At Eurovision,Armenia comesin fourth withSirushoSee story on page 17 mAn Armeniantradition liveson in NorthDakotaSee story on page C8mThe newestaddition tothe NFLSee story on page 12mEastern U.S. EditionNumber 66May 31, 2008the armenianreporterWarplanes paint the colors of the Armenian tricolor in the peaceful sky over Sardarabad on May 28, 2008. Photo: Photolure.The victory of May 1918 isremembered at SardarabadThe people of Armenia converge at abattleground where Armenia was reborn.Reporter.amSee story on page 1 m
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008
Number 66May 31, 2008the armenianreporterReps. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), AllysonSchwartz (D.-Penn.) andWayne Gilchrest (R.-Md.) visitedBaku on May 24–25 and Yerevanon May 26–27, meeting with Azerbaijaniand Armenian presidentsand other officials, their officesreported. “We consider ArmeniaNationalCongressional delegation in Armenia, regionCommunityCommunityan important partner and ally,” Mr.Schiff said. The trip was the first visitto Armenia by members of Congresssince 2005 and was organizedthrough the ad hoc House DemocracyAssistance Commission.See story on page 2 mDiana Der-Hovanessian leads an ALMA audiencethrough the art of translating poetryOn Sunday afternoon, May 18, atthe Armenian Library and Museumof America (ALMA), lovelyand haunting Armenian melodiesaccompanied an hour of discussing“The Art of Translating Poetry,”Yvette K. Harpootian reports.The forum, moderated by ALMAlibrarian Berj Chekijian, featuredDiana Der-Hovanessian discussingArts & CultureA glimpse into the Bronx of the 1930s: A class picture of the Tourian ArmenianSchool, with “the incredible Deegeen Paboojian” standing on the far right. (Theyoung Mary Zararian is seated in the second row, 6th from the left.)An Internet Café in the Bronx – circa 1935Mary Zararian Liebermann recallsher Armenian school, her church,and the Armenian charcouterie inthe middle of a huge open-air marketin the Bronx. The store was theArmeniaInternet café of an earlier generation,where friends caught up oneach other’s news.See essay on page C11 mLife is hard – and getting lonelier – in villages atArmenia’s border with AzerbaijanIn the past five months, only onechild has been born in Barekamavanvillage, on the border withAzerbaijan, not far from Georgia.She is a girl named Asia. SinceBarekamavan is an aging village,for the past few years the numberof people passing away is greaterthan the number of those beingher approach to the challenge oftranslating Armenian poetry, andreading poems she selected as perennialfavorites.Besides moderating the discussion,Chekijian recited the poemsin Armenian after Der-Hovanessianread them in English.See story on page 6mGlendale Police Department is reaching outto the Armenian community.As they rush to hire new officers tofill a fast-depleting force, GlendalePolice Department officials say theyare on the lookout for Armenian-American candidates – so the agencycan reflect the ethnic make-up ofits city, Alex Dobuzinskis reports.Police officials say their recruitmentis always bound by the needto get the best candidates – andthat they are competing withother police agencies for a smallpool of Armenian-American candidates.But even as the department inthe last decade has drastically increasedits number of Armenian-American officers from three in1998 to 15 this year, those officersmake up only 6 percent of its force.Perhaps 40 percent of the city’sresidents are of Armenian descent,See story on page 14 mborn. Seven people have alreadydied this year.Tatul Hakobyan reports on visitsnine border villages, where hefound that emigration in search ofwork – to Russia and to Yerevan – isincreasing.See story on page 18 mDancers spread joy at Sardarabad on May 28. Photo: Photolure.The victory of May 1918 isremembered at Sardarabad“May 28 is the torchof freedom andindependence”by Armen HakobyanMiddle East scholarsprotest Turkishgovernmentinterference inacademic freedomby Lou Ann MatossianMINNEAPOLIS – In a sharplyworded protest to Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip Erdoğan, theMiddle East Studies Associationon May 27 condemned the forcedresignation of Donald Quataertfrom the chair of the Institute ofTurkish Studies after Prof. Quataertaffirmed in a book review that“what happened to the Armeniansreadily satisfies the U.N. definitionof genocide.”“After the long lapse of seriousOttomanist scholarship on the Armenianquestion, it now appearsthat the Ottomanist wall of silenceis crumbling,” Prof. Quataert (pronouncedKWA-tairt) had written inthe August 2006 Journal of InterdisciplinaryHistory. “Although it mayprovoke anger among some of myOttomanist colleagues,” he added,avoidance of the term genocideSARDARABAD, Armenia – Themonument to the Battle of Sardarabadwas draped in festive colorson the 90th anniversary of thefateful battle. On these very days90 years ago, the Armenian peoplefound the strength to resist theTurkish army, which had come tofinish the last remnants of the Armenianpeople in their native land.In life-or-death battles in Bash-Abaran,near Kara-Kilisa, and here inSardarabad, Armenians not onlyprevailed and pushed back the Turkisharmy, which enjoyed superiorityof numbers and materiel, but alsorestored Armenian statehood.“Are you going to the Battle?”asked Vlad, the thirty-somethingdriver of a Yerevan-Armavir minibus.Having gotten an affirmativeanswer, he volunteered, “I go to theBattle every year. I’d go this yeartoo, but alas I am on duty. I’ll probablygo in the evening. It is, after all,my holiday, my real holiday.”Vlad complained that there ismuch injustice in life. “You know,in his essay “runs the risk of suggestingdenial of the massive andsystematic atrocities that the Ottomanstate and some of its militaryand general populace committedagainst the Armenians.” DescribingOttomanists as falling “into a campof either silence or denial -- bothof which are forms of complicity,”Prof. Quataert urged his colleagues“to take their rightful responsibilityto perform the proper research” on1915 and its aftermath.“Dr. Quataert’s relinquishmentof his position came after he refusedto accede to the request ofITS’s honorary chairman, AmbassadorNebi Şensoy, that he issuea retraction of a scholarly bookreview he wrote about the killingsof Armenians (1915–1918) in theOttoman Empire,” wrote MESApresident Mervat Hatem in theopen letter to Mr. Erdoğan. “Weare enormously concerned thatunnamed high officials in Ankarafelt it was inappropriate for ProfessorQuataert to continue as chairmanof the board of governors andthreatened to revoke the fundingfor the ITS if he did not publiclyretract statements made in his reviewor separate himself from theChairmanship of the ITS,” Prof. Hatemadded. Prof. Quataert resignedin December 2006.I love my country. If I didn’t love it,I wouldn’t go to war for it. I wouldhave left it. I love my country. I justwish it would love me back a bitmore! Whatever. Happy IndependenceDay, brother!”Now powerful engines are rumblingoverhead and warplanes flyby in the peaceful sky. They leavered, blue, and apricot smoke intheir wake. Parachutists descend,unfurling a tricolor banner. It is aday of celebration.Inspecting the military parade isthe president of the republic, SergeSargsian, former President RobertKocharian, the Catholicos ofContinued on page 13 mInstitute of Turkish Studies chair wasousted for acknowledging GenocideIt was members of the TurkishStudies Association, “scandalizedby the news of Professor Quataert’smistreatment at the hands of theInstitute of Turkish Studies,” whoraised the issue at the TSA annualbusiness meeting, which was heldin conjunction with MESA’s annualmeeting in November 2007. TheTSA board referred the case to ME-SA’s Committee on Academic Freedomand expressed support for itsresponse, the letter explained.The ITS, a nonprofit educationalfoundation established in 1982, distributesthe proceeds of a $3 millionendowment from the Turkish governmentto support Turkish studiesin the United States.“The reputation and integrity ofthe ITS as a non-political institutionfunding scholarly projects thatmeet stringent academic criteria isblackened when there is governmentinterference in and blatantdisregard for the principle of academicfreedom,” MESA declared. “Aclear message is sent to those whowould apply for ITS funds or participatein ITS activities that theboard does not stand behind theprinciple of academic freedom, andthat politics can vitiate professionalstandards.”Continued on page m
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008NationalWashington briefingPresidentSerge Sargsiangreeting Reps.Adam Schiff andAllyson Schwartz.Photo: Photolure.Young Georgiansprotest theconduct ofparliamentaryelections. Photo:Photolure.by Emil SanamyanCongressionaldelegation in Armenia,regionReps. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.),Allyson Schwartz (D.-Penn.)and Wayne Gilchrest (R.-Md.)visited Baku on May 24–25 andYerevan on May 26–27, meetingwith Azerbaijani and Armenianpresidents and other officials,their offices reported. The tripwas the first visit to Armenia bymembers of Congress since 2005and was organized through the adhoc House Democracy AssistanceCommission.Rep. Schiff, who representsthe cities of Glendale and Pasadena,with the largest proportionof Armenian-American voters inthe United States, told PresidentSerge Sargsian, “We consider Armeniaan important partner andally. Consequently, we wish to asfar as possible assist its politicaland economic progress.”In an interview with RFE/RL ArmenianService, Rep. Schiff saidthat he and other members were“concerned with the problems thatoccurred during the election [in Armenia],the violence that occurredafter the election.”“We are here to try to assess thesituation and talk with the Armeniangovernment about how wecan help move the government furtherin the direction of democracy,”Rep. Schiff added.Rep. Schiff’s delegation alsomet with aides to Levon Ter-Petrossian, the opposition figureand former president, who focusedon the recent election campaignand its outcome.While in Baku, the members ofCongress heard criticisms of Armeniaand the Armenian diaspora,with few details reported.From Armenia the delegation flewon to Pakistan and Afghanistan.Georgian rulingparty election sweepwelcomed, protestedThe National Movement Party ledby President Mikheil Saakashviliswept the May 21 parliamentaryelection winning more than 110seats in the 150-seat legislature,according to preliminary resultsmade available via the Civil.genews portal.The remaining seats were won bythe Nine-party Opposition Alliance(about 16 seats) led by David Gamkrelidze,the Christian DemocraticParty of former TV anchor GiorgiTargamadze (8 seats), the LaborParty of populist politician ShalvaNatelashvili (6 seats), and the oppositionRepublican Party led byDavid Berdzenishvili (2 seats).Three of the seats in parliamentwent to ethnic Armenians, as the ArmenianReporter reported last week.The opposition alliance quicklycalled for annulment of results,pointing to electoral violations. Italso launched several well-attendedprotest rallies and vowed it wouldprevent the new parliament fromconvening.Western observers suggestedthat the government’s efforts tomeet democratic standards for electionswere “uneven and incomplete.”(The observers gave a more upbeatassessment of the presidential electionlast January calling it “democratic.”See this page in the January12, 2008 Armenian Reporter.)According to the observers therewere problems with vote count in16 percent of precincts inspected– about the same number asin Georgian, as well as Armenian,presidential polls earlier this year.Nevertheless, the U.S. State Departmentwas “encouraged” by what itthought were “improvements” inelection conduct compared to theprevious poll.Georgia has been possibly themost eager ally of the United Statein recent years, sending one of thelargest military contingents in supportof U.S.-led Iraq operations. fSarafian: Genocide deniers weaker today than everA full-length observational documentary,The Blue Book, which had itsU.S. premiere in Pasadena, Calif., onMay 29, tracks historian Ara Sarafianas he argues in the U.K. and Turkeyagainst the official Turkish denialof the Armenian Genocide. On May28, Vincent Lima asked Mr. Sarafianabout his work on the British ParliamentaryBlue Book on the ArmenianGenocide and about his research andadvocacy work in Turkey and beyond.Mr. Sarafian is the director of theGomidas Institute (UK). (Mr. Lima,the editor of the Armenian Reporter,is a former director of the GomidasInstitute.)Armenian Reporter: In Blue Book,the documentary, we see you arguingforcefully for the authenticityof the British Parliamentary BlueBook that made the case for theArmenian Genocide back in 1916.Do you find that your scholarly andadvocacy work regarding the BlueBook has had an impact?Ara Sarafian: Yes, I think theBlue Book has had an impact, ashas my other documentary workon United States archives. Wheneverthe issue of the Blue Bookcomes up in the United Kingdom,the “Uncensored” or critical editionof the work is cited as the basisof discussion. (James Bryce andArnold Toynbee, The Treatment ofArmenians in the Ottoman Empire,1915–1916: Documents Presented toViscount Grey of Fallodon by ViscountBryce [Uncensored Edition], ed. andintro. Ara Sarafian.) Even in Turkeya number of scholars credit thecritical edition in their discussionsof the 1916 work.This work has also had an impactby forcing old-time deniers, mostnotably Sukru Elekdag and JustinMcCarthy, to make changesto their position. For example, theoriginal 1916 work omitted somenames of sources to safeguardthem because they were still in theOttoman Empire in 1916. This informationwas published in a separateconfidential key in 1916. Untilrecently, deniers ignored the existenceof the key and argued thatthe missing names were merely aruse to hide the poor sources underpinningthe 1916 work.Since the publication of the criticaledition in 2000, these deniershave “discovered” the confidentialkey, even though it has been availablesince 1916, including in librariesand archival collections cited bydeniers over the past 30 years. Theyhave been forced to change theirposition with this “discovery” becausethey could no longer simplydeny the existence of the confidentialkey to support their accusations.Now that they are forced toacknowledge the existence of theconfidential key, they insist thatthe content of the key supportstheir thesis. This is simply not trueand their position is now more precarious,even in their own ranks.The critical edition of the BlueBook has had a positive influenceon debates and it serves as a textbookcase of Armenian Genocidedenial.Deniers are having ahard timeReporter: As we can see in thedocumentary, you have long been afrequent traveler to Turkey, whereyou have done research as well aspublic speaking. Let me ask youfirst about your public engagements:Looking at various groupswithin Turkey – scholars, students,political activists of various stripes,the media, and the public at large– do you see any shift in attitudetoward the Genocide?Sarafian: Yes, I see a change inall of the groups you have mentioned.You only have to followTurkish newspapers or televisionprograms, or speak to students.The deniers are still there, but theyare having a hard time. Turkey is amuch more open society now andthis may paradoxically explain whythere is still a continuous stream ofanti-Armenian publications alongsidemore sensible ones in Turkishbookstores. This is not because thedeniers are strong but because theyare weaker today than ever. Theyneed to reinvigorate public supportfor their position.In my experience even someTurkish nationalists have shown aremarkable softening of their positiontoward Armenians regarding1915, typically stating that “somethingterrible happened to Armeniansin 1915,” and that “Armenianshave a right to be angry,” butinvariably insisting that we shouldnot call all this “genocide.” To methis is a fundamental shift, which,when genuine, is an opening forreal dialogue; and if it is contrived,it is a more sophisticated form ofdenial that also needs to be understoodand addressed.Reporter: Do you find that yourarguments are disseminated fairlythrough the Turkish media? WhenI look at stories involving you, yourcritique of Armenian scholarsseems to get more play than yourarguments about the Genocide.Sarafian: I always make a pointof calling the events of 1915 a genocide,both to the print media andtelevision. Some Turkish journalsask me additional questions aboutthe Genocide and quoted me talkingabout the issue.Sometimes what is written inTurkish papers regarding what Ihave said is not correct, but moreoften it is correct. As a rule I submitmy interviews in writing sothat there is a record of what Iactually said. Regarding content,it is not surprising that Turkishjournalists ask me critical questionsabout Armenian historiography.The same is true for Armeniannewspapers asking mequestions about Turkish historiography.For example, I have neverbeen asked about limitationsto the Armenian Genocide thesisby an Armenian newspaper, but Ihave been asked about limitationsto Ottoman archives.Reporter: I do not understandthe second parallel. In 1985 theTurkish prime minister announcedthat the Ottoman archives are openfor the scrutiny of scholars andthat any work on the ArmenianGenocide must account for thesearchives. It is therefore wholly appropriateto ask you, as someonewho has worked in Ottoman archives,whether those archives aretruly open and what they show. Inany case, you have chosen to publishon the matter.On the other hand, why would anewspaper without an ax to grindask you about “limitations to theArmenian Genocide thesis”? Haveyou published an article about anyspecific limitation that has beenignored?Sarafian: I think the veracityof the Genocide is well established,but there are some important aspectsof the events of 1915 that canbe questioned. It depends on whatyou ask and how you ask it. For example,one could debate the role ofJemal Pasha and question whetherhe really was part of the so-calledCUP triumvirate that organizedthe Genocide. I have my seriousdoubts and the issue can be debated.Did Ottoman officials try todestroy every single Armenian inthe Ottoman Empire in 1915? Notnecessarily, and the issue can bedebated.Reporter: The attitude of Armenianscholars for many years hadbeen to avoid engaging debatesabout the veracity of the ArmenianGenocide. The reasoning has gonesomething like this: people whodeny the genocide are not bona fidehistorians in search of the truth,but agents of the Turkish statewhose mission is to show that theArmenian Genocide is not settledhistorical fact. By debating them,we’re confirming that the Genocideis debatable. Do you accept this reasoningtoday?Sarafian: I think we can discernthe real deniers of the genocidefrom those who have genuinequestions to ask, even if they appearnaïve sometimes. It is our jobas scholars to debate such peoplein an appropriate way, in an appropriateforum. I have found thatmany Turks today are interested inthe genocide issue and are open tomeaningful discussion even if theymay not use the “G” word to start.When they recognize the awfultreatment and massacre of Armeniansin 1915, I think one can takethe conversation from there.“Scored an own goal”Reporter: You had a very publicexchange with Yusuf Halacoglu,the head of the THS, where you issuedpress releases and he grantedinterviews to CNN-Turk. You justattended a meeting in Oslo withJustin McCarthy and others. What,in your view, is to be gained fromthese encounters?Sarafian: When I had my exchangewith Halacoglu regarding acase study on Harput, the initiativecame from me, and I framed theproposal. It was a fair, manageableproposal and the Turkish mediagave it prominence by reportingon it. It was CNN-Turk which askedthe critical question to Halacogluregarding the Ottoman records atthe heart of my proposal, and Halacogluadmitted to a Turkish journalistthat the records I had askedto see did not exist (in Turkish archivestoday). I cannot overstressthe importance of this interview inTurkey.Similarly, one of the biggestnames in Turkish journalism,Mehmet Ali Birand, commentedon Halacoglu’s words regardingContinued on page m
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008InternationalSarafian: Genocide deniers weaker today than evern Continued from page the non-availability of the recordsin question under the headline“We Scored an Own Goal.” Birandpointed out that while Turkishauthorities have argued about therichness of Ottoman archives relatedto the 1915 deportations, thecompleteness of Ottoman records,and the unwillingness of Armeniansto work there, we now have ascenario where an Armenian historianhas publicly asked to examinethese core records and he is toldthat they are unavailable. Birand’scolumn was carried in several majorTurkish newspapers.So what was gained? We learnedthat the Ottoman records are fundamentallylacking in some fundamentalrespects, we saw that thereare some decent Turkish journalists,and we allowed the Armenianissue to be discussed in a criticalway in Turkey. These are all positivedevelopments.Halacoglu then went on to state,in an interview to a Turkish newspaper,that I had pulled out ofthe Harput project because I wasafraid of the Armenian diaspora.That explanation was not truebecause I had not said any suchthing. The case study came to anend when Halacoglu stated thatthe relevant records, which he hadinitially agreed to use as the basisof the joint case study, were notavailable. I don’t think any Armeniannewspaper asked me how thewhole affair ended, so Halacoglu’sexplanation was not refuted anywhere.Reporter: But the ArmenianReporter ran an interview with you(March 10, 2007, p. A2) in whichyou announced that the affair hadended and you explained the circumstances.Sarafian: Perhaps I missed it. Idid not see any serious discussionabout what Halacoglu said and itssignificance. Is it conceivable thatrecords were not kept regardingthe deportation and settlement ofpeople in 1915, despite Ottomanlaws and regulations? What werethese laws and regulations? If suchrecords were kept, is it conceivablethat they all have gone missingfrom local and central archives? Dowe take Halacoglu’s word for anyof this? Are there avenues wherebysuch information can be checkedtoday independently of Halacoglu?After all, Halacoglu is the head ofthe Turkish Historical Society andnot the archives.Regarding the recent meeting inOslo, that was something different.It was a closed meeting to seeif there were any positive ways tomove ahead on the Turkish-Armenianissue. The advantage of suchmeetings is that one could be moreAra Sarafian in the new documentary, The Blue Blue. Photo courtesy: Ani Sounds.frank in discussions. If anythingsubstantial was decided, it wouldhave been made public, and I certainlywould have insisted on it.Genocide, in all itscomplexityReporter: Turning to your researchin Turkey, you worked in Ottomanarchives in Istanbul in theearly 90s; you reported that in spiteof lots of trouble with access, thedocuments you studied “corroborateWestern accounts of the ArmenianGenocide.” You have now beenback in Ottoman archives. What isyour current experience?Sarafian: I have not been backto Ottoman archives since beingreadmitted in 2006. It all has todo with funding, and I have nonefor working in Ottoman archives.However. I have kept up with publishedsources put out by the archivesthemselves (there is alwaysinteresting new material comingout), and I have been able to discussdevelopments with Turkishcolleagues. My understanding isthat Ottoman archives still corroboratethe Armenian Genocide,but there is a caveat to my answer.Ottoman records corroboratethe Armenian Genocide thesis inall of its complexities, some aspectsof which have been left outof discussions by mainstream Armeniansscholars. Just to give youan example: we know that mostdeportees were killed during thedeportations of 1915, wasted awayin Der Zor, or killed outright at theend of 1916. However, it is also truethat perhaps up to 200,000 Armenianswere sent to western Syria in1915. These convoys suffered a greatdeal from privations and disease,but they were not murdered as inDer Zor. As a consequence, manyArmenians survived 1915 in westernSyria and Jordan – though underawful conditions and with greatlosses. This episode of the ArmenianGenocide, the deportations towestern Syria, has not been incorporatedinto conventional accountsof the Genocide itself.Such information about westernSyria, combined with what Ottomanarchives have to say, can beused to devastating effect by deniersof the Genocide. They can usesuch information to question thecredibility of the whole Genocidethesis.Only recently, Turkish PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdoğanstated that Armenian deporteeswere given pocket money in 1915.Technically, that is true: that is,there were instances where somedeportees were given some moneyby some Ottoman authorities.This is even recorded in Armeniansources. See Vahram Dadrian’sTo the Desert: Pages from My Diary.However, it is also true thatsuch cases were not typical by anystretch of the imagination, andeven these caravans were liableto be robbed and massacred afterward.Just to illustrate the point further,a member of the Turkish HistoricalSociety stated that Armenianintellectuals who were arrestedand exiled from Constantinopleon April 24 were given money bythe Ottoman authorities. He impliedthat such treatment was anindication of how well these prisonerswere treated. He implied thatthese people could not have beenmassacred.Yet Armenian sources, to theircredit, also recorded that the April24 deportees were given somefunds by their captors. They alsonamed and stated that most ofthese people disappeared while instate custody. Ottoman Turkishsources do not give the names ofthe deportees and they certainlydo not say what happened to thesepeople.Reporter: I’m not sure I understandhow the fact that Armenianssurvived in westernSyria and Jordan could be usedto undermine the Genocide thesis.Is there any controversy as towhether hundreds of thousandsof Armenians survived the Genocide?Vahram Dadrian’s book, totake your example, was publishedin Armenian in the 1940s, no?These accounts are not secret. Theissue, perhaps, is that scholars ofthe early-twentieth-century historyof Asia Minor need to takeresponsibility for Armenian-languagesources.Access to archivesOn the subject of access to archives,what is the state of access to Armenianarchives? Last week, thehead of the Turkish Historical Societycomplained about closed Armenianarchives and said he hadoffered money to help Armeniansopen them. You characterized thisas a publicity stunt. At the sametime, however, you noted that thearchives of the Zoryan Instituteand the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchateare not open. Could youdescribe your concerns?Sarafian: The Zoryan Institutecollected the private papers of individualArmenians in the 1980s.It also microfilmed materials fromother archives. A few months backI was informed that these recordswere still not available for scrutiny,though the institute’s oral historyrecords have been digitized and areavailable by special request. Thiswas disappointing news to me becauseof the importance of all archivalcollections related to the Genocide,as well as my concern that theZoryan materials may well havedeteriorated. Certainly I expectedthe Zoryan people to afford moreattention to these records given ongoingdebates about the ArmenianGenocide and the importance ofArmenian sources. If nothing else,the institute could have classifiedparts of its collection in an ongoingprocess. These records have beenkept under lock-and-key for overtwo decades.In the case of the JerusalemPatriarchate’s archives, these areof immense interest because manykey records related to the genocideended up there. A few Armenianscholars (most notably Vahakn N.Dadrian and Richard G. Hovannisian)have used documents fromthese archives without disclosinginformation about their physicalcondition, or the fact that they arenot freely accessible. I have beentold that these materials are nowin very poor condition because ofneglect.I personally tried to gain accessto these archives twice in the 1990sand was simply told that no sucharchives existed.The current state of the Jerusalemarchives does not seem to be anactive concern amongst Armenianscholars. Perhaps they will showinterest when Turkish historiansbegin to make the Jerusalem archivesinto a political issue. I hopeno records have been lost throughneglect because the absence ofdocuments will only play into thehands of deniers.Reporter: You have been unsparingin your criticism of Armenianscholars. It is axiomatic thatto maintain high standards, scholarsmust criticize each other’s work.But we tend to see your critiques inthe Turkish press. Are the normalavenues of scholarly peer review– book reviews, monographs, arguingin conferences – not working inArmenian studies?Sarafian: I think you are exaggeratingwhen you say I have been“unsparing” in my criticism. In thepast 20 years I have reviewed orcommented on the works of Armenianscholars in Armenian Review,Armenian Forum, The ArmenianWeekly, and Journal of the Societyfor Armenian Studies. In each caseI have tried to be balanced. WhereI have criticized, I have done so ingood faith, with argument, andwith the knowledge that the peopleconcerned can respond. In fact, Ihave welcomed such responses tomy reviews. This is how scholarshipworks.On the other hand, I have hadArmenian scholars tell me I shouldnot criticize other Armenian scholars,“because Turks will use suchcriticism against us.” I reject suchstatements as a matter of course.I am against censorship, includingself-censorship, especially in academia.In recent years, I have also maderemarks in the Turkish press whenasked about scholarship and thepolitics surrounding scholarshiprelated to the Armenian Genocide.My comments have been criticalof some Turkish and Armenianauthors and institutions. If I havebeen unfair to anyone, I am surethe appropriate people will respondto what I have said. I mighteven be shown to be mistaken, inwhich case I will take note and issuea retraction. That is all part ofthe scholarly process.Reporter: What are you workingon now? Any forthcoming publications?Sarafian: I am working full timeat the Gomidas Institute with severalpublications pending. My personalresearch focus right now is onthe forgotten or silenced Armeniansources on the Genocide, especiallythose related to the deportationsto western Syria in 1915–17. I hopeto integrate this issue into a broaderunderstanding of the Genocide,both for a better understanding ofthe Genocide itself, as well as topreclude the manipulation of suchinformation by deniers.Reporter: Thank you. fITS chair was ousted for acknowledging Armenian Genociden Continued from page Such concerns are not new. In theSpring 1995 issue of Holocaust andGenocide Studies, scholars RogerW. Smith, Erik Markusen, andRobert Jay Lifton exposed a longstandingarrangement by whichITS founding executive directorHeath Lowry served the Turkishgovernment in its campaign to discreditscholarship on the ArmenianGenocide.A professor of history at the StateUniversity of New York at Binghamton,Mr. Quataert chaired theITS board of governors from 2001until December 13, 2006. In 1985, asan associate professor at the Universityof Houston, he was amongthe 69 Ottoman, Turkish, and MiddleEastern area scholars who petitionedagainst a House Joint Resolutionthat memorialized “the oneand one half million people of Armenianancestry who were victimsof genocide perpetrated in Turkeybetween 1915 and 1923.”As he recalled the emerging Ottomanand Turkish area scholarshipof the 1980s from a vantagepoint twenty years later, Prof. Quataertwrote in his book review, “theauthors were not writing criticalhistory but polemics” and “manyof their works were directly sponsoredand published by the Turkishgovernment.” To date, said MESA,most of the scholarship in this areastill fails to adhere to the highestprofessional standards “and assuch serves neither the field of Ottoman-Turkishstudies nor the interestsof the Republic of Turkeyand its citizens.”Nevertheless, both Prof. Quataertin his review and MESA withits 2005 Academic Freedom Awardlauded the new wave of criticalthinking in this field – specificallymentioning a conference held atIstanbul’s Bilgi University “despiteofficial intimidation and publicharassment,” as Prof. Quataert recalled.Prominent among the organizersand presenters of that conferencewere members of the Workshopfor Armenian/Turkish Scholarship,including WATS co-founderFatma Müge Göçek, a sociologistat the University of Michigan.Prof. Göçek, who did not sign the“69 scholars” petition, said she wassurprised to learn from MESA’s letterthat she was still an ITS boardmember.“One problem at ITS seems to bethat neither the process throughwhich who gets invited from amongthe associate members to reviewthe grants, nor the proceedings ofthe Board meetings is shared withthe rest of the ITS body,” she wrotein an open letter to the other boardmembers. If Prof. Quataert “wasindeed punished in his capacity asthe Board chairman for what hewrote in his capacity as a researchscholar,” she added, “then I wouldregard that as an infringement onhis academic freedom.” Prof. Göçekconfirmed for the Armenian Reporterthat in the wake of MESA’sletter, two ITS board members hadalready resigned and two more inaddition to herself were consideringwhether to do so.Addressing Prime MinisterErdoğan, MESA pointed out that“the attitude towards Dr. Quataertsharply contrasts with your government’srecent call to leave the debateregarding the events of 1915 to theindependent study and judgment ofscholars.” The organization called forProf. Quataert to be reinstated andITS endowment funds to be placed“in an irrevocable trust immune frompolitical interference and infringementof academic freedom.” f
4 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityBayside parish discusses preservation of Armenian manuscriptsby Dr. Lynn CetinBAYSIDE, N.Y. – The Holy MartyrsChurch Educational MinistryProgram welcomed Fr. ColumbaStewart to speak on “Preserving ArmenianManuscripts: The Work ofthe Hill Museum and ManuscriptLibrary,” during a special programon March 25.Fr. Stewart is chair of the departmentof Theology at St. John’sSchool of Theology in Collegeville,Minn., and also serves as the executivedirector of the Hill Museumand Manuscript Library (hmml).He began his presentation in Baysidewith an overview of the historyof hmml, followed by a descriptionof new projects relatedto ancient Armenian manuscripts.Fr. Columba spoke eloquently andpassionately about the mission ofhmml, and supplemented his talkwith beautiful photographs and anecdotalstories from his travels.The Hill Museum and ManuscriptLibrary was founded 40 years agoby Benedictine monks, in responseto the devastating loss of manuscriptsand books during the twoWorld Wars. Since then it has builtthe largest collection of manuscriptimages in the world, having photographedalmost 100,000 manuscripts.Since the 1970s, hmml hasbeen photographing collections ofEastern Christian manuscripts, andits collections of Armenian, Syriac,and Christian Arabic manuscriptsare significant resource for thestudy of Eastern Christian manuscripts.The collection currentlycontains more than 1,300 microfilmsof Armenian manuscripts,NEW YORK – Jack (Hagop)Soultanian died on May 21, at theage of 90.The son of Gulu Soultanian, andbrother to Stephan, Elyse, Agvani,and Kevork, he was born in Istanbulin 1917, and came to Americain 1933. He worked as a photo engraver,and served in the army duringWorld War II, for which he wasawarded the Purple Heart.In 1946, he married Rose Hamparian,his wife of 62 years, whosurvives him. He is also survivedby their children Takoug, Steve,and Jack, Jr., in-laws Ed and Silvia,and grandchildren Chad, Michelle,Stephanie, and Erica. Familymembers said he will be sorelymissed.In-lieu-of-flowers donations inJack Soultanian’s name may beNEW MILFORD, N.J. – TheHovnanian School’s alumni associationhosted a “Texas Hold’Em” poker tournament on theevening of Saturday, May 17, atthe school.A professional company providedtables and dealers, and food anddrinks were also served to attendees,all in an effort to fundraise forthe Hovnanian School.Those who did not know howto play poker were able to enjoygames like backgammon and cards,as well.with outreach efforts underway toseveral major Armenian centers.(The library’s website, www.hmml.org, gives detailed informationon the history of the project.)During the Bayside presentation,Fr. Stewart described hmml’smission of preserving manuscriptimages as being driven by threeconsiderations: respect for therights of the manuscript ownersto retain custody of manuscriptJack Soultanian dies at 90At a Hovnanian School fundraiser,you gotta know when to hold ’emFr. Stewart, of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, along with Holy Martyrs Churchpastor Fr. Hovhanessian, membersof the parish educational ministry program, and attendees at a special program on manuscript preservation.Jack Soultanian (1917-2008)sent to the Holy Martyrs ArmenianChurch of Bayside, and to the NewYork Armenian Home for the Agedin Flushing.The top five winners of the tournamentreceived some great prizes-- including a grand prize of $2,500,won by the school’s kindergartenteacher, Tania Bakalian.The alumni association expressedits gratitude to everyone who tookpart in the fundraiser, to the motherswho donated their time to makethe food, to the prize donors, andto all the table sponsors. The pokertournament was another effort inthe association’s continuing fundraisingprojects for the HovnanianSchool.Visit us atreporter.amoriginals; the preservation benefitof having photographic “backups”of originals; and the benefitto scholars of having a “library oflibraries.”He told how manuscript preservationis done in phases. Phaseone involves capturing high-qualityimages of the manuscriptswith digital equipment. Becauseof the sensitivity issue of themanuscript materials to theirTULSA, Okla. – Barkev Y. Bakamjian,a dedicated teacher and anaccomplished scientist, died onFriday, April 25, at his Tulsa homein the company of family memberswho had supported him during hisvaliant battle against cancer. Hewas 84.Bakamjian was born August 17,1923, near Beirut, Lebanon, theyoungest child of Yeghia and SantoukhtBakamjian, survivors of theArmenian Genocide. He attendedan English missionary orphanagegrammar school led by his father,who taught him to place a high valueon education. He moved on toa French secondary school beforestudying at the American Universityof Beirut, where he earned abachelor’s degree in physics in 1944and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineeringin 1946.In September 1946, Barkev traveledby ship to the United Statesalong with his older sister, Veronica,a doctor, to start a new life. Heearned a master’s degree in physicsfrom Columbia University in 1947and a doctorate in physics from Columbiain 1953. He and his Columbiafaculty advisor, L.H. Thomas,published a paper in Physical Reviewin December 1953 titled “RelativisticParticle Dynamics, II” thathas been cited in more than 200other articles.Also in December 1953, Barkev,married the former Grace M. Norian,and the two enjoyed a marriageremarkable tenderness and depthof love.Prof. Bakamjian was an instructoror assistant professor of engineeringor physics at several institutionsduring his first 15 years inthe United States: at the New Yorkowners, hmml trains local peoplein the digitization process andtechnical support so that no oneother than local personnel handlethe manuscripts. Photographicstudios are set up in each areawhere manuscripts are locatedto respect the local people whoare providing the manuscriptsto hmml. No manuscripts everleave the communities, and copiesof the images remain in thesePhysicist and teacher BarkevBakamjian dies at 84Maritime College, the University ofOklahoma, the University of Californiaat Berkeley, the University ofMinnesota Duluth, NortheasternUniversity, and finally at PennsylvaniaState University.His passion for teaching wasexpressed in many less formal settingsafter he left academics fora career in industry. Bakamjianworked at the Schlumberger-DollResearch Center in Ridgefield,Conn., from 1961 to 72, guiding themathematics department duringmost of his tenure there. After twoyears in research and developmentwith Addressograph-MultigraphCorp. in the Cleveland, Ohio, area,he returned to the petroleum industry,working as a geophysicistat the Amoco Research Center inTulsa from 1974 until his retirementin 1992.He briefly served as a researchassociate at the University of Tulsafollowing his retirement fromAmoco, and in 1994 participated ina U.S. Department of Energy conferencein Armenia focused on thenewly independent former Sovietstate’s energy future.An amateur violinist, he shareda love of music with his wife Grace,a pianist and piano teacher. Theywere active together in Tulsa’s classicalmusic scene for 30 years.While living in Pennsylvania andConnecticut, Barkev and Gracewere industrious Unitarian-Universalists,playing instrumental rolesin starting two U.U. fellowships.They have been active supportersof Armenian causes, especially educationand relief efforts.He is survived by his wifeGrace; a brother, Dr. VahramBakamjian of Port Washington,communities so that no one canquestion the authenticity of theimages in the future.Phase two of the preservation ofmanuscripts requires archiving andcataloguing of the digital images.This is a labor-intensive task whichneeds to be continuously updatedas technology changes.Phase three of the preservationof manuscripts involves the missionto provide a needed service toresearchers and scholars of manuscripts,so that anyone, anywherein the world can access these historicaltreasures. hmml is currentlyraising funds for Armenian-relatedprojects in Lebanon, Turkey, andSyria. Rich collections in Italy andEastern Europe are also in need ofpreservation.Holy Martyrs pastor Fr. VahanHovhanessian expressed gratitudeto Fr. Stewart for preserving manuscriptsvitally important to the historyand culture of the Armenianpeople.For the evening’s program, alarge group of interested studentsfrom St. John’s University ArmenianClub were in the audience, andduring the wine and cheese fellowshipthat followed the presentation,the young people continueddiscussions with Fr. Stewart abouthis work.Fr. Hovhanessian and the parish’sEducational Ministry Programhold educational eventsthroughout the year. For information,or to support the EducationalMinistry Program, visit theparish website www.holy-martyrs.org, or contact the church office at(718) 225-0235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Barkev Bakamjian (1923-2008).N.Y.; his three sons, Ted and TimBakamjian of Tulsa, and DavidBakamjian of Woodside, N.Y.; andthree grandchildren, Josh, Allison,and Jeff. Barkev’s sister, VeronicaBakamjian, preceded himin death.Family members related thatBarkev Bakamjian will be rememberedfor his warm smile and generousspirit, as well as for his intellectand professional accomplishments.A service celebrating his life washeld May 3 at All Souls UnitarianChurch in Tulsa.In-lieu-of-flowers donationsmay be made to the ArmenianMissionary Association of America(31 West Century Road, Paramus,N.J., 07652); gifts in BarkevBakamjian’s honor will be directedto the amaa’s child educationefforts.
6 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityDiana Der-Hovanessian discusses the art of translating poetryby Yvette K. HarpootianWATERTOWN, Mass. – OnSunday afternoon, May 18, at theArmenian Library and Museum ofAmerica (alma), lovely and hauntingArmenian melodies accompaniedan hour of discussing “The Artof Translating Poetry.” The forum,moderated by alma librarian BerjChekijian, featured Diana Der-Hovanessian discussing her approachto the challenge of translatingArmenian poetry, and readingpoems she selected as perennialfavorites.Besides moderating the discussion,Chekijian recited the poemsin Armenian after Der-Hovanessianread them in English. Hisstrong and vibrant voice wouldcrescendo and then subtly fade inperfect rhythm to the poems; andthe accompanying Armenian musicperformed by pianist by AniHovsepian blended beautifullywith the voices, making this a trulymemorable afternoon.The program began with a discussionof the challenges of translatingArmenian poetry.“Armenians are the only nationthat has a church holiday calledthe Day of the Holy Translators,”Chekijian said. “And since the beginningof Armenian literature,the finest poets have also been thefinest translators.” He turned toDer-Hovanessian and asked her toexplain how she approached thedemanding art of translating Armenianpoetry.She explained that first, thetranslator owes the poet the bestpossible translation into the secondAt alma, Diana Der-Hovanessian (center) explains her translations of importantArmenian poems, as pianist Ani Hovsepian provides a musical accompaniment.alma librarian Berj Chekijian (right) was on hand to recite the selected poems inArmenian.language. After all, the poet’s styleand work can only emerge throughthe skill of the translator.Second, the translator has a debtto the poem. “It has to be closest inmusic that he can get to the original.That means word order is oftenchanged. Armenian is inflected, ithas built-in rhymes,” Der-Hovanessiansaid.Third, the translator owes thereader the purest fidelity to thepoem as the original poet wroteit -- which must override what thetranslator may want it to say. “Theart of translation is the art of poetry,but it’s someone else’s poem youare crafting and giving a second lifeto,” Der-Hovanessian added.Diana began doing translationsafter a Bulgarian poet asked her tohelp him with an anthology of Bulgarianpoetry. She realized, however,that before she could help him,she needed to offer Armenians ananthology of their finest verse; theonly other effort, by Alice StoneBlackwell, had been long out ofprint.Since its publication, DianaDer-Hovanessian’s Anthology ofArmenian Poetry has been integralin documenting and promotingArmenian poetry throughout theEnglish-speaking world.Literal, but not poetryShe began her selection of readingswith one of the oldest knownpoems in Armenian, about the sungod, “The Birth of Vahakn,”…YergnerYergir Yev.Continuing the theme of sunworship before the nation embracedChristianity was a poem bythe medieval poet Koutchag: “Earlyin the morning the sun in my eyes/ I met one more lovely than sun ormoon rise.”Eventually, from such paganthemes of light came the light ofChristianity, beautifully describedin St. Gregory of Narek’s prayer,“Oh righteous sun, blessed light, luminousimage … Creator Christ.”Pausing between reading the poems,Diana imparted that “Translatingpoetry isn’t the same asDiana Der-HovanessianAuthor of over 23 books of poetryand translations, Der-Hovanessiancontinues to teach and write.She is president of the New EnglandPoetry Club, and has receivedawards from the NEA and the PoetrySociety of America, amongothers. Her most recent role as anambassador of Armenian poetrycame last November, when shewas a guest at the Taipei PoetryFestival in Taiwan.She has twice been a Fulbrightprofessor in Armenia, and haspublished two new books of poems,The Second Question and hermost recent translation, The OtherVoice: Armenian Women’s Poetry.translating a simple sentence. It’sputting it back into another poem.I translate because before I started,translations of our poetry were allby academics, not poets. They wereliteral, word for word, and correct-- but they were not poetry.”She defined the three main influenceson modern Armenian poetry:ancient folk songs and poems,the chant, and the Genocide. Poetssuch as Siamanto wrote of thedestruction of families and homes,typified by a sad, poignant poemoften read at funerals: “Apm mumokhir.”Another poet, Vahan Tekeyan,wrote a very bitter poem, “We shallsay to God,” recited with intenseemotion by Diana and Berj. In contrastwas a memorable love poemby Vahan Derian, “I love your darkand wicked eyes.”Diana Der-Hovanessian.Der-Hovanessian also discussedseveral other poets, giving brief factsabout their lives and how they wrote.The program was rich and informative,enhanced by Hovsepian’splaying and Chekijian’s dramaticrecitations. At the close of the presentation,Diana Der-Hovanessiangraciously answered questions,sharing her insight and love for theworld of poetry, and for Armeniansand their poetry.The modern poet she chose toconclude the program was IranbornYeghishe Charents. His bestlovedpoem is “Yes eem anoushHayastani” -- which Diana renderedas, “I love the sun-sweet taste ofArmenian words.” The poem and itssentiment were the perfect endingto a program devoted to the beautyof Armenian poetry and the art oftranslating it.
The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008 7CommunityHoly Martyrs’ Aradzani dance group performs the dances of KharpertBAYSIDE, N.Y. – On the afternoonof Sunday May 4, the AradzaniDance Group of Holy MartyrsArmenian Church presented a programof Armenian songs and dancesfrom the region of Kharpert.Following Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian’sprayer and welcomingremarks, the program proceededwith live music provided by theTarpnian family, featuring Johnon the oud, his brother Jerry ondumbeg, and John’s daughter Lisaon vocals. When Lisa sang Hars oupesa, the Aradzani juniors dancedbehind the “bride” and “groom,”played by Margaret Sakar and ArmenDemirjian (the latter of whomwas also celebrating his seventhbirthday).The Holy Martyrs Junior Choirunder the direction of ShoushanSaraydarian and Talar Aydin sanga medley of songs from the Kharpertregion, and ended the programwith the patriotic song, YerkBantkhdoutian.A novel dance called the Chaydachira, or the candle dance, was performedby the senior members ofthe Aradzani troupe.The seniors group also dancedtwo versions of the Chnkoush Halay,which is said to embody the“soul” of the Armenians. One versionwas taught to the group byAradzani member Shakeh Hartunian,who learned the steps fromher father.Thanks to instructor Robert Haroutunian’sextensive research thegroup mastered five variations ofthe Tamzara, including the “coupleversion” from Palu featuring thehands joined behind the back atwaist level and a triple turn. Accordingto the late Arsen Anooshian,an authority on Armenian folkdancing, the name “Tamzara” isderived from “Tammuz Ara,” anThe juniormembersof Bayside’sAradzani dancegroup surroundthe “hars” and“pesa” (MargaretSakar and ArmenDemirjian)during a May 4performanceancient fertility divinity of paganArmenia.The Aradzani dance group performsthe pre-1915 Armenian dancesin their original state, withoutchoreography. Robert Haroutunianprovided extensive background informationfor the performance, andset up a display of historic picturesfrom the Kharpert region. The program,both entertaining and educational,showed that the songs anddances of Kharpert still resonatedeeply in Armenian culture. .Panossianto speak atnaasrBELMONT, Mass. – Dr. RazmikPanossian, of the InternationalCenter for Human Rights andDemocratic Development in Montreal,Canada, will give a lecturetitled “Change without Transition:Politics in Post-Soviet Armenia” onMonday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m., atthe National Association for ArmenianStudies and Research (naasr)Center, 395 Concord Ave., in Belmont.Dr. Panossian’s lecture willbe co-sponsored by naasr and theArmenian Relief Society SummerYouth Program.Panossian’s lecture will examinethe challenges contemporaryArmenia faces in its post-Soviettransition. It will focus primarilyon the political processes that haveled to regime changes, includingproblematic elections and violence,the long-term consequences of theKarabakh conflict, and the role ofthe diaspora.Dr. Razmik Panossian is theauthor of The Armenians: FromKings and Priests to Merchants andCommissars (Columbia UniversityPress), which traces the evolutionof Armenia and Armenian collectiveidentity from its beginningsdown to the present day. Panossianreceived a Ph.D. from theLondon School of Economics andPolitical Science. His dissertationwon the 2001 Lord Bryce Prize forBest Dissertation in Comparativeand International Politics, awardedby the UK Political StudiesAssociation. He is currently thedirector of Program and Policy atthe International Center for HumanRights and Democratic Development.Admission to the event is free(donations appreciated). Ampleparking is available around thebuilding and in adjacent areas.The lecture will begin promptlyat 7:30 p.m. Information on thelecture is available by calling (617)489-1610, or by e-mailing email@example.com.
8 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityArmenia Tree Project will co-sponsor a forum on sustainabledevelopment strategiesWATERTOWN, Mass. – TheArmenia Tree Project (atp) and anumber of co-sponsoring organizationswill host a public forum onThursday, June 19, titled “SustainableDevelopment Strategies forArmenia’s Future,” at the ArmenianCultural Foundation, in Arlington,Mass.According to studies by internationalforestry experts, Armeniais one of the vulnerable countrieswith a forest cover of less than10 percent. As a result, Armeniafaces challenges caused by erosion,landslides, water management, climatechange, and desertification.A number of factors have contributedto this crisis, some of whichare related to geopolitics, poverty,corruption, and poor land managementpractices.Since 1994, Armenia Tree Project(atp) has been working to implementsolutions to these problemsby planting trees at hundreds ofurban and rural areas around thecountry.The June 19 forum will highlightthe next phase of this work. It programwill begin with the screeningof a recent documentary film byVem Media Arts of Yerevan, followedby a presentation by atp executivedirector Jeff Masarjian andZachary Parisa of the Yale UniversitySchool of Forestry and EnvironmentalStudies.Mr. Parisa has done field work inthe forests of northern Armenia,near atp’s 15-acre Mirak Family ReforestationNursery in MargahovitVillage, and he is drafting a sustainableforestry manual for Armenia.This event is being co-sponsoredby the Armenia Tree Project, theArmenian Assembly, ArmenianCultural Foundation, ArmenianEnvironmental Network, ArmenianNational Committee, and VemMedia Arts.“We are very excited to be collaboratingwith these organizations, allwhich have recently partnered withatp to spread the message aboutsustainable development and thethreat of deforestation,” said Masarjian.“It is our sincere hope thatthe list of organizations grows inthe coming years as we advanceour reforestation programs in Armenia.”The Thursday, June 19 event willbegin with a complimentary receptionat 6:00 p.m., followed bya public presentation at 7:00 p.m.The Armenian Cultural Foundationis located at 441 Mystic Avenue,Arlington, Mass. Seating is limited,so rsvp by June 13 by calling (781)646-3090, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Sandi Bedrosian turns jazz into pizzazzZachary Parisa(right) from theYale UniversitySchool ofForestry andEnvironmentalStudies has donefield work inArmenia’s forestsnear ATP’sMirak FamilyReforestationNursery andhe is draftinga sustainableforestry manualfor Armenia.Photo: KathrynHoward.by Tom VartabedianANDOVER, Mass. – Over thepast quarter century, vocalist SandiBedrosian has performed at dozensof venues from the posh Ritz CarltonHotel to the rollicking Spirit ofBoston cruises.She’s starred in numerous musicalproductions like Fiorello, Carouseland Die Fledermaus and openedfor national acts like Barbara Mandrell,Sheena Easton, and GaryCharrone of Van Halen.She credits her musical influencesto Julie Andrews, CeciliaBartoli, Andrea Bocelli, Nat KingCole, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland,Sting --- and her parents.Her logo reads: “Dedicated to MusicalExcellence.”Whether performing solo orwith her Sandi Bedrosian Trio, this46-year-old diva has conquered theworld of music in a big way and hercareer knows no bounds, whetherit’s jazz, classical, contemporary orrhythm and blues.Bedrosian owns a voice studioin Andover and works as a teacherand vocal coach to new and professionalartists when not singing herself.(Check out her website: sandibedrosian.com.)In this interview, the woman behindthe microphone talked abouther role.Tom Vartabedian: What’s yourbackground, Sandi?Sandi Bedrosian: I grew upwith music in my home. My fathersang and performed in Armenianmusicals and operettas. Mom hada voice, too. My older brother isa music major and runs a pianoschool with his wife. My sister isalso musical. She teaches and dancesas well. I earned my degree fromUMass/Lowell and give private instructionat my voice studio in Andoverand at Milton Academy.TV: How would you compareteaching with performing?SB: Teaching is a wonderful wayto continue the process of learningand if you’re lucky, it also keeps youhumble. Performing keeps me inshape -- and in the loop. You’ve gotto be in the running.TV: What is your Armenianbackground? Which Armeniancomposer/singer impresses youthe most? What’s your opinion ofArmenian music?SB: My entire family was involvedwith the Armenian Church, SundaySchool, parish council and choir. IVocalist Sandi Bedrosian.had the opportunity to join the YerevanChoral Society conducted byFr. Oshagan Minassian when I wasjust 16. That exposed me to thesebrilliant Armenian works and singingin Armenian.TV: What type of music do youprefer most?SB: I have always loved the musicof the ’30s and ’40s. Perhaps I’ma throwback. It seems to suit me-- singing Gershwin, Berlin andEllington. The music is timeless.However, I’m also very drawn toMotown and Mozart. How contrary!TV: Where does Armenian musicrank?SB: It still flows through myveins as though I am cued the momentI hear the minor keys andMiddle Eastern rhythms. I’vemade a promise to myself thatmy future performances and nextCD will embrace my Armenianheritage. The music is brilliant andquite profound. It can express theemotional journey and resoundingspirit of a people so driven tosurvive.TV: How did you start singingand who inspired you?SB: I can’t remember ever notsinging -- in the car, the shower,my room, the backyard. But I sangvery quietly. My mom would alwayssays, “Can you please sing alittle louder so we can hear you,too?” She was lovely and trulyamazing. Dad encouraged me, too.“Now don’t force your voice. Letit out naturally,” he used to say.His tenor voice was beautiful. Butthey were not professional singers.They ran a small dry cleaningbusiness.TV: Where did you go fromthere?SB: No one really knew I couldsing until I was in my late teens.Aside from my parents, I was greatlyinfluenced by Nat King Cole, EllaFitzgerald, Judy Garland and JulieAndrews to name a few. I sang myfirst paying job at a wedding ceremonyas a church soloist whenI was 17. Hmmm? Maybe that’swhere it all began?TV: Tell me something aboutyour Trio and the Baboian Quartetconnection?SB: My jazz trio has been performingaround New England forthe past 12 years, keeping the musicof the great American songbookalive. My musicians are some of thebest in Greater Boston and it’s ajoy for me to work with them. I amgrateful for their artistic talent andmusical camaraderie.John Baboian and I met on a gigabout eight years ago and were bothastonished that our musical pathshad never crossed. He’s a brilliantmusician whose guitar skills arestellar. I love working with him.TV: What are some highlights ofyour 25-year career?SB: In the 1990s, I shared billingwith some headline artists such asBarbara Mandrell, Sheena Easton,and Gary Charrone. That was exciting!Their level of talent, up closeand personal, exceeds any notionyou may have in your mind.TV: Any disappointments?SB: Being in the performing artsalways brings some disappointments.You can’t please all of thepeople all of the time, as they say.So you continue to do what youlove and do the best you can.TV: Why are you so passionateabout music, and what does it dofor your life?SB: Sometimes I think musicchose me. When I was very young,I spent a lot of time doing veryartistic thinks like drawing andsinging and listening to famousrecording artists -- trying to emulatethem to unravel their artisticqualities and what made themso amazing. Somehow, I found awonderful creative vehicle – a wayto express myself through musicand lyrics. A song becomes mycanvas.TV: How do you prepare yourselffor a gig? And what’s your mostchallenging role?SB: There are many things asinger does to prepare, dependingon the venue, repertoire and thesinger. Generally, there are vocalwarm-ups, hydrating with lots ofwater and finding some calmingway to relax and compose yourself,maybe say a little prayer. Personally,I do all of the above, and itactually helps.TV: How demanding is opera,say, to jazz or Broadway?SB: I have sung a lot of lightclassical, liturgical and some opera.Preparing to sing a sopranoaria with my mezzo soprano rangewas somewhat challenging for thepart of Rosalinda in Die Fledermauswhen I was in my 20s.I am moved by Andrea Bocelli’svoice because he does what I havealways said I would do. That is,transcending vocally from the classicalrealm to contemporary orpop effortlessly and authentically.If I were asked to chose one genreof music and sing only that repertoire,it would be sad. I thrive onversatility.TV: What was your most meaningfulencounter with a diva orsome other recording star?SB: It would have to be Tom Sullivan.I sang in the late 1990s witha jazz quintet that was hired toplay at a wedding reception. Theuncle of the bride happened to beTom Sullivan, a well-known vocalist/pianistfrom the 1970s. Mr.TENAFLY, N.J. – KourkenArshag Daglian celebrated his90th birthday last week, surroundedby more than 35 relativesand friends.According to Krikor Daglian,Kourken and his parents, Eliseand Parnag, came to Americafrom Turkey in 1923 to start anew life after the horrors theyhad witnessed in their homeland.For more than 50 years,Kourken worked as a dentist andoral surgeon in New York City.He also served in the 101st AirborneDivision as a captain duringWorld War II and the KoreanWar. Mr. Daglian has made hishome for the past 45 years inTenafly, where his four childrenwere raised.Sullivan was an idol of mine fromthe time I was a little girl. His musicianshipwas unparalleled, soulfuland riveting. I screamed outhis name as he walked by with hisseeing-eye dog. He seemed quiteflattered. Later, we sang togetherand he told me his next projectwas to take up skydiving. I’m notkidding. The man was remarkable.TV: Your favorite piece of music?SB: It would have to be Gershwinor “Panis Angelicas” (“Bread of theAngels”) or “How Great Thou Art.”Or my absolute favorite Armeniansong, “Eenchoo terrard yev heratzahd.”Oh, gosh! Is that even a title?TV: What’s ahead? Where do yousee yourself 10 years from now?SB: No huge visions of grandeur,just to be the best I can beand successful at it. As a youngaspiring singer, I’ve always strivedfor perfection but I’ve never beenvery competitive. However, I trulyappreciate how supportive andreceptive people have been overthe years and plan to finally finishmy jazz CD for release by year’send.TV: Anything else you wish toadd?SB: I really owe everything I amto my late parents. I am very gratefulthat somehow, someway I havebeen able to do something I love. Ithank God for that.Family and friends celebrate 90thbirthday of Kourken DaglianKourken Daglian.
The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008 9CommunityThe anxiety over college admissionsParents andstudents facedaunting choicesby Sylvie TertzakianTwo girlfriends and I have madea tradition to get together formonthly lunches. Of course, thefood is secondary. What mattersis the substance of our conversations.We cover every possible topicunder the Southern Californiasun: our kids, politics, vacations,etc. The last two lunches, however,have been focused around the topicof college admissions. I must saythat since my children have alreadyjoined the workforce, most of thediscussion took place between mytwo friends. I was merely an observer,interjecting a few questionsand comments.Both friends have bypassed thepublic-school system and have insteadopted to send their kids tothe same exclusive private school.They have done so to offer themthe highest standard of education,in smaller-size classes under strictsupervision, as well as to protectthem from the environment ofdrugs, alcohol, and sex. Furthermore,both mothers believe thatthe move will ensure that theirchildren excel and compete for thelimited spots in the top universitiesof the nation. Does this meanthat the public schools offer substandardeducation? Are the publicschools in the danger zones of theabove mentioned-risky elements?In my observation, many studentswho have graduated from publicschools have made it to the topuniversities; they have resisted theabove-mentioned temptations. Inmy opinion, parental involvementand guidance are the key elements.The topic of financing their kids’education never came up. Luckilyfor them, that was a non-issue.While the governor of Californiais proposing to slash higher-educationfunding by about 10%, tensof thousands of qualified studentswill not be admitted to the statesystem. The plan will reduce thenumber of enrollment in the statesystem by 27,000 in the next twoto three years (Los Angeles Times,April 17). In addition, given the risein tuition costs and the exorbitanttuition that private universitiescharge, the near future does notbode well for the incoming freshmen.The only factor that matteredfor my friends is their kids’ admissioninto the top public/privateuniversities.To respect their privacy, I will callthem Linda and Alice. Linda’s olderchild is graduating next monthfrom one of the Ivy League universities.The younger one has to makeher decision, by May 1, as to whichuniversity she wants to say yes to.The most difficult deadline – March31, 5:00 p.m. eastern time, whenthe students got their final yes/noanswers from the universities – hascome and gone.Alice’s two kids are still in highschool; her oldest will be a seniorthis coming year. The anxiety levelat the table made me question if itwas fair for them to involve me intheir angst-driven conversation.I listened to them with both admirationand horror. Admiration,because they are 100% involvedparents who help their kids withevery step of the admission process:they stay up late at nightwhile their students study, theyhelp them out with their applications,they find them internships,etc. Horror, because Linda’s child,who has a very high gpa and asat score very close to the perfect2400, was not admitted to the topcollege of her choice. This, despitethe fact that she has all the APsand many college credits, has donefundraising for a project in Armenia,has done local internships forthe elderly and for disabled children,and she has won state competitionsin music. Please, don’tmisunderstand me. While shewas admitted at a multitude oftop-tier public (with scholarships)and a few Ivy League universities,she was disappointed when shedid not get in to the university ofher choice.Alice’s child is in a similar situation.He has a very high sat scoreand gpa, has acquired college credits,and been involved in varsitytennis, music, etc. However, Aliceis not sure if her child will get in toucla. “You are joking” I said. “Sylvie,you don’t understand, this yearand the next [next year being thepeak], are the baby-boom years forcollege admissions. About 55,000students applied to the freshmanclass for the fall quarter of 2008at ucla, about 4,700 students willend up attending the freshmanyear. Out of 27,000 who appliedto Harvard, close to 1,600 got in.”Out of these numbers, the collegesallocate percentages to minoritystudents and students with financial,family, or personal challenges.The top-tier universities take applicantsfrom 7,500 high schools from135 countries. That is not a joke!As their conversation got moreheated, I decided to ask them a fewquestions and share their thoughtswith my readers. According to Linda,“You feel sad for your children becausethey have worked beyond andabove all possibilities. At 17, they areexpected to be perfect students withperfect portfolios. They have notenjoyed their childhood, and we asparents have felt the pain. Raisingchildren is the biggest challenge forparents. It’s important to instill inour kids the value of high character,so they resist temptations.” Sensingthe sadness in her voice, I felt bad,both for her and her child. However,she was also the radiant and proudparent who couldn’t count on herfingers the endless list of colleges herchild has been admitted to. “Weatherit’s the college of her first choiceor not, the caliber of education shewill receive will be excellent,” shesaid. “In fact, how she applies hereducation in the real world will matterthe most.” She was right on. Onecomes across entrepreneurs and appointedhigh-level government officialswho may be neither collegegraduates nor graduates of the topUS colleges. Luckily, the system offersopportunities to those who areready and eager to face challenges.Alice’s child will graduate highschool at 17. “He is too young to gofar away, he is only a kid,” she said.“I want him to attend ucla, wherehe can get an excellent education,and at the same time he will be closeto home.” That was an Armenianmother speaking. She was not keenon the idea that her child attend auniversity outside California, so thatthey, the parents, would continueto give him the much-needed loveand guidance. I remembered whenI bade farewell to our son at Georgetown,the first day of his freshmanyear eight years ago; I had tears inmy eyes. However, I knew he hadmade the right choice: to be awayfrom home. It made him grow upand make friends outside his highschoolcircle of friends. I rememberedmy own experiences as a parentwith college-bound kids: waitingfor that admissions envelope to arrivein the mail. Even at that time, itwas a challenge in the competitiveworld of college admissions. Yet itwas not as cutthroat as it is now.Another factor that weighs intothe formula is the colleges studentsget admitted to. This is about astatus symbol for parents and studentsalike. The name of a prestigiouscollege is a testimony to thegood job parents have done raisingtheir kids. It becomes the center ofconversation at parties, even manyyears after the students have graduatedfrom that university.Of course, Linda and Alice, thesetwo educated mothers, are lucky.Most immigrant parents have neitherthe language skills nor theknowledge about the admissionprocess. Neither do they have thefinancial means to think of sendingtheir children to the top-tier universities.Their kids apply to twoyearcolleges (where tuition is almostnil), with the hope that if theyexcel, they will get admitted intothe UC or California State system.However, this is not limited to theArmenian community. Most ethnicgroups and many whose parentswere born in the US face similarchallenges.The food on our plates was gettingcold and the aroma was enticing.However, my friends barely noticedthe arrival of their meal. It seemedthe only item on their plates wastheir intense and anxious discussionabout college admissions.The subject shifted to dating andmarriage. Should their childrendate within their culture and religion?Alice was adamant that herson date an Armenian girl whenthe time is ripe. According to her,dating should not divert him fromhis focus to pursue his degree.Linda was more flexible, but sheagreed with Alice that marriagewithin the same culture and religionincreases the chance of a successfulrelationship in the long run.Thus, yet another dimension cameto the play in their discussion ofcollege admissions. Which universityhas a large Armenian studentbody, where their kids can interactwith other Armenians?I let them continue to pursue theirhighly heated discussion, and badethem goodbye. As I was driving tomy next venue of the day’s agenda,I was thinking: Wouldn’t it be greatto have an Armenian university inthe US? After all, the Mormons, theCatholics, the Japanese, and theJews have theirs. In fact, the Armeniancommunity of Beirut, Lebanon,has the Haigazian College. However,sustaining an Armenian universitywill be a major undertaking. It willadd yet another burden to the Armeniancommunity, which is overwhelmedwith supporting projectsin Armenia and sustaining localschools, churches, organizations,and programs. It will also create anisolationist mentality in a countrybased on integration.As I got further and further away,I was happy that the challenge of collegeadmissions is behind me. In fact,the process of college admissionsdoes not start in the junior year ofhigh school. It starts in kindergarten.Which kindergarten preparesthe child for a sound foundation forquality education? It’s a long processthat parents and their childrenexperience from kindergarten on tograduation from high school.The food was delicious. However,the thought of what will be onmy friends’ plates this time nextyear, when we will continue to gettogether for our monthly lunches,lingered on in my mind. L.A. organizations will join forces to fundraise for an epic filmon Armenian historyLOS ANGELES – On Sunday,June 22, the producers behind theforthcoming film East of Byzantiumwill stage a show-stopping fundraisersponsored by several Armenianorganizations.The event will help support theproduction of a film about Armeniaduring the last days of the RomanEmpire, which its producers call across between Braveheart, The Passionof the Christ, and 300.East of Byzantium is beingplanned as a state-of-the-art specialeffects film helmed by writer/director Roger Kupelian, whosefilm production company, FugitiveStudios, specializes in award-winningvisual effects -- including suchrecent credits as the films Cloverfieldand Charlie Wilson’s War.At the June 22 event, Alex Kalognomos,director of the Arpa InternationalFilm Festival, will serveas master of ceremonies. The eventwill unveil brand new footage ofthe film and present special guestspeakers, entertainers, and thefilm’s cast and crew, which includesVahe Berberian.According to Kalognomos, “Thecharacters of East of Byzantium areepic men and women of Armenianhistory – Gregory the Illuminator,Vartan Mamigonian, and the greatwarrior goddess Anahita. We hopefilm audiences worldwide will embracethem as heroes of humanityas well as heroes of a blockbusterHollywood film.”The Armenian General BenevolentUnion’s Young Professionalsgroup of Los Angeles (agbu-yp la),the Kaiser Permanente ArmenianAssociation (kpaa), and the ArpaFoundation for Film, Music andArt (affma), are among the organizationsleading the joint effortto fundraise for East of Byzantium.The goal for the evening is to raise$50,000 in donations, which will gotowards pre-production costs likehiring a top screenwriter, castingdirector, and actors.According to the producers, SerjTankian of the rock band SystemOf A Down has confirmed that hewill score the soundtrack for thefilm, and top Hollywood agencieshave been meeting with East of Byzantiumfilmmakers to develop andpackage the film.Community effortFr. Andon Saroyan of the St.Gregory Armenian Church, whoPromotionalartwork for theplanned film,East of Byzantium.hosted an East of Byzantium fundraiserin April, said of the project:“Vartan Mamigonian and his predecessorsportrayed during the150-year arc of East of Byzantiumfought for spiritual ideals that arestill pertinent today.” He added:“Kupelian has gathered a team ofdedicated professionals from everycultural background who findvalue in this story of fighting forone’s identity.”During last month’s commemorationof the Armenian Genocide,St. Gregory’s A & M HovsepianSchool principal Shahe Mankerianreferenced the film project toteach his students about the issueof Armenian survival. “I wantedmy students to do something positivefor the sake of their identity.Supporting East of Byzantium ispart of that.”Mankerian introduced the producersto his students and made adonation to Kupelian’s film by purchasingthe painting “451: The LastStand.” As a method of fundraising,Kupelian commissioned an exclusiveseries of limited edition printsbased on East of Byzantium conceptart. (The paintings and other itemsinspired by the film’s heroic charactersand by landscapes of Armeniaare available for viewing at www.itsmyseat.com, or by calling (323)666-6626.The June 22 event is the thirdmajor East of Byzantium fundraiserstaged in Los Angeles. “We aremaking this film with the supportof our community,” said Roger Kupelian.“We stage these events notonly to fundraise and share ourvision, but also to unite our communityso we can accomplish thisgoal.”“Our first fundraiser was attendedby over 400 guests on Oscarnight. We hope to have 800 peopleattend this event and learn aboutour work,” added Kupelian.“This is a significant time,” notedAlex Kalognomos. “The Hollywoodindustry is supporting the burst oftalent and creativity of Armenianfilmmakers working in our community.It’s a major movement lead byRoger Kupelian and his vision forEast of Byzantium.”The East of Byzantium film productionfundraiser (sponsored byaffma, agbu-yp, and kpaa) willtake place on Sunday, June 22,at 6:00 p.m., at 3229 Casitas Avenue,in Los Angeles. Tickets areavailable at www.ItsMySeat.com(for a tax-deductible donation of$40 pre-sale, or $50 at the door).For information, or to volunteerfor the event, visit www.Eastof-Byzantium.com, or call (323) 666-6626.
10 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityThe wonderful vocational world of Karen Sarkisianby Tom VartabedianHAVERHILL, Mass. – Whenit came to achieving a solid vocationalexperience, Karen Sarkisianhas always held her students andfaculty in her heart.For 18 years, she stood by them,with them, and among them assuperintendent-director of WhittierRegional Vocational TechnicalHigh School.She will soon bid adieu to aninstitution that has achieved highprestige under her leadership – aschool which has achieved the topmcas (Massachusetts ComprehensiveAssessment System) scores,and the highest rate of college acceptancesamong others of its kindin Massachusetts.A packed house turned out forher retirement on May 7, to expressa heavy dose of sentimentand pride in the affable Armenian-American educator.Most school superintendentsdon’t last 18 years on the job, andrarely do so in the same district.But Sarkisian had that kind of stayingpower at Whittier.“She thrived that long becauseshe’s done the job with consistentintegrity and with only one overridinggoal: to do what’s best forthe students,” said School Committeechair Michael Gilbert.When she first arrived on thescene in 1990 at the age of 37,sweeping changes were in order.A discipline code was strictly enforced.Incompetent teachers werereplaced by others more suitable.Sarkisian added foreign languageclasses, college preparatory courses,and expanded bilingual services forstudents.She instituted a reorganizationplan sought for years by the SchoolKaren Sarkisian, the outgoingsuperintendent-director of WhittierVocational Regional Technical HighSchool in Haverhill, smiles after 18years at the helm.Committee that revamped andstreamlined the school’s administrativestructure while overseeing abudget of $20 million.She appointed an advisoryboard composed of civic and businessleaders meant to improve theschool’s structure in the district’s11 cities and towns.An article published in 1990said how Whittier’s reputation inthe community had deterioratedfrom a failure by administratorsto keep up with the trends anddevelopments in vocational education.According to Sarkisian, theschool was “a sleeping giant.” Butwithout some major changes, theschool was headed for a disastrousdead-end.Karen Sarkisian with members of her family, parents Harry and Aghavnie ofWatertown, and brother Paul.The achievements during hertenure were legion.The school started a SkillsUSAprogram, which encourages studentsto compete in their technicalareas at the state and nationallevel.It promoted a high, positiveplacement rate for students. Infollow-up studies one year aftergraduation, more than 80 percentof Whittier students are either incollege, working their trade, or inthe military.The school now has an outstandingathletic program, with ano-cut policy and free transportation,and an equally outstandingtheater arts program, whichfeatures an annual musical andholiday concert.Under Sarkisian’s leadership astrong adult education programwas created, which trains and providescourses for licensing adults intrade and technical areas.And add to that the building ofa new restaurant for culinary artsstudents, a student bank and retailstores, along with a new athleticfield.St. Leon Church’s annual picnic willfeature live music by Onnik DinkjianFAIR LAWN, N.J. -- On Sunday,June 1, Fair Lawn’s St. LeonArmenian Church will hold its annualpicnic on the church grounds,from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. rainor shine.The parish is pleased to announcethat the picnic will feature a specialguest appearance by singing greatOnnik Dinkjian.Round the clock, sevendays a weekThe live band featuring DickieBarsamian (on oud and vocals), AraDinkjian (keyboard), Harold Hagopian(clarinet), and Chuck Yegian(dumbeg) will keep the day’s eventsmoving with the rhythms of traditionalArmenian folk music.In the spirit of a traditional Armeniantashtahantes (“open-countryfeast”) the food will includeOn the all-important mcas end,Whittier was used as a prototype forother schools by the MassachusettsDepartment of Education. Whittierwas one of only six schools inthe state to have 100 percent of itsjunior and senior population passthe exam – a tribute to Sarkisian’singenuity and persistence.Under her direction, five newstate-of-the art labs were constructedto prepare students forthe academic testing.She is also proud of the fact thatWhittier is an anti-vivisectionschool. Sarkisian did away with thedissection of animals for biologyclasses during her first year as superintendent.She found no needto cut up animals when modelsand computer programs were justas compatible. And much more benign,too.In short, it’s been a career thatcouldn’t have been better designedby an architect.“It’s been round the clock, sevendays a week,” she said. “But I’ve enjoyedit immensely.” But, she adds,“I would recommend people doing itthe last 10 years of their career, andnot the outset.”Before coming to Whittier, Sarkisianwas a guidance counselor andassistant principal at a technicalhigh school in Lexington. She wasalso executive director of OccupationalEducation for the Cambridgeschools.It all adds up to 30 years.At sporting events, Sarkisian’svocal side remains obvious. She’sknown to sit on the bench andencourage the athletes, confrontofficials on a bad call, even designplays of her own. Not every coachwould endorse the meddling – butthat’s Karen.The Armenian in her remainsfeisty. Enter her school and you’llsee the tricolor flying from therafters. She grew up in Watertown,the daughter of Harry andAghavnie Sarkisian, and was aproduct of St. Stephen’s Church.She attended Armenian and Sundayschool, and was deeply involvedas a child in her ethnicity,along with other members of herfamily.“We’re proud of the manner inwhich she has maintained her heritage,”say her folks. “No doubt, shedrew upon it to become a successfuladministrator.”During one graduates programat St. Gregory Armenian Churchin North Andover, Sarkisian addressedthe high school graduatesand told them that education can’tbe bought, but needs to be learnedthrough hard work and diligence.The message was well taken.So what will tomorrow bring forthis woman who knew no other futureduring her tenure?“Whatever the day may bring,”she said with a smile.several varieties of kebab, salads,and other homemade Armeniandelicacies.Admission is free, and children,friends and neighbors are welcometo share the rich Armenianheritage. For information, contactthe church office at (201) 791-2862.St. Leon Church is located at 12-61Saddle River Road, in Fair Lawn. NORTHERN NJCaretaker/Home Aidneeded to care for a sweetmiddle aged women for heractivities of daily living.Part/Full timeor even live-in.Call Rich at201-261-5852IOMNILEVEROUTSOURCING TO ARMENIA* IT, Business Process, Day-to-Day Management* Database and Web Programming* Medical, Clinical Data Management* Financial, Legal Document Processing* Customer Contact, Data CenterContacts: (201) 654-4267, email@example.comEstablished US ClienteleISO 9001:2000 – QUALITY STANDARD
The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008 11CommunityStill undefeated – on the gridiron and in lifeThe amazing storyof nfl great GaroYepremianby Ed BarmakianAvondale, Pa. – When he cameto the United States in 1966 at theage of 22, Garabed Sarkis Yepremiancouldn’t speak English, hadnever seen a football game, anddidn’t even have a high school diploma.Today, the man from Cypresshas authored three books, carvedout a career as a motivationalspeaker, and is famous for his featsas a professional kicker in the NationalFootball League. He’s alsoa budding artist and has formeda foundation to fund brain tumorresearch.The Giants’ 2008 Super Bowl victorythis year ended the New EnglandPatriots’ bid for an undefeatedseason – and left Yepremian andhis 1972 Miami Dolphins to retaintheir remarkable distinction as theonly team to complete a perfectNFL season. Every year that passeswithout an undefeated team makeswhat Miami did 36 years ago seemmore special. And, in turn, bringsinto focus the career of Yepremian– unquestionably the most accomplishedArmenian ever to play professionalfootball.“This year was very memorable,because it ended a quest for anundefeated season,” Yepremiansaid. “I watched at the home of myson’s in-laws with about 25 peoplein one big room. The last couple ofminutes, there were no bathroombreaks, and everyone was on theedge of their seats. When it wasover, it was like New Year’s Eve allover again.”“If the New England Patriotscouldn’t do it, I don’t know if anybodycan go undefeated again,”he said. “The game is over andyou think about being part of ateam that did something so special.One of the greatest teams toplay the game couldn’t do whatwe did.”Perhaps just as remarkable asMiami’s 1972 season is Yepremian’spersonal story, and how hetaught himself how to play, madethe kick that won the longest playoffgame in history, and developedinto one of the best kickers ever inthe NFL.Yepremian’s brother, Krikor,starred for the Indiana Universitysoccer team in the 1960s and noticedthat Pete Gogolak, a native offHungary, and his brother, Charlie,were making their names as thefirst “soccer-style kickers” in theNFL.“Everyone was bragging abouthow good the Gogolak brotherswere, and my brother knew thatI was known on the island of Cypressfor my strong kick; I couldscore from almost anywhere on thesoccer field,” Garo said.Krikor, who later proved that hehad an eye for talent when he becamethe general manager of theNew York Cosmos soccer team,sent for Garo. The idea was forGaro to obtain a college scholarshipto kick for the Indiana Universityfootball team. But the 22-year-oldGaro hadn’t graduated from highschool, and was ineligible.“When one door closes, anotherone opens,” Garo said. “As it turnedout, I was a genius. I didn’t have togo to college.”Krikor coached his brother,teaching Garo to kick. In six weeks,the 5-foot 7-inch, 142-pound Garolearned how to kick a football andwas ready to try out for the NFL.On a Wednesday he tried out forthe Atlanta Falcons and they offeredhim a contract. The next daythe Detroit Lions liked what theysaw, too, and gave him a secondchoice.Oscar and Felix – meetGaro“I felt Detroit was the better placefor me because they had a great Armeniancommunity,” Garo said. “Isigned with Detroit on a Thursday.Spent Friday at the immigration officegetting my Green Card, and onSunday I was in Baltimore playingin a game against the Colts.”“It was the first football game Iever saw, and I played in it,” he recalled.“We were losing and I went inand kicked an extra point and Icame off the field with my armsraised and I’m celebrating. Ateammate of mine, Alex Karras,asked me what I was so happyabout and I said: ‘I keek touchdown.’That’s the title of one ofmy books, and there were a lot ofjokes made about that.”Karras repeated the story onthe Johnny Carson show, andYepremian parlayed that one lineinto an appearance on the OddCouple TV show, and also was invitedto do a bit on a Bob HopeSpecial in 1975.“I was the first to speak Armenianon a nationally televised program,”Yepremian said. “On the Bob Hopeshow, comedian George Gobelasked me the questions and I wouldanswer in Armenian. He asked mehow I got into kicking, and I wouldsay that when I was born, the firstthing I did was kick something outof my mother’s hands and it went50 yards.”But Yepremian, despite his comicalstart and all the jokes at hisexpense, turned into a very seriouskicker. In his fifth game of hisfirst season in 1966, he set a singlegameNFL record (since broken)when he booted six field goals in a32-31 victory over Minnesota. Aftertwo years with the Detroit Lions,Yepremian was going to be draftedinto the Army. The Lions toldhim to return to Cypress to avoidserving and then come back for thenext season.“I said no, I wanted to make thismy home, so I entered the Armyreserves,” said Yepremian, who becamea U.S. citizen in 1971. “When Icame back, someone else had takenmy job. I sat out a year, and then Iwent to Miami and had to fight fora job with the Dolphins.”In 1971, Garo led the NFL in scoringwith 117 points. In his 14-yearcareer that ended in 1981, he kicked210 field goals, making 67.1 percentoverall, and connected on 444 extrapoints for 1,074 career points.He also played in three Super Bowlswith Miami.Kicker of the DecadePerhaps the signature momentin Yepremian’s career wasChristmas Day, 1971, when his37-yard field goal gave Miami a27-24 afc playoff victory overthe Kansas City Chiefs. Thegame, which lasted 82 minutesand 40 seconds, is the longestgame in NFL history. It alsomarked the final football gameplayed at Municipal Stadium inKansas City. The Dolphins wentFar left:Yepremianduring his dayswith the MiamiDolphins.Left top: nflgreat GaroYepremian today.Left bottom:One of Garo’spaintings, apassion hedeveloped inresponse to afamily tragedy.A foundationYepremianestablished raisesmoney for braintumor research.on to reach the Super Bowl thatyear.With 35 seconds left in regulation,Jan Stenerud of the Chiefshad a chance to win the game witha field goal, but missed. Ironically,Stenerud is the only kicker electedto the NFL’s Hall of Fame, eventhough Yepremian was namedthe “Kicker of the Decade” for the1970s by Sports Illustrated and thePro Football Hall of Fame. He alsokicked five field goals in the 1974Pro Bowl, where he was namedthe MVP of the game. Yepremianalso put together a streak of 20straight field goals made one season.“That’s the big question everyoneasks: why I’m not in the Hallof Fame and Stenerud is,” he said.“I tell everyone I’m a shoe-in. Myshoes from the longest game arein the Hall of Fame. I don’t worryabout it anymore. There are a lotof players in the Hall of Fame, butonly 45 athletes who can say theywere on an undefeated team. AndI’m one of them.”Yepremian is also notorious forhis part in the most recounted playof Miami’s 14-7 Super Bowl victoryover the Washington Redskins thatcompleted the Dolphins’ 17-0 seasonin 1972.Miami was leading 14-0 late inthe game, when Yepremian wassent out to kick a field goal. Thekick was blocked, but Garo pickedup the bouncing ball and made theill-advised decision to attempt apass.The “pass” went straight up inthe air and when it came downGaro batted it with his hand, allowingMike Bass of the Redskins tograb the ball out of the air and takeit in for Washington’s only score ofthe game. The play brought laughterto what had been a dull gameto that point, and became the mostremembered highlight of that historictriumph.Yepremian is still receiving dividendsfrom that play, which canbe seen on YouTube and is tagged:“Garo’s Gaffe.” Most recently, hewas hired to act in a commercialproduced by Reebok at the SuperBowl before the Giants-Patriotsgame in Arizona.“We go to the Super Bowl everyyear and I work for whoever wantsme’’ said Yepremian, who lives inAvondale, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.In the commercial, Garo huddleswith his former Miami teammatesin a touch football gameand jokes about his Super Bowlmoment: “So guys, I’m the QB.”Former quarterback Earl Morrallreplies: “No, you’re the kicker, remember?”Yepremian returned home themorning of the Super Bowl towatch the Giants-Patriots game ontelevision with friends and family.He now makes his living as amotivational speaker, telling his incrediblestory. He even was the keynotespeaker at the Football Hall ofFame one year.“I talk about values and the crazythings that have happened in mylife,” Yepremian said. “I make themlaugh, I make them cry.”Activism born oftragedyYepremian always has been loyalto his Armenian heritage andAmerica, the country he has madehis home.“The Armenian nation will alwayssurvive because there are Armeniansall over the world,” he said.“I love this country. It’s the greatestcountry in the world. It doesn’tpersecute me for being Armenianor Christian. That’s why I still dowork for the USO. I visited ourtroops in Bosnia after 9/11 and Istill do work for them.”In recent years, however, Yepremianhas expanded his interest,setting up a foundation to fundbrain tumor research and gettinginto oil painting. Both passionsarose out of a personal tragedy.“My son was dating an Armeniangirl and when she turned 20 theyfound out that she had a brain tumorand gave her six months tolive,” he said. “My son, Azad, decidedto marry her and take careof her. He helped keep her alive forsix years.”Debby-Lu Yepremian (neeTashjian) died in 2004. But thefoundation Yepremian runs is stillraising money that goes to researchat Thomas Jefferson Hospital inPhiladelphia.“Debby-Lu was a wonderful person,and because of her we’re doingsome good work.”While Debby-Lu was fighting herillness, Yepremian woke up one dayand decided he would paint.“My wife would be crying andsomething told me I should startpainting,” he said. “I do a lot of abstractstuff. Colors excite me. It’sall happy stuff. When you look atmy work, you’re not going to findanything depressing. In the lastfour years, I’ve done 370 paintings.Anything I get for them will go tothe foundation.”N. 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12 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityThe newest addition to the nflLinebacker AlainKaratepeyanbecomes free agentwith the DallasCowboysby Tenny IssakhanianAvanesianDALLAS, Texas – Armeniansare about to increase their representationin the nfl as Alain Karatepeyanjoins its ranks. The LosAngeles-born, Oklahoma-educatedlinebacker just signed a three-yearfree-agent deal with the DallasCowboys after graduating from theUniversity of Tulsa in May 2008with a degree in business management.On nfl Draft Sunday, Alain wasexpecting the call from Dallas thathe would get picked up in the 6thround in the end, as a scout had assuredhim. However, a recent injuryand the team’s sudden change in itsneeds compelled it to pick someoneelse. Instead, the team called Alainthe next day and signed him as afree agent.But he prefers it that way. “Witha draft, if you get picked by a team,you have no choice,” he says. “That’sthe team you go to. But as a freeagent, you can decide which teamyou want to join, where you fitbest.” And Alain has had plentyto choose from: the San Francisco49ers, Houston Texans, New YorkJets, Kansas City Chiefs, and DallasCowboys.So why the Cowboys? “I fit perfectlyinto their defense,” Alain explains,rationally considering thecontribution he can make to theteam. Teamwork aside, Alain adds,“And it’s the Dallas Cowboys. Whynot go to a team that had a verygood chance of winning the SuperBowl the last couple of years andis the most televised team in thenfl?”According to Alain, every year,a team drafts six-seven playersand offers free agency to another15-20. Fortunately, he need notcompete against all 15-20 of theCowboys’ free agents for a placeon the 53-member lineup thatdresses at each game of the seasonor for a place on the 80-personroster. “I’m not competingagainst anybody right now. I’mthe only rookie guy who’s a linebacker,”Alain says. “So I’m competingto earn a spot by takingsomebody else’s spot, somebodywho’s already in there.” And theprospects look good. “I’m justcompeting with someone who’sonly been in the nfl for one year,but he’s also new to the team…He didn’t play at all last year.”Sport of choiceAlain’s initial exposure to footballwas a fluke, a challenge thathe accepted. “I always played basketball.I never played football,” hesays. But all that changed when hischildhood friend encouraged himto try out for football. Alain initiallydismissed the comment. “Andmy friend said, ‘Yeah, you don’tlook like a football player anyway.’”Alain recalls fondly: “I didn’t likethat comment, so I went out thereand made the team.” Until today,his friend will not let him forgetwho awoke in him his dormant talentfor the sport.Nearing his high-school graduation,Alain was recruited by numerouspac-10 schools, includingUSC. But after he tore his kneeduring his last game and had reconstructivesurgery, “RecruitingAlain is a local hero with many fans in Tulsa.Alain Karatepeyan and his biggest fan and father, Levon Karatepeyan.University of Tulsa’s championship rings when it won Conference USA in 2005.went away,” he explains. “Theyknew I couldn’t play so a lot ofteams backed down. But BoiseState stayed with me.”Alain matriculated there. Dueto his knee injury, he was a redshirt his freshman year and didnot play the entire season. Whencoaching changes occurred, Alainleft Boise State, went to a juniorcollege, played one year there, andbecame All-American. “If I was totransfer to another four-year universityfrom Boise State, I wouldhave had to sit out that wholefootball year, whereas if I went toa junior college, I could still playthat year and get recruited to playsomewhere else the next year,” heexplains. A successful year of play,combined with Alain’s coach’sconnections at Tulsa, earned hima full scholarship and a spot onthe University of Tulsa GoldenHurricane team.The Tulsa yearsDuring his three years at Tulsa,Alain was named “Player of theWeek” several times at Conferenceusa, his team won the conferencechampionship game twice, and atthe last game of his college careerhe became “Defense Player of theWeek.”Alain and his team played andwon the Liberty Bowl back in 2005.They also played in the ArmedForces Bowl and the gmac Bowl.The gmac Bowl was particularly rewarding.“The score was 63-7. It wasthe largest margin in college history,”Alain announces proudly. Thatgame also earned him an individualrecord. “I needed three tackle-forlosses[tfl] to take the school record.I got six that day, so I took theschool record with 22 tfls,” he says.“So that was a nice honor to have.”All this glory has come at a price,of course. In his short seven-year career,Alain has had total reconstructivesurgery on his right knee andsuffered an assortment of shoulderand neck injuries. “I’ve been in constantpain for the past seven years,”he admits, quite amused. “Throughthe season you’re in constant painbecause you don’t have time to heel.As soon as the game is over, thenext day, you practice again. Thereis no recovery time.”But like a true champ, Alain refusesto let these temporary setbackscloud his focus. “I’m not tryingto get hurt, but if you try toavoid getting hurt, you’ll get evenmore hurt,” he ponders wisely. “SoI just go out there and play and justdo what I do.”And that he does. A particularlymemorable game for Alainwas that against the Universityof El Paso. The score was 31-12 inEl Paso’s favor. “So I go out there,third down and long, I hit thequarterback, and, when I hit him,the ball pops up in the air, I catchit, and score a touchdown,” Alainremembers. Even though this momentwas years ago, the exhilarationof it all has not waned inthe slightest. He continues, “Afterthat touchdown, the momentumshifted and we just came back andscored and scored and scored.”Perhaps the turning point of thatgame is sentimental for anotherreason: Alain’s father.Alain Karatepeyan (#44) plays defensive linebacker in agame against Tulane University.A father’s prayerAt the very moment that the ballpopped up in the air at the gameagainst El Paso, Alain said a prayerto himself. Little did he know thathis biggest and most devoted fan,his father, did the same.Alain’s father, Levon Karatepeyan,preferred basketball forhis son. Nevertheless, he wasalways unequivocally and absolutelysupportive of Alain’s choice.“I mean, there were times whenI doubted going into the nfl. Isaid, ‘I don’t know if I want to go.I don’t know if I can go,’” Alainremembers. “So when he passedaway, I decided that I have to go.I would do whatever it takes. Idon’t care if I have to break somethingto make it there.” It wasthat sheer will and determinationthat caught the eye of the nfland earned his current contractand opportunity with the DallasCowboys.During Alain’s first year atTulsa, although Levon was battlingcancer, he flew out to everysingle game without exception. “Ididn’t know he had cancer at thetime,” Alain says. “I found out afterthe last game of my first year.He had to tell me because his hairwas starting to fall out.” DuringAlain’s second year at Tulsa, hisfather’s hip began to give out buthe was undeterred by his use ofa wheelchair. “And he still came.Yeah, he still came,” Alain states,referring to his home games thatyear. Even before Alain’s matriculationat Tulsa, Levon was alwaysthere. “He went to every game,basketball, football, even showedup at practice.”The big El Paso game that standsout in Alain’s mind was anotherbonding moment for him. “Afterthe game, when I told my dad thatduring the game’s turning point, Iprayed to God to help me do somethingout there, he told me that heprayed too at the same time,” Alainsays. “He didn’t know I was praying.When he told me this, it just startedmaking me cry because that wasalso the first time I ever saw mydad in a wheelchair.”Looking aheadWith the support of the Armeniancommunity, his family, and aguardian angel named Levon, Alaincounts his blessings and appreciatesthe journey so far. He alsolooks ahead and anticipates thegreat things it will do for him andhis family. And it already has.“Football has done a lot for me,”he says. “It’s just kept me straight,kept me in school… It’s broughtmy family a lot closer and I lovethat.” Alain is mature beyond hisyears, perhaps because of recentlife circumstances, or perhapsbecause he is a role model to histwo younger brothers. In any case,he admits, “Football has built mycharacter. So I really appreciatewhat I have.”We appreciate what he has too,both in terms of values and athletictalent. To get a first glimpseof the budding football star as heprepares for the upcoming nfl season,be sure to catch him on hbo’s“Hard Knox” in early August, whenthe show documents the Cowboysat their training camp in Oxnard,California. If all goes well there,Alain will be dressed and on thefield on August 8 for the pre-seasongame against the San Diego Chargers.Stay tuned!
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008 13ArmeniaThe victory of May 1918 is remembered at Sardarabadn Continued from page All Armenians, Karekin II, PrimeMinister Tigran Sarkisian, Speakerof Parliament Tigran Torosian,other officials, foreign diplomats,and visitors from the diaspora. Thevisitors from the diaspora are especiallyexcited and proud.Everyone climbs up, approachesthe bell tower, and places wreaths,bowing in memory of the heroesof Sardarabad, the founders of theArmenian republic.This is our landThere are people from every part ofArmenia here. There is a large banquettable for each province of theRepublic of Armenia, and one forArtsakh. All are invited to partakeof the food and raise a glass to therepublic. In minutes, the food is allgone, but the party continues withsong and dance.Artur Avagian is the chef for theArtsakh banquet table. He came infrom Stepanakert, the capital. “Wehave come to celebrate our mostimportant holiday, to celebrate therestoration of our statehood, andto provide hospitality to peoplewith our traditional, true Armenianfoods, korkot, zhengialov hats…. Forus, this is a big nationalistic holiday.Congratulations!”Fenia Shaboyan, 60, has comefrom Russia. “I am from Anipemza[in Armenia], but I live in Russia.I have come to see my sister, wholives in Shenavan. We are here withher sons and daughters-in-law, topay our respects to our heroes. Thisis the most important holiday. Andall of us want to participate becausewe all want to see Armenia goodand prosperous. Why should westay in Russia? That isn’t our land.This is our land. We want to comeback, but there is no drinking waterin Anipemza. No school. We arewaiting for it. We live in hope, son.”The sun is burning hot, but theriver of people does not let up.Hrach Poladian is walking withhis two sons, Arshak and Aram.They are wearing a military costume.It turns out that they arestudying Tae Kwon Do and werepart of a show. “It is a wonderfulholiday. We can call this the secondAvarair,” he said, referring tothe well-known battle of 451. “It isa celebration of the salvation andrebirth of our nation. It has greateducational significance for ourgenerations,” he says.Schoolteacher Anna Danielianhas come with her two daughters.“This holiday is very significant. Wehave gone over this lesson with thekids and we have come to expressour gratitude to the memory of thepeople who were able to reach victoryand maintain, create a statefor us. That’s the most importantthing.”Col. Poghos Abrahamian is indress uniform and his battle medalscommand respect. He notes,“For me, May 28 is the torch of freedomand independence. I think wemust emphasize more the aspect ofthe establishment of the nationalstate. After a break of a few hundredyears, we were able to restoreour statehood, we got a new chance.God gave us the chance to find ourselvesagain. And thanks to Godand to Aram Manukian’s talent andleadership and to our finding ournational spirit, we were able to establisha state again. Independencelasted for a very short time, and wemust understand why.”Citizenship is a greathonor“Our country will have a bright future,but the government alonecannot be responsible for creatingScenes from the celebration on May 28. Photos: Photolure.tomorrow. Every child of our nationhas a role to play. Being a citizenof the Republic of Armenia is agreat honor; serving our people, agreat mission,” said President Sargsian.“The two and half years of thefirst Republic of Armenia compressedexcitement and sadnessalike, achievements and painfullosses, and seared in our collectivememory three permanent lessons,”the president continued.“First, the importance of nationalunity. Our state born nine decadesago was the result of our collectivenational will. Unity, the absenceof which became one of the mainreasons for the collapse of the firstRepublic of Armenia. Today we donot have the right not to be united.More than ever, we must maintainthe united spirit of 1918.“Second, consciousness that thestate is irreplaceable. There is nostructure that can replace the statefor us. No ideology, that is abovethe interests of the state. If ourcountry gets weaker, no one of usgets stronger, no one of us benefits.We all lose.“Third, the confidence to confrontchallenges with our own powers.No one can solve our country’sproblems in our place. No one candefend us, develop our economy,strengthen our democracy, andmake Armenia a progressive state.We must do all that ourselves. Worknot to please other but ourselves.History has shown that no one hasa greater interest in Armenia’s risethan we, the citizens of Armenia.”And a protestAbout a thousand of those citizenshad come to Sardarabad to hold aprotest rally, not against the statebut against the head of state. Yelling,“Levon, Levon,” “Freedom,”“We have won,” they held a rally atthe monument. Former PresidentLevon Ter-Petrossian arrived atabout 1 p.m., accompanied by fellowoppositionists Stepan Demirchian,Hovhannes Hovhannisian,Aram Z. Sargsian, and others.They placed flowers at the monument.Mr. Ter-Petrossian intoned,“You must fight until you reach thegoal. This is not my issue. It is absolutelynot my issue. Whatever youdo, you do for your children. Standtill the end.”The former president’s detractorsare as passionate as his supporters.An older woman with medals fromthe Second World War on her chestlooked at the former presidentwith disgust and said, “Oh Levon.Have you no shame showing yourface among people?”f
14 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityA changing police forceThe Glendale PoliceDepartment isreaching out tothe Armeniancommunityby Alex DobuzinskisGLENDALE, Calif. – As theyrush to hire new officers to fill afast-depleting force, Glendale PoliceDepartment officials say theyare on the lookout for Armenian-American candidates – so the agencycan reflect the ethnic make-upof its city.But even as the department inthe last decade has drastically increasedits number of Armenian-American officers from three in1998 to 15 this year, those officersmake up only 6 percent of its force.In a city where an estimated40 percent of the residents are ofArmenian descent, the Police Departmenthas taken steps to recruitArmenian-American officers and toreach out to the community. Butpolice officials say their recruitmentis always bound by the needto get the best candidates – andthat they are competing with otherpolice agencies for a small pool ofArmenian-American candidates.“The department has recognizedthat in order to serve this community,we have to reflect this community,”said police Capt. Kirk Palmerof the Administrative ServicesDivision. “So I can tell you, fromthe chief on down, we’re committedto doing that.”As part of its effort to increase itsnumber of Armenian-speaking officers,the department has createda special hiring category for candidateswho speak a second language.Those candidates are evaluatedseparately from the larger pool ofcandidates who only speak English,which means that applicantsHamazkayin YerazDance Companyto hold annualperformance onJune 8by Alene TchekmedyianORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – Inspiredby classical Armenian dance,Pearlene Varjabedian alwaysinstructs her dancers to adopt asense of naz on stage and in theirdaily lives.“I always say to them, ‘When youwalk into a room you, will know whatit is to have naz,’” she said, describingit as an aura of coyness and modestyportrayed not only by twirlingone’s hands but also through one’sposture and personality.For the past two months, studentsof the Hamazkayin YerazSchool of Armenian Dance havebeen rigorously rehearsing nazbarand other classical dances for theirannual performance, which willtake place on June 8.Under the direction of Varjabedianand guest choreographer AraMelkonian, the 2008 recital isthemed “We Are the Future,” implyingthat to pass the art of Armeniandance to the youth is to preservehistory and culture for futureThinking about a career in law enforcement? The Glendale PD may have a job foryou.who speak Armenian or Korean getlooked at first, officials said.City Councilman Bob Yousefiansaid the department has changedin recent years by working hard torecruit Armenian-American candidates,despite a rigid civil-servicecode that makes for slow change.“I think it’s a far cry from what itused to be in the past,” Yousefiansaid. “I’m actually happy about thatat this point.”But Yousefian said he remainsconcerned that the hiring processis not completely transparent, especiallyat the oral-interview stageof the evaluation.“It’s a very subjective matter, andthat’s the problem I have with thetesting process,” he said. “A bunchof police officers get together andthey decide who’s going to be inand who’s going to be out.”At the request of the City Council,city auditors examined the PoliceDepartment’s hiring processbetween 2003 and 2005. The auditreport found no evidence of discriminationagainst minority candidates,but it dissected a rigorousscreening process that resulted ina hire rate of only 2.7 percent forCarrying the cultural torch through dancegenerations of Armenians. “We aretoday’s Armenian youth,” Varjabediansaid. “We have respect forwhat our people have been throughand we have pride in what we are.My dream for my children and forall Armenian youths is to carry onthe torch. I want to transfer mypassion to today’s youth.”Founded in 2003 by Varjabedian,a former dancer of the Sayat NovaDance Company of Boston, Yeraz hasgrown from an independent dancegroup of 15 dancers to a branch ofthe Hamazkayin Armenian Culturaland Educational Association, with35 dancers. Varjabedian explainsthat merging with Hamazkayin wasa decision based on the shared visionof promoting Armenian cultureamong the youth.The upcoming performance takeswhat Varjabedian describes as a“new age” approach to dance. Herchoreography juxtaposes classicaland modern techniques, which reflectsthe development and evolutionof Armenia and Armenian culturesince independence. “I implementmovements that are coy andproud,” she explained. “My inspirationcomes from not only what is inthe past, but also the future. This iswhat we were, this is what we are,and this is what we will be. Whateverit is we will be, we will alwaysmaintain what we were and are becausewe are proud Armenians.”Along with classical pieces, Yerazwill be performing a hip-hopThe Yeraz Dance Company on stage.variation to a song titled Yerazank– by the group Arevig, an Armenia-basedchildren’s choir. “In themiddle of the song you hear duduk,which gives it a new twist,” Varjabediansaid. “[The choreography has]some hip-hop movements andyou see classical Armenian movements.There is a New-Age rhythmand compilation of music.” For thispiece, the dancers will be dressed incargo pants, tank tops, and rhinestonebelts.These costumes are in sharp contrastto those of the rest of the show.For the traditional dances, the costumesare fully embroidered withgold fabric, lace, and headpieces.The girls add hair extensions to createlong, thick braids to fall downthe front of their dresses. “For eachdance, the costume is appropriatefor that dance,” Varjabedian said.The costumes correspond to thetraditional meaning behind eachall candidates, said Jason Bradford,principal internal auditor.Seven Armenian-American officerswere hired during that timeout of 173 who applied, which cameout to a hire rate of 4 percent, Bradfordsaid.The three-officer interview panelsthat evaluate candidates typicallyhave minority or female officerson them, said Lt. Todd Stokesof the Professional Services Bureau,who added that the interview processis fair.“I’ve been to Armenia, I’ve studiedthe Armenian language, and I’m ina good position, being in charge ofpolice personnel to oversee thingsand make sure there isn’t anythingbiased happening in our hiring process,”Stokes said.The department’s efforts to recruitArmenian candidates come asthe department has lost many officersto retirement in recent years.With 248 officers in total, the departmenthas ten vacancies and it’scompeting with other SouthernCalifornia police agencies for a limitedpool of candidates.As the department has soughtto increase its number of Armenian-speakingofficers, it has alsohired more Armenian-Americansto work in support-staff positions.The department has at least a dozenArmenian-American employeeswho are not police officers, Stokessaid.The department has many youngArmenian-Americans work as cadets,thanks to a program that allowsGlendale Community College(gcc) students to work for the departmentwhile going to school fulltime,officials said. gcc has a largepopulation of Armenian-Americanstudents, and officials say that programhas been especially successfulin recruiting candidates from theArmenian community.But the department continuesto be on the lookout for Armenianspeakingcandidates to fill positionsin communications, jail custody,and records – because thoseemployees interact with civilianswho often speak only Armenian.“We’ve probably been more successfulin the cadet program thansome of the other [positions], butwe’re rapidly gaining ground inthose other areas,” Stokes said.The department has taken othersteps to reach out to the Armeniancommunity.Armenian-speaking officers regularlyappear as guests on Armenian-languagecommunity-accesscable shows in Glendale.The department is also in theprocess of creating an English-languageoutreach video about lawenforcement and police-officer careers,which will be shown on Armeniancable shows.Within the department itself,officials have undertaken sporadicefforts to train officers about Armenianlanguage and culture, althoughthe department has notdone a department-wide trainingprogram specific to any one ethnicculture, Palmer said.An Armenian-American policesergeant with the departmenttaught officers under his watchsome Armenian terms during dailydance. “The meaning of each danceis powerful,” Varjabedian continued.“The girls feel exactly whatthey mean because when I teach, Itell my students what [the dances]mean.”Varjabedian said she has a strictstyle of teaching, intended to instilldiscipline. “They are taughtposture, how to walk, bow, to keeptheir shoulders down, arms up, andstomachs in,” she said. “The disciplinetransfers on to other thingsin life. [The students] are taught [todevelop a sense of] pride and selfesteemand to work hard.”Based in Orange County, Yerazhas faced challenges in terms retention,due to the fact that thelocal Armenian community is geographicallyscattered. Unlike inGlendale, where there are over 20dance groups within close proximity,students of Yeraz reside far fromone another. “Some of my studentsbriefings, and the department recentlyhad a one-day seminar forabout 35 officers that covered Armenianhistory, the Genocide, andthe significance of April 24.As officers have interacted withthe Armenian community in recentyears, they have encounteredone problem often associatedwith immigrant groups – the under-reportingof crime because ofa distrust of police, Stokes said.But he added that the departmenthas gained more trust in the Armeniancommunity by providinggood service.“We realize it takes time, butthere’s been a lot of progress, I’dsay over the last ten years, whereI don’t have the same feeling thatmany, many crimes are going unreported,”Stokes said. “Our workisn’t done in that area, but we’vecome a long way.”Another hot issue for Glendale’sArmenian community in recentyears has been resident complaintsagainst banquet halls, many ofwhich are owned by Armenian-Americans. But despite the criticismthe banquet halls sometimesreceive, Officer John Balian, aspokesman for the Glendale PoliceDepartment, said officers havebeen called to respond to only acouple incidents of fighting at banquethalls in the last year.Officials said that as they continueto build on the department’srapport with the Armenian community,the recruitment of Armenian-Americanswill be a key priority,because community membersexpect the department to have Armenian-speakingofficers.“These individuals are lookingfor a police department that is responsiveto their needs, that canspeak the language when necessary,”Palmer said. “In an emergency,mom might be at homeand can’t speak the [English]language, and in those cases it’sgood when we can deploy someonewho speaks the language andunderstands the culture.” drive 45 minutes to get to rehearsalbecause we are in such a spread-outArmenian community” Varjabediansaid. “It is hard to maintainbecause everyone has differentactivities and it is not a close-knitArmenian community due to thedistance.”Among other challenges are thebusy schedules of the youth, aseach dancer is involved in a varietyof extracurricular activities.Two months ago, Yeraz added amale element to the company. Theboys’ dances are choreographedby Melkonian. “He has strongArmenian technical movements”Varjabedian said, commenting onher collaboration with Melkonian,who is also the director of the ARADance Studio in San FernandoValley. “The partnership we haveis a wonderful mix,” Varjabediancontinued. “Each of us has beentrained differently, but we workvery well together and share ourvisions. Both of us are working towardthe same goal.”Melkonian believes communitysupport is crucial for fosteringa more serious environment foryoung dancers. “[The students needto] learn about their roots and cultureand become closer to their culture,”he said. “Every Armenian inevery art form should go down tothe roots.”connect:(714) 403-0875.
The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008 15CommunityAra Project raises funds for summer camp in Gyumriby Lory TatoulianGLENDALE, Calif. - In a cooljazz setting at Glendale’s NotteLuna Restaurant, tucked away in anondescript alleyway, music loversand supporters of the Ara Projectgathered on May 24 to raise fundsfor a summer camp in Gyumriwhile listening to the wild pianoriffs of master jazz pianist TigranHamasyan.“We’re here tonight to continueour series of events that help usraise money to fund the EndanikSummer Camp in Gyumri,” AraProject Chairman Vasken Khanjiansaid.The Ara Project is a nonprofit organizationthat was founded by agroup of family and friends of thelate Ara Baran, who was a 23-yearoldmedical student when he suddenlydied of a pulmonary embolismnearly seven years ago. In responseto the tragedy, Ara’s friendsbecame proactive and formed anorganization that would help disadvantagedArmenian children inmemory of their beloved friend. Asthe grassroots organization gainedsteam over the years, the numberCalendar of EventsNew YorkJUNE 8 - OUTDOOR PLAY-DATE AT ARMENIAN SOCIETYOF NY, 12 noon - 4PM at 39-03Little Neck Pkwy. Kids 2-5. Info:646-734-0610.JUNE 8 – NEW YORK ARME-NIAN HOME’S ANNUAL PICNICON THE HOME GROUNDS AT137-31 45TH AVENUE, FLUSH-ING, NY. MUSIC BY John Yarpinian,Souren Baronian, JerryTarpinian, and Chris Marashlian,vocals by Elias Sarkar. DE-LICIOUS FOOD. PARKING ISAVAILABLE. STARTS FROM1:00 PM - ? FOR INFO CALL 718-4611504.JUNE 19-24 - ART @ THE CA-THEDRAL: GIVING FORM TOFAITH Art exhibition and concertin celebration of the 40thanniversary of the consecrationof St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral,presented by the Diocese ofthe Armenian Church of America(Eastern). The exhibition willhighlight the collection of the Diocese,including works by ArshileGorky, and showcase a rangeof works by contemporary andemerging Armenian-Americanartists. It opens at the DiocesanCenter, 630 Second Ave., NewYork, N.Y., on June 19 at 5:30 p.m.and continues through June 24.Admission is free. An openingnight concert, featuring LucineAmara, soprano; Sahan Arzruni,piano; Ani Aznavoorian, cello;will begin at 7:30 p.m. Call 212-293-1270 to order concert tickets($20 adults; $15 students).JUNE 19-24 - ART @ THE CA-THEDRAL: GIVING FORM TOFAITH Art exhibition and concertin celebration of the 40thanniversary of the consecrationof St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral,presented by the Dioceseof the Armenian Church ofAmerica (Eastern). The exhibitionwill highlight the collectionof the Diocese, including worksby Arshile Gorky, and showcasea range of works by contemporaryand emerging Armenian-American artists. It opens at theDiocesan Center, 630 SecondAve., New York, N.Y., on June19 at 5:30 p.m. and continuesthrough June 24. Admission isfree. An opening night concert,Scenes from the Endanik Summer Camp. Campers enjoying watermelon and icecream.of volunteers grew along with thenumber of dollars raised.Since its inception, the Ara Projecthas hosted a number of fundraisingevents to benefit many ofits humanitarian outreach projects,ranging from buying boots, winterclothes, and Christmas gifts forchildren living in extreme povertyto sponsoring a summer camp programfor orphans living in Vanadzor.In 2005, the down-home organizationsent over $3,000 to assistfeaturing Lucine Amara, soprano,Sahan Arzruni, piano, AniAznavoorian, cello, will begin at7:30 p.m. Call 212-293-1270 to orderconcert tickets ($20 adults;$15 students).SEPTEMBER 13 - ANCA EasternRegion Annual Banquet inNew York. Mark your calendarfor the Second Annual Banquetsponsored by the Armenian NationalCommittee of America,Eastern Region. Cocktails andsilent auction followed by dinnerand special awards program.The Grand Hyatt, 109 East 42ndStreet at Grand Central Terminal,New York. Tickets $250. Mention“ANC Banquet” for special hotelroom rate (limited availability).More details to follow.SEPTEMBER 27-28 - 59th AnnualArtists’ Ball, presented byNY ASA. Two-day art exhibit.Gallerie Icosahedron, TriBeca,NY. ASA looking for new artiststo join show. Applicationdue May 30, 2008. Go to www.asainc.org/newyork/artistsballor email ArtistsBall@gmail.com.OCTOBER 24 - CHILDREN OFARMENIA FUND’s 5th AnnualSave a Generation Awards Dinnerat Cipriani 42nd St., NYC.www.coafkids.org.New JerseyMAY 31 - Celebrating 90th Anniversaryof The First Republicof Armenia Organized by ARFDRO Gomideh of New Jersey.Featured performers includeSayat Nova Dance Group ofBoston, Nersik Ispirian andSalbi Mailyan from Los Angeles,Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble ofSt. Thomas Armenian Church,children in Gyumri. In 2006, the AraProject increased its financial supportfive-fold by sending $15,000 tothe Endanik Summer Camp. At thisyear’s event, over $5,000 was raisedto once again underwrite the costsof sending children to camp.“Instead of building a statue orplaque to memorialize Ara, wewanted to create a living memorial,”Khanjian said. “These programsreally encapsulate what Arawas about, his love for life, hiscompassion for helping others,NJ Hamazkayin Nayiri DanceGroup, and NJ HamazkayinChildren’s Choir. 7pm. FelicianCollege, 262 S. Main St. Lodi, NJ07644. Admission: $50, $35, $25.For tickets or more informationplease call Mari Keshishian 201-227-9884, ARF Office 201-945-0011 or Arfdro@gmail.com.JUNE 1 - Annual St. Leon ArmenianChurch Picnic -- KEBAB& KEF -- Live Music with specialguest appearance by ON-NIK DINKJIAN. Great food andgreat fun for the whole family- FREE ADMISSION - Sunday,noon - 5:00 p.m. Rain or shine.For info call Church Office, 201-791-2862. At St. Leon ArmenianChurch, 12-61 Saddle River Rd.Fair Lawn, NJJUNE 1 - AAHPO MEDICALWORKSHOP. The ArmenianAmerican Health ProfessionalsOrganization welcome all to attendthis workshop and meetand learn about various healthissues from health care professionals.At St. Gregory TheEnlightener Church in WhitePlains, NY. 12:00 noon immediatelyfollowing badarak.JUNE 7-8 - St. Mary ArmenianChurch - 2 Day Food & Music Festival,Food, music, kids activitiesSaturday, noon-8 pm; Sunday,noon-6 pm, 200 W. Mt. PleasantAve. Livingston 973 -533-9794JUNE 14 - HOVNANIANSCHOOL ANNUAL DINNERDANCE. Honoring the Class of2008. Sponsored by the HovnanianSchool PTO. Please savethe date.JUNE 14- Father’s Day EveDINNER DANCE sponsored bySt. Thomas Armenian Church,Saturday, 8:00 PM; Corner ofand his firm belief in the Christianfaith.”The project’s primary focus hasbeen its support of the EndanikCharity Society in Gyumri, a programthat helps over 1,500 individuals,including disabled youths,orphans, and underprivilegedfamilies living in the region. TheEndanik School also offers an afterschoolprogram where childrenhave the opportunity to learnskills such as dance, computer design,theater, journalism, jewelrydesign, foreign languages, andwoodworking.The summer camp is regarded asthe highlight of the children’s experienceat Endanik. The Ara Projectsponsors nearly 150 children to attendthe camp. The camp is dividedinto two weeks. The first week isgeared towards children from poorfamilies; the second is designed tocater to children who are physicallydisabled.“We really make sure the kids getthe full camp experience and enjoythemselves,” Khanjian said. “Theyput on elaborate performances,they make arts and crafts, they eatgreat food, the children really havethe time of their lives.”Subscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zipIn addition to the camp, the AraProject launched its Endanik ChildSponsorship program, throughwhich children are provided withbasic living necessities for a dollara day.“Fifty percent of the sponsoredmoney goes to home needs andthe other half goes to support theEndanik School,” Ara Project TreasurerAni Jambazian said. “All themoney that is raised goes straightto the kids.”Guests enjoyed the copiousbuffet of Armenian food whilerelishing the thundering pianocompositions of Hamasyan, andmade donations between jazzsets.Hamasyan, who has gained internationalfame after winning themuch-coveted Thelonious MonkJazz Award, felt a special connectednessto the event, as he is a nativeof Gyumri.“I am glad that something like thisis happening,” he said. “Many ofthese kids are so talented and theydeserve to have the chance to befully supported in their talents.” connect:araproject.comRt. 9W & E. Clinton Avenue,Tenafly, NJ 07670; Music byMOSHE & Company. Adults $50per person, Children 11 & under$20. Includes Full Mezze, Dinner,Dessert, Soft Drinks & Coffee!Cash Bar Available. For reservationscontact: Sylva Torosian,(201) 894-0143, Tanya Vartanyan(201) 941-6764, Rosine Hovsepian(201) 265-1275 and ChurchOffice (201) 567-5446.JUNE 22 - AGAU Alumni Assoc46th Annual Scholarshipluncheon. Sunday. At the LandmarkII, E. Rutherford, NJ Donation$35. For reservations callRose Kirian at 201-791-5886.SEPTEMBER 25 - River Vale,NJ. Sts. Vartanantz Church 6thAnnual Golf Outing. River ValeCountry Club. Lunch, Dinner,Golf and More. Shotgun startat 12:45pm. For reservationsor more info please call : MarkAlashaian 201-483-3200, RichKrikorian 201-664-6885, SarkisShirinian 201-307-0825 or theChurch Office 201- 943-2950.OCTOBER 3 & 4 - Save theDate! Hamazkayin of New Jerseypresents: For the 40th Anniversaryof NJ Chapter and 80thAnniversary of Hamazkayin- Cultural Seminar - ArmenianMovie Screening, Literary Competition,Identity and the ArmenianYouthOCTOBER 25 - Gala celebrationof the 50th Anniversary of thePrelacy of the Armenian ApostolicChurch of America underthe jurisdiction of the GreatHouse of Cilicia and the 110thanniversary of the establishmentof the Armenian Churchin America. Marriott at Glenpointe,Teaneck, New Jersey.Details to follow.CaliforniaMAY 31 – “AN AFTERNOONOF CULINARY ART.” Presentedby San Gabriel Valley AraratGuild. Featuring Chef GeraldIsacsson. Saturday, 11:00 a.m.Altadena Town & Country Club,2290 Country Club Dr., Altadena,CA. Donation: $35.00 Fortickets contact Alice Mgrublian,(323) 255-3769.Check Enclosed OR Charge My:Mastercard Visa Amex DiscoverExp.mail coupon to: armenian reporterp.o. box 129, paramus, nj 07652orfax coupon to (201) 226-1660(credit card orders only)
16 The Armenian Reporter | May 24, 2008CommunityROAD LESS TRAVELEDEntrepreneurialsisters take onthe world ofcosmoceuticalsby Mariette TachdjianThree continents. Two devotedsisters. One flourishing business.For Irma and Carla-Maria Khanjian,having oceans between themhas only catapulted their successto new heights. With operationsdivided between Montreal andGeneva (with a foothold in Asia aswell), their biotechnology company,Befutur, is up against some of thebiggest players in the cutthroatindustry of cosmoceuticals. Partglobal businesswomen, part scientists,and part cosmetologists, thistenacious twosome exemplifiessuccess born out of sibling devotionand fierce perseverance.As CEO and executive director,respectively, of Befutur Suisse, Carla-Mariaand Irma never imaginedbecoming leaders in the field of skincare, let alone owning a whole biotechnologycompany. In fact, theword “biotechnology” never evenentered their vocabulary as theywere growing up. The sisters, whowere born and educated in Beirut,studied economics at the AmericanUniversity of Beirut – Carla-Mariaearning a Master’s and Irmaa Bachelor’s. After escaping theLebanese civil war and immigratingwith their family to Montreal,Irma excelled in human resourcesand recruitment while Carla-Mariaworked in various high-level positionsin China, Europe, and theMiddle East.As fate would have it, Irma’s personallife took her to Switzerland.ArgamDerHartunian andScott Badenochturn their passionfor environmentalpreservation into aglobal initiativeby Jon AlexanianLOS ANGELES – In 2007, ArgamDerHartunian was in his finalsemester of law school at PepperdineUniversity when he decidedto take the path less traveled.Though he finished the year at thetop of his class, after attending afew interviews at large law firmshe decided practicing law was notgoing to give him the personal fulfillmenthe desired. DerHartunian’spassion for the environmentwas cultivated at a young age. Now,as an adult, he is determined tospark a global “green” revolutionvia his Web platform, CreativeCitizen.com.Prior to law school, Der Hartuniangraduated from UC Berkeley witha degree in political science. Anavid follower of Armenian affairs,he interned at the anca officesin Washington, and participatedin Birthright Armenia projects byworking for usaid in Yerevan andthe Land and Culture Organizationin Karabakh.Skin deep and oceans wideIn Geneva she joined an investmentfirm whose clients includedthe founder of Befutur Suisse, acutting-edge Swiss biotech companythat specialized in cell andtissue engineering. Soon the twosisters were asked to join the corporateranks of Befutur Suisse asproject specialists, to help developand launch a new line of skin-careproducts. Teaming up with an elitelaboratory and renowned scientists,the company developed newmethods of harvesting human skincells, which in turn were sold to topskin-care companies forcosmetological testing. After anumber of years building experienceand professional relationships,the sisters began to strategize abusiness partnership together. By2002, after tireless efforts, sleeplessnights, and a shared vision, theybought out Befutur Suisse, becomingits sole owners.The relentless work, which combinedyears of marketing skills andfinancial strategies, finally paid offwhen they licensed and launchedBefutur’s own, proprietary cellularcomplex as a skin-care line. La Peau(which, appropriately, means “skin”in French) was marketed as a line ofskin creams that claims to outperformsome of the leading brandswith its antioxidant and anti-wrinkleagents. Mostly through wordof mouth, interested buyers soonemerged, ranging from medical andscientific circles to beauty-productretailers. But the sisters’ workdid not stop there. They continuedtheir efforts in heavy marketingand public relations, hitting marketsin Asia and the Middle East.With only two pairs of hands andlittle financial backing, the sistershave seen a small company reachglobal appeal with very limited resources,believing you don’t needmillions to realize your passion.“When we bought the company, theIn his last academic semesterat law school, DerHartunian developeda business model withhis partner, Scott Badenoch, andeventually created CreativeCitizen.com. In a nutshell, the website incorporatesmember input, creativethinking, and analytical calculations,in order to find environmentallysound solutions for people toadapt to their everyday life.Global warming is no longer theonly major environmental issue.Carbon emissions are only onecomponent of the equation. “Wehave smog in the air and mercuryin our water, deteriorating forests,and much more,” DerHartuniansays. “To create a community thatdoesn’t abuse the world’s resourcesand to rethink the way things aredone. That’s where Creative Citizencomes into play.”Creating a user profile on theCreative Citizen’s path to greeneasy-to-navigate CreativeCitizen.com is similar to many social-networkwebsites. DerHartunian isoptimistic that the synergy of multipleusers will help spawn efficientplans to better preserve and savethe environment from further deterioration.The concept behind thesite was made simple in order to effectivelyexpand the amount of contributors.Even it its early stages,the site has already generated a lotof attention. CreativeCitizen.comwas selected as a sponsor of eventssuch as Vernare’s Green Showroomin Los Angeles and the EcoCitiesDigital Be-in in San Francisco.“Once you start breaking downsmall tasks that can be done toconserve resources, it almostbecomes contagious,” DerHartuniansays. “From something aslarge as cutting down pollutionemitted by vehicles to somethingas small as making sure none ofyour faucets in the home leakwater, there are tons of ways tohelp out. Our website serves as aforum to share this content andactually will actually run a valuationon the amount of benefit itwill provide to society.”For example, if you think of anew way to reduce the amount ofwater wasted in your householdby two gallons a day, you may submityour idea, which is termed asa “creative solution,” and CreativeCitizen will quantify the impactit will have on the environment,then assign the user an amount of“greenage.” Users can subsequentlytrack their progress as citizens andsee how much they have saved interms of waste, water, emissions,energy, and money.Irma and Carla-Maria Khanjian.Co-owners Argam DerHartunian (right) and Scott Badenoch.product line was just a concept,”Irma says. “Our merit lies in thefact that, yes, although we inheriteda concept, we made it happenby our own means.”Gaining rave reviews at a steadyrate, their product has now begunpenetrating celebrity circles.Singer/songwriter Gloria Estefanis among their newest clients, asis actress Susan Sarandon. The dynamicduo’s motto, “You promise,you deliver,” can be heard loud andclear in their voices. Their senseof integrity and uncompromisingwork ethic resonate through theirtremendous energy and excitementfor a product which has beendeveloped to represent quality andgood health.In 2007, Carla-Maria was honoredas one of three nominees forthe Earnst & Young “Entrepreneurof the Year” award in Canada. TheKhanjian sisters’ story has alsoappeared in various publications,and La Peau has graced the pagesof Elle, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan,among others. But their mostcritical test was passed when theygained acceptance and respect fromthe world’s most finicky connoisseursof scientific-grade skin care,the Swiss themselves. Their nextstep is to partner with an investoror distributor to market and distributetheir products on A largerscale.Despite the distance that stillkeeps them apart, this sisterhoodthrives on its unique working styles,which complement each other.“Carla sometimes is more of a risktaker,I am more down to earth.We learn from each other,” Irmaexplains. Not surprisingly, they saythey were over-achievers in school,both in academics and competitivesports. To this day they both stillcompete in athletics. Carla-Mariahas participated in multiple triathlonsand Irma is an avid swimmerand runner. The term “wonderwoman” comes to mind.One message Irma and Carla-Maria would like to pass on to thereader is that exercise and sportsmay just be the best coping mechanismsfor surviving some of life’sworst hardships. The sisters haveempowered and mentored numerouswomen through professionalnetworks as well as communityoutreach programs – which haveincluded mentoring of immigrantwomen.As proud Armenians, Carla-Mariaand Irma feel blessed to havebeen raised by loving parents “whoinstilled trust, hard work, and ethics.”The sisters were always activeparticipants in girl scouts and Armenianclubs. They said they feelGreenage will be tied in withphilanthropic contributions. A significantamount of the company’srevenue will consist of contributionsfrom causes that share thesame values as the online community,with contributions growing inproportion to greenage generatedby users. The more greenage, thebetter.After creative solutions are submitted,site members will have opportunitiesto rank, edit, and critiquethem, in essence making thesite function like a “Green-Wikipedia.”DerHartunian explains, “Theconcept is to allow humans togovern their own ideas, and thisin turn will bring about the mostefficient ways to save the environment.If you think about it, globaleconomies and businesses operatethe same way. The ‘free market’ dictatesthe direction of business asthe ‘free ideas’ will dictate the directionon ideas on CreativeCitizen.very proud of being Armenian andalways emphasize that they areLebanese/Canadian sisters of Armenianorigin. Perhaps it is thatflexibility and adaptability that hashelped manifest their dreams intoreality. Indeed, Carla-Maria’s dreamof someday being on the cover ofForbes doesn’t seem so far-fetched.After all, they have already paveda unique path for future femaleentrepreneurs. We look forward towatching their stars rise higher andhigher.An interesting tidbit: Irma andCarla-Maria are cousins to anothersuccessful woman, actress ArsinéeKhanjian.connectlapeauskincare.comcom. As the administrator of thesite, I really won’t impose anythingmore than my own personal opinionas any user would.”The concept of zero resourcesis something businesses are alreadytrending toward and lookingat as the future. “EssentialLiving Foods is a company thatcreated organic products that arealso made with zero resources,”DerHartunian says. “Rainwater isused to grow corps and providea very holistic approach. This isthe type of eco-friendly productionthat society needs to adopt.”DerHartunian adds that the opportunityto improve global environmentalconditions is moresignificant than ever and it willtake a shift in the way things aredone to truly produce sustainableconditions.Creative Citizen represents a significantparadigm shift. Instead ofcontinuing down the same path ofglobal unawareness and consumption,a Creative Citizen helps reduceworldwide problems throughdaily, personal solutions.“It’s time to be the creators insteadof the takers,” DerHartuniansays. “With the input of the globalpopulation, we can fine tangibleways together. Our goal is to helpeach person see how little acts havetruly big effects.”CreativeCitizen.com is alwaysseeking to add to its talent pooland staff. Internship opportunitiesare also available. For furtherdetails or questions about the website,contact email@example.com
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008 17ArmeniaFrom Armenia, in briefARF switches ministersas World CongressconcludesThe 30th World Congress of the ArmenianRevolutionary Federationconcluded on May 26. If the delegates– representing party unitsin Armenia, Karabakh, Georgia,and the diaspora – had misgivingsabout the policies adopted and actionstaken by the party’s executivebody, the Bureau, over the lastfour years, there was no evidenceof that in the formal results of thecongress. Seven of the nine membersof the Bureau were reelected.The Bureau was expanded to elevenmembers. The three ARF memberswho are members of the governmentare among the new membersSirusho takes fourthplaceby Betty Panossian-TerSarkissianYEREVAN – In its third year in theEurovision Song Contest, Armeniatook an important step closerto pleasing a wider European audience.At the finals which tookplace in Belgrade, Serbia, on May24, Sirusho, accompanied by thebackup vocals of Armenian popsingers Tigran Petrosyan andRazmik Amyan, ended up at in4th place out of 26 participants. Armeniatook 8th place last year andthe year before.Eurovision is Europe’s most famousmusic festival, which is supposedto produce new hits for theEuropean music market. “Qele-Qele,” meaning “C’mon, c’mon”(lyrics by Sirusho, music by Der-Hova) definitely became one.“I was very much surprised to seethe audience sing every word of ‘Qele-Qele,’ and not just the English words,”said Sirusho during a press conferenceafter her return to Yerevan.“They were actually singing the Armenianopening ‘Yes im mair hoghitsyela verev…’ (I emerged from mymother earth.) Every word of it!”Sirusho did bring home an award,one of the four Official EurovisionFan Awards. “We received an awardfor best stage presence and performance,and I consider it the unisonof all the other awards,” said Sirusho.How much did diasporavoting count?“Qele-Qele,” an up-tempo Eastern-ethnicpop song, was a cleverof the Bureau. Hrant Markarianremains the the Bureau representative.The three ministers, AgricultureMinister Davit Lokian, Social SecurityMinister Aghvan Vartanian,and Education Minister LevonMkrtchian, resigned from thegovernment. Under the coalitionagreement, they will be replaced byother ARF designees.In an announcement, the WorldCongress confirmed that the partyhad intended to enter the oppositionafter the presidential electionsbut remained in government in theinterest of maintaining stability inthe tense – and bloody – post-electionsituation. The party may reviewits continued membership inthe government on a periodic basis.North Atlantic Councilmembers pleasedArmenia’s progress in the processof implementation of its IndividualPartnership Action Plan (IPAP) withNATO was discussed on May 28 atthe session of the North-AtlanticCouncil, Mediamax reported.Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandianconfirmed Armenia’scommitment to the peaceful resolutionof the Nagorno-Karabakhconflict. He also noted Armenia’scontinued readiness, without preconditions,to establish relationswith NATO member Turkey. Bothpoints are IPAP principles.Defense Minister Seyran Ohaniandiscussed the process of militaryreform, steps taken towardAt Eurovision, Armenia inches closer to the topSirusho, whoperformed “Qele-Qele” in Belgradeand took fourthplace in Europe’sEurovision SongContest. Photo:Photolure.choice, a definite crowd pleaser. Ayouthful and beautiful Sirusho hada dynamic performance and withher flirty short-skirt dress, semibellydancing, absolutely turnedsome heads at every corner of Europe.How much of her success didSirusho owe to the Armeniandiaspora in Europe? In the pasttwo years, it was a much easierguess. This year Armenia receivedvotes from such countries as SanMarino and Montenegro, wheresome Armenians may live, butan organized Armenian communitydoes not exist. As in previousyears, Armenia received highscores from France, Greece, Russia,Turkey, and Spain, amongother countries.a Strategic Defense Review (SDR),and measures aimed to the increaseof interoperability of Armenia’sarmed forces with NATO forces.Sefilian may be deniedcitizenshipJirair Sefilian, a Lebanese citizenwho moved to Armenia andattained prominence in the liberationof Shushi – a turning point inthe Karabakh War – may be deniedArmenian citizenship because ofa criminal record. He is currentlyserving an 18-month prison sentence.In late 2006, he was arrestedand charged with sedition. He wasacquitted of that charge but foundguilty of possessing an illegal firearm– a gift from Samvel Babayan,Diaspora voting, as always, didcount for almost all participantcountries. Neighbors voted toneighbors, enemies ignored eachother. Viewers in Turkey gave thehighest 12 points to Azerbaijan, afirst-time participant. Azerbaijaniviewers reciprocated. Armenia receivednothing from Azerbaijanbut generously gave it two points.Georgia too, another first-timeparticipant, gave its highest scoresto Armenia.As in previous years, the representativesof Public TV arguedthat Armenia was among the bestnot solely due to the efforts of thediaspora. But both Public TV officialsand Sirusho herself repeatedlythanked Armenians in Europe(including Armenia) for their support.“Unlike previous years, this yearwe received scores from most ofthe voting countries,” said ArmenArzoumanyan, the executive directorof Armenia’s Public TelevisionChannel.“Eurovision has justbegun”the onetime commander of Nagorno-Karabakh’sDefense Army.The police last week moved tohave him deported at the end ofhis prison sentence, but the petitionwas rejected by the court. UnderArmenian law, a person whohas custody of minors cannot bedeported, and Mr. Sefilian is the fatherof two minors.Asked about the case of Mr. Sefilian,who was in the ARF duringthe Karabakh War, but has longsince parted ways with that party,Bureau Representative (and fellowKarabakh veteran) Hrant Margariansaid, “We believe all Armeniansare entitled to citizenship and thatapplies to Jirair Sefilian as well.” fSee more briefs on page 20Going to Belgrade definitely madeSirusho a favorite young femalesinger in music circles in variouscountries in Europe.While in Belgrade, Sirusho expandedthe horizons of her careereven before the final contest tookplace. She wrote the lyrics andcomposed the music of a song forthe participant representing Romania.“It was the first time in thehistory of Eurovision that beforethe contest a participant wrotea song for another participant,”said Sirusho and added that thegiven song was first presented tothe public during the party followingthe contest and that it waswell received.“According to me, the most importantachievement for Sirushoat Belgrade was to gain the interestof major music record companies,”said Mr. Arzoumanyan. Herevealed that Sirusho has receivedan offer from the Greek branch ofEMI Records to record the Greekversion of “Qele-Qele.” “This is agreat opportunity. Only throughthe gates of Eurovision Song Contestcould a singer from Armeniareceive such a proposal from aglobal record company,” claimedMr. Arzoumanyan.Other future projects for Sirushoare tours in various Europeancountries following her successesat the song contest. “To me Eurovisiondid not just end, but it has justbegun,” said Sirusho. “I will simplycontinue to work with the samevigor.”fTrustee contributions to the AGMM Financial contributions by former and current members of the Board of Trustees ofArmenian Genocide Museum and Memorial (AGMM) for the benefit of the AGMM as ofSeptember 2006
18 The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008ArmeniaLife is hard – and getting lonelier – on the borderby Tatul HakobyanTavush Marz, Armenia – In thepast five months, only one child hasbeen born in Barekamavan village:a girl named Asia. Since Barekamavanis an aging village, for the pastfew years the number of peoplepassing away is greater than thenumber of those being born. Sevenpeople have already died this year.Hovik Gharakeshishian, thehead of the village, is concernedabout Barekamavan’s future.“At this rate, in 15 to 20 yearsBarekamavan will end. A few decadesago the village had 1,000residents. Today the number is 330.There was a time when the villageschool had more than 200 students;today the number is 44. At best,three or four children are born eachyear,” says Mr. Gharakeshishian.Barekamavan has no godfathers.Even during elections, candidatesfail to visit the village – an index ofjust how neglected and ignored thisborder village has become. “Duringthe presidential elections, whenSerge Sargsian came to Noyemberianon his campaign, they asked usto take some people from our villagefor a meeting with the presidentialcandidate. We took 60 people toNoyemberian. All officials ostentatiouslyvisit the fertile villages of theArarat plateau. No one visits theseparts,” says the village headman.Serjhik Gharakeshishian,one of the remaining residentsof Barekamavan, complains thatonly Nagorno-Karabakh occupiesthe center of the state’s attention– even though Barekamavan is alsoKarabakh.“During the years of the conflict,up to 160 people were armed fromthis village, while today, the numbercould only be 20 to 25,” he complains,presenting these figures asevidence that no other village inArmenia is as neglected, ignored,and poor as Barekamavan.To the northeast of Armenia,where the Armenia-Georgia borderends, the Armenia-Azerbaijan borderbegins. Tavush marz has about20 Armenian settlements scatteredalong its 100-mile border with Azerbaijan.In this section of the border,some villages are directly in theenemy’s line of fire. In the wake ofthe May 1994 ceasefire, this remainsthe most unstable section of the Armenia-Azerbaijanborder. Dozens ofpeaceful residents and soldiers havefallen victim to snipers.Barekamavan has an eight-kilometerlong border with Azerbaijan.Four hundred hectares of the villages’arable lands and orchardshave not been cultivated for thepast 15 years, as they are on theborder and have been mined. Theresidents of Barekamavan can cultivateonly 55 hectares of land – avery small area even for a village of330 residents.“First of all, everything must bedone so that the remaining 20 to 25young families of the village continueliving here, otherwise the villagewill completely vanish,” the head ofthe village says, with a grave tone.Under enemy controlBerkaber village – which, unlikeBarekamavan, is not secluded fromthe main highway – is also aging.Today, only 53 students study ina village school that had 165 studentsin 1990. Berkaber villagehead Suren Khudaverdian notesthat a new wave of flight from thevillage is noticeable this year. Leadersand citizens of the nine villageswe visited confirmed this year’sincrease in the number of peoplefleeing their hometowns.Incidentally, if in the 1990s peoplepreferred to emigrate abroad,Hovik Gharakeshishian. Photos: Armenian Reporter.mainly to Russia, today they aremoving both to Yerevan and Russiaequally. Hikes in the cost of livingpushes people out of the bordertowns, while construction employmentin Yerevan is a lure to ablebodiedresidents.“What are these authoritiesbuilding? Yerevan and the NorthernAvenue. People are leaving thevillage because of the continuousprice rises. They either find work inconstruction in the capital city, orin Russia. A villager must cultivateland and keep animals. The landsof this village are under the controlof the enemy. Until this latest pricerise it was still possible to exist, butnow it is impossible,” says Mr. Khudaverdian.The 800 hectares of mostly fruitbearing orchards of Berkaber– which shares a 10-kilometer borderwith Azerbaijan – are under thecontrol of the enemy. The remaininglands are dangerous for cultivation.Berkaber is separated from itsneighboring four Azerbaijani villagesby the Joghaz reservoir, constructedin 1970 for irrigating Armenianand Azerbaijani lands. Themain part of the reservoir coversArmenian lands, but in order to useit the Armenians must pass thoughtwo Azerbaijani villages, which isimpossible.And so, for about 20 years thereservoir has not been used, evenfor fishing; for as soon as the Armeniansfrom Berkaber approach theshore to fish, the Azerbaijanis fire.The Armenian army is consideredthe most efficient in the region.A strong army is one of theprincipal guarantors of the defenseof Armenian lands from the encroachmentsof neighbors. But theArmenian soldier is more courageouswhen he feels support fromthe land-cultivating, lawn-mowing,tree-planting villagers. Land is keptfirst of all though cultivation – butif the current hopeless situationcontinues in the border regions,keeping those borders secure willbecome harder. An Armenian soldier,especially a border-guard, ismore valiant with the support ofhis family.Voskepar village became the centerof the Armenian-Azerbaijaniconflict in 1990–91. Today, 50 ofthe 250 village houses have beenlocked shut for the past 15 years.Mekhak Stepanian, one of theyoung people still living in Voskepar,says that the government ignoresthe residents of the bordervillage. There is no seed, fuel is veryexpensive, and the only availableagricultural machines are leftoversfrom Soviet times.“The residents of those 50 lockedhouses will never return, as theyhave settled in Russia. That iswhere their children and grandchildrenwere born,” says Mr. Stepanian.“Of the remaining 200 houses,80 of them are inhabited by the elderly.Those houses are also goingto be locked up in 15 to 20 years.There was a time when the villageschool had more than 300 students,while today there are only 135. Thisyear a new wave of emigration hasstarted. Leaving Voskepar and settlingin Russia, the youth see thatlife is easier and happier there, andso they remain in Russia.”An atmosphere of fearWhile confirming the latest wave ofemigration from the border villages,residents give different reasons forthe flight. For example in Baghanisvillage, African swine fever – adisease infecting pigs – is consideredthe main reason for emigration.Because of this disease therewas an unprecedented drop in thenumbers of pigs registered in Armenia.In Baghanis, because of theLeft: On theleft side of thereservoir isthe Azerbaijanivillage ofMazamli. Onthe right, is theArmenian villageof Berkaber.ArmenianReporter maps byGrigor Beglaryan.disease, about 500 pigs either diedor were slaughtered. Head of thevillage Arthur Ghukasian saysthat a few youngsters who used tokeep pigs left for Yerevan or Russia,as they could not find workanywhere, apart from the luxuryconstruction going on in Armenia’scapital city.“According to the veterinarians,pig farming will be impossible inthe upcoming five years. Even duringthe Soviet years this villagewas mostly occupied with animalhusbandry. Cultivating lands isnot profitable, as our lands are notfruit-bearing and are directly in theAzerbaijani line of fire. Last yeara tractor could only cultivate twohectares of land before the Azerbaijaniswould fire, and so the arableland remained uncultivated.People do not have money to buyfertilizers, although the state allocatessome subsidized fertilizers.For example, the market price ofone sack is 5,000 drams, but theysell it at 3,700 drams,” says the headof the village.Even during the Soviet years,people from Baghanis’s neighboringvillage of Voskevan used toleave in search for work. The mainreason was the shortage and infertilityof its lands. However, whenthe war started, the villagers startedto cultivate their lands in an atmosphereof fear. People were willingto cultivate their infertile lands,rather than die from the enemy’sbullet.“Many things have been left tothe Azerbaijanis’ whim. They canfire on and kill the farmers at anygiven time. Sometimes they fireand sometimes they do not. Ourside can fire on their farms too, butthey usually do not open fire,” saysagriculturist Hrachik Antonianfrom Voskevan.In the past few years life had takena turn for the positive in the bordervillages of Tavush. But the latestprice hikes and animal deathshas placed the villagers in a difficultsituation. Unable to find a betteralternative, some of them leave thevillage temporarily – or forever.The recent presidential electionand the post-election developments“encouraged” the emigration.According to official data, formerPresident Levon Ter-Petrossianhas a high reputation in the Tavushmarz. But after the March 1events, the first president’s trustedrepresentatives are being houndedthroughout Armenia – includingTavush. This fact has had an additionalnegative impact on the generaldisposition of the people.Koti is one of the villages whereMr. Ter-Petrossian beat PresidentSerge Sargsian. Apart from beingfamous for being the birthplace ofTer-Petrossian–era Interior Ministerand fugitive Vano Siradeghian,this village is also famous forhaving a 38-kilometer long borderwith Azerbaijan. For this reasononly 500 hectares of Koti’s 1,500hectares are being cultivated. Currentlyless than 2,000 people residein the village, which used to haveabout 3,000 residents. Felix Melikiannotices that even thoughthere is no emigration, the numberof people, especially the youngsters,working abroad has increased.In recent years the cultivationof tobacco has been revived in thisvillage. The Grand Tobacco Companysigns contracts with the villagersand pledges to buy the tobacco.This year about 25 hectaresof tobacco have been planted. TheIFAD project is implementing theconstruction works of the Koti irrigationwater project. Accordingto Melikian, this is a major projectand a few hundred hectares of nonirrigatedland will have water.The price of warDifferent projects are being implementedin Koti, as in the rest ofthe border villages, with assistancefrom the government or internationalorganizations. However, asyet they have not improved thevillagers’ lives. Many villages aresimply lagging behind in the developmentwhich has been registeredelsewhere in Armenia over the pastfew years. Whenever, for example,Yerevan’s development is obvious,then one can be sure that the bordervillages will continue to be poor.In some ways Yerevans’ developmenthas had a negative impacton the villages, where the alreadysmall number of younger residentsaim to go to the capital city withthe hope of work and a better life.Some of them settle in Yerevan,and as a result Armenia’s bordersare weakened.The problems and difficultiesin border villages vary. It is evenmore difficult for people to live inthose settlements where the landsare not fertile and are close to theenemy’s line of fire, and where thevillages are secluded from the mainhighway or are far from the marzcenters.However, residents of the bordervillages have one thing in common:they all want peace, even thoughthey are the ones who have sufferedthe most during the Armenia-Azerbaijanwar. Their perception of warand peace is completely differentfrom that of people in Yerevan. Theresidents of the border villages attacha greater significance to peace,as they have personally suffered, andare well aware of the price of war. f
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008 19ArmeniaIFAD helps village economies growby Armen HakobyanSEVAN, Armenia – Among the majorprojects supporting Armenia’srural development are two agriculturalloan programs sponsored bythe International Fund for AgriculturalDevelopment (IFAD) and theWorld Bank. The IFAD program waslaunched in October 2005 and theWorld Bank program in 2006.The programs are coordinatedand monitored by the Rural FundingStructure, headed by Ara Muradian.He said in an interview thataround $6 million out of $8.9 millionallocated by IFAD has been loaned,and 315 farms, farmers, or processingcompanies in the least developedmountainous regions of Armeniahave received low-interest loans.The World Bank in turn has allocated$5.3 million, Mr. Muradiansaid, of which $2.2 million has beenloaned. Around 40 farms have receivedcredit.Another way to get ontheir feetBeyond the bare figures are realpeople who wish to find the economicopportunity to stand firmlyon their feet on their native land.Over the last year and half, ArthurSmbatian, 36, has tried to revivethe once-powerful Sevan PoultryFactory, which belongs to the firmBasis Sar. Mr. Smbatian is the mainshareholder of Basis Sar, and he acquiredthe poultry factory in 1993.He said in an interview that thefactory at the time had 30 huge hencoops that were desolated. In 1994,he said, “in those bad years, thoseterrible years of the Armenian NationalMovement’s rule, I brought30,000 birds from Pyatigorsk, Russia,by air. They were good, egg-layinghens. In 1997 I was forced toshut down the factory because theyA permanent moveby Betty Panossian-TerSarkissianYEREVAN – Vicky Odeh is oneof many Iranian-Armenians whohave chosen their historic homelandas a suitable country in whichto settle permanently. Already afull-time resident of Armenia forfive years, Vicky talked to the Reporterabout the rewards of livingin the homeland, as well as thelittle difficulties that complicateeveryday life.Moving to YerevanBack in Tehran, Vicky cherishedhopes of becoming a musicianand a choir conductor. But in thelate 1970s, political circumstancespushed her out of music school andshe devoted the ensuing years toher family and children.By the early 1980s, however,Vicky did manage to make use of herknowledge in music and conducting.“Back in those days, there wasa sharp need in Tehran to providea modern rhythmic interpretationto our patriotic and revolutionarysongs. The ARF Central Committeeassigned several of my friends andme to carry out the task. I mustsay that my work as a choir conductorwas not professional, since Ihad not completed my education inmusic,” recalled Vicky.The result of this initiative wasPotorik, a choir famous in the diasporaespecially in the 1980s for itsArsen Zadoian and his hothouse tomatoes.were bringing in cheap eggs fromIran. We faced bankruptcy,” he saidbitterly.He had now restarted, investingin the renovation of one of his hencoops and 20–25 hens. He employs25 people from Sevan and neighboringsettlements. His firm hasreceived an IFAD loan, with whichhe expects to double the capacity ofhis factory.“Having learned about this loanprogram I submitted a loan applicationto Inecobank, and took an$85,000 five-year loan at 12 percent,”Mr. Smbatian said. “I took the loanlast spring and renovated anotherhen coop with that money. Part ofthe money we invested in the birdseedkitchen and we bought Fordand Gazel vehicles for egg delivery.The equipment for the hen coop Ibought with my own money. Thisnew hen coop is for 35,000 birds. Iam going to buy chickens, mostlyegg-laying, and I expect to raisemonthly output from the current400,000 eggs to 1 million. By thedynamic interpretation of Armenianpatriotic songs.Vicky says that around a decadeago, she embraced a family traditionof practicing skin-care, andtook courses at the offices of a famousFrench brand specializing inskin care. In 2002, she spent somemonths in Paris to qualify as a practitionerin the field.“By then we were already consideringmoving to Armenia,”recalled Vicky. It was a step herfamily had always wanted to take,following the independence ofArmenia.“We had several motives, butthe basic one was to satisfy ourneed of completely belonging toa place. We wanted to put an endto our temporary belonging to aplace.” She and her husband alsowanted their kids to spend partof their growing years in their fatherland.Settling downOne of the first things Vicky did aftermoving to Yerevan was to rent aspace on Pushkin Street and openher own skin care center, called“Vitak” – referring to a valued glitteryfabric in Armenian. Vitak wasa warm and cozy corner operatingwith the French approach of offeringprofessional skin care to theresidents of Yerevan.The facility in the heart of Yerevanoperated for four years,during which Vicky succeeded ingathering a clientele that appreciatedthe novelty and the professionalapproach Vitak brought tothe city.way, during the last year, we alreadypaid off $15,000 of the principle,”he added.This loan is his first ever. “I wouldbe able to reach this level in fiveyears without the loan; with thehelp of the loan, I have reached itin 1 year,” he noted.A fertile greenhouse inone yearIn a greenhouse not far from Arznivillage, a bumper crop of tomatoesis ripening. The greenhousebelongs to Rasfood. The executivemanager, Arsen Zadoian, notesthat the greenhouse was built onlya year ago. Mr Zadoian’s father is aformer minister of agriculture.The founders of the company, ArsenZadoian said in an interview,learned about the loan programs,and knowing that he has experiencein greenhouse work, decidedto take a loan and construct agreenhouse. This loan came fromthe World Bank.By that time, her children wereenrolled in public schools. Soon,her daughter graduated from highschool, and enrolled at the FrenchUniversity in Yerevan to study law.She will graduate this summer.Vicky’s teenage boy will soon graduatefrom high school and plans tocontinue his studies at the PolytechnicInstitute.Toward the end of 2007, Vickymoved her practice into the premisesof Shoonch, a yoga and spacenter owned by two of her friends.For the past two months, she hasbeen offering courses in “face yoga”to her clients – another novel approachto skincare in Yerevan.Back in 2003, Vitak was one ofthe very few high-quality skinArtur Smbatian’s chicken coop.“The greenhouse occupies territoryof 2,000 square meters. Thecompany took also a $140,000 loanfor a 6-year term and 11 percentinterest from Inecobank for equipmentwhen we started constructionwork here. After receiving theloan we worked on a larger scale.This greenhouse was started fromscratch. Now we cultivate hothouseDutch tomatoes here. Around 4,500plants were put here with the expectationof up to 10 kg crop capacityfrom a plant in 1 year,” Mr.Zadoian said.The greenhouse provides 4–5 jobsin Arzni with average monthly salaryof 60,000 drams. The companyis planning to build more greenhousesin its 1 hectare of land andto buy more land.Due diligenceWhat kind of due diligence do thelenders perform? Mr. Muradiansaid potential borrowers apply toone of eight approved banks. Thebank considers the application andhealth centers in Yerevan. But fiveyears later, deluxe centers withlavish interiors operate at almostevery corner in the downtownarea. Despite the increased competition(or maybe because of it),Vicky’s center continues to keepfaith with her original approach.“My center has never been forthe elite, or for those who seeka brand name behind the servicethey get,” she said.Vicky said that in establishingher small business in Yerevan, shehas not encountered any unusualdifficulties. But she’s quick to mentionsome aspects of Armenia’s taxcode that hinder the expansion ofthe business.“I may see a brand in the marketwith a suspiciously low price,” shesaid. “That means the given productreached the market throughsome illegal path. This dishonestcompetition makes it difficultfor many, including me, to importnew brands for our business– simply because after paying allthe taxes, it becomes impossibleto sell it with a price even closeto the one in the market,” saysVicky.Over the past five years, Vickyhas tried to suggest a new way ofunderstanding skin care. “One ofthe main problems I encounteredin my profession after moving toYerevan was the attitude of peopletoward skin care. Unfortunately,routine care is not yet part of thelifestyle of women in Armenia. Tomake matters worse, obsolete approacheshave settled deep in themindset of people, and skin care isif it is satisfied, forwards it to thecoordinating office. If it agrees tofund the loan, it forwards the fundsto the bank, which becomes responsiblefor repayment.Then, within three months, thecoordinating office begins monitoringvisits to ensure that the loanis being used as intended. If thefunds are being misused, the officedemands repayment in full fromthe bank. It may also suspend thebank from the program.Mr. Muradian said that loansmore than 90 days overdue makeup 2.1 percent of the total.A large share of IFAD loans goto border villages, Mr. Muradiannotes. (See adjacent story byTatul Hakobyan.) In Gomk villagein the Vayots Dzor province,a loan allowed a dairy to increasecheese production. That led toloans to local farms to increasetheir milk production and improvetheir milk storage capacity,Mr. Muradian noted withpride.fA skin-care specialist takes her family and practice to YerevanVicky Odeh.often confused with facial makeup,”said Vicky.She considers it a challenge totry to changing that mindset – andwhen she succeeds, it’s the appreciationof her efforts that drivesher forward.Anyone moving their family toanother country can expect to encounterdifficulties. Before movingto Yerevan, Vicky and her familywould visit Armenia once a year;but she said that the real difficultiesbecame apparent to her onlyafter settling down.“The foremost was the integrationof the children into their newenvironment, and getting adaptedto their new world,” she said.She was philosophical about themore general challenges to adaptingto an entirely new setting, withits own existing problems. “Whenyou try to understand those problemsand their causes, it becomeseasier to overcome them,” she said.“Of course, there are several shortcomingsin our fatherland. Butwhat we can do is either patientlywait for their solution, or act tohave whatever positive impact wecan have in our country.”“If one considers the fatherlandas a possession, then it cannot beabandoned, even after seeing itsweak points.”“I think Armenia is the final homefor our family. I cannot decide formy children, but my hope is thatthey stay here. My husband and Ido whatever we can to make ourchildren inclined to establishingtheir lives in our homeland,” concludedVicky.f
20 The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008ArmeniaMarket updateby the CascadeInvestments teamA. Rates and bondsRatesThe Central Bank of Armenia (CBA),announced on May 5 that the CBABoard had raised the refinancingrate by 25 basis points to 6.75 percentfrom 6.50 percent. The boardjustified this move with referenceto inflationary pressures, notingthat in April, 12-month inflationhad reached 10.7 percent, whichwas 4 percentage points higherthan in 2007. Further tighteningpolicy might be favored in theshort-term: “The Board agreesthat the inflationary pressures willpersist, and gradual tightening ofmonetary conditions is aimed atmoderating secondary impacts andinflation expectations conditionedby external developments.”The tightening of the rates sofar has impacted short-term yields,which is explained by the uncertaintyin world commodity pricetrends in the medium term.MaturityYTM23/04/2008Exchange RatesThere were no significant changesin the USD/AMD rate comparedwith the beginning of the year.On the other hand, the EUR/AMDpair was much more volatile andthe euro appreciated by almost5–10 percent since the beginning of2008, along with general strengtheningof currency in internationalmarkets associated with EuropeanCentral Bank’s decision not to cutrates. USD/AMD movements aremore associated with currency remittances,financial accounts, aswell as the population’s preferencefor holding dollar-denominatedassets, whereas EUR/AMD fluctuationscan be substantially impactedby trade flows (around 50 percentof exports go to the EU).The average weighted rates indicatedin April at Armex were 309.18against 1 USD and 486.43 dramsagainst 1 EUR.Corporate SecuritiesThe average weighted yield of corporatebonds in April has increasedby 30 basis points as compared withthe previous month. This was associatedwith the expectation thatthe base rate would increase.IndexesCascade Business Sentiment Index(CBSI)The Cascade Business SentimentIndex for the months of April-May2008 is 5.0, which is a slightly decreaseover the last month. Themain concern of market participantsis the uncertainty in theworld economic outlook as wellas the rise of commodity prices(which has already resulted in highYTM26/03/20086 month 7.0000 6.7500 251 year 6.7500 6.6000 152 year 6.3935 6.3935 05 year 7.8922 7.4125 487 year 9.1028 9.1265 -210 year 10.684 10.710 -2Source: CBA YTMChange ( bps)inflationary expectations).The Cascade Business SentimentIndex is our approach to forecastingsentiment about Armenia’sbusiness trends. The SentimentIndex is based on a survey, the respondentsof which are a group ofindividuals who own or operatestable and growing businesses inArmenia. The survey measures thebusiness owners’ expectations forthe near future by addressing tothem questions and calculating theweighted average of their replies on a numerical scale (from 1, themost pessimistic, to 10, the mostoptimistic).Cascade Commodity index (CCI)The Cascade Commodity Indexfor April-May 2008 is 18023. Theindex indicates a monthly increasein the last few months (7.5 percentas compared with the last month).However the CBA is making an effortto resist inflationary pressures;thus it is expected that in the followingmonth the main commodityprices will be stabilized.The commodities tracked by theindex are (1) petroleum (20 liters);(2) steel (100 kg); (3) pork (10 kg);(4) flour (10 kg); (5) corn oil (10 liters).Major Events“Finances, Loans, Insurance, andAudit Expo-2008” launched in Yerevanat the beginning of MayOver 25 organizations participatedin the exhibition “Finances,Loans, Insurance, and Audit Expo-2008” organized by LOGOS EXPOCenter Company.The following sections were presentedat the exhibition: banking;banking services for legal entitiesand individuals; mortgage crediting;crediting of small and mediumenterprises; consumer expresscrediting;car crediting; financialconsulting; investment management;insurance; realtor and assessmentservices; audit services.“The exhibition is meant to improvethe understanding of thesociety on the financial service providedin Armenia. The organizationof such events is an important stepfrom the point of view of securingtransparency of the financial systemand protecting the rights ofconsumers of financial services,”Artur Javadyan, deputy chair ofthe CBA, stated at the exhibition.Russian AFK “Sistema” confirms interestin acquiring a bank in ArmeniaThe Moscow Bank for Reconstructionand Development (MBRD)intends to acquire a bank in Armenia.The chair of the Board of MBRD,Sergey Zaitsev, said this in aninterview with Interfax. Accordingto him, in 2008 MBRD plans toinvest in deals on acquiring about$570 million in banking assets. Themain shareholder of MBRD, amongthe 50 largest banks of Russia in 121086420%0 2 4 6 8 10 12YearsSpot rate Forward rate YTM112%109%106%103%100%terms of the volume of capital andnet assets, is the AFK “Sistema”Corporation. AFK “Sistema” alreadyowns large assets in Armenia: an80 percent share of the Armenian“VivaCell” mobile operator belongsto MTS Company, which is affiliatedwith “Sistema”, and another companyof the holding, “Comstar-OTS,”owns the Armenian “Cornet-AM”Internet service provider.Fourteen banks and 1 credit organizationentered the list of 300 largesttaxpayers in ArmeniaThe largest taxpayer in the bankingsector of Armenia in the firstquarter is Ardshininvestbank. Thetotal sum of the taxes paid by thebank was 578.7 million drams. Ardshininvestbankoccupies the 22ndplace in the list of 300 largest taxpayersof Armenia.The 30th place in the list is occupiedby ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, whichpaid 501.3 million drams in taxes. The51st place is occupied by HSBC BankArmenia (302.7 million drams).Defeated in soccerThe Under-19 national team of Armeniasuffered a 2-1 defeat fromthe Turkish team on May 22 in theopening match of a UEFA EuropeanUnder-19 Championship EliteRound Group 7 tournament hostedin Armenia, May 22-27.The Armenians first conceded agoal to Turkey’s Sercan Yildirimin the tenth minute. They equalizedjust before half-time thanksto Tigran Voskanyan’s effort. ButErhan Senturk struck just pastthe hour, and the score remainedunchanged until the end of thematch.The two countries’ main teamsare drawn in the same World Cup2010 qualifying group and are dueto start their campaigns with agame in Yerevan in early September.Before that, the two countries’under-21 teams will play in a Euro-2009 qualifier also in Yerevan onAugust 20.Meanwhile, Ukraine beat Armenia0-1 and Spain beat Armenia 2-4.With no points at all Armenia isat the bottom of the group of countrieswhich are qualifying for Europeanunder-19 championship.Yield Curve 23/04/2008Exchange Rates97%8-Jan 7-Feb 8-Mar 7-Apr 7-MaySource: CBAEUR/AMDUSD/AMDThe 259th place in the list isoccupied by Finca UniversalCredit Organization (58.4 milliondrams).“HSBC Bank Armenia” wins GlobalFinance and The Banker magazineawardsHSBC Bank Armenia won the“Best Bank in Armenia” award inGlobal Finance magazine’s “BestEmerging Market Bank in Asia”competition for 2008.The press service of HSBC BankArmenia reports that the criteriafor choosing the winners includedgrowth in assets, profitability,strategic relationships, customerservice, competitive pricing, andinnovative products. The selectionwas made based on the opinion ofGlobal Finance editors, as well asthe expert conclusions of competentspecialists.HSBC Bank Armenia also receivedthe award Bank of the Yearin Armenia – 2007 from The Bankermagazine.fMore Armenia briefsArmenia vs. Turkey. Photo: Photolure.Aram KarapetianreleasedAram Karapetian, the leader ofthe New Times Party, who has beenin pretrial detention since late February,on May 26 was released onthe strength of a pledge not to leavethe country. He had been hospitalizedon May 16 with heart problems.He is accused of disseminating falseaccusations of criminal wrongdoing.The charges stem from a DVD accusingtop officials of complicity in theassassination of the prime minister,the Speaker of parliament, and otherofficials on October 27, 1999. f
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008 21Commentary“Character makes the man and woman”An address to graduatingstudentsby Dr. Vartan GregorianI want to pay tribute to Clark University fornot abandoning Worcester, for not walkingaway from Worcester; for not giving up on K-to-12 education but providing models for itsrenewal; for not giving up on local communitiesbut rather forming productive partnershipssuch as Clark Park; for Clark’s convictionthat democracy and excellence are notmutually exclusive.Commencements are special, symbolic,solemn, and joyous occasions marking theend of one phase of life and the beginning ofanother. As I look out today, I am delightedthat there are so many people to celebratethis wonderful day with you. In 1958 whenI graduated from Stanford University, I hadno family in this country, and indeed I hadno one to attend my graduation ceremony.So I did not march. In 1964 when Ph.D. degreeswere awarded, I was teaching. I hadonce again no opportunity to attend that ceremonyeither. So today it is with envy, greatenthusiasm, and admiration that I am participatingin your commencement, and, forthe first time, my sister and brother-in-lawfrom Iran and my nephew from Boston areattending my graduation.Rest at ease. I am not a politician in searchof votes or in need of yet another platform to“clarify,” once again, my previous positions ona variety of issues. Thank God I am not one ofthose who is famous for being famous. I amhere as an academic, to witness this solemnday of your commencement, your new beginningthat marks the sacrifice of your parents,dedication of your professors and, mostimportantly, your own sustained hard work,faith, determination, and accomplishments.Commencement speeches mark a rite ofpassage. While I am honored to be part ofyour celebration and the class of 2008, I haveno illusion about my role. After all, hardlyanyone remembers their commencementspeech, or even who gave it, unless it wasa celebrity like Jennifer Anniston, QuentinTarantino, Bruce Willis, Orlando Bloom,Oprah Winfrey, or even the President of theUnited States.I checked to see what have been the mostmemorable commencement speeches evergiven so that I would not be off the mark.Looking back half a century, I was astonishedto find that, according to The Washington Post,there were three unforgettable commencementaddresses: one was given in 1947 byU.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, whoannounced the legendary U.S. plan to rebuildEurope after World War II. Another was givenin 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, whoannounced a moratorium on nuclear weaponstests. The third one, however, which hadno news value at all, was given in 1997. Itfeatured my late friend Kurt Vonnegut. Itbegan with a famous line: “Ladies and gentlemenof the class of ‘97. Wear sunscreen.”Other bits of advice included injunctions to“floss,” “sing,” “stretch” and “don’t mess toomuch with your hair.” My favorite line was:“Remember compliments you receive. Forgetthe insults. If you succeed in doing this, tellme how.” Thank God the so-called “VonnegutSpeech,” which set a new tone for commencementspeeches, turned out to be an internethoax.I have also come here today to pay tributeto American higher education and one of itsexemplary institutions, Clark University, toClark’s amazing legacy, its outstanding faculty,its remarkable leaders. I am here to payhomage to you, students, to your growth aseducated, cultured citizens, to your metamorphosisinto the kind of people-humanbeings-who have developed the ability atleast to try to comprehend the incomprehensible;to make sense out of confusion; wrestlesome logic out of the illogical; and challengeDr. Vartan Gregorian is the president of the CarnegieCorporation of New York, and a distinguishedhistorian, educator, and author, whose personalmemoir, The Road to Home: My Life and Times, waspublished in 2003. What appears here is a transcriptionof the commencement address he delivered atClark University, in Worcester, Mass., on May 18.even ugliness to show some glimmer of beautysomewhere deep within its core. You havespent the last four, five or six years at ClarkUniversity in order to learn how to analyze,synthesize and systematize informationand knowledge; to separate the chaff fromthe wheat; subjectivity from objectivity; factfrom opinion; public interests from privateinterests; manipulations from influence; and“spin” from corruption.I hope you have learned to be flexible inyour thinking, adaptable in your analysis ofissues, and appreciative of the complexitiesthat comprise almost every aspect of dailylife-both on the human and global scale. I’msure you don’t yet realize just what an extraordinaryskill you have developed, howwell it will serve you in the future, and howdesperately the world needs people who arenot paralyzed by complexity but welcome theopportunity it brings to think new thoughts,develop new ideas, and find new ways tosolve problems. I am sure you are, and alwayswill be, mindful of the great American humoristH. L. Mencken’s warning that: “thereis always an easy solution to every humanproblem: neat, plausible ... and wrong!”I am sure your Clark University educationhas prepared you to begin to understand therelationship of the unique and individualself to the social, political, and cultural worldaround you. I hope it has also given you thecourage to think those big, imponderablethoughts that are our companions throughoutour lives, such as: what is our relationshipto universal order? What is our placeas a human being amongst the great sea ofmankind? Though you may never answerthese and other questions for yourselves,and perhaps they will always be unanswerable,they will help you create a frameworkfor the way you live your lives.In this difficult time when many of us worryabout our country and its direction, aboutits values, its promise and its future, I’m stillconvinced that while America is not perfect,it is still perfectible. It is still a land of opportunityfor immigrants and for internationalstudents, not only Americans alone. Many ofyou in the audience today are proof of that aswell. It’s amazing, isn’t it, that until recentlytwo-thirds of all students studying abroadhave been attending American colleges anduniversities?But with the opportunity we have all hadto study at America’s great institutions ofhigher learning, comes responsibility, as well.What we have learned in school we must findways to put into action. We cannot retreatfrom the big issues of society and the worldand our time into the pygmy world of privatepiety. Nor can we become cynics paralyzed byour own disdain, and we must not becomewecannot afford to become-social, politicaland moral isolationists.That is especially true for those of us whoare foreign or current international students.Whether we remain here or to returnto our native countries, we have the obligationto build bridges between our nations,our societies and the United States, and viceVartanGregorianat ClarkUniversity.versa, especially now. And those who comefrom developing countries have yet anotherobligation, and a very weighty one, to worktoward creating a better quality of life forthose at home and to advance the opportunitiesthat are available to them. After all, yourepresent their hopes for a better future.For those of us who were born elsewherebut were educated here and then becameAmerican citizens, we have reason to bedoubly grateful. One, because we receivedour education in America, not to mentionfinancial support. And two, because Americagranted us the privilege of citizenship in acountry whose [Declaration of Independence]proclaims that “we hold these truthsto be self-evident, that all men are createdequal, that they are endowed by their creatorwith certain unalienable rights, that amongthese are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”These are lofty aspirations. Remember,however, that America has always been andwill always be a work in progress. Every generationhas and must contribute to that ongoingprogress. As John Gardner once said,it is important to be both a loving critic anda critical lover. America needs all of us to beboth.And now let me come back to you! Clarkmarks the beginning of your latest wonderful,arduous journey. It has provided youwith the means to be on your way. It hasgiven you not only an education, a professionand all the skills and confidences you need todo well in the world, but it has also given youchoices and the ability to choose. Sometimesyou may find you have so many choices thatall the possibilities available to you will beoverwhelming. This morning I’d like to sharewith you three lessons I have learned thatmay – I stress may – assist you in makingyour choices.The first lesson, actually, is a well-knownone. I believe, if I’m not mistaken, it wasSir William Osler, professor of medicine atOxford University in the early years of the20th century, who said that young men – andwomen – should be careful in the selection oftheir ambitions because they’re likely to realizethem. Since you have the education, theknowledge and the training to realize yourambitions, be as sure as you can that yourambition also reflects what you really loveto do.Speaking of your ambition, sometimes youmay be masters of it, but watch out. Sometimesyou may be its slave, and watch out.Other times you may be a victim of hubris.No matter what, try to bear in mind the nextlesson: don’t confuse a job with a career. Inthe past I used to say to students that inyour life, you will have many jobs but onlyone career. Now, however, if we keep on theway we are going in terms of how long wecan expect to live, many of you will be octogenarians,some of you may even be centenarians,so you may have not only manyjobs, but also many careers as well. I haven’tquite reached either age category as yet, butI have worked in a number of fields, as itwas mentioned-academia, libraries and nowphilanthropy – and I can share with you thefact that people often ask me, “Which jobdid you like best?” But they’re asking me thewrong question. I’ve never considered any ofthe positions I’ve held as jobs. In fact, I eventhink of them as more than careers. To me,they have been missions in which teachingand learning are primary ingredients, withme as the primary student.So even though this is probably the lastthing you want to hear today, I want to remindyou that whether you like it or not, inorder to survive and thrive, you will haveto be lifelong students and lifetime learners.And yes, there are and always will be difficulttimes when you will think you have come toa dead end in your life or in your career, evenan apparent point of no return, but let me tellyou as one who has experienced those eventsonce or twice, when that happens, think ofwhat the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez oncesaid when he spoke of the condition that humanbeings are not born once and for all onthe day their mothers gave birth to them, butthat life obliges them to give birth to themselvesover and over again. Time, experience,knowledge, education, love, one’s values, allthese can and do affect us and change us, andenable us to reinvent ourselves. I have inventedmyself many times and I’m sure youwill do the same thing.For me, Marquez’s words have a particularresonance because they reinforce values thatwere taught to me by my maternal grandmother,an illiterate peasant woman. Sheraised me. My grandmother was an illiteratepeasant, a poor one at that. I don’t believethat she knew where Greece was, norRome, nor the United States. She certainlydid not know who Plutarch was, but even soshe taught me the same lesson as Plutarchhighlighted in his celebrated Lives almost2,000 years ago, when he said, essentially,that character makes the man and woman.My grandmother was my first teacher. Sheinstructed me in the moral lessons of life andthe “right way,” through her sheer character,stoic tenacity, formidable dignity, individualityand utter integrity. She was for me thebest example of what good character means.In spite of many adversities and tragedies,wartime ravages, poverty, deprivation andthe deaths of her seven children, she neverbecame cynical, never abandoned her valuesand never compromised her dignity. Indeed,it was from my grandmother that I learnedthat dignity is not negotiable. Your reputationis not for sale and must not be mortgagedas a down payment on your ambitions.It was my grandmother’s living example thatshaped the very foundation of my character.Between what I have learned from Plutarchand my grandmother – a combination offorces I would dare anybody to challenge! – Ifeel confident in telling you that in the comingyears you will meet people who are morepowerful than you, richer than you, smarterthan you, even handsomer or more beautifulthan you, but what will be your distinguishingmark will always be your character. Andwhat will define your character? Your conduct,your ability to live by principles youbelieve in, even if that means fighting tenaciouslyfor what is right over what you knowto be wrong.Nobody goes through life without encounteringobstacles, disappointments, andproblems. Nobody can keep from makingmistakes or taking a wrong turn. Nobody canescape illness or avoid the specter of failure.Let me point out that coping with success iseasy. How you deal with adversity, with failure,and with setbacks will reveal your truecharacter. How nimble you are about gettingback on your feet after some large or smalldisaster or defeat will help you to determinejust how far those feet of yours will take youin the world.But that’s where your upbringing, the textureof your education and your values willhelp you to develop a distinctive attitudetoward life, an attitude that persistentlyseeks meaning and perspective, an attitudethat exudes adaptability and resilience in arelentlessly changing and perplexing world,an attitude of moral courage and steadfastnessin the face of overwhelming humanneed and suffering. How to develop andmaintain such attitudes in an age whereContinued on page 23 m
22 The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008Editorialthe armenianreporterCommentaryAcademia and theArmenian GenocideIn August 2006 Donald Quataert, a professor of history at Binghamton University andspecialist in Ottoman labor and industry, asserted in a book review that “after the longlapse of serious Ottomanist scholarship on the Armenian question, it now appears thatthe Ottomanist wall of silence is crumbling,”To avoid the term genocide is to run “the risk of suggesting denial of the massive andsystematic atrocities that the Ottoman state and some of its military and general populacecommitted against the Armenians,” he added.Professor Quataert’s statement was remarkable for two reasons. First, in 1985 hewas one of 69 Ottoman, Turkish, and Middle Eastern area scholars who signed ontoa petition against an Armenian Genocide resolution in the House of Representatives.Second, he was, until recently, the chair of the Institute of Turkish Studies,which distributes Turkish government funding to support Turkish studies in U.S.universities.With the publication of the book review, Prof. Quataert was forced to relinquish thechair of the ITS.Area specialists protestAt the behest of the Turkish Studies Association, the Middle East Studies Associationthis week wrote to the prime minister of Turkey to protest Prof. Quataert’s dismissal,to demand his reinstatement, and to call for ITS endowment funds to be placed “inan irrevocable trust immune from political interference and infringement of academicfreedom.”The MESA letter added: “The attitude towards Dr. Quataert sharply contrasts with yourgovernment’s recent call to leave the debate regarding the events of 1915 to the independentstudy and judgment of scholars.” (See story on page 1.)This episode, which is not yet over, is an indication of the changing academic climateregarding the study of the history of Asia Minor in the First World War.At the time of the petition of the 69 scholars, practitioners of Ottoman historiographywere faced with a choice: If they wrote about the Armenian Genocide, they could bedenied access to libraries and archives in Turkey – a career breaker for an area specialist.Senior scholars were so implicated in Armenian Genocide denial that their juniorcolleagues would find their career paths blocked if they faced the facts of the ArmenianGenocide. And so, many did their work pretending the elephant of the Armenian Genocidewas not in the room. Imagine the challenge, by way of analogy, of writing a historyof the United States in the first decade of the 21st century without ever mentioning theIraq war.Much work to doThe emergence of modern Turkey cannot be properly understood if the deliberate eliminationof the Armenian population of Asia Minor is not fully taken into account. Integratingthe Armenian Genocide narrative into this larger narrative has yet to be done.Likewise, there is much more to learn from case studies of various Ottoman localities. Inshort, there is much still to do.A welcome aspect of the progress in Ottoman studies is the increased dialogue amongscholars who specialize in Armenian history and those who specialize in Turkish history.When Turkish history was dominated overwhelmingly by Genocide deniers, dialoguewas difficult as it could be seen to imply that the veracity of the Genocide was somehowdebatable.This increased dialogue is helping scholars of all stripes to set aside any siege mentalityand to be more open to mutual criticism in the interests of maintaining the higheststandards.It is also helping increase recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Turkish society.Of course, the Turkish state is still active in denial and ultranationalists still engage inpublicity stunts; there are still traps to avoid. The change in the Ottomanist field, whilewelcome, is not irreversible. Restrictions in place in Turkey, the pressure brought to bearin cases like that of Prof. Quataert, require continued political pressure.And dialogue is no replacement for continued research. The Armenian-American communityhas invested in two generations of scholars, and is entitled to have high expectations.Sharing sourcesFurther progress requires sharing of sources: in recent years, a large body of primarysources has been published, making such sources more widely available. The Internetallows further sharing of sources.When resources are tight, preserving and cataloging musty old files is not always apriority. But it is important for institutions that have files from almost a century agoto make those files available for serious scrutiny, seeking outside support if necessary.This is especially important where the institutions solicited and accepted documentsfrom people who wanted them preserved for future generations and used byresearchers.In short, the progress we see in Armenian Genocide scholarship should not lead us torest but to increase our perseverance.fLettersThe sources ofhappinessSir:I enjoy reading Maria Titizian’s “Living inArmenia” columns, especially her reflectionson people’s daily lives which bringthe realities of Armenia closer to home. Inher commentary titled, “What is Armenia’sGross National Happiness?” (Apr. 19) shekept her focus and comments on the issuesthat will bring some happiness to the peopleof Armenia.We seldom read, talk, or write about thedaily life-issues facing the people of Armenia.Most of the time, the topics revolve aroundthe Armenian cause (“hay tad”), Armeniandemands (“haygagan bahanchadeeroutuin”),our just rights (“mer artar eeravoonkneruh”),our lands (“mer hogheruh”), recognition ofthe Genocide, national ideology (“askayeenkaghaparakhosoutuin”), etc.Our “intellectuals” (sometimes I wonderif they exist, given that rhetoric and partisandemagoguery has been the norm) spendmore time glorifying our past, and sometimesour past failures as successes, ratherthan concentrating on today’s “bread-andbutter”issues that affect the daily lives ofthe people of Armenia.The political leadership hasn’t fared anybetter. Providing happiness is as importantas any one of the economic indicators,whether macro or micro. Here is a quote froma Boston Globe article titled “MIT professornamed top economist under 40” dated June15, 2005, that at the time I first read about inthe Armenian Reporter:“[Daron] Acemoglu’s groundbreakingwork in explaining that gap between richand poor nations recently helped him winthe John Bates Clark Medal, awarded everytwo years by the American EconomicAssociation to the nation’s top economistunder 40.… In particular, the associationcited as ‘especially innovative’ his recentwork, which concludes that political and socialinstitutions, rather than geography, arethe key factors determining why a nation isrich or poor. Acemoglu’s institutional theorychallenges a widely held notion that thewealth of nations is guided by geographicalfeatures such as proximity to seaports,the availability of rich farmland, or climatesless conducive to disease.”I don’t think professor Acemoglu, whohas a doctorate from the London School ofEconomics, had Armenia in mind when hedeveloped his economic theory. But it fitslike a glove.Very truly yours,Zohrab SarkissianToronto, CanadaWhat is the problem?Sir:Several Armenian-American and non-Armeniannewspapers published an article inMarch by investigative journalist David Boyajian(“Blue Cross has unhealthful relationshipwith No Place for Hate”) that exposedthe fact that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusettsgives money to the No Place forHate (NPFH) program of the Anti-DefamationLeague (ADL).Apparently, Blue Cross executives who arealso top members of the Anti-DefamationLeague brought this about. Boyajian is, ofcourse, the person who initiated the NPFHissue.Pennsylvania’s NPFHs are also sponsoredby that state’s Blue Cross.The ADL still denies the Armenian genocideand lobbies against Congressional resolutionson the Armenian genocide.I believe that the Armenian activists andorganizations that did such a wonderful jobin getting 13 Massachusetts towns and theMassachusetts Municipal Association to cutties to NPFH should now make sure that BlueCross does the same.The Armenian fight against the ADL’s genocidedenial, should long ago have spread fromMassachusetts to the many other states, suchas New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado,and California, that have NPFH and otherADL programs.New York has many “No Place for Hate”chapters and is home to thousands of Armenian-Americanactivists. They should havepounced on this issue, which for nearly ayear has made international news (see www.NoPlaceforDenial.com).And what is happening to the NPFH/ADLissue in California, home to huge numbers ofArmenians as well as ANCA and AAA? What isthe problem?Very truly yours,Berge JololianCambridge, Mass.Mikael Danielian’sattacker should bebrought to justiceSir:The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Associationof New York would like to express its dismayat the recent news concerning the armedattack in Yerevan against Mikael Danielian,president of the Helsinki Association.Mikael Danielian has been a staunch supporterof human rights in Armenia for severaldecades now and as such is an invaluableasset to the country and its people.We hope that the Armenian governmentand police will open a full and fair investigationand bring his assailant(s) to justice.We would also like to remind the governmentof Armenia that it is only by guaranteeingall is citizens their full civil and humanrights that the country will remain a truedemocracy and abide by the Council of Europelaws and regulations that it’s sworn touphold.AGLA-NY is part of a worldwide series ofArmenian gay and lesbian associations dedicatedto educating the public about issues ofimportance to Armenian lesbian, gay, bisexual,and transgendered people, and to creatingsafe spaces for them to express themselvesfreely and openly.Very truly yours,Christopher AtamianPresident, AGLA-NYNew York, N.Y.Armenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPublisher Sylva A. Boghossian Editor Vincent LimaOffice managersEastern U.S. Lisa KopooshianWestern U.S. Atina HartunianOperations managerWestern U.S. Nyree DerderianCopyright © 2008 by ArmenianReporter llc. All Rights ReservedManaging editor Christopher ZakianWestern U.S. Bureau Chief andArts & Culture editor Paul ChaderjianWashington editor Emil SanamyanAssociate editor Maria TitizianAssistant to the Editor Seda StepanyanPeriodicals postage paid at Paramus, N.J., and Copy editor Ishkhan Jinbashianadditional mailing offices.Art director Grigor HakobyanPOSTMASTER: Send address changes to PO Box129, Paramus, NJ 07652-0129.Layout assistant Nareh BalianThe views expressed, except in the editorial, are not necessarily those of the publishers.The 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 fax3191 Casitas Ave Ste 216Los Angeles CA 900391-323-671-1030 phone1-323-671-1033 fax1 Yeghvard Hwy Fl 5Yerevan 0054 Armenia374-10-367-195 phone374-10-367-194 fax
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008 23CommentaryBroadening the Armenian circle, part 2An African activist whosupports ArmenianGenocide recognitionby Anoush Ter TaulianAnoush Ter Taulian is an activist and writer in NewYork.AIDS activist Kelebohile Nkhereanye.New York – Last November I wrote a commentarypiece titled “Broadening the Armeniancircle” (Nov. 17, 2007) which argued thatin order for the Armenian Genocide to berecognized around the world, it’s importantfor Armenians to build coalitions with otherdispossessed groups and progressive movements.Doing outreach, having one-on-onediscussions with people of different cultures,and finding points of contact can gain newsupporters for the Armenian cause.This article is a follow-up of sorts, to showthe kinds of connections that can and shouldbe made to strengthen that cause.For the past six years I’ve attended the“Conference on the Status of Women at theUnited Nations” (the most recent gatheringmet for two weeks this past March), whereI have done a lot of cultural solidarity work,reporting to the other participants aboutArtsakh women and the Armenian Genocidesurvivors I have interviewed.One of the things you take away from suchgatherings is the knowledge that many othernations have experienced mass death anddenial. The catastrophes may take on differentforms; but the common element is theunwillingness of political authorities to dealwith the tragedy around them. We know howthat affected Armenians in 1915; in today’sAfrica, on the other hand, diseases like AIDShave decimated a large part of the population,with little or no help or even acknowledgementcoming from the authorities.What I’ve found is that the more Armeniansshow concern about other people’sproblems, the more they will care about ours.To gain allies we need to open communicationchannels with other marginalized peoplesand learn from each other’s struggles togain justice.At the 2008 Status of Women conferencein March, I became reacquainted with KelebohileNkhereanye, an AIDS activist from Lesotho,Africa, who throughout the years hasalso helped spread the word about the ArmenianGenocide. Through her connections,I was invited to an African meeting where Ispoke about the Turkish denial of the ArmenianGenocide. Reciprocally, I have supportedKelebohile’s organization LESSAIDS and haveoffered my help when she has needed it.In the following interview, KelebohileNkhereanye discusses some of those factors,as well as activities going on in Armenia tohelp combat and raise awareness of AIDS.Kelebohile currently lives in New York, whereshe has founded a non-profit organization,“LESSAIDS,” which supports grassroots organizationsin Lesotho that are fighting AIDS,and helps Africans in New York obtain accessto AIDS testing, treatment, and otherresources.Question: How did you find out about the1915 Armenian Genocide?Kelebohile Nkhereanye: I first foundout about Armenia when you gave a talk atSalsa Soul, a women-of-color group in NewYork. Considering its long history, Armeniahas been too invisible in America. It’s hard tofind out about the true history of the world,and especially the real history of indigenouspeoples. I believe in multi-cultural solidarityand education.At a cultural night I was glad to do a bilingualArmenian/Sesotho reading of a poemon the Armenian Genocide. One of the lines– “She escaped by hiding in a ditch of corpses”– translates in the Sesotho language as “Oile a tonyeh a ka hoipata le batho ba shoelleng.”[Sesotho is the native language of Lesotho– Editor.]People should realize we all have a rightto reclaim our cultural heritage, and a rightto our cultural freedom of speech to expresswho we are. When a group of Jewish womenforced a map of Armenia and other areas tobe taken down from the women-of-color tentat a New England Women’s Retreat becauseit mentioned Palestine, I signed a protest letterwith Suhir Blackeagle, an African-American/Blackfoot,and Shoshanna Rothaizer, aJewish woman, to have the Armenian mapreinstated.Q: How would you compare the AIDS problemsin Lesotho and in Armenia?Kelebohile: Both are small countries engulfedin poverty that have instituted diagnosticand treatment programs to combatthis epidemic. According to the UN WorldHeath Organization, 48 percent of those withHIV are now women, and in Africa 57 percentare women. Lesotho has the fourth highestrate of AIDS in the world. Some women inLesotho get HIV from their husbands whohave been with prostitutes; because of thehigh unemployment rate some men had toKelebohile Nkhereanye during a South African hate crimes protest.migrate to South Africa where they workedfor 11 months in the mines. Other womenget HIV from multiple partners, and manypeople can’t afford protection. Domesticviolence like rape and battering also forceswomen into unprotected situations, andhusbands make the decision to use protectionor not.Armenia has its own migratory, domesticviolence, and poverty issues. Right now onlyone percent of Armenians are HIV positive,compared to 23 percent of Basothos; but ifthere is no AIDS education the numbers willgrow and will become uncontrollable. Thetransition to capitalism saw an increase insex workers and injecting drug users, whichaccount for 54 percent of HIV in Armenia.At all women’s conferences in Armenia theyshould invite “unheard” women such asprostitutes and women living with AIDS – tospeak about their problems and needs.The Women Against AIDS tour sponsoredby the UN development program, the GlobalCoalition of Women on AIDS, and the AIDSinfo-share program visited Armenia on May29 and 30, 2007. In Yerevan they joined withlocal organizations such as People LivingWith AIDS to talk about stigma and discriminationand the consequences -- including losingcustody of their children, being thrownout of their homes, and losing their jobs. AIDSsurvivors are not treated like cancer survivors.Sometimes even health care workersare prejudice against AIDS survivors. Peoplewho test positive need love and support andeveryone at risk needs to get tested.Q: How has your faith influenced yourwork?Kelebohile: I am a Christian and a humanitarian.I want to increase awarenessabout hate crimes, which are crimes basedon not liking who you are. There is news ofhow in Russia some skinheads are murderingArmenians just because they are Armenian.That is racism: that idea of being superiorand wanting to destroy people you believeare inferior. Every country must pass andenforce laws against hate crimes against aperson’s race, gender, religion, ethnic origin,or sexual orientation.I helped organize a vigil at the South AfricanConsulate protesting the July 7, 2007,brutal murders of two South African lesbians,Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa, whowere AIDS activists. Non-governmental organizationsand faith-based institutions fightingHIV and domestic violence choose silenceor refuse to address homophobia. But peoplehave a right to be who they are, without beingafraid of being killed. Who out there isteaching tolerance, love, and acceptance?tttThrough such interactions, I’ve come to feelthat the Armenian people, who have lost somany through genocide, must be cautious notto lose people to worldwide epidemics, andthat the Armenian community could benefitfrom more education about diseases like AIDS.The issue has also affected me personally.A few years ago, I learned that my childhoodfriend Gary was in the hospital, and thoughI made several efforts to see him, his motherinsisted that he not have any visitors. It wasonly after he died that I discovered that Garyhad died of AIDS, and that his mother hadbeen trying to conceal that fact by forbiddingvisitors. I can only imagine the lonelinessthat must have accompanied my friend’s finaldays; and of course, I still regret that Iwas deprived of the opportunity to say goodbyeto him.The episode was a personal reminder tome of how the stigmatization and discriminationassociated with AIDS can have costs,not only for the sufferers themselves, but forfriends and family as well. AIDS is now a leadingcause of death worldwide, which takesan especially terrible toll in so-called ThirdWorld countries. Many factors contributingto that reality are issues of concern in otherlocales of the “emerging” world – includingArmenia.f“Character makes the man and woman”n Continued from page 21“individualism” has become a cult and celebrities,icons-where people are famousfor being famous-is not an easy task. Wemust be reminded time and time again thatwe are not mere consumer/entertainment/socio-economic/socio-biological and informationunits, to be processed. We are notnumbers. We are unique, rational, spiritualand social beings full of competing sentiments,insatiable yearnings, dreams, imagination,quests and ties that bind us to thepast and the future.It might be helpful to remind ourselvesthat it was Alexis de Tocqueville who inthe 1830s coined the word “individualism,”to describe the self-reliant characterof Americans. But he also went on to extolAmericans’ generosity, their proclivityto create voluntary citizens associationsand the fact that volunteers and altruistshave played a critical role in preserving andstrengthening what he called the modernworld’s first nation that did not have a rulingclass. In that way, he made clear thatboth the private and public realm, privategood and public good, are interdependent.One without the other will diminish thebonds of community and creativity. Some125 years later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.put it more succinctly: “We may have allcome in different ships but we are in thesame boat now.”Today we must be reminded that what isunique about each of us should be celebratedand cherished, that we must not forget thatwe also belong to a larger community, societyand, indeed, humanity. As Americans and ashuman beings we have an obligation to contributeto the well-being of our communities;hence, to the public good.I hope as you climb the ladder of success,you will always remember the dictum “Fromthose to whom much has been given, muchis expected.”In conclusion, I would like to offer youjust one last thought about our shared humancondition. Today information floodsover us, and a millisecond later in comesanother flood of data and information, andthen another and another. Images of pleasureand pain, fear and joy, love and hateassault us from all the angles. The worldaround us is full of raucous chatter andnoise. Amid all this cacophony, it’s hard tosee ourselves as part of a larger whole, acontinuing eternal harmony, that music ofthe spheres that the ancients thought wewould hear only in our inner ear. Well, todayI would like to remind you of your connectionto history. Try to listen with yourinner ears to those who went before you,parents, grandparents, great-grandparentsand on and on, who all wanted to be goodancestors to you.As an historian, educator and a fellow student,I feel bound to remind you that thetime has come for you to return the favor.You have to learn to be good ancestors to thefuture.Today’s commencement marks the beginningof many other beginnings for you, manyother commencements in your life. Manymornings, many beginnings are before you.The future is waiting for you with open arms.I wish you good luck, great success and greathumanity. Thank you very much. fMaria Titizian is on vacation. Her “Livingin Armenia” column will resume in twoweeks.
24 The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008Ensuring the Futureof Armenia’s PastProject Discovery! is dedicated to the discovery andpreservation of Armenia's archaeological and cultural legacy.Armenia has a long and continuous past that is both culturally richand historically significant. And yet, our history is largely unknown tothe academic community outside of Armenia primarily due to lack offunds available to Armenian scientists.Project Discovery! was organized tomeet this challenge. We have supportedarchaeological excavations, attendance byArmenian scholars at internationalconferences, publication of books,scientific journals and museum catalogues,websites, libraries and laboratories.We are unique, in that we are the only public charity dedicatedto supporting Armenian archaeology. We are joined in ourmission by an Academic Advisory Board of eminent scholars, bothArmenian and non-Armenian, from prestigious universities andresearch institutions across the US and around the world.At a time when exciting discoveries in Armenia are attractingthe attention of scientists from the international community, itTufts University professor Lucy Der Manueliandescribes Armenia as “an archaeologicalparadise”, containing a wealth of internationallysignificant archaeological material remains whichembody our heritage and testify to ourcontributions to world civilization.has never been more important to develop and support theinfrastructure of archaeology in Armenia.We are proud of the contribution weare making to discover and preservethe archaeological and cultural legacyof Armenia. Your enthusiastic supportover the past several years has enabledus to achieve major accomplishments –such as the establishment of a researchand conservation laboratory at YerevanState University, the publication ofAramazd: Armenian Journal of NearEastern Studies, and Terra Armenica, the first website of Armenianarchaeology and history, among many, many other projects.The past is a heritage we all share. Won't you join us in ourcommitment to preserve one of the world's earliest civilizations?Please send your tax deductible contribution to ensure the future ofArmenia's past.Project Discovery!Ensuring the Future of Armenia’s Past“Detail of Vishap” c 1,500 B.C.340 Lakewood Drive | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304 | 248.563.0016 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.projectdiscovery.net
The Armenian Reporter | May 31, 2008