, the OSCE MinskGroup co-chairs issued the resultsof their visit to the region. Accordingto Arminfo the co-chairscondemned the dissemination ofdocuments in the United Nationsby Azerbaijan, which they see aspotentially harming the negotiatingprocess.OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs with President Serge Sargsian. Photos: Photolure.They said that the presidentsof Armenia and Azerbaijan hadagreed to a meeting in the comingtwo months. “We are glad thatboth presidents have backed thisidea,” said Mr. Merzlyakov. “Wedid not expect great achievementsfrom this visit. We tried to use thispossibility to continue the processstarted by President of Azerbaijanand Armenia at the end of Januaryin Zurich.”As preparations beginfor local elections,president appoints newmayorAs Yerevan prepares for city councilelections on May 31, political partiesare also preparing their partylists (see Armenian Reporter, February28, 2009). The Republican Partyof Armenia (RPA) the leading forcein the National Assembly, had announcedthat the head of the Kentroncommunity Gagik Beglarianwould be heading their partylist. Second on the list is head ofAvan community Taron Margarian,son of the late Prime MinisterAndranik Margarian. The partydrew up the final list during theFebruary 28 session of the executivebody of the RPA.In a surprise move, PresidentSerge Sargsian issued a decreeon March 4 dismissing YerevanMayor Yervand Zakharian fromhis office and appointing him asconsultant to the president. Laterthat same day, the presiden signedanother decree appointing the Mr.Beglarian mayor of Yerevan.According the law on self-governancefor the city of Yerevan, theparty that secures 50 percent of thevotes will place their number oneperson on their list as mayor of thecapital city.Parties have until May 1 to presenttheir final list of candidates.Ali Babacan.Possible visit of AliBabacan to Yerevan forBSEC meeting in AprilForeign ministers of all memberstatesof the Black Sea EconomicCooperation (BSEC) organizationhave been invited to Yerevan to participatein the Council of ForeignMinisters in April, Armenpress reports.At a gathering of BSEC foreignministers in Tirana in 2008, the chairof the organization passed to Armeniafor a six-month term.The Turkish Sabah daily said thatTurkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacanwill pay a two-day visit toYerevan on April 16 to participatein the session.Culture ministers ofBSEC member states inArmeniaWithin the framework of Armenia’schairmanship of the Black SeaEconomic Cooperation (BSEC) organization,Armenia’s Ministry ofCulture organized a round table onCooperation in the Protection andReconstruction of Historic-CulturalMonuments in the Black Searegion, Mediamax reports.Hasmik Poghosyan.The round table was attended byrepresentatives from the cultureministries of Bulgaria, Turkey, Armenia,Greece, Romania, Russia,Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia.Hasmik Poghosyan, Armenia’sculture minister, stressed the importanceof cultural dialogue incontributing to peace in the region.The meeting of the culture ministersalso decided to establish a periodical,which will be entitled CulturalNews of the Black Sea Region.Sheykha LubnaAl-Kasimi atthe Nor Hachindiamondmanufacturingplant.Armenian soldierscross contact line,taken into custodyAccording to a statement issuedby the Defense Ministry, threemilitary personnel from the NKRDefense Army crossed the contactline into territory controlled byAzerbaijan.The three service members,Hrant Markosyan, Alik Tevosyan,and Artyush Sargsiancrossed the line of contact in thedirection of Agdam in unknowncircumstances.In the meantime, cases of intensecease-fire violation at thecontact line have been continuingfor several weeks. On the night ofMarch 2 and the rest of the day,ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijaniarmy were noted in severalsections. The NKR Defense Ministryreported that their positionwere attacked by fire from microcaliberarms and sniper rifles inpopulated areas of Nuzger, Horadiz,Karakhanbeyli, Ashagi Seidakhmedli,Kuropatkino, Jraberd,Karmiravan, Levonarkh, Seysulan,and Talish. There were no victims,Arminfo reported.UAE foreign trademinister in ArmeniaSheykha Lubna Al-Kasimi, theUnited Arab Emirates foreign trademinister, was in Armenia for aworking visit at the invitation ofMinister of the Economy NersesYeritsian.During her visit to the country,Ms. Al-Kasimi met with the presidentof Armenia, speaker of theNational Assembly, and the primeminister.She will also visit the Nor Hachindiamond manufacturing enterpriseto look at the jewelry industry andopportunities for investment andexport, Armenpress reported.The minister also visited the resorttown of Tsaghgadsor to seethe production and reprocessingof agricultural products, and possibilitiesfor investments and exports.fArmenian dram isstable after sharp fall n Continued from page further. The dram was as its lowestvalue in summer 2003, when it took580 drams to buy a dollar. As thedollar weakened under PresidentGeorge W. Bush, remittances increased,and foreign investmentsgrew, the relative value of the dramcame close to doubling, reaching300 drams to a dollar in 2008.“Armenia’s decision to seek aprecautionary IMF program and allowa freer float for the currencyis a welcome signal of the authorities’cautious approach to managingcurrent difficulties,” AndrewColquhoun, a director at the Fitchcredit rating firm, said in a statement.“However, the reserves lossto end-January indicates the scaleof the shock, and suggests thereis little room for policy misstepswhich could undermine macroeconomicstability and increase downwardspressure on the ratings.”Citing the rescue package promisedby the IMF, Fitch on Thursdaygave Armenia a currency-issuerdefault rating of BB. That indicates“stable outlooks” for the country’smonetary system.Speaking to the Bloomberg newsagency, Michael Ganske, of Commerzbankwelcomed the decisionto float the dram. “It gives themthe flexibility to adjust to new economicscenarios,” he said, adding,“In the current global environmentit’s very, very hard to maintain anovervalued currency.”Critics of the government faultedit for taking action late andsuddenly, rather than allowing theexchange rate to change graduallyover the past few months. But theprime minister said such an approachwould have only causedmore uncertainty and speculativecurrency trading.According to IMF projections, theArmenian economy will contractby 1.5 percent in 2008 after 14 consecutiveyears of robust growth,RFE/RL reported. The latest officialstatistics show the gross domesticproduct falling by 0.7 percent inJanuary 2009.f

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009 15ArmeniaArmenia prepares to privatize social securityWorld Bank, IMFadvise againstproposed pensionreformMove is consideredriskyby Maria TitizianYEREVAN – Starting in January2010, workers in Armenia will seepart of their pay go into privatepension plans, under a decisionadopted on November 13, 2008, bythe Armenian government. Mandatoryretirement contributionsnow go into a public pension pillarsimilar to the U.S. Social Securitysystem. Workers born before 1970can opt to remain in the existingpillar, but younger workers will nothave the choice. (See sidebar.)The change is understood to be away for the government to financethe country’s capital markets.“The focus of any pension systemshould be the well-being of seniorcitizens,” said the Armenian-Americaneconomist Ara Khanjian.“The purpose of a pension systemshouldn’t be to promote and generatethe financial markets of thecountry.”The stated intention of the government’spension reform is to increasepension benefits and to linkbenefits to the amount a workerhas contributed over the years. Underthe current system, benefitsare based on the number of years aperson was employed, but not thewages earned during those years.Armenia now has a pay-as-yougosystem. The mandatory contributionsworkers make today fundthe benefits of current retirees.The “system is based on the solidarityprinciple between generations,”Prof. Khanjian explained. Withpay-as-you-go, retirement fundsare protected from financial-marketrisks. The government is ableto link benefits to the cost of living,protecting retirees from inflation.It is able to provide benefitsfor as long as the retiree lives andalso pay survivors’ and disabilitybenefits. And the plan has significantlylower administrative coststhan private accounts.The Armenian government’s decisioncomes at a time when othercountries – like Argentina, Italy,and Chile – are moving away fromprivate pension funds.Internationalorganizations weigh inThe International Monetary Fundand the World Bank, in the JointStaff Advisory Note on the SecondPoverty Reduction Strategy Paperfor the Republic of Armenia, arguethat Armenia should not privatizeits pension system.The note suggests that Armeniais not ready to adopt a mandatoryprivate pension system. Such asystem requires a domestic bondmarket, which is not yet developedin Armenia. It also requires theadministrative capacity to record,manage, regulate, and supervisethe private pension accounts, a capacityArmenia does not have.In addition, the world financialmarkets are in crisis.Minister of Labor and Social AffairsArsen Hambartsumian toldthe Armenian Reporter that he disagreedwith the position that havinga developed financial market isa prerequisite for privatizing pensions.“The opposite also holds trueArmenian pensioners. Photo: Photolure.Pension pillarsPillar is a technical term used bypension experts all over the world.The Armenian government’s proposedreform entails four pillars– pillars 0, 1, 2, and 3.Pillar 0: The benefit allocated topoor retirees. This is similar toa welfare program designed forthe poor. If someone is at the ageof retirement and has very littleor no income to survive, the governmentwill provide that personwith some level of income.Pillar 1: Represents the currentpension system that exists in Armenia.According to the government’snew pension plan, employeesyounger than 40 in 2010will not be allowed to remainin or join this pillar. Employeesolder than 40 have the option toremain in this pillar. This implies– that the initiation of any pensionreform will benefit the developmentof capital in the financialmarkets,” he said.Prof. Khanjian confirmed, “Thefinancial markets, such as stockand bond markets in Armenia, arenot developed because there aren’tenough funds available to be investedin these financial markets.But when the mandatory privatepension accounts are created, in afew years there will be hundredsof millions and eventually billionsof dollars in these pension funds,ready to be invested in these financialmarkets, which will contributeto their development.”The decision comesat a time when othercountries are movingaway from privatepension funds.But that is not the purpose of apension program, Prof. Khanjiansaid. The priority of the pensionsystem should be the well-being ofretirees, which the privatized systemcannot guarantee.Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisianand Minister of the EconomyNerses Yeritsian have long beenproponents of implementing amandatory private pension fundsystem in Armenia. The changewas considered but not adoptedwhen Mr. Sarkisian was chairpersonof the Central Bank of Armenia(1998–2008) and Mr. Yeritsian waswith the bank.Mr. Yeritsian was not availableto discuss the subject with the ArmenianReporter. Written questionsthat in about 25 years, no activeemployee will remain in this pillarbecause in 25 years the currentyoungest member of thispillar will become 65 years of ageand will retire. Therefore, this isa temporary pillar.Pillar 2: Represents the mandatoryprivate individual pensionaccounts. Every employeeyounger than 40 in 2010 will bepart of this pillar. This impliesthat in 25 years every employeewill be part of this pillar. For thisreason, this is the main pillar ofthe government’s proposal.Pillar 3: Represents voluntarycontributions to private individualpension accounts.There is no controversy aboutpillars 0 and 3. The controversyhas to do with pillars 1 and 2. fsubmitted three weeks ago at thesuggestion of the ministry’s presssecretary had not been answered atpress time.Theory vs. practiceIn boom times, proponents of privatepension funds pointed to impressivereturns individuals couldget if their retirement savings wereinvested rather than being used topay the pensions of current retirees.At a time like this, with globalfinancial markets in a tailspin, theargument has lost its force.Across the globe, people who reliedexclusively on private pensionaccounts are losing large sums ofmoney and being forced to postponetheir retirement – if they canfind continued employment.Most industrialized countries,including the United States andCanada, do not have mandatoryprivate individual pension accounts.Many Latin American countriesand some former Soviet republicsdo have private mandatory pensionaccounts invested in stock andbond markets all over the world.“With pension funds in LatinAmerica showing drastic losses asa result of the global financial crisis,Argentina has moved to nationalizeits private pension funds, while inChile, Colombia and Mexico thereare urgent calls for reforms,” MarcelaValente wrote in an articlethat appeared in the Global InformationNetwork on November 28, 2008.“Many of the private sector pensionplans, created mainly in the 1990s . .. followed the model adopted in 1981by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet(1973–1990) in Chile. In 1993,Argentina adapted the model, withouteliminating the parallel publicsystem, which allowed workers tochoose either one. But on Nov. 20,the Argentine parliament eliminatedthe private pension funds, whichwere in a state of collapse.”Armenian society is not sophisticatedor market savvy enough to beable to manage private pension accounts,said Ara Nranyan, a memberof the Standing Committee onEconomic Affairs of Armenia’s NationalAssembly. He recalled thatin the aftermath of the collapse ofthe Soviet Union and its currency,most people lost their life savings.People are suspicious of the bankingsystem and are just starting toopen personal bank accounts andlearning to use ATM cards.To force Armenian workers tochoose among private firms offeringcompeting pension plans isirresponsible. Mr. Nranyan, whoholds a Ph.D. in economics and ispart of the ARF bloc in parliament,told the Armenian Reporter that alack of money in the markets andthe strong desire on the part of thegovernment to generate the financialmarkets has led to this newplan. “Today, there’s about $500million in pension remittances,with a potential to increase annually,which makes it very lucrativefor those in favor of this reform,”he said. But, “during a financial crisis,mandatory pension funds endangerpensions and the securityof retirees,” he added.There are many unknown variablesand questions about the newsystem. Which companies will beallowed to manage and sell pensionfunds? How many pension fundswill be allowed to exist? Who shouldchoose the pension fund – the employeeor the employer? What kindof assets should pension funds beallowed to have? Should they havebonds, domestic stocks, or internationalstocks? How can the governmentguarantee that a private pensionfund won’t become insolvent?What will it do if it does? How willwomen be treated when they leavethe job market to have children?What kind of safeguards can be putinto place to fight potential corruptionin the new system?In the name of the poorUnder the government’s plan, awelfare system will back up the pensionsystem for the benefit of retireeswhose pensions underperform.“What the state is indirectly sayingis that it doesn’t place value ona person’s lifetime of work,” saidSmbad Sayian, head of the PensionsDepartment at the Ministryof Labor and Social Affairs. “Thegovernment is saying, I will provideyou with a minimum benefit,enough that you won’t starve, butfor the rest you are on your own.”In 1981, Chile adopted a privatepension fund system which garneredinternational attention. Atthe time it was considered to be a“great pioneering success.” Today,almost a quarter century later,Chilean workers at the cusp ofretirement are facing many cripplingchallenges. According toArmen Kouyoumdjian, an Armenian-Chileanspecialist, theirsystem encourages evasion byemployees and fraud by employers.“For a system that was meantto be universal and compulsoryfor salaried workers, and has a26-year track record, the fact thatonly 51.7 percent of the 7.91 millionaccounts at pension fundscalled AFPs were up-to-date as ofSeptember 30, 2008, says a lot,”said Mr. Kouyoumdjian.Just as in Armenia, workers inThe backup welfare plan does notimpress Prof. Khanjian. “An employeewho works [and contributesto social security for] 30–40 yearsshould be entitled to receive pensionbenefits. He or she shouldn’tdepend on a government handout,”he said.Funding budget deficitsMr. Sayian is concerned about howthe funds will be invested. “Most ofthese funds will be directed towardgovernment bonds and then thesebonds will be used by the governmentto cover its current operatingdeficit. This is where the greatestdanger lies,” he said, referring tothe possibility of default sometimein the future.Mr. Sayian is also concerned withcorruption, which increases therisk to the most vulnerable peoplein society. He notes that an employeemay choose to have her pensioninvested with one financialinstitution, whereas the employeehas cut a deal with another institution.Realistically, the employermay be able to coerce the employeeto go along. The Chilean experience(see sidebar) suggests that someemployers may even pocket the remittances.Reform is neededDoes the current pension systemin Armenia require reform? Everyoneacross the board agrees that itdoes. One issue is linking benefitsto lifetime earnings and contributionsto the pension system. Prof.Khanjian notes that pension systemsin countries like the UnitedStates use complicated formulas tolink pension taxes and retirementbenefits. “In Armenia we need amuch simpler formula or method.In my opinion it should be muchsimpler to generate such a pensionsystem, than to generate a pensionsystem which is based on individualmandatory pension accounts,”he said.“It is safe to say that in countrieswith mandatory individualpension accounts all the workerswho are near their retirement ageare currently in a very precarioussituation because their mandatorypension accounts have lost a significantpart of their value,” Prof.Khanjian added. “This implies thatthese workers are either going tocontinue to work [if work is available,]instead of retiring, or if theydecide to retire, they will live inpoverty.”That’s a choice Armenian workersmight be faced with in the nextseveral decades if the governmentdecides to go ahead with this reform.fThe Chilean experienceChile didn’t know the workings ofthe market well enough to differentiatebetween available AFPs. “AFPsemployed thousands of people toaggressively lure people from onefund to another every few months,with cash incentives or other gifts.It was the gift rather than themanagement quality or performancethat attracted the customers.Now they have a much longercompulsory waiting period and thesalespeople have been dismissed(not before they rioted in violentprotest in the streets of Santiago),”said Mr. Kouyoumdjian.According to Marcela Valente’sNovember 28 article in the GlobalInformation Network, “betweenOct. 31, 2007, and Oct. 31, 2008,Chile’s private pension fund assetsshrank from 94.3 to 69.1 billiondollars.”f

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009 17ArmeniaA year after the tragedy, a mother still seeks justiceThe mother ofTigran Khachatrian,23, speaks outby Tatul HakobyanYEREVAN – Every March 1 AllaHovhannisian will visit her son’sgrave to commemorate the anniversaryof his murder. Her son, TigranKhachatrian, only lived 23years. He was killed near MiasnikianSquare in Yerevan, as a result ofa police officer firing an outdatedtear gas gun.“On March 1, 2008, we woke upfull of joy as it was the first dayof spring,” she said, using the oldSoviet way of reckoning the seasons.“Tigran congratulated me onthe first day of spring as he knew Idon’t like winter and I love spring.Together we went to the marketand then he went to work. At twoo’clock he came home and said thatpeople had been dispersed andbeaten in Freedom Square. His fatherand I told him not to go there.We told him that it was dangerous.His last words to her were, ‘Evenif there is danger, I must go,’ ” recalledTigran’s mother.From now on March 1 has anothermeaning for the Khachatrianfamily. The hardest thing for themwas explaining to nine-year-oldEvelina why her dear brother wouldnever return.“Evelina felt the death of herbrother very profoundly. Tigranwas 15 years older than her andloved her as his own child. Evelinaresembles Tigran a lot. Tigran tookher to school every morning on hisshoulders. He loved her very much.Evelina has not forgotten Tigran. Afew days ago she found a paintingin one of her notebooks. She said,‘Mom look, Tigran painted this,’ ”recounted Mrs. Hovhannissian,suppressing her tears.Three of the victims of the tragicevents of March 1, Tigran Khachatrian,Gor Kloyan, and ArmenFarmanian, were killed by outdatedCheryomukha-7, which is atear gas weapon used by the police.It is not meant to be shot at peopleat close range, but rather againsta hard surface to release the tearArmenia marks first anniversary ofMarch 1 eventsTigran Khachatrian remembered. Photo: Armen Hakobyan for the ArmenianReporter.gas. To date no one has been heldresponsible for Tigran’s death.“I blame the administration in thedeath of my son, since my son waskilled by a special means [tear gasweapons] and that special meanswas in the hands of a police officer.They shot my son in the head, behindhis left ear. I think that insteadof wanting to uncover what trulytook place on March 1, they want tocover up the case. The parliamentarycommission studying March1 has not yet visited our house orthe houses of the rest of the peoplewho were killed. Maybe we have importantinformation to give them,”Mrs. Hovhannisian said.During the past year the motherwho lost her son has participatedin all of the opposition rallies.“I believe that at least during therallies I can hear the truth aboutthe March 1 events, as I cannot findthe answers to the questions botheringme on any of the TV stations,”she said.The Khachatrian family did notsupport former President LevonTer-Petrossian in the past. Mrs.Hovhannisian said that during thepresidential elections, the membersof their family voted for presidentialcandidate Artur Baghdasarian.According to her, her sonparticipated in Mr. Baghdasarian’srally the week before the elections;he was one of his supporters.“Tigran was very excited aboutArtur Baghdasarian. A day beforethe elections he asked, ‘Mom, is ittrue that Baghdasarian is a fake oppositionist?’It was obvious that Tigranhad opposition views towardthe administration. He was in adilemma. Maybe he voted for Ter-Petrossian,” recounted his mother.“I always thought that Tigran didnot participate in the oppositionrallies, but when we took his mobilephone from the Special InvestigationsService, we saw that he hadtaken pictures of the March 1 rallyand had also participated in anotherrally, and there are pictures ofthat rally in his telephone,” said Ms.Hovhannisian.Tigran was the eldest of thethree Khachatrian children. He wasstudying at the Agriculture Academyand at the same time workingwith his father and younger brother,Aram. He had opened a taxiservice. “He was very hard workingand honest. We had taken a loan toopen the taxi service. After Tigran’sdeath we closed the service. AfterTigran’s death my husband did notleave the house for six months. Myyounger son also did not leave thehouse and so there was no one totake care of the business,” continuedMrs. Hovhannisian.She recalled that last year onMarch 1 she tried very hard to persuadeher son not to go to MiasnikianSquare, but in the evening Tigranwent to the rally. A few hourslater she called on her son’s phone,but no one answered.“At 11 p.m. his father went downtownto look for Tigran. At 3 a.m.,after searching for him in all thehospitals, he found Tigran in theVictims of March 1, 2008Tigran Abgarian, born 1989Soldier of Armenian InternalForces.Wounded on Leo Street, transferredto Yerevan MikaelianHospital where he died on April11, 2008, without regaining consciousness.Died of gunshot wound to theneck.Grigor Gevorgian, born 1980Wounded at the intersection ofParonian and Leo Streets.Died of a gunshot wound to thehead.Grigor’s father was martyred duringthe Karabakh war.Samvel Harutyunyan, born 1979Wounded at the intersection ofMashtots Avenue and GrigorLusavoritch Street. Transferredto Armenia Hospital where hedied on April 11, 2008, neverhaving regained consciousness.Died of head injuries.Samvel’s father took part in the Karabakhwar.Zakar Hovhanessian, born 1977Wounded near the Closed Marketon Mashtots Avenue. Transferredto Hospital No. 3 and diedlater that day.Died of 9 mm gunshot wound tothe abdomen.Zakar’s brother was martyred duringthe Karabakh war.morgue, completely covered inblood. Then my husband came andsaid that Tigran had been killed. Idid not believe him as Tigran wasan ordinary citizen. Why wouldthey kill him? My younger son didnot believe his father’s story. Heand my husband once again wentto the morgue. Then my son cameand said the same thing; Tigranwas killed and drenched in blood,”recounted Mrs. Hovhannisian.After losing their son, the soleaim of the Khachatrian family hasbeen to remove the “participant indisorders” label, which the authoritiesand pro-government TV stationshave given him.“I truly believe that my son wasan innocent victim. I want to knowHamlet Tadevosian, born 1977Company commander (captain)of Armenian police forces.Wounded at the intersection ofMashtots Avenue and GrigorLusavoritch Street.Died of injuries sustained whenhe threw himself on a grenade toprotect his men.David Petrossian, born 1975Wounded on Paronian Street,Building No. 2.Died of a 9mm gunshot woundto the chest.Armen Farmanian, born 1974Wounded on Paronian Street,Building No. 24.Died of injuries to his head as aresult of a Cheryomukha-7 teargas canister.Gor Sargsian, born 1974Wounded at the intersection ofMashtots Avenue and GrigorLusavoritch Street.Died of shrapnel wound to hislower body.Hovhannes Hovhanessian, born1961Wounded at the intersection ofMashtots Avenue and GrigorLusavoritch Street.Died of 5.45 mm gunshot woundto the chest.Hovhannes took part in the Karabakhwar.who killed my son, who gave the order,why they killed him, and whogave them permission to use outdatedspecial means. I demand andexpect a just investigation,” said hismother.A year after the tragic events ofMarch, Serge Sargsian, the presidentof Armenia, lit 10 candles inone of the churches in Yerevan, inmemory of the 10 victims.“They did not immediately expresstheir condolences to us for our childrenand presented everything ina very bad manner. When I sawPresident Sargsian lighting candles,I regretted that all of this had nottaken place at the right time, but ayear later. However, that one candledid somewhat comfort me.” fn Continued from page 16nated from the political agendaof our country. In history there isalmost no instance of a revolutionthat gave birth to democracy. As aresult of a revolution, usually, oneauthoritarian state follows theother, as an administration gainedthrough power can only be maintainedthrough power. Any givenchange in power must take placesolely via the constitution, in otherwords, through legal elections,which is the only guarantor for establishinga legal and democraticstate,” he said.A year ago, Mr. Ter-Petrossianhad announced that he was leadinga revolution.“After some time a new and morebeneficial situation will arise fortaking decisive steps and changingthe authorities. The moment ofmaturity is not solely connectedto objective factors such as theweakness of the authorities inresolving the issues accumulatingin the country, but first of all thematurity of society,” said Mr. Ter-Petrossian.“Is it difficult to understand thatin a few months the authorities willdisplay their true condition? As aresult of issues beyond their powerand in-fighting, they will crumbleby themselves. The longer we manageto remain calm, the sooner theywill collapse. The time, when thealready depleted reputation of theauthorities will become equal tozero is not far away,” he said.Recalling the 1988 movement,Mr. Ter-Petrossian said that theyfinally managed to defeat theseemingly solid totalitarian state atthat time because of a consistent,coordinated, long, and purposefulstruggle.“Let no one doubt that the currentpan-national movement willonce again win. There is no chancethat the pan-national movementwill fade away or weaken for objectivereasons as, with their unsuccessfuland wretched activities, theauthorities constantly feed it andsociety recharges it,” said Mr. Ter-Petrossian.The former president announcedthat the next rally will take place onMay 1.f

18 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009EditorialCommentarythe armenianreporterThe time is rightSome people may think this is a brilliant plan: Let everyone keep quiet about the ArmenianGenocide for a few months until the fragile process now underway between Turkey and Armeniabears results. Let Turkey agree to normalize relations with Armenia. Once that’s done, theObama administration and the U.S. Congress can quickly affirm the Armenian Genocide.Alas, every aspect of that plan is flawed, beginning with the assumption that Turkey wouldgo along with it.Are we really at the brink of a new era in Armenian-Turkish relations? Is Turkey about toreopen the land border with Armenia, which – in an effort to suffocate Armenia – it has keptclosed since 1993? Is it about to consent, at last, to establishing diplomatic relations withArmenia? Armenia has all along sought both outcomes, setting no preconditions.Developments since last summer have raised hopes that Armenia and Turkey may normalizerelations. Normal relations would, of course, be a highly desirable outcome.The raising of hopes began last summer at the initiative of Armenia’s then-new president.He invited his Turkish counterpart to Yerevan. Turkey’s president accepted the invitationand spent six hours in the Armenian capital in September.Since then, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey have been suggesting that normalizationis imminent.The talk about normalization is helping Turkey with one of its foreign policy goals: headingoff U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.So we know that Turkey has a reason to talk about normalizing relations with Armenia. Butthe issue is whether it has convincing reasons to go beyond talk and actually open the border.There are good reasons for it to do so.First, in this global recession, the possibility of enhanced trade in Turkey’s easternmostprovinces is attractive. Second, by normalizing relations with Armenia, Turkey can enhanceSeeking solutions withinits stature as a regional power and a European state.(A third reason does not survive scrutiny: The war in Georgia has made a case for developingalternative transit routes, but that would require Azerbaijan too to open its border withArmenia, which it will not do. Turkey already shares a border with Armenia’s other immediateneighbors.)If these reasons are persuasive for Turkey’s leadership, then we hope it will proceed withthe no-brainer steps it should have taken 15 years ago: open the border and exchange ambassadorswith Armenia.But the leaders of Turkey’s governing AK Party have a problem: if they proceed with normalizationof relations, they lose their excuse to hold off U.S. affirmation. Indeed, if Turkeyagrees to normalize relations with Armenia before U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide,it will do so only if it can have a new, compelling excuse to hold off U.S. affirmation. That wouldalmost certainly be the formation of a commission by the governments of Armenia and Turkeyto study the “thorny issues” of history and delay indefinitely the political act of affirmation.That is a nonstarter. It’s one thing for Armenia to establish relations with Turkey whileTurkey denies the Armenian Genocide. Armenia can do that. It’s another thing to ask Armeniato participate in that denial by treating the Genocide as an open question yet to bestudied. That Armenia cannot do.The United States can help with the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations by movingquickly to affirm the Armenian Genocide. By doing so, the Obama administration and Congresswould clear the way for talks between Armenia and Turkey that are not burdened with this issue.It’s time to contact members of the House of Representatives and urge them to co-sponsorthe House resolution affirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide. Tell them thetime is right.fby Vartan OskanianYEREVAN, February 26, 2009 – The officialstatistics released in February simply reiteratethe inarguable truth: Armenia is headingtoward a recession.Although these facts are not being hidden,they are not being explained either. The governmentcontinues to believe (and rightfullyso) in the importance of confidence as a keyfactor of economic stability and is thereforetrying to inspire trust and faith. But it is doingso without basing its oratory and encouragementon economic realities, or without actionswhich assure the population that stepsare being taken to ameliorate the situation.These are unconventional times and requireunconventional remedies, including someoutside the IMF-World Bank prescription box,not unlike those to which the major economiesof the world have already resorted.I believe that several steps, taken together,can minimize the economic decline.Open dialogueFirst, there is a need for open, courageous andsustained public dialogue which is missing, andwhich would go a long way to inspire confidenceand faith in the steps being taken to improvethe financial situation. Consumer confidenceregarding the government’s economic policiesare equally critical in this formula. Some ofthe government’s actions raised doubts in thepublic’s mind about the government’s abilityto respond to this crisis. First, there were theearly pronouncements about this global crisiscircumventing Armenia, which raised questionsabout the government’s sincerity anddid nothing to meet the government’s concernabout not creating a panic. Earlier, the governmentinsisted on passing a budget based on ahigh 9 percent growth rate even as the government’sown numbers were already indicatingVartan Oskanian, who served as Armenia’s foreignminister from 1998 to 2008, is the founder of theCivilitas Foundation.that this is not a realistic goal. They preferredthe politically desirable picture but instead gotan economically unrealistic scenario, countingas they said they were, on a quick global rebound.As a result, the compact between businessand government remains broken. Theconfidence-inspiring rhetoric was not able totransform reality.Sustainable developmentSecond, it is important that the governmentdiscuss the Russian Federation $500 millionloan with the public and engage it in a conversationabout its efficient use. There is no doubtthat Armenia needs this money to mitigate theimpact of the crisis. The challenge is that itbe used to ensure economic growth. Does theArmenian government intend to use the fundsto meet its current budgetary obligations? Willit loan at least part of the funds to local banks?Or will it invest the funds in competitive sectors,such as agriculture and mining, whichhave growth potential and local social andeconomic significance? In other words, shallArmenia use the crisis to solve existential issuesand address the short-term challenge ofrestraining social disenchantment, or should itthink about sustainable development?Third, new money alone will not solve theeconomic woes either. A step the governmentmust take, and is already late in taking, is tolet the dram find its normal market exchangerate. Already, since early 2008, over $440 millionof Armenia’s reserves has been spentto maintain this stability. This spending isnearly equal to the $500 million we are goingto owe the Russians. This is not sustainable.Sooner or later, the government will beforced to adopt a more flexible exchange ratepolicy. In fact a depreciated dram and morerealistic dram rate will boost the value offoreign capital, will enhance the purchasingpower of the many who rely still on foreignremittances, will stimulate exports, and willpromote tourism, which have already sufferedas a result of the high dram value.Fourth, a government committed to taxreforms must judge correctly not just the natureof the reform but also its timing. Whiletaking the crucial step of modifying the taxstructure to help small and medium enterprises,the government is at the same timeplacing the heaviest burden on the smallesttaxpayer by insisting on cash registers forthe tiniest individual entrepreneurs, thusdriving many out of business. This step couldhave been delayed. Taxes on the little guy canand should be assessed, but only after thereal bottlenecks in our economy are lifted.Monopolies and noncompetitive systems arethe real causes constricting our economy.Government interventionFifth, the time is right to allow for a largerbudget deficit. In an economy where inflationarypressures are low, when credit is tight,when there is a clear economic slowdown, enlargingthe budget deficit is not only acceptablebut necessary. Armenia’s deficit has beenwell within the internationally advocated 3percent of GDP. Under today’s unusual circumstances,the budget deficit can be allowedto grow to even 6 percent of our GDP. Thatadditional emission of money can fund publicworks, thus creating jobs, improving infrastructure,and stimulating the economy.Sixth, this is indeed the time to bring backthe best of government intervention on thebasis of public-private partnership. It was alaissez-faire, nonregulated market that ledto this global crisis. Depending on more ofthe same unrestricted market developmentsnow means tolerating the excesses of capitalisminstead of reining them in. That is whatthe world has learned. In Armenia, if we werehoping that at the end of this transition, thependulum that swung from abject communismto extreme capitalism was to come torest somewhere in the middle between unrestrictedcompetition and total dependency,this crisis allows, indeed forces the governmentto take on greater responsibility forwise engagement in the economy and at thesame time take practical steps to address socialproblems and ameliorate the conditionsof the most vulnerable in society.Repair politicsFinally, there is a seventh area of action thatcannot be avoided or ignored any longer andthat is our political reality. The economyrests firmly on politics and law, on predictabilityand consistency, on transparency andequality. The political situation that existsaround us today does not provide space forour economic dreams. It is not just the polarization,it is not just the cynicism, it isnot just the lack of trust. It is also the insufficientrespect for property rights, it is thesense of impunity on the part of those onwhom we depend to reinforce the rule of law,it is the inarguable monopolies at the basisof so much of our trade. The government’sresponsibility is to secure our economy andour security. Both require a healthy domesticsituation. The government may not be solelyresponsible for today’s mess, but it has thesole capacity to bring the country out of thismess. There is no way to withstand today’seconomic crisis without addressing and resolvingtoday’s political crisis. This crisis iseconomic and domestic, but it will inevitablyaffect our foreign relations and thus canaffect our security.In other words, the global economic crisismay have exacerbated the weaknesses of ourown economy. The domestic political crisismay have come about as a result of bad judgmentson the part of all political actors. Butthe solution must be sought from within.Not from the diaspora, which is living itsown economic crisis. Not from Russia andChina, where money and political expectationscome together. But from our own smalleconomy whose problems we see, whose solutionsare within reach.This is the time for responsive governance,for a demonstrated willingness to share theburden for the well-being of all citizens. Thisis also the time to rally the brainpower andgood intentions of those in and out of government,the experience of those in and outof business, the insights of civil society, tomake the right decisions.fArmenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPublisher Sylva A. BoghossianOffice manager Lisa KopooshianCopyright © 2009 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.Editor Vincent LimaAssociate editor Maria TitizianWashington editor Emil SanamyanEastern U.S. editor Lou Ann MatossianAssistant 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. All photos and artworkmust include a credit to the photographer and a signed statement granting us permissionto publish.Advertising and subscriptions. Please direct questions to orcall us.Our officesPO Box 129Paramus NJ 076521-201-226-1995 phone1-201-226-1660 fax2727 West Alameda BlvdBurbank CA 915051-818-955-9933 phone1-818-955-8799 fax1 Yeghvard Hwy Fl 5Yerevan 0054 Armenia374-10-367-195 phone374-10-367-194 fax

20 The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | March 7, 2009

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