Sargsian,MedvedevmeetSee story on page 17mArarat KidsSummer DayCamp reinventssummer timeSee story on page C12mHow basketballsaved TomMooradian’s lifeSee story on page C4mEastern U.S. EditionNumber 78September 6, 2008the armenianreporterThe AYF Philadelphia “Sebouh” Chapter celebrates its third consecutive victory in the annual AYF Olympic Games.In Detroit, ArmenianYouth Federation holds75th Olympic weekendPhiladelphia chapter wins overallSee story on page 10 mReporter.am
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008
Number 78September 6, 2008NationalCalifornians welcome Rep. Joe KnollenbergCommunityIn Detroit, AYF holds 75th Olympic weekendThe lobby at the Hyatt RegencyHotel is usually quiet save for thebusinesspeople conducting meetingsand closing multimillion dollardeals. This past week, the hotel wastransformed into a little Armenia.In the lobby, crowds of teenagers,parents, and young adults werehuddled in small groups chitchatting,catching up, sharing storiesArmeniaCommunityNationalRep. Joe Knollenberg (R.-Mich.),co-chair of the Congressional ArmenianCaucus, and strong advocateof Armenian issues in theU.S. Congress, met with Armeniansupporters in southern Californiato speak about his track recordand re-election campaign.The event took place at US-Armenia Television’s headquarters.A Republican from suburbanDetroit, Mr. Knollenberg was welcomedby representatives of theU.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee(USAPAC), the ArmenianNational Committee-WesternRegion (ANC-WR), the NationalOrganization of Republican Armenians,the California Courier, andothers; the speakers underscoredthe importance of supporting Mr.Knollenberg’s re-election bid.See story on page 4 mfrom years past. It was clear the75th annual AYF Olympic Gameshad come to life. The theme for thisyear’s AYF Olympic weekend was“Honor the Past and Embrace theFuture.” The weekend brought togetherformer AYF members of allages together.See items on page 10 mParz Lake in Dilijan. Photo: Armen Hakobyan for the Armenian Reporter.The big dreams of Armenia’s “Little Switzerland”The Armenian Reporter’s Armen Hakobyanwrites about one of Armenia’sresort towns – his hometown– nestled amidst rich forests andbeautiful scenery.More than being a quiet resorttown, Dilijan is now beingtransformed into the financialArarat Kids Summer Day Camp reinventssummer timeEstablished in 2002 as a four-weektest program, the Ararat Kids SummerDay Camp is giving traditionalsummer day camps a facelift bytaking a diverse approach to theusual arts, crafts and sports activitiesthat comprise the summer-daycampexperience. Instead of merelyhaving children make crafts outof Popsicle sticks and play in thesweltering sun, the camp, whichShahane Martirosyan interviewedDickran Kouymjian in Paris abouthis appearance at the Fifth AnnualGolden Apricot InternationalFilm Festival in Yerevanwhere he was invited to introducefilms by William Saroyan. Duringthe course of the interview, Ms.Martirosyan realized that to doand banking center of the country.With numerous constructionprojects underway, the mayor andresidents of Dilijan are lookingtoward a bright and prosperousfuture.runs from July 7 through August29, has taken a multicultural andmultidisciplinary approach today camp. The organizers havedesigned an eight-week programthat encompasses a wide array ofthemes ranging from arts and musicto science, sports, nature, andinternational holidays.Saroyan and Kouymjian: the untold storySee story on page 20 mSee story on page 12 mjustice to her film-festival story,she would have to go back in timeand explore the start and developmentof Kouymjian’s friendshipwith the legendary Saroyan– from their initial meeting in 1945to Saroyan’s death in 1981.See story on page 4 mthe armenianreporterTurkey’s Gül prepares forunprecedented Armenia visitNational soccerteams to face offtodayby Tatul HakobyanYEREVAN – President AbdullahGül of Turkey has accepted theinvitation of his Armenian counterpart,Serge Sargsian, and willbe in Yerevan today, September 6,for six hours. Following talks, thepresidents of Armenia and Turkeywill go to the Hrazdan stadium towatch their two national soccerteams play a World Cup 2010 qualifiermatch, after which Mr. Gül willdepart.Mr. Gül’s office issued a statementthat read: “A visit aroundthis match can create a new climateof friendship in the region.It’s with this in mind that the presidenthas accepted [Mr. Sargsian’s]invitation.”A regional agendaOn September 3 Mr. Sargsian receivedthe special envoy of Turkey,Ambassador Unal Cevikoz. Thetwo discussed issues pertaining toMr. Gül’s visit. Mr. Sargsian saidthat the special envoy’s visit wasnot only a positive event but createdan opportunity to speak aboutthe normalization of bilateral relationsand exchange views on regionaldevelopments. According toFor Armenian-American education,it’s “a day ofcelebration”by Armenian Reporter staffBURBANK, Calif. – The LincyFoundation established by KirkKerkorian is donating more than$2 million to Armenian schools inCalifornia for the 2008–2009 academicyear. Contributions are beingmade to all 15 of the Armenianschools in California, includingthose in the Los Angeles area, OrangeCounty, Montebello, Fresno,and San Francisco.Reached by the Armenian Reporter,Harut Sassounian, senior vicepresident of the Lincy Foundation,confirmed that donations are beingmade to schools affiliated with thePrelacy, the Diocese, the TekeyanCultural Association, the ArmenianGeneral Benevolent Union, the ArmenianMissionary Association ofAmerica, the Mekhitarist Fathers,the Armenian Sisters Academy,and one independent unaffiliatedschool in Fresno.Rosie Bedrosian, principalof the Charlie Keyan ArmenianCommunity School in the Fresnoarea, learned of the donation whenreached by the Armenian ReporterJournalists from Turkey at Yerevan’s Hrazdan stadium prepare to cover theArmenia-Turkey soccer match. The black tuffa house on the top right is formerpresident Levon Ter-Petrossian’s private residence. Photo: Photolure.the presidential press service, Mr.Sargsian stated that the events unfoldingin the Caucasus, with theirinternational repercussions, raiseserious issues that require responsibilityand presume well-definedobligations.Mr. Sargsian and Mr. Cevikozalso discussed Turkey’s regionalinitiative, the Caucasus Stabilityand Partnership Platform. Notingthat Turkey’s prime minister hadtaken on a very challenging butimportant task in promoting theregional platform, Mr. Sargsiansaid that he supports holding talksand discussing any issue. “Armeniahas always welcomed efforts aimedat the enhancement of confidenceContinued on page 19 mFollow the Armenia-Turkey soccer match live onreporter.amLive from the Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan, Maria Titizian, VincentLima, and Adrineh Gregorian will be sending dispatches before, during,and after the game. Tune in to www.reporter.amLincy donates over $2 million toArmenian schools in CaliforniaStudents at the Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School of Hollywood. The schoolreceived a $250,000 donation from the Lincy Foundation.for comment. She said it was “awesome”news for the school.“We are grateful for this extraordinarycontribution and wish toexpress our genuine appreciationto The Lincy Foundation for theirencouragement and enduring supportof our endeavors and mission”,Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian,Prelate, said, according to anews release issued by the WesternPrelacy Secretariat.Seven of the institutions receivingdonations are affiliated withthe Prelacy, which received a totalof $1,025,000. Among these institutionsis the Rose & Alex PilibosArmenian School of Hollywood.“The support that we have receivedfrom the Lincy Foundationover the years has been at the coreof our success as an institution,”Dr. Viken Yacoubian, Principal ofthe Rose and Alex Pilibos School,told the Armenian Reporter. “We areespecially elated by Lincy Foundation’srecent $250,000 contribution,which will be used toward upgradingour high school science laboratory,boosting our science andmath instruction in the elementary,expanding our college counselingprogram, and enhancing faculty recruitment,retention, benefits, andcompensation.”Dr. Yacoubian added, “It’s a dayof celebration for us and Armenian-American education.”f
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008NationalWashington briefingby Emil SanamyanState Departmentofficials tout ArmeniarelationsThe United States hopes that Armeniawould contribute to its effortsto “knit” the Caucasus “backtogether” following the Russian-Georgian military confrontation,U.S. Undersecretary of State BillBurns said in remarks just priorto a swearing-in ceremony, heldon September 2, for the newly confirmedU.S. Ambassador to ArmeniaMarie Yovanovitch.Mr. Burns went on to praiseArmenia’s “humanitarian effortsin support of Georgia,” accordingto video of the remarks released bythe Armenian National Committeeof America (ANCA).Bill Burns.The State Department’s thirdmost senior official described thevarious areas in which the UnitedStates and Armenia have cooperatedand said that the bilateral relationshipis based on “shared values.”Mr. Burns also called Armenia the“model of economic reform in itsregion.”Referring to fighting over SouthOssetia, Ms. Yovanovitch argued,“especially after the events of thelast few weeks, it is clear thatending Armenian isolation inthat region must become a priority.”She said normalization ofrelations between Armenia andTurkey would help in achievinga peaceful settlement with Azerbaijan.She praised President SergeSargsian for “bold leadership” inboth efforts, while also promisingto help the Armenian governmentto “restore democratic momentum”following the post-election crisisearlier this year.Ms. Yovanovitch also had goodwords for the Armenian-Americancommunity, which she said “is inso many ways a foundation andstrength of our bilateral relationship.”U.S. seeks toencourage “endangered”AzerbaijanOn a regional tour that aims toshore up U.S. influence badly damagedby Russia’s military incursioninto Georgia, Vice President DickCheney and his wife Lynne arrivedin Baku on September 3 for oneday of talks with Azerbaijani leaderIlham Aliyev, local U.S. embassystaff, and Baku-based representativesof Chevron and the companyformerly known as British Petroleum.Mr. Cheney’s priority in Azerbaijanwas to make certain thatCaspian oil and gas continues to beexported via Georgia, as it has beenfor the past several years, ratherthan through Russia. The Russianroute would help Moscow controlsupplies from its Central Asiancompetitors.Clearly wary of antagonizingRussia, Mr. Aliyev made no clearpublic commitments. Azerbaijaniofficials have instead commentedon a possible revival of the cross-Russia route while they also refusedto criticize Russia’s treatmentof its “strategic partner” Georgia;Mr. Aliyev avoided mention of thatcountry in his joint remarks withMr. Cheney.Earlier, Azerbaijan rebuffed persistentlobbying by former DefenseSecretary Don Rumsfeld to expandbilateral military cooperationagainst Iran. It is unclear whetherMr. Cheney had renewed a militarycooperation offer this time around.In remarks cited by Eurasianet.org, U.S. Ambassador to AzerbaijanAnne Derse said, “many in theregion are afraid now that [Russia’srecent] actions are directed notonly against Georgia, but againstall of those who have democraticaspirations”; she was apparentlyreferring to Ukraine and Azerbaijan,even though Azerbaijan hasnot exhibited such aspirations.Speaking to the Financial Times,Assistant Secretary of State DanFried described Azerbaijan, Georgia,and Ukraine as “three of themost endangered countries” in theregion.In comments released by theWhite House and apparently craftedto entice Azerbaijan’s sympathies,Mr. Cheney told Mr. Aliyev,“America strongly supports the sovereigntyand territorial integrity ofAzerbaijan. We are committed toachieving a negotiated solution tothe Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – asolution that starts with the principleof territorial integrity, andtakes into account other internationalprinciples.”The United States, together withthe two other lead mediators, Russiaand France, has for the pastdecade supported a settlement formulathat formalized Karabakh’sreunification with Armenia. WithFrance now mediating betweenthe United States and Russia overGeorgia, the future of the mediatingtroika’s role in the Karabakhconflict has been put into doubt.Captured_M-16s.Vice PresidentDick Cheneymet by DeputyPrime MinisterYaqub Eyubovof Azerbaijan inBaku. Photo: AP.A former energy sector executive,the vice president has had along personal history with Azerbaijan,including through his pastaffiliation with the U.S.-AzerbaijanChamber of Commerce, the country’sWashington-based lobby.Although Mr. Cheney becamethe most senior U.S. official everto visit Azerbaijan, Baku has uncharacteristicallyplayed down thevisit’s importance. According toEurasianet.org “local reporterswere barred from having access tothe US vice president.”In a symbolic display at the HeydarAliyev airport, the Cheneyswere greeted by Deputy PrimeMinister Yaqub Eyubov, who hastraditionally handled lesser assignmentsfor Mr Aliyev and his latefather, the former president.Bush pledges $1 billionin Georgia aidThe United States will providemore than $1 billion in economicCaptured and destroyed Georgian light arms.aid to Georgia, President GeorgeW. Bush announced on September3, as Vice President Dick Cheneywas about to arrive in Tbilisi.The $1 billion figure was first suggestedby Sen. Joe Biden, who hassince become the Democratic Party’svice-presidential nominee. Ofthe amount $570 million is due tobe allocated before the end of theBush administration.The proposal would make Georgiaone of the largest U.S. aid recipientsin the world, after only Iraq,Israel, and Egypt, and on par withwhat war-torn Afghanistan hasbeen receiving recently.Since Georgia launched its failedattack on South Ossetia on August8, the United States has alreadyprovided Georgia with $30 millionworth of humanitarian aid, dispatchingnaval vessels and militarycargo planes to deliver the assistance.More supplies are due to be deliveredby the flagship of U.S. navalforces in the Mediterranean, USSMount Whitney, which on September3 was crossing the Turkishstraits.Although members of Sen. JohnMcCain’s presidential campaignhave called for military aid to Georgiato counter Russia, the Bush Administrationhas not taken a publicposition on whether it would continueor expand its existing militaryprograms in Georgia.Nonetheless, the massive foreignassistance program will helpGeorgia free up even more fundsfor its already large military budget,which stood at $1 billion in 2007and was expected to reach a similaramount this year. Russia this weeksaid it will seek to prevent Georgia’sre-armament.In addition to U.S. assistance, theInternational Monetary Fund announcedthat it would open a $750million credit line on which Georgiacould draw.In other news, members of theEuropean Union met on September1 and limited the EU’s threatsto Russia to a possible postponementof talks on a new treaty withMoscow unless Russia sticks to thecease-fire agreement mediated byFrance. The decision was given apositive spin by both the UnitedStates and Russia.On a visit to Uzbekistan, PrimeMinister Vladimir Putin saidthat by and large “common sense”prevailed at the EU summit andargued that Russia was complyingwith the cease-fire. But healso criticized the EU for failure tocondemn Georgia’s attack againstSouth Ossetia that sparked thewar last month.Republican presidentialcandidate selectsrunning mateIn a surprising development, Sen.John McCain (R.-Ariz.), who thisweek officially became the GOP’snominee for the White House, selectedAlaska Governor Sarah Palinas his running mate.Ms. Palin was elected governorless than two years ago. Prior tothat she chaired the Alaska Oil andGas Conservation Commission in2003–2004 and between 1996 and2002 was mayor of Wasilla, an Alaskantown of 6,000.She has no known record on Armenianissues.f—Lusine Sarkisyancontributed to this week’sbriefing.Trustee contributions to the AGMMFinancial contributions by former and current members of the Board ofTrustees of Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial (AGMM) for thebenefit of the AGMM as of September 2006.
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008InternationalLiana Yedigarian: a bridge between the Armenianand Chinese peoplesby Artsvi BakhchinianI can say that no article of mine hasgenerated as much interest as theone about Liana Yedigarian, a nativeof Yerevan studying in China.That article, published in 2002 inAzg daily, was translated into English,French, Spanish, and Turkish.Subsequently Liana began to receiveinvitations to appear on variousChinese television shows andmovies. She went on to become astaple on Chinese television, owingas much to her mastery of the Chineselanguage as her acting talentand good looks.Liana, who has had a great loveof China and its culture since childhood,is also featured in my 2002book Hayere HamashkharhayinKinoyum (The Armenians in InternationalCinema). She is the mostexotic of the principal “heroines”portrayed in the volume.Today Liana is back in Armenia,with her daughter, five-year-old Arpine,and newborn son, Adel.AB: How have your universitystudies progressed in the pastyears?LY: After graduating from theDepartment of Chinese Languageand Culture of Beijing University,I continued my education in theMaster’s-degree program of theDepartment of International Relationsin the Chinese city of Ukhan,and now I’m pursuing a doctoral degreethere. My Master’s thesis wason the topic of “Historical Sino-ArmenianTies.” Those ties date backmany centuries, to the times of theSilk Road, and continue down tothe present. In my doctoral dissertation,I’m covering history, culture,economy, and politics.AB: Are you writing in Chinese?LY: Yes.AB: Are you tapping Chinesesources for the writing of your dissertation?LY: Unfortunately, there is verylittle material about Armenia inChinese sources. A lot of work isrequired to check the accuracy of apiece of information once it’s found.For example, I recently read in thepress that Indians and Armenianslived in the city of Guangzhou(Guandu Province) in the 13th century,and that an Armenian churchwas built there through a woman’sbeneficence. This information mustbe verified through other sources.AB: Isn’t writing in Chinese difficult?LY: No. It’s more difficult totranslate Armenian or Russian intoChinese.AB: In effect, your mastery ofChinese is equivalent to that of Armenian.Have you attempted anytranslations of Armenian literatureinto Chinese?LY: When I was in my junior yearat the university, we were given anassignment to translate somethinginteresting from our respectivenational literatures. I attemptedto translate Tumanian’s Akhtamar.Mostly I’ve done ordinary oraltranslations and I continue doingthem, from Armenian to Chineseand vice versa.AB: To date only a few pieces ofArmenian literature, such as SassuntsiDavit (David of Sassun), havebeen translated into Chinese, viaRussian. Since the 21st century isChina’s century, I think everythingmust be done to familiarize the Chinesepeople with the Armenians.LY: Despite the fact that Sino-Armenianties date back to the distantpast, the 2nd century AD or earlier,there aren’t any Armenian-Chineseor Chinese-Armenian dictionariesyet, so we use Russian-Chineseor Chinese-Russian ones. One ofmy goals is to write an Armenian-Chinese dictionary. I have actuallystarted the project, though I realizeit entails a prodigious effort,requiring the assistance of linguisticexperts. Initially this work willperhaps take the form of a phrasebook, to be followed by more seriousworks. I recently completed mytranslation of Tumanian’s Barekentan(Carnival), which has been submittedfor publication.AB: More than anything else,you’ve been active in the field ofacting during the 11 years you’velived in China. Tell us how that gotstarted.LY: Only nine days after my arrivalin China, in 1994, I was approachedby people from Chinesetelevision who proposed to filmme. At that time, I still didn’t knowthe Chinese language well, but theywere only interested in my appearance.My first role was playing thedaughter of an ambassador of a Europeancountry. Then, when I hadalready learned Chinese, the offerspoured in, since Chinese-speakingactors with European features arefew and far between. Film shootingsfollowed one another. I don’teven know the exact number oftelevision movies I have appearedon, much less their titles, sincemost of my roles have been in singleepisodes or group scenes. Therewere days when shooting tookplace in three different locations,as I played the roles of girls of variousnationalities.AB: But you have also playedprincipal roles. I saw excerpts froma television serial in which youwere the lead actress.LY: Yes, I’ve appeared in principalroles in six television movieseries. My first major role was Felicia,crown princess of Germany,in the 30-part series The Messengerof the Chinese Dynasty. My sister,Marina, also appeared in a smallrole in this series. My other majorroles were: American policewomanKatie (Exceptional Business); theAmerican woman (Zhou Guan TsunStreet); the Dutch woman (TaiwaneseHero Jin Chin Gun); and Jesse(The Old-fashioned Emperor). Thefilm you mentioned, The Flower thatFaded Early, is the series in which Iplayed my biggest role, that of anAmerican woman named Jenny,Liana Yedigarianshown in photostaken fromthe Chinesetelevision film“The Flower thatFaded Early.”Below right:Liana withDonaldSutherland.who marries a Chinese man in the1940s and has a lot of issues withher husband’s family and Chinesesociety.AB: Your sister and you havebeen named Yameyniya jiemey hua,“Armenian sister flowers,” in China.I’ve also seen a videotape, in whichyou, along with your sister, weresinging a Chinese song.LY: Marina and I have participatedin numerous programs and televisionshows; we’ve acted togetherwith Chinese actors and actressesin small satirical productions; we’veperformed Chinese songs and oftenArmenian songs too, wearingArmenian costumes. One time,Marina performed Komitas’ “Gakavik”(Partridge) and I accompaniedher on the kanon. In anotherconcert, I performed Sayat-Nova’ssong “Eshkhemed” on the kanonand the Ughur popular song “TheGirl of Tabanchin,” which is commonlyheard in China and which Ihad transcribed for the kanon. Theaudience gave a very warm receptionto this piece. The entire performancewas also shown on television.AB: And what is Marina doingnow?LY: She graduated from the Departmentof Chinese Languageat Beijing University. Now she’sworking for a Russian airline as atranslator. Sometimes she’s invitedto participate in Chinese televisionshows on Saturdays and Sundays.In 2002, Marina won the BeijingOpera’s “Golden Dragon” prize.AB: How many Armenians livein China presently?LY: I don’t know the exact number,but I don’t think it’s more than30. Armenians in China don’t havetheir own center; sometimes theyget together at the Armenian embassyin Beijing.AB: What are your plans for thefuture?LY: I dream of acting again. Iwould like to settle down in China,but since that country doesn’t grantcitizenship to foreigners, it doesn’tmake any sense to look for permanentwork there. My life’s purpose,wherever I may be, is to serve as abridge between the Armenian andChinese peoples, to make an importantcontribution to the developmentof their ties.fTranslated from the Armenian by ArisG. Sevag
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008NationalCalifornians welcome Rep. Joe KnollenbergArmenianorganizationssupport MichiganRepublican’s bid for10th termby Silva SevlianBURBANK, Calif. – On August 28Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R.-Mich.),co-chair of the Congressional ArmenianCaucus, met with Armeniansupporters in southern Californiato speak about his track recordand re-election campaign. Theevent took place at USArmeniaTelevision’s headquarters, whichalso houses the Armenian Reporter’sWest Coast Bureau.A Republican from suburbanDetroit, Mr. Knollenberg was welcomedby representatives of theU.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee(USAPAC), the ArmenianNational Committee-Western Region(ANC-WR), the National Organizationof Republican Armenians,the California Courier, and others;the speakers underscored the importanceof supporting Mr. Knollenberg’sre-election bid, citing hisrecord as a strong advocate of Armenianissues in the U.S. Congress.The event illustrated the powerthat Armenian-Americans havein the political arena, said AppoJabarian, publisher of USA ArmenianLife. “This sends a message toour friends and foes that we areserious in our solidarity and ourcauses,” Mr. Jabarian noted.GOP’s Armenian issueschampionIn almost 18 years in Congress, Mr.Knollenberg has emerged as a leadingadvocate of Armenian-Americanissues, particularly in the GOP.He has championed annual effortsto keep U.S. assistance to Armeniaat appropriate levels, provideassistance to Nagorno-Karabakh,and limit military aid to Azerbaijanas long as it continues its anti-Armeniaposturing.Though a fellow Republican hasoccupied the White House over thelast eight years, Mr. Knollenberg hasfrequently disagreed with the Bushadministration’s Armenia policies.Last March, for example, he questionedthe administration’s justificationfor aid reduction to Armenia.“It troubles me that MCA fundingcontinues to be used to explain thevast reduction in aid to Armenia,”Mr. Knollenberg said at the time, referringto the Millennium ChallengeAccount. “MCA funding for Armenia,which supports rural roads and irrigationinfrastructure development,should not be used as a justificationto cut [other] funding.”In July, Mr. Knollenberg movedto zero out U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan.His motion was narrowlyLeft: Rep. JoeKnollenberg.Above: RossVartian calls Mr.Knollenberg “anational leader.”Photos: HilmaShahinian.voted down by the House ForeignOperations Subcommittee.“We are not quitting,” Mr. Knollenbergsaid about that effort.“When [Azerbaijan] is boastingabout military might . . . thosethreats are real and that is why weshould take away their funding.”He also reiterated his support forefforts to affirm the U.S. record onthe Armenian Genocide. Mr. Knollenberg,who was one of four originalco-sponsors of House Resolution106, the Armenian Genocideresolution, and fought to overcomejoint opposition by Turkey and theBush administration, said he believesthe only way to pass the Armenian-Genocideresolution is tomobilize the grassroots and lobbyelected officials.“The diaspora cannot give up, becauseif it gives up, then CongressSaroyan and Kouymjian: the untold storySaroyan’s centennialthrough the wordsof one man whoknew him wellby Shahane MartirosyanPARIS – There are some storiesthat ought to be told, and I knewthis was one of them the secondI walked into Dickran Kouymjian’sliving room in Paris, France.In a cozy room leading to aclosed balcony where I sat downfor our interview on a gloomyday, I noticed many portraitsof William Saroyan. My assignmentwas to write a story aboutKouymjian and his appearance atthe Fifth Annual Golden ApricotInternational Film Festival, heldin July in Yerevan, where he wasinvited to introduce Saroyan’sfilms.It all made sense. I saw Saroyaneverywhere in Kouymjian’s livingroom. By the time we concludedour interview, I knew that in orderto do justice to my film-festivalstory, I would have to go back intime and explore the start and developmentof Kouymjian’s friendshipwith Saroyan.Inspired by a literaryiconNow a retired professor, Kouymjianwas introduced to Saroyan at avery young age. Back in 1945, whenKouymjian attended high school inChicago, Saroyan was a teacher at theschool. “I liked Saroyan,” Kouymjiansaid, adding that his relatives, whopersonally knew the author, hadsent him copies of his books, someof which were autographed.Thus Saroyan had enteredKouymjian’s life many years beforehe pursued his studies on variouscontinents and became one of theworld’s most renowned Armenian-Studies professors. In 1972, Kouymjianwas the chairman of the Departmentof Armenian Studies atHaigazian University in Beirut. Thatyear, Saroyan delivered Haigazian’scommencement address. The eventmarked the beginning of the twomen’s friendship. By then Kouymjianwas an accomplished professorand had taught at various universities;Saroyan enjoyed great fame,with an Academy Award (for TheHuman Comedy) under his belt.After his tenure at Haigazian,Kouymjian was appointed directorof the Armenian Studies Programat Fresno State, where he wasasked to give a much-needed pushto the crumbling program.Dr. Dickran Kouymjian.At Fresno State, Kouymjiansoon noticed something. “No onewas doing Saroyan when I went toFresno State,” he recalled. “I askedthe English Department whetherthey would mind if the ArmenianDepartment offered Saroyan. Theysaid no, so I made a course andstarted teaching Saroyan.”Subsequently Kouymjian informedSaroyan about the classesand the author was more then happyto contribute to their success.“I told Saroyan about them andhe started giving me unpublishedmanuscripts,” Kouymjian nonchalantlymentioned. “I did four semesters,trying [the manuscripts] on thestudents – particularly plays whichwere published afterwards,” he said.will give up,” Mr. Knollenberg said.Armenians stressnational support forRep. KnollenbergBurbank was Mr. Knollenberg’s laststop on his campaign trail beforehe returned to the Detroit area. Hesaid he thought it was importantto meet with Southern California’slarge Armenian constituency.Gregory Boyrazian, an advisorwith the National Organization ofRepublican Armenians, said it isvital that a member of Congressof Knollenberg’s caliber remain inCongress.“Congressman Knollenberg hasan unshakable record and becauseof this we ask the Armenian-Americancommunity at large to rallysupport for him,” he said.Ross Vartian, executive directorof USAPAC, said that the member ofCongress was responsible for helpingsecure millions of dollars of U.S.aid to Armenia.A senior member of the HouseAppropriations Committee, Mr.Knollenberg pushed for U.S. financialassistance in response to the“Was the response to those classesgood or bad?” I asked.“I always get good responses fromour students in everything I do,”Kouymjian answered with a slightgrin. He also stated that during onesemester, two professors attendedhis class to hear the lecture. One ofthem painted a portrait of Saroyan.It happened to be one of the paintingsI saw as I was walking throughKouymjian’s living room.Saroyan the filmmakerAt Fresno State, Kouymjian beganlooking into another area that Saroyanwas greatly familiar with: theworld of films. He decided to teacha course titled “The Armenian Experiencethrough Film.”“And I got a hold of all the rearfilms because I had close friendsin New York from when I was livingthere,” Kouymjian explained. “Ihad a restaurant with a friend, PeterBitlisian. He was from Iraq. Heused to clean up 35-mm films. Hehad a little studio by Carnegie Hall.He had this machine. He would putscratched films on the machine andframe by frame he’d touch them up.If he happened to like a film, he’dsecretly make a copy for himself.He acquired a lot of films. He particularlyliked anything with an Armenianactor, an Armenian angle,an Armenian subject.”1988 Spitak earthquake, as wellas in support of Armenia’s transitionfollowing independence andKarabakh’s struggle for self-determination.Mr. Vartian said that having Mr.Knollenberg come to Southern Californiaallows him to count new Armenian-Americansupporters amonghis friends. “The congressman needsa national following beyond Michigan,”Mr. Vartian stressed. “He’s ournational leader and he deserves a nationalconstituency.”“[Mr. Knollenberg] makes surethat Armenian interests are alwayswatched closely,” said AndrewKzirian, executive director ofANC‐WR.The event doubled as a fundraiserin support of Knollenberg’s reelectioncampaign.“The Armenian-American communityhas learned how to ask forthings from Washington and nowit is time for us to learn how to say‘thank you,’” Mr. Vartian said. “Weneed to give much more generouslyand much more consistently.” fconnect:usa-pac.orgWith the help of Bitlisian,Kouymjian went on to organize filmfestivals and bring rare Armenianrelatedfilms to life for audiences inthe Diaspora and the homeland.“When I organized the first Armenianfilm festival in Columbiain 1980, I got Peter to lend us acopy (the only one in existence asfar as I know) of The Good Job – a35 mm, a short film that Saroyanproduced himself, directed himself,and wrote the story back atMGM studio in 1942,” Kouymjianconfessed.Later on, when Bitlisian lay dying,he called Kouymjian and toldhim he was leaving him his vastcollection of films he had acquiredthroughout the years. Among themovies that Bitlisian sent Kouymjianwas the 64-mm copy of TheGood Job.“I don’t know what happened tothe 35-mm copy,” Kouymjian said.At this year’s Golden ApricotFilm Festival, Kouymjian sharedthe movie, one of the very rarefilms made by Saroyan, with Armenianand international audiences.In addition to presenting Saroyan’sfilms, Kouymjian conducted a masterclass on the subject.When Saroyan passed away in1981, Kouymjian took his ashes toArmenia and had them buried atthe Pantheon in Yerevan. f
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 5CommunityGlendale community will celebrate Armenia’s independenceIndependence DayFestival to showcaseArmenian music, art,food, and spirit ofunityby Anna MargaryanGLENDALE, Calif. – Since itsinception ten years ago, the annualArmenian Independence DayFestival has grown into a wildlypopular, multicultural tradition,showcasing Armenian music, art,and cuisine, and celebrating a spiritof community and shared history.The Tenth Annual ArmenianIndependence Day Festival, organizedby the Nor Serount CulturalAssociation, will take place onSunday, September 21, at VerdugoPark in Glendale, from 11:00 a.m.until 7:00 p.m.Given the fact that the festivalhas by now become one of thecity’s largest public events (it wasattended by some 10,000 peoplelast year), it is worth noting that itwas started with much hesitationon the part of its organizers, whowondered whether it would createany interest in the community.“We started with our hands onour hearts, wondering how manypeople would attend if we did somethinglike this, says Nor SerountChairman Harut Der Tavitian.“We were expecting a few hundredpeople. [But] it came to the pointthat the McDonalds across thestreet from the park complainedto the city that if we’re having abig event like this we should warnthem ahead of time, because theyran out of food. From that day onthey have been prepared for thisevent and we have been preparedtoo for the number of people thatattend.”The event’s exponential growth,Der Tavitian explains, owes in nosmall measure to its appeal to Armeniansand non-Armenians alike.“The festivities started becausethis was a very important event inour history,” says Seta Khodanian,a 12-year Nor Serount veteranand an event organizer. “ArmenianIndependence is somethingwe should all celebrate. However,throughout the years, it’s turnedout to be an occasion that bringsother people, non-Armenians. Ithas become a community eventmore than anything else.”The stars line upThis year’s list of celebrity performersincludes Sako, Sokrat, RobertChilingirian, Alen, Armen Hovanissyan,and Ararat Amadyan,among others.Verdugo Park will once again betransformed into a full-fledgedfestival venue, with a makeshiftstage and booths offering handicraftsimported from Armenia andhomemade Armenian foods anddesserts.Before the pop singers take thestage, festival-goers will be treatedto an appearance by the GlendaleHigh School Choir, consisting ofArmenian and non-Armenian studentswho will perform the Armeniannational anthem during theopening ceremony. SubsequentlyGlendale City officials will deliverspeeches.“Nor Serount wants to introduceArmenian culture to non-Armeniansand at the same time to promoteharmony and bring us closertogether,” Khodanian says when Iask her about Nor Serount’s role inattracting people of all cultures tothe event.“There are a lot of different culturesin Glendale and we would liketo interact with them. They needto know us and we need to knowthem.”Tearing a page from thehistory booksSeptember 21, 1991 was a climacticmoment for the Armenian nation,a day that saw the dawn ofa new era. The country has sincewitnessed much socio-economicchange and turmoil, and eventuallypolitical stability and economicgrowth. Armenia has also seen considerablemigration in the past 17years, with large numbers leavingthe homeland for Russia, Europe,and the United States – Los Angelesin particular. Among those who attendthe Armenian IndependenceDay Festival are many recent immigrantsfrom Armenia who havebuilt new lives in Glendale.This year there is another reasonfor jubilation, as 2008 marks the4,500th anniversary of the legendaryBattle of Hayk and Bel and thesymbolic establishment of Armenianstatehood.According to the Armenian Observerblog, “August 11, 2008 marksthe 4,500th anniversary of thevictory of the Armenian patriarchHayk against Bel, the head of evilforces trying to conquer the world,at the battle of Hayots Dzor (southof Lake Van). The day of Hayk’s victorywas marked as the startingpoint of the Armenian calendar.”The fact that this little-known anniversarycoincides with the IndependenceDay Festival has sparkedthe desire in the organizers to usethis opportunity to educate thepublic, including Armenians, aboutthe significance of the day.“I would venture to say that 99%of Armenians don’t know aboutthe 4,500th anniversary of theestablishment of Armenia’s statehoodbecause we don’t use it,” saysDer Tavitian. “Even the Armeniangovernment was late in noticingthe date because they are sayingnow that they will celebrate it nextyear,” he adds with a laugh.The irony here is that a nationsteeped in 4,500 years of history iscelebrating only 17 years of autonomy.Yet Der Tavitian is optimisticthat this reality provides a chanceto reacquaint Armenians with theirroots and heritage.“It’s a good combination that weare celebrating the 17th anniversaryof the modern independencewhen we go back 4,500 years,” hesays. “It’s important to [remind]people that we have a culture, thatwe have a history which we mustbe proud of.”Accordingly, Der Tavitian adds,the Vartan and Siranush GevorkianDance Academy ensemble will appearin a special performance at thefestival, in celebration of Hayk’s triumphover Bel.Behind the scenesOrganizing an event of the IndependenceDay Festival’s caliber andscale requires tremendous dedicationand countless man-hours. Inthe past nine months, the organizingcommittee, comprising morethan ten individuals, has workedhard to plan and coordinate everyaspect of the event, down tothe last, miniscule detail – suchas compiling and sending outsponsorship packages, bookingperformers, and working out thetransformation of the venue into aproper festival site.The event’s prestigious list ofsponsors includes Diageo JohnnieWalker, Commerce Casino, PacificWestern Bank, Wells Fargo, GlendaleMedical Pharmacy, SarkisThe Glendale High School Chamber Choir at the 2007 Armenian Independence Day Festival.Pastry, Tamara Ice Cream, MissionWine and Spirits, Color Depot, andthe City of Glendale.While planning and coordinatingrequires the efforts of a dozen committeemembers, monitoring andrunning the festivities call for thetalents of a devoted operationalcrew, whose 35 members were recruitedfrom the ranks of the GaidzYouth Organization, Homenetmen,Glendale and Pasadena women’sauxiliaries, and the ArmenianCouncil of America.Despite the enormous numberof attendees, crowd control hasnever been an issue – a fact thatreflects positively on the event organizersand the Armenian communityat large.“We have had no negative incidentsoccur in the last ten years,”Khodanian proudly states whilesuperstitiously knocking on wood,indicating her hope that thisyear will prove to be no different.“That’s why every year the policedepartment sends fewer offices toour event,” she adds. “With thesekinds of events you always expectsomething to happen, but nothinghas.”It is difficult to imagine that10,000 people can come, go, andmingle in a single location, as wasthe case last year, without a singledisturbance, yet this is the fortunatereality for organizers who doeverything in their power to minimizedisruption to the communityneighboring the park.The mission of harmony and educationthat Nor Serount has undertakenwith this event is far tooimportant to allow logistical problemsand disturbances to infringeupon and dampen the atmosphereof community and respect theyhave fostered.The bottom lineThe festival organizers say thatthe goal here is not only to imprintwithin the Armenian psychethe importance of the thread ofhistory and culture which we haveinherited, but also to encourageunity, mutual appreciation, andawareness among the variousethnic groups that call Glendalehome.“We have a rich culture and a longhistory and we have to make peopleaware of it,” Khodanian says.“If we manage to get a young Armenianor non-Armenian to knowabout our history, to be interestedin it and research our nation, thenwe’ve made our point.”“It’s all about introducing ourculture and our nation to non-Armeniansand Armenians alike,” shecontinues. “As we get driven by ourdaily lives, we leave everything elsebehind. Maybe this event will bean opportunity to look back and tolook forward.”connect:firstname.lastname@example.org(818) 391-7938
6 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008CommunityAdventures in history iThisArmenianLifeby TamarKevonianThere is a thrill of excitement whenconceiving and planning a trip. Mytheory that ‘any travel is good travel’has allowed me the opportunityto explore and experience peopleand places I would not normallyventure into.For now, however, I find myselfin a glass-enclosed corner spacein the Club Room at JFK Airportin New York, during a six-hourlayover before my connection toIstanbul. My father, Nazareth, hasinvited me to join him on a trip toKessab, a historically Armenian villagejust across the southern Turkishborder in Syria. To get there,we will travel south from Antalyaalong the southern west coast ofTurkey, through what used to beCilicia, to witness the relics of ancientArmenia. This journey is tobe more than an adventure; it is areturn to a place that has heard thefootfall of my ancestors.As a member of the Diaspora, acouple of generations removedfrom my family’s ancestral lands inTurkey as a result of the 1915 Genocide,I am approaching this venturewith mixed feelings. Turkey is amythical place for those of us whowhere raised with stories of theatrocities perpetrated against ourforebears, the political machinationsagainst our new country, andthe cultural rape of our remainingartifacts within the Turkish republic’sborders.“I’ll never go there,” exclaimedShahan when he heard of my upcomingtrip. “I would never supportthem with my money,” heoffered as an explanation. He wasimplying that the few thousanddollars he would spend in Turkey– a mere drop in the sea comparedto the amount spent by the millionsof tourists who visit everyyear from Europe and other partsof the world – would help prop upthe country’s government.Several years ago, frustrated byour practice of identifying ourselveswith the long-ago villagesand towns of our grandparents, Iwondered as to how many generationshad to pass before we finallygave up the habit and simply said,“I am from Los Angeles.” After all,the Turks have conquered andoccupied Byzantium and WesternArmenia for over a thousandyears.“Never,” Stepan had replied at thetime. “It’s is our only claim and reminderof where we are from.” Hemeant, for example, that by saying“I am Vanetsi” (from the city of Vanin northwestern Turkey), we enforceand perpetuate our collectivememory so that we can lay claim towhat is ours when the time comes.I’m heading to Istanbul with trepidation,speculating about the kindof treatment I will receive by thelocals when they see my passport,with the distinctive “ian” ending ofmy name, or hear me converse withmy father in my native language.We finally arrive and passthrough Ataturk International Airportwithout incident, lost in theshuffle of the hundreds of othertourists. The airport is light, clean,and airy.We’re greeted by Mesrob. He isa friend of my father’s, originallyfrom Armenia. He had moved toTurkey during the harsh, early daysof Armenia’s independence, whenresources and opportunities werescarce. He is living here illegally andis constantly worried about beingfound out and sent back, though12 years have passed since his arrival.Originally a musician, he haswell-manicured hands, a round,balding head, and a stocky body.Over the years he has become anactive member of the local Armeniancommunity, looking after thewelfare of more recent immigrants.He has changed his profession tothat of jeweler.Mesrob gives dad a bear hug, it’sbeen years since they’ve seen eachother, and greets me like a long-lostsister. He immediately shuffles usout of the airport. We are to spendthe day exploring Istanbul beforewe fly to Antalya in the evening.Over the centuries – as far backas Byzantium times, when theGreeks ruled this part of the world– Armenians have left their indeliblemark on Istanbul. They wereprominent merchants, architects,builders, jewelers, and financiers.We made our way to the old sectorof the city, where the ArmenianPatriarchate is located, surroundedby traditional Armenian houses.They are all abandoned now andthe streets are filled with the poorand decrepit. I stopped to imaginethe long-ago era, as recent as a hundredyears ago, when Armeniansroamed these streets dressed intheir distinctive costumes – goingabout their daily business, shopping,heading to church, visitingwith friends and relatives. The cacophonyof the sounds I hear todaycould easily be the language I speak.The moment passes and I am backin the present, and it is depressingto see the dilapidated buildingsthat were once home to a thrivingcommunity.We head towards a more touristicspot around Aya Sophia. It is aByzantine basilica built by emperorJustinian in the 6th century and isfamous for its mosaic-encrustedwalls. When the Ottoman hoardsfinally conquered the city, they immediatelytore out the crosses embeddedinto the marble walls andturned the church into a mosque.The overlay of Islam is overpoweringbut it cannot hide the originalbeauty of the structure.Ottoman architecture is distinct.Its most famous proponent wasSinan the Builder, who was themaster architect of Sultan Suleyman,in the 16th century. Althoughthe official tourist informationdoes not mention his origins, historicresearch proves that Sinanwas Armenian. Many of the mostimportant architectural worksfrom that time, including the SüleymaniyeMosque, the CemberlitasHamam, and the renovation of AyaSophia, are credited to him.The day is hot and humid. Ihave been traveling for two days.The exhaustion is beginning towear me down and I’m lookingforward to a few days by the sea.We finally make our way to thedomestic airport. Although alittle more worn than the internationalairport, it is still cleanand well-maintained.With my first opportunity toclosely observe the native population,I realize that this is not a thirdworld,fundamentally religiouscountry. Instead what I find are apeople very much embedded in themodern world.Dad and I finally board our 9-o’clock flight to Antalya. My legsare tired and my feet swollen. I’mhungry but cannot stay awakelong enough for the beverage cartto reach me. I fall asleep immediatelyand wake up one hour lateras the plane lands on the tarmacin Antalya, on the Mediterraneancoast.
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 7CommunityFresno commemorates 93rd anniversary of Battle of Musa DaghTwo-day celebrationdraws close to 1,000by Nyrie KarkazianFRESNO, Calif. – Descendentsof Musa Dagh natives gatheredfrom near and far in Fresno thisMemorial Day weekend to celebratethe 93rd anniversary of theBattle of Musa Dagh.The celebrations, held on Saturdayand Sunday, included traditionaldancing, music, and food,and were filled with the sense of ashared cultural heritage.“The Musa Dagh picnic remindsus of the sacrifices our parents andgrandparents made for their faith,”said former Central Unified SuperintendentGeorge Keledjian.“They would rather die than be capturedor converted by the Turks.”Keledjian remembers his mother,Takouhi Keledjian, tellinghim stories of the 1915 massacres.She was only about three years oldat the time. Led by her father, thewhole family took refuge on MusaLer, or Mountain of Moses, wherethey heroically put up a fightagainst the Turks. On the way upthe mountain her father climbedonto a large rock, picked up Takouhiand her sister, who was aboutfour years old, held them out, andexclaimed, “I prefer to let my childrendie than surrender.”Takouhi came to Fresno laterin life and never forgot what herfather had done for her. Furthermore,she felt the need to bring herfamily together to commemoratethe Battle of Musa Dagh. For theensuing celebrations, she wouldcook herissa, a lamb and wholewheatstew, the enjoyment ofwhich would be followed by traditionalmusic and dance.“This is a great event,” Keledjiansaid. “It brings us all together tosing and eat and dance, but mostimportantly it reminds us of how asmall village of Armenians decidedto go against the Turkish government’swishes of massacre and destructionand fought back.”Thus Fresno’s annual Musa Daghcelebration started with one woman’sresolve to keep her family’sheritage alive and continued togrow little by little. Today the picnicdraws nearly 1,000 people.“We’re keeping the traditionalive for the generations to come,”said Salpy Adams, granddaughterof Takouhi. “It is like a villagefamily reunion that everyone isinvited to.”This year the celebration startedSaturday night at the Fresno CountyPolice Officer’s Training Groundswith the preparation of the herissa,live davul-and-zurna music by ArmenStepanyan, dancing, and food.People flowed in from all corners ofthe world – Canada, Australia, SanFrancisco, Los Angeles, Florida, andelsewhere – to attend the event.“Every year the men come outand play the drums and the davulzurnaand we all dance together,”said Lara Agulian, who, togetherwith her sister, Lena, attendedand was involved with helpingat the event. “That’s our favoritepart,” Lena added, referring to thegroup dance.Masses of people encircled themusicians on the dance floor, partakingin customary dances of old,bringing new life to the rhythmicbeat and dance.Along with the music, the preparationof the herissa plays a largerole in the festivities. The processof cooking the stew is truly a laborof love that involves several womenand plenty of patience.Dancing on Sunday to the dhol, zourna, and drums.The herissa is made over a spanof two days. Women gather Saturdayafternoon to wash the meat(equal parts lamb and beef) andboil it in large metal pots. Once itis boiled, the women wash it againand continue to boil it for aboutfive hours. The meat is then takenout and shredded carefully, thewomen making sure to take out allthe bones and fat. It is then dividedinto 12 equal parts, mixed withwheat and water, and boiled over acharcoal fire overnight.John Karkazian has alwaysbeen charged with the task ofwatching the herissa pots overnight.Karkazian watches the potsuntil the flames die out early inthe morning, just in time for thestew to be beaten, salted, andblessed.Jack Hachigian, author of Secretsfrom an Armenian Kitchen, wasone of the many vendors at the picnic,selling copies of his book, whichcomprises his memoirs along withrecipes. Hachigian said that herissahas been traditionally prepared asa sacrificial meal, or madagh, whichwould be blessed by a priest.“I look forward to doing this everyyear,” said Adams, who servesas one of the hard-working womenpreparing the herissa. “It reconnectsour roots.”This year’s blessing and celebrationof the Divine Liturgy wereperformed by Rev. Fr. KhorenHabeshian, followed by remarksfrom guest speaker Levon Filianand the serving of the herissa bythe Musa Daghtsi youth.“It is exciting and I am verypleased to see so many young peopleget involved in the Musa Dagh[festivities] serving herissa, dancing,singing, and working hard,”Keledjian said.“We look forward to it,” said LaraAgulian, who is 19. “Selling drinksand ice cream with our cousinshas become a tradition for us,” sisterLena, 15, added. “We are beingtrained by our parents and relativesto take over the [Musa Dagh Commemoration]Committee when weget older.”“I like coming to Fresno everyyear for the picnic and to visit myfamily,” said Garen Chanchanian,14. “For me it is a chance to see myfamily and also to remember the40 days our ancestors struggledthrough so that we could be heretoday.”“To me, in a way, it has becomesomewhat of a family reunion,”said Lisa Panossian of the annualcelebration. “It has also inturn become a stronghold, aniron grip, strengthening thebond we share as a people, asMusa Daghtsis.”Lena Agulian, Patil Karkazian, and Aleek Karkazian sellingice cream.Salpy Adams and Rina Chanchanian. Armand Karkazian and Gabriella Nishanian. Nshawn Alikian and his three kids Emma, Noah, and Maxwho came from the Los Angeles area.Edward D. Jamie, Jr. Funeral Chapel, LLC208-17 Northern Blvd. Bayside, NY 11361Tel. 718-224-2390Website: www.jamiejrfuneral.com.Serving the Armenian Community Since 1969Edward D. Jamie, Jr.-NY&NJ Licensed Funeral Director
8 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008CommunityA Saroyan birthday bash worthy of the authorFresno eventfeatures orchestralperformances andreadingsby Alik HovsepianFRESNO, Calif. – On August 28,hundreds gathered at the WilliamSaroyan Theatre in Fresno to attendthe William Saroyan BirthdayCelebration. It was a night tohonor, remember, and celebratethe life of Fresno’s favorite son andone of the most prolific writers ofour time.Organized by the Armenian Museumand the Saroyan CentennialCommittee, the main event featuredperformances by the NationalChamber Orchestra of Armenia,headed by Artistic Director andConductor Aram Gharabekian.Musical selections included Komitas,Aram Khatchaturian, JohnStrauss, Johannes Brahms, andmuch more. Also performing weremezzo-soprano Edna Garabedianand guest vocalist Rhonda Grove,who sang “Come on-a My House,”National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia in concert. Photo: Artur Khlghatyan.written by Ross Bagdasarian andSaroyan himself. The concert waspreceded by a reception and followedby the sharing of a birthdaycake and champagne.The program included a Saroyanreading by Charles Amirkhanian,executive director of theOther Minds international musicfestival, whose father foundedthe Saroyan Society in Fresno. “Iwanted to come back and do thisreading especially for him and formy friends in Fresno,” Amirkhaniansaid. “I was very excited tohear that there was going to bean actual celebration for Saroyan’s100th birthday. This is the place itshould be done, by the people whoshould be doing it. And I think it’sa wonderful tribute to Fresno tohonor its native son, who’s such agreat writer.”Two thousand and eight has beendesignated as “William SaroyanYear” by the State of California andofficially recognized by unesco asthe 100th anniversary of the birthof William Saroyan.Festivities marking the Saroyancentennial have been taking placesince the beginning of this year. Aday before the Saroyan BirthdayCelebration, the City of Fresnounveiled a sign in honor of theauthor. The sign reads “SaroyanCountry.” “[The Saroyan BirthdayCelebration] is the big event forthis week, but we have a whole[range] of events coming up inSeptember and then in Novemberand throughout the rest of theyear,” said Hazel AntaramianHofman of the Saroyan CentennialCommittee.Those in attendance at the celebrationincluded poet Razmik Davoyanand Armenian governmentofficials Samuel Muradyan andAnna Eguibyan.Davoyan met Saroyan in 1976,when they traveled together inLeningrad. Davoyan said he hasmet many renowned writers, includingSteinbeck, but none werelike Saroyan. Speaking of his impressionsof the author, Davoyansaid, “his forehead was so transparent,you could see the all thethoughts running through hismind.” He added that Saroyan wasan intellect, not a comedian, eventhough he knew how to make lightof a sad situation.Centennial celebrations are alsotaking place in Armenia. Accordingto Muradyan, the governmentof Armenia is planning theatricalperformances and concerts, andhas invited professors of literaturefrom the U.S. and other Diasporacommunities to a symposium dedicatedto the legacy of the author.In addition, the government hasissued commemorative William Saroyangold coins and stamps, andthe long-awaited William SaroyanMonument will be unveiled in Yerevanthis November.Eguibyan said that Saroyan’s firsttrip to Armenia, in 1960, came atthe invitation of the State Committeefor Relations with the Diaspora.At that time Saroyan’s writingswere translated into Armenian andMy Heart’s in the Highlands was performedon the Armenian stage togreat popular acclaim.Davoyan said he was happy tosee Armenians and non-Armeniansalike at the event celebratinghis friend’s birthday. He saidSaroyan’s rays shine down fromabove, breathing cultural life intoa sleepy Fresno Armenian community.Kim Garo attended the eventwith her friends and family. “Thisis important for me because [Saroyan]is Armenian,” she said. “It’simportant to my mom becausemy grandfather was friends withSaroyan. It’s an important thingbecause we’re Armenian and weshould be here.”Varoujan Der Simonian, chair ofthe Armenian Museum and a memberof the Saroyan Centennial Committee,said Saroyan put the CentralValley and especially Fresno on theliterary map of the world. “Saroyanonce said that he didn’t make Fresnofamous, raisins did,” Der Simoniannoted. “The reality is that whereveryou travel in the world, be that inEurope, Russia, or the Far East, andwhen people find out that you arefrom Fresno, they will immediatelysay, ‘Ah, Saroyan! Isn’t that whereWilliam Saroyan was from?’” connect:saroyancentennial.org.
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 9CommunityLAW OFFICE OF SOUREN A. ISRAELYAN39 Broadway, Suite 950, New York, New York 10006(646) 459-7556 or (718) 751-5254Representing people who have suffered catastrophic injuriesConstruction accidentsSlip/trip and fallsDefective productsTrain/airplane accidentsNursing home negligenceAlso speaks Armenian and RussianN. Lael Telfeyan, Ph.D., LCSWCounseling and Psychotherapywith Individuals, Families and CouplesAdults and Adolescents140 West 97th St.New York, NY 10025By appointment 917-975-3109Car/bus/truck accidentsElevator/escalator accidentsFire and explosionNegligent supervision/securityAnimal attacks24 Windsor RoadGreat Neck, NY 11021e-mail: email@example.comArmenianStudiesProgram tohold 25thanniversarybanquetEvent will featureMark Arax askeynote speakerNORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Tocelebrate the 25th anniversaryof its founding, the ArmenianStudies Program (asp) of CaliforniaState University, Northridgewill hold a special banquet thismonth. Organized by the Alumniand Friends of the ArmenianStudies Program (afasp), theevent will take place on Sunday,September 28, at 6:00 p.m., at theuniversity’s Grand Salon.The asp was established in 1983by Prof. Hermine Mahseredjianwith one course, Armenian 101.Today the program, which functionswithin the Department ofModern and Classical Languagesand Literatures, offers 17 coursesdealing with Armenian language,literature, culture, children’s andwomen’s issues, and contemporaryconcerns.These courses may lead to thenewly-established Literatures andCultures major with an ArmenianOption; an Armenian Minor; anArmenian Concentration (for prospectiveteachers); and an ArmenianCertificate. Each year 250-300Armenian as well as non-Armenianstudents enroll in Armenianclasses.“The prospects for the asp’sgrowth are enormous, given thefact that there are about 3,500students of Armenian origin oncampus, who constitute 10% of thetotal student population,” said Prof.Vahram Shemmassian, directorof the program.The afasp organizes three majoractivities annually: a welcoming receptionfor freshman and transferstudents; a banquet; and a year-endgathering to recognize the achievementsof graduating students. Inaddition, the Armenian StudentAssociation works to raise awarenesson campus about all thingsArmenian.The upcoming banquet will featureaward-winning journalist andauthor Mark Arax as keynotespeaker.In 1996, Arax’s first book, In MyFather’s Name, was published bySimon and Schuster to critical acclaim.His second book, The Kingof California, co-authored with LosAngeles Times Sunday Magazine editorRick Wartzman, won a 2004California Book Award and the2005 William Saroyan InternationalWriting Prize.Arax recently ended his 20-yearcareer at the Los Angeles Timesto write books full-time andto teach essay-writing to highschooland college students. Hisnext book, a collection of essaysand stories about California, willbe published in 2009 by PublicAffairs.connect:firstname.lastname@example.org(818) 677-3456
10 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008CommunityIn Detroit, ayf holds 75th Olympic weekendPhiladelphia chapterretires cupby Silva HarapetianDEARBORN, Mich. – The HyattRegency Hotel is located next tothe Ford Motor Company headquarters.Its lobby is usually quiet,full of business men and womenconducting meetings and closingmultimillion dollar deals. But thisweek the hotel was transformedinto a little Armenia.In the lobby, crowds of teenagers,parents, and young adultswere huddled in small groupschitchatting, catching up, sharingstories from years past. Thenoise of conversations conductedin Armenian, the sound of thedhol and the clarinet playing Armenianmusic echoed in the hotellobby. It was clear the 75thannual ayf Olympic Games hadcome to life.The theme for this year’s ayfOlympic weekend was “Honor thePast and Embrace the Future.”Vosgerichian is ayf Olympic QueenHarry “Herky” Yangouyianhas been so passionate about theArmenian Cause that he has beena supporter of the ayf most of his76 years.Mr. Yangouyian joined the ayfin 1946 as a teenager. He was anactive member and an athleteplaying baseball and basketball.He participated in the first Olympicgames held in Detroit in 1950.While he served the ArmenianCause, he also served in the U.S.Army with distinction duringthe Korean War. He was also thewelterweight boxing champion inhigh school and in the army.Mr. Yangouyian married in 1961and was blessed with 5 children.He served on the Board of Trusteesof St. Sarkis Church.For over thirty years, he was involvedin taking ayf juniors, ayfseniors, and his children to ayfgames. He is a charter memberDetroit softball team.Esther “Stitch” Vosgerichian, named the ayf Olympic Queen, walking withHarry “Herky” Yangouian, the ayf Olympic King, at the Track and Fieldopening ceremonies.It seems Esther “Stitch” Vosgerichianwas meant to lead.Esther was born to parents whohelped lead and build the DetroitArmenian Community. They wereinvolved in the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation, the ArmenianRelief Society, and the Church. Itwas only natural for her to followin their footsteps and become acharter member of the ayf.Her leadership qualities soonbecame evident as she took onmany executive positions in theayf Detroit “Zavarian” Chapterand served on the DetroitMid-Council, which was a coordinatingbody with representationfrom all of the Detroit ayfchapters.Esther is recognized in the DetroitCommunity and throughoutthe Midwest and East Coast. Hername is synonymous with Detroitas an active ayf member and trueArmenian.Esther “Stitch” Vosgerichianwas throned as the OlympicQueen. She was presented with agold medal for her service.Ms. Vosgerichian examinedthe gold medal around her neck,bit it, jokingly saying, “It’s notreal.” When asked about what shethought of the honor, she said,“I’m stunned. But honored.” Yangouyian is ayf Olympic Kingof the annual St. Sarkis Golf andTennis Classic, which began as thears Day School Golf and TennisClassic. Over the past thirty years,this outing has raised hundreds ofthousands of dollars, first for thears Zavarian Day School and nowfor St. Sarkis Church.He has nurtured his childrento follow in his footsteps and allhave been active in the ayf andthe ars. They have also been veryactive in the church as boardmembers, altar boys, and Sundayschool teachers.Wearing his medal, holding acigar in one hand, shaking handswith the other, he said he was“caught off guard.” He said, “I’vebeen doing this because I love it.Not for the recognition.” Evidentis his pride of being an Armenianand a father. “We do things not forthe reward we do what we do forour kids.”“Anniversaries are about honoringthe past, recognizing wherewe came from, and embracing thefuture,” one organizer said. Since1950, Detroit has hosted eight ayfOlympic weekends. This weekendfeatured new events and traditionalevents, all geared toward thecelebration of more than seven decadesof history.On Friday, an alumni dance reunitedfriends from around thecountry. The event brought formerayf members of all ages together.Longtime friends hugged, reminisced,and danced to Armenianmusic by the Johnites and AraTopouzian.On the dance floor 12-year-oldArakel Khaligian from Racine,Wisc., was with his friend DaronBedian from Chicago. Theyhad been looking forward to thisreunion for a year. The friends– whose fathers Zohrab Khaligianand Greg Bedian had each servedon the ayf Central Executive in the1980s – had kept in touch via email,Arakel and Daron met in the lobbyof the hotel, walked to the alumnievent, and danced the “MichiganHop.” They said, “We like the ayfOlympics because everyone is Armenianand we can relate to them.It’s fun.”In a ballroom across the hotellobby, the ayf dance kicked off withpop star Harout Pamboukjianand his band from California. Thecrowd danced nonstop until 3 a.m.One ayf member said, “We don’thave very many opportunitiesto hear live Armenian music andwhen we do, we love it, especiallywhen we can enjoy it and dance toit with friends.”Meanwhile, on the athletic field,the ayf Philadelphia “Sebouh”ayf Olympic resultsSoftball ChampionChicagoCorey Tosoian Memorial AlumniGolf AwardZaven Malkasian, Montibello, CA 84Most Improved ChapterGreater Boston Nejdeh ChapterErnest Nahigian AwardKarine Birazian, New Jersey ArsenHigh ScorersWomenMichelle Hagopian, Granite CityGolf, Baseball Throw and DiscusJustine Douvadjian, ProvidenceLongJump, 200m, 400mMontebello softball team.The AYF Olympic cup will be insribedwith another win for Philadelphia.Chapter won the top place overallfor the third consecutive year.ayf Spirit AwardOn Saturday night, for the firsttime in ayf Olympic history, theayf held a dinner celebration withseveral special presentations. Thetheme was the “ayf spirit.” AlexSarafian, speaking at the dinner,said, “There has been a special spiritaround our organization. It maybe hard to put into words but weknow it when we see it. It doesn’tgo away. It becomes part of yourlife and lifestyle. It keeps you activelyArmenian.”The ayf instituted a new award tobe given annually at the ayf Olympicweekend, the ayf Spirit Award.The inaugural ayf Spirit Awardwas presented to Aram “Sonny”Gavoor and Manoushag “Itchie”Merian. The couple was describedas the “embodiment of the award.”The ayf has been part of Mr.Gavoor’s and Ms. Merian’s liveseven before they became members.Sonny was a member of the Watertown“Gaidzag” Chapter. Itchie wasa member of the Detroit “MouradZavarian” Chapter.They met in 1951 at the ayf Conventionheld in Boston. They marriedeach other the next year.They lived in Boston for a fewyears, eventually moving to Detroitin the mid-1950s. The couplestayed active in the Detroit Armeniancommunity, always engrossedin everything ayf. They have fourchildren Mark, Nancy, Laura, andAni. The children all been active inthe ayf, and have participated inthe ayf Olympic games. Sonny andItchie’s five grandchildren followedin their parents’ and grandparents’footsteps, becoming members ofayf.Sonny was one of the foundersof the Olympic Governing Body, anentity that provides continuity asthe games are hosted by differentchapters each year. Sonny coachedsome of the best Detroit teams,which retired Detroit’s first twoOlympic cups. Sonny coached halfthe top ten high scoring women inayf history.Itchie has been just as instrumentalto the success of ayfGames. Quietly behind the scenesshe helped organize the organizers.She has sat on countless scoretables for track and swimming atboth ayf and Homenetmen games.When they were presented withtheir award, they received a standingovation. With tears in her eyesand unable to compose herself,Itchie walked on stage to accept theaward, saying only, “Thank You.”“I’m so happy to be Armenian.There’s no one like us,” Sonnyadded.MenDaniel Kaiserian, Philly50 Meter Backstroke, 50M Breaststroke and 50M ButterflyEmanuel Mkrtchian, PhillyDiscus, Shot Put and JavelinStephen Tutunjian, ProvidenceHigh Jump, Long Jump, Triple JumpSteven Vosbikian, Philly100M, 200M, 400MOutstanding RecordDaniel Kaiserian, 50 M ButterflyOld Record, 24:17” New Record, 23:65Michelle Hagopian, Women’s DiscussOld Record, 99’ 7”, New Record 104’ 4”Samantha Bagdasarian, Womens Triple JumpOld Record 32’ 1-3/4”, New Record 32’ 9-1/2”Steven Vosbikian, Men’s 200 MetersOld Record 22:07 New Record 22:28
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 11Communityanca-er Awards Banquet participants announcedFAIR HAVEN, N.J. – Arthur A.Otchy, Sr. 92, most recently of FairHaven, died on Wednesday, Aug.6. He was born in Hoboken to Albertand Anna Otchy, and raised inNorth Bergen, N.J.Arthur attended Columbia Universityand New York Universityand obtained his Bachelor of Lawdegree from NYU in 1940. Duringthe summer of 1940, while helpinghis parents run their hotel in LongBranch, N.J, Arthur met the loveof his life, his soul mate, DorothyBatzanian, of New Rochelle, N.Y.,when she and her family visitedthe hotel as guests. It was love atfirst sight. That chance meetingproduced a love that would last fornearly 68 years.In January of 1942, Arthur wasinducted into the U.S. military andserved for four years, partially inthe South Pacific. He was honorablydischarged as a 1st Lieutenant.When Arthur returned home, hewent to work for Aetna Life InsuranceCo., and then Allstate Insurancein their claims department.Eventually the couple settled inTenafly, and Arthur opened his ownlaw office in Hackensack, where heenjoyed a successful practice untilhis retirement in 1984.Arthur A. Otchy, Sr., 92, attorneyArthur A. Otchy.NEW YORK – Stephanie Mesrobianwill emcee the Second AnnualBanquet and Awards Programof the Armenian National Committeeof America, Eastern Region(anca-er). The event will take placeon Saturday, September 13, 2008 atthe Grand Hyatt Hotel in New YorkCity.During the banquet, the anca-erwill present its Freedom Award toHarvard University professor andhuman rights activist SamanthaPower. A leading voice on genocideawareness, Ms. Power won thePulitzer Prize for her book A Problemfrom Hell: America and the Ageof Genocide.Ms. Mesrobian directs economicresearch and analysis in the UnitedStates and Armenia for the globalresearch firm Japonica InterSect.A native of Providence, she has formany years applied her professionalbackground in public relations andher expertise in global developmentto her grassroots involvement inthe Armenian-American community.In addition to extensive workwith the anca, Ms. Mesrobian hasspearheaded several high-profileprojects related to nongovernmentalorganizations with the UnitedNations Public Information Officeon behalf of the Armenian ReliefSociety.“We are pleased to have StephanieMesrobian emcee this year’sbanquet,” said Banquet CommitteeCo-Chair Zohrab Tazian. “A familiarface to many in our community,Stephanie has been a dynamic,public figure on Armenian-Americanissues in her native Providenceand beyond.”The evening will begin with a silentauction and cocktail reception,followed by a dinner and awardsWhile living in Tenafly, Arthurwas very active with the AmericanLegion, the Lion’s Club, and St.Thomas Armenian Church, wherehe was one of the original members,and served in the different organizationsat various times as president,and Parish Council member.After Arthur retired from hispractice, he and Dorothy movedto Bay Head, and later Mantoloking,N.J., where they loved to walkon the beach and he loved to swimlaps in the ocean.Arthur joined St. Stepanos ArmenianChurch in Elberon, where heserved on the Parish Council, andwas honored as Man of the Year.Arthur offered his wife and childrena charmed life, filled withfamily and friends. Everyone waswelcomed into his home and wasusually offered a famous breakfastof pancakes, eggs, and treats fromthe bakery, and the best barbecuesin town.His special touch with the lambshish-kabob will be missed particularly.Arthur was predeceased by hisparents and his brother Thomas.He is survived by his wife Dorothy,his children Arthur Jr. of Brickand Manasquan, Christine ZarouhiOtchy of Fair Haven, Jennifer andher husband Bill Folker, also ofFair Haven, and his eleven grandchildren,Micheal, Laura, Alex,John, Sarah and Mary Kate Otchy,Malvina Otchy, and Stephanie, Allison,Jeff and Eric Folker, as wellas a brother, sister, brother-in-law,sister-in-law, and numerous niecesand nephews.The family requests that memorialdonations be made in hismemory to St. Stepanos ArmenianChurch, 1184 Ocean Ave., Elberon,NJ 07740.program. Martha Aramian ofProvidence, a longstanding activemember of the Armenian communityand supporter of the anca’smission, will receive the Vahan CardashianAwardconnect:http://email@example.comSamantha Power, who served as oneof Barack Obama’s foreign-policyadvisors, will receive an award at theanca-er banquet.Philos Brass to performfree concert in HavertownHAVERTOWN, Pa. – On Sunday,September 21, at 1:30 p.m., PhilosBrass will present a free concertat the Armenian Martyrs’ CongregationalChurch, 100 N. EdmondsAve., in Havertown. Comprised ofstudents from the Curtis Instituteof Music in Philadelphia, PhilosBrass offers an exciting program oforiginal literature and favorites, includingworks by Bizet, Cheetham,Bach, and Barber. The concert isfree and open to the public.Philos Brass was formed in 2007and has performed extensively inthe Philadelphia area. Its membersare Stanford Thompson andMatthew Ebisuzaki, trumpets;Corey Klein, horn; Ryan Seay,trombone; Nathan Lodge, basstrombone.connect:610-446-3330Philos Brass.Visit us at reporter.amYou share the samecommunity. Discover whathappens when you sharethe same experience.For more information aboutRelay For Life or to join anevent near you, visitwww.cancer.org/RelayNYNJor call 1.800.ACS.2345.Paint the Town Purple incelebration of Relay For Life onMay 1, May Day For Relay.1.800.ACS.2345www.cancer.org/relayNYNJ
12 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008CommunityArarat Kids Summer Day Camp reinvents summer timeThe HomenetmenArarat Centeris the place tobe this summerfor kids fightingboredom.Activities fosterfriendship, sports,and appreciation ofculture and natureby Anna MargaryanGLENDALE, Calif. – The sea ofgreen highlights, crimped hair, sideponytails, and blond wigs appearsto be a throwback to the 80s beforefurther analysis reveals that theseretro hairstyles are being donnedby the under-13 crowd at the AraratKids Summer Day Camp as they celebrateWacky Hair Day. Today, then,is a day to sport weird hair; Thursdayis Dress-up Day; and the dayafter the kids might be in need oftheir bathing suits for Water Day.The Homenetmen Ararat Centeris bustling with energy and activityon this scorching late-Augustday, as preteens are noisily playingbasketball in the gym, third- andfourth-graders are displaying theirtumbling skills on gymnasticsmats, and curious kindergartenersare mesmerized by an optical illusionsexercise on PowerPoint. Thisis a familiar scene for the kids atArarat Kids Summer Day Camp.Established in 2002 as a fourweektest program, the event isgiving traditional summer daycamps a facelift by taking a diverseapproach to the usual arts, crafts,and sports activities that comprisethe summer-day-camp experience.Instead of merely making craftsout of Popsicle sticks and playingin the sweltering sun, the camp,which runs from July 7 throughAugust 29, has taken a multiculturaland multidisciplinary approachto day camp. The organizers haveFrom basketball to gymnastics, water slides to PowerPoint, participants in the Ararat Kids Summer Day Camp do it all.designed an eight-week programthat encompasses a wide array ofthemes ranging from arts and musicto science, sports, nature, andinternational holidays.Camp goesinternationalThe program introduces youngstersto some of the most popularcultural and historic landmarks inLos Angeles, from the Natural HistoryMuseum to the Science Center,Griffith Observatory, and the HollywoodBowl. These weekly fieldtrips widen the children’s scope ofknowledge and make the Los Angeleslandscape just a little bit moreaccessible.“The difference between us andother camps is that we have theseeducational field trips once a week,”says Co-director Anelka Khanlian.“Our field trips aren’t to Disneylandor Magic Mountain. We gosome place that the parents usuallydon’t even know about, like theHollywood Bowl, whose “SummerSounds” program is offering an Africanexhibit this year.”The field trip took place duringInternational Week, when the kidsadopted a different nation each dayand learned about its culture, history,traditions, and cuisine.With the world’s eyes on the29th Olympiad, Ararat Kids SummerDay Camp paid homage to theinternational games with an Olympics-themedweek. The days of celebrationsaw the kids following themedal count in Beijing while participatingin their own mock Olympics.Camp counselors divided thekids into teams that participatedin a host of unique sports includingtug-of-war tournaments, pillowfights, butt volleyball games, bowling,and water relays. Subsequentlythe winners were given medals.The camp has now become a staplefor the Ararat Homenetmencommunity, as each day greetsnearly 50 attendees. This summeralone, Ararat has registered122 kids. Although attendancehas fallen somewhat (down fromlast year’s 154 students), mostlydue to financial hardships facedby parents, dozens of enthusiastickids continue to flock to daycamp. Of the kids that attendon this particular day, many areveterans of the camp, some havingattended since its inception.Among them is Nicole Manvelyan.The boisterous 11-year-old, who ismore than willing to offer commentaryabout her camp experience,has been coming back forthe last three years.“I like coming here and having alot of fun,” she says, eagerly willingto break the ice before friendsenthusiastically jump in to volunteerinformation about their daysat camp. “I like running around alot,” she continues. “And we havefriends here that we haven’t seenin a while.”Yet no summer day camp experiencecould be complete withoutsports. For the sports-minded kids,camp organizers have basketball,gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, andwater games to keep them occupied.Each day sees the rotation of thethree age groups – early education,third- and fourth-graders, and fifthtoseventh-graders – in a multitudeof age-appropriate activities thatare both mentally and physicallystimulating.The kids are exposed to the wondersof science by performing experimentsand introduced to themore domestic art of cooking, withweekly cooking lessons in how tohand-wrap sarma leaves, makemud cups, and prepare a bevy ofother delectable dishes.With field trips, homemademeals, and games, Ararat KidsSummer Day Camp is breathingnew life into the summer day campof old by offering a fun, imaginative,and educational alternativethat tears kids away from their iP-Continued on page 13
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 13CommunityArarat Kids Summer Day Camp reinvents summer time Continued from page 12ods and Wiis and exposes them to aworld of culture and nature.“If these kids stay home, all they’llbe doing is play with their electronicdevices, but here they haveto read twice a week and interactwith other kids – because, at home,I don’t think any grandparents canmake kids read. Some parents can’teven make their kids read,” Khanliansays, addressing a socio-culturalphenomenon facing parents withchildren virtually addicted to thelatest marvels of modern technology.Her words are laden with thewisdom of a mother well-versedin plugging her own children andabout 50 others out of their electronictoys and tuning them intobooks, cooking, sports, and art.At Ararat Kids Summer Camp,it is all about hands-on learning.Whether it’s touching live animalsfor the first time during a presentationby the members of a wildlifestation or finger-painting, Khanlianand Co-director Melineh Ebrahimianensure that these kids willbe heir to unforgettable memoriesand treasured first experiences.“Why do I do this? I do this becauseI love kids and I like to be creative,”Ebrahimian says. “The programwe design involves so manycreative things. Like today we havepainting, presentations, dancing,gymnastics, wacky hairstyles.” Shehas the high-energy mannerismof someone bursting at the seamswith a bubbling flow of innovativeideas. “If we did one thing it wouldbe enough, but there are so manyideas coming to my mind that I liketo be creative and I want the kids tobe creative and open to new things,”Ebrahimian continues. “We justwant to expand their experiences.We have so much to do, it’s a shamewe can’t do everything.”Much of what Ebrahimian andKhanlian hope to accomplishthrough the camp is aimed at helpingyoung children gain a greatersense of independence, sociability,empowerment, and growth. Theconcluding week of camp, with itscelebrations and onsite carnival, atteststo and showcases the growthof the children by enabling them toessentially run the show. The kidswill be doing everything, from sellingtickets and inviting family andfriends to running the games.For the kids who call camp theirhome away from home for a majorityof the summer, their opinionof camp is written all over theirsmiling faces – as a group of themhuddles in a circle in one corner ofthe large gym chatting away, oneinterrupting the other in an effortto get their voices heard above thedin of bouncing basketballs andscreaming kids.“I like the activities and field trips,the food and the library,” saysAmanda Abelian. The ten-year-old,who is a newcomer to camp, havingbeen here only two days, could easilywin the award for wackiest hairwith her spray-on green highlightsand Barbie-blond clip-on ponytail.It appears that having gotten ataste of the camp environment hasmade her wish to come back nextyear.Not only do the kids come tocamp, but they’ve established theirown public-relations tactics for promotingtheir favorite summertimevenue by recruiting friends fromScouts and passing raving reviewsalong during recess.“I advertise the camp at school,”says Tina Khanlian, Anelka Khanlian’s11-year-old daughter, whohas been at her mother’s side atcamp since she was five years old.It seems that from these blossomingpreteens there will developEstablished in 2002, the Ararat Kids Summer Day Camp has taken a multicultural and multidisciplinary approach to day camp.a new generation of camp counselors,as they outgrow the programbut continue as volunteers andstaff members. Among this groupof graduates from Ararat SummerDay Camp who have joined thecounseling staff are 17-year-oldMelanie Hartenian and 18-year-oldAnoush Kazarians.A taste of homeWhen asked what the best partof coming to camp is, Manvelyanis quick to respond, “The lunch isgreat.”As Ebrahimian laughingly putsit, “It’s an Armenian camp, so weeat and eat and eat. We eat everytwo hours.”The consensus here is that thefood plays a critical role in thecamp experience. There is no roomfor overcooked hamburgers andfrozen fish sticks here. After all, ifthe camp intends to serve as a secondhome to these kids, the mealscan be nothing short of homemade.Then again, this is to be expectedof Armenian youths, who grow upsandwiched between two dominantcultures, Armenian and American,karmir pilaf and hotdogs.Like its multicultural menu,which is steeped in the cuisine ofour Armenian ancestors and themodern tastes of the all-Americankitchen, the entire program at AraratKids Summer Day Camp blendsthe distinctive lines of the Armenianand the American worlds,which these kids straddle, and addsin a flavor of the international.Mothering the broodKhanlian and Ebrahimian have adoptedthe role of surrogate parentsfor these youngsters during theirstint at summer day camp. Thisadds to the familial climate thatpervades the walls of the AraratCenter, as trusting parents leavetheir children in the caring handsof these two moms, knowing thatthey will be kept safe, well-fed, andactive at all times.“Initially some parents are afraidto leave their kids and they call acouple of times a day to check onthem. They bring the kids for twodays just to try it out and they endup signing them up for the restof the summer,” says Ebrahimianwith the knowledge of both a campdirector and a parent whose ownchildren have grown up in the summerday camp. “The parents lovethe camp because the kids becomeso active here,” she continues.The fact that the kids are keptconstantly on the go has proven tobe very advantageous to parentsbecause it allows the kids to releasesome of that endless supply of energybefore going home.Khanlian is quick to add: “The parentsalso love the camp because thekids are so tired when they go homethat they go to sleep at 6 p.m.”Watching Ebrahimian lead agroup of giggling kids in a dancemove that is a cross betweenwestern line-dancing and hip-hopmakes it easy to understand theclose bond that has formed betweenthe camp directors and theircharges.“I have fun with the kids. They arelike friends. They come to me andsay, ‘You are my best friend,’” notesKhanlian, beaming with genuinedelight at the fact that these kidssee her as such an important figurein their lives. “I play with them asmuch as I can,” she says. “We dothings with them. Melineh and Iare the only parents here, so we seeproblems that come up with thekids while they are here and try todeal with them.”Clearly, this is more than just a 9-to-5 job for Khanlian and Ebrahimian.They eat with the children, playwith them, discipline them whennecessary, and spend much of theiroff hours coordinating camp businessand, more importantly, concoctinginteresting activities forthe kids.“In everything we do, we offer somuch to the kids,” Ebrahimian says.“There’s so much involved that,compared to other camps, it goesabove and beyond. Because we arepart of Ararat, this program is ours.We put a lot of our own time intoorganizing and running the camp,which makes it different from justworking on the clock, because it reallyis ours.”As for the kids, you can be surethey’ve already penciled in AraratKids Summer Day Camp into theirplans for next summer.
14 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008CommunityCommunity in briefHoly Martyrs festival ison September 14BAYSIDE, N.Y. – The ArmenianChurch of the Holy Martyrs in Baysideis bustling with preparationsfor its special anniversary festivalon Sunday, September 14. Celebratingthe 50th Anniversary of thechurch’s consecration, 2008 alsomarks the 52nd consecutive yearof the community’s annual picnicwhich went from the private picnicgrounds of years ago to the church’sown “front yard” – the wide andwelcoming thoroughfare of OceaniaStreet. On that day, the streetsadjoining the church turn intoopen-air restaurant, amusementpark, dance floor, and outdoor mallto the thousands who flock to thefestival each year for good Armenianfood, music and fellowship.Festival chair Hrair Ghazarian(serving for the second year in thatcapacity), said, “Since we’re markingour 50th anniversary, we wantthis year’s festival to break all records– not only in terms of thenumber of attendees and moneyraised for the church, but evenmore importantly, for the fun andfellowship – for the wonderfulgood time this festival has affordedour visitors every year. We’d loveto see this be the best ever in allthese ways!”There will be, in fact, lots of goodthings for everyone to enjoy. Aficionadosof good listening and dancetunes will enjoy the Armenian musicof the Artsakh Band from Philadelphiaas well as American, Greek,and Italian favorites by the sevenpieceMidnight Sun Orchestra. Fordance concert enthusiasts, the twoHoly Martyrs dance groups – Aradzaniand Hye Bar – will be takingthe stage in beautiful costumes.For the hungry, there will bean array of Armenian appetizers,kebabs, pilaf, roasted vegetables,Armenian coffee, and lusciousdesserts. Vendors’ stands will lineOceania Street: Armenian books,CDs, objets d’art, and jewelry at theHoly Martyrs “Booktique” stand,among others. The popular “AtticTreasures” tables will groan onceagain with every imaginable markdownfrom electronics to lamps todishware to jewelry. A full-scale artshow will be on display in KalustyanHall for viewing and purchasing.For anyone with a hankering formore edible souvenirs, the HyeMarket will be selling a cornucopiaof homemade takeout such as choereg,boereg, manti, yalanchi, soujukh,olives, and much more.And for the young folk, there willbe diverting entertainments suchas “Human Bowling,” the popularCalendar of EventsUnveiling a sign that will welcome visitors to the park dedicated in memory ofMichael Armen Vidian in Racine, Wis.“Bouncing Castle,” rock wall, andOlympic challenge.The festival officially begins afterthe majestic liturgical procession ofthe Antasdan of the Exaltation ofthe Cross, led by Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian,pastor, with the participationof the Church choir and deacons,around 12:30, after which thegood times continue until 6 p.m. connect:718-225-0235Park in Wisconsinnamed in honor ofMichael Armen VidianRACINE, Wisc. – On August 9 thecity of Racine dedicated a park inmemory of Michael Armen Vidian.Racine Mayor Gary Becker,Rev. Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, pastorat St. Mesrob Armenian Churchof Racine, several aldermen andnumerous family members andfriends of Mr. Vidian – includinghis children and grandchildren – attendedthe dedication ceremony.For 15 years Mr. Vidian servedas an alderman on the RacineCity Council. He was known forhis dedication to his 7th districtconstituents and his passion forhelping others and reaching out tothose in need. One example wasMr. Vidian’s involvement with theplanning of the Regional CancerCenter’s Garden of Hope – a gardendesigned to offer respite topatients undergoing treatment atthe facility.Before blessing the newly dedicatedpark this month, Fr. Kelegianread from a letter sent for this occasionby Archbishop Khajag Barsamian,Primate of the Diocese ofthe Armenian Church of America(Eastern).“Michael Vidian was an exceptionalindividual who contributedmany years of service to his community,”the Primate wrote. “Hisleadership and dedication touchedcountless lives.”“In him, we saw a man who alwaysput others first, extending his personalkindness and generosity,” Abp.Barsamian added. “Michael lovedRacine and he worked tirelessly tomake his city a better place.”The many Armenians present atthe dedication ceremony rememberedMr. Vidian’s love and devotionto the Armenian Church. Notonly did Mr. Vidian work tirelesslyfor the city, but he also poured greatenergy into his Church, undertakingvarious projects at St. Mesrob.“We pray that the children whoplay in the park be safe and protectedby the Lord and that they growand mature with productive liveswhich will be a service to the cityand to the Lord,” said Fr. Kelegianin the blessing invocation.Mr. Vidian is the father of YeretzginDiane Chevian and Gary Vidian.Bereavement supportin WatertownWATERTOWN, Mass. – The ArmenianMemorial Church at 32Bigelow Avenue is resuming thesecond year of its wider communityBereavement Support Group,Heart to Heart. The facilitators areRev. Avedis Boynerian, pastor ofthe church; Rev. Joanne GulezianHartunian, and Naomi Topalian,a registered nurse.Participants include membersfrom the Armenian and non-Armeniancommunity not specificallyconnected to the church orits membership. All are welcometo share their grief and stories oflost loved ones and celebrate thelife of a dear one through photosand stories.Often people don’t receive ongoingsupport after a tragic, expectedor unexpected loss of a loved oneonce the forty day mourning periodis over; and, people are expected to“move on,” “get over it,” and “get backto normal.” This program is to offersupport and reassurance that thosewho are left behind are not abandonedin their anger, loss, and pain.Sessions are scheduled for Wednesday,September 24, October 29, November19, and December 17. connect:Rev. Boynerian at firstname.lastname@example.orgRev. Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, pastor at St.Mesrob Armenian Church of Racine,blesses a park dedicated in honor ofMichael Armen Vidian.Made In ArmeniaDirect receives 2008Best of Boston AwardWASHINGTON – Made In ArmeniaDirect has been selected forthe 2008 Best of Boston Awardin the Importers category by theU.S. Local Business Association(uslba).Made in Armenia Direct bringsthe works of Armenian artisans tothe rest of the world.The uslba “Best of Local Business”Award Program recognizesoutstanding local businessesthroughout the country. Each year,the uslba identifies companiesthat they believe have achievedexceptional marketing success intheir local community and businesscategory. These are local companiesthat enhance the positiveimage of small business throughservice to their customers andcommunity.connect:www.madeinarmeniadirect.comNEW YORKSEPTEMBER 11 – SLIDESHOW,DISCUSSION AND BOOK PRE-SENTATION OF “MY NATION:THE TRAILS AND TRIALS OFAN ARMENIAN REPATRIATE”BY ARSINEH KHACHIKIAN(at the Krikor and Clara ZohrabInformation Center, DiocesanComplex, 630 Second Avenue,New York, NY). 7 p.m.Wine andcheese to follow. Free admission.Event co-sponsored by the NewYork Armenian Students’ Associationand Krikor and ClaraZohrab Information Center. Forinformation, email email@example.com.SEPTEMBER 12 - COMEDIANKEV ORKIAN from Londonperforms his raucous one-manpiano comedy show at the 2ndAnnual ANCA ER Pre Banquetfall social. Doors open at 8 p.mat the Grand Hyatt in New YorkCity. Bar party to immediatelyfollow at Lea Wine Bar & Lounge,230 Park Ave. For tickets visitwww.anca.org/erbanquet or call(201) 233-9809.SEPTEMBER 13 - ANCAEASTERN REGION ANNUALBANQUET IN NEW YORK.Mark your calendar for theSECOND ANNUAL BANQUETsponsored by the ArmenianNational Committee of America,Eastern Region. Cocktailsand silent auction followed bydinner and special awards program.The Grand Hyatt, 109East 42nd Street at Grand CentralTerminal, New York. Tickets$250. Mention “ANC Banquet”for special hotel roomrate (limited availability). Moredetails to follow.SEPTEMBER 13 – AN EVE-NING TO BENEFIT ST. NER-SESS SEMINARY. Cocktails andhors d’oeuvres will be served.Donation: $125. Sunday, 7:00p.m. Please visit http:/www.stnersess.edu/stars/ for moreinformation.SEPTEMBER 13 - CAMP NU-BAR’S 45TH ANNIVERSARYCELEBRATION COCKTAILRECEPTION. Saturday, 7 pmThalassa Restaurant, 179 FranklinStreet, NYC. Tickets: $150Adults, $100 Alumni (under 25)Silent Auction • CommemorativeBooklet For more info andto RSVP, please call AGBU: 212-319-6383.SEPTEMBER 14 - ANNUALARMENIAN FESTIVAL at TheArmenian Church of the HolyMartyrs, 209-15 Horace HardingExpwy, Bayside, NY. Noonuntil dark, rain or shine. Freeadmission. Live music by theArtsakh Band and performancesby the Hye Bar and Aradzanidance groups. Assorted kebabsand tempting delicacies. Ridesand games for children, streetvendors and free blood pressurescreening. For more info, callchurch office (718) 225-0235.SEPTEMBER 20 - AGBU NEWYORK SPECIAL EVENTS COM-MITTEE PRESENTS A DEBUTPERFORMANCE OF WORKSBY ARMENIAN AND CLASSI-CAL COMPOSERS FEATURINGAGBU’S SCHOLARSHIP PRO-GRAM PERFORMING ARTSGRANT RECIPIENTS. WeillRecital Hall at Carnegie Hall at8:30 pm. $50 and $100 ticketscan be purchased through CarnegieChargeat 212-247-7800, oronline at www.carnegiehall.org.SEPTEMBER 26 – KRIKOR SA-TAMIAN COMEDY SHOW hostedby the Friends of HMADS.At the Armenian Church of theHoly Martyrs Auditorium, 8p.m. Assorted hot and cold horsd’oeuvres, Donation $ 60. Forreservations please call NegdarArukian (718) 423–4813, HildaNisanyan (718) 224-4736, andschool office (718) 225 4826.SEPTEMBER 27 – A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ANDCOMMENTARY IN ARMENIANAND ENGLISH “MOUSA LERAND THE ARMENIAN PLA-TEAU OF ANJAR” BY HAGOPJANBAZIAN OF TORONTO,CANADA, on Saturday, September27, 2008, 8PM in KalustyanHall of the Armenian Church ofthe Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY.Proceeded by a requiem (Hokehankisd)Service at 7PM Ha-
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 15CommunityPosition Sought52-year-old gentleArmenian woman seeksemployment caring forelderly.Live-in or Live out.Please call Elsa,(347) 782-4811Visit us atreporter.amCalendar of Eventsrissa at 7:30PM. Donation $10per person and Students Free.For more info, call church office(718) 225-0235.SEPTEMBER 27-28 - NY AR-MENIAN STUDENTS’ ASSO-CIATION PRESENTS 59TH AN-NUAL ARTISTS’ BALL. Famedart exhibit. Gallerie Icosahedron,TriBeca, Manhattan. More detalsto come.SEPTEMBER 28 - 79TH ANNI-VERSARY CELEBRATION AND22ND ANNUAL PILGRIMAGETO THE SHRINE OF CHARKHA-PAN SOORP ASDVADZADZIN.Solemn Divine Liturgy celebratedby His Eminence ArchbishopYeghishe Gizirian, with theparticipation of Zvartnotz andGomidas Choirs, 10:30 a.m. SpecialProgram Honoring Rev. Fr.Arten Ashjian on the 60th Anniversaryof his Ordination. Banquetand special performance bynoted pianist Karine Poghosyanfollowing church services in theKachajian Auditorum. 1:00 P.M.Holy Cross Church of Armenia,580 W. 187th St., NYC. Donation:$35.00.SEPTEMBER 28 - Pianist SA-HAN ARZRUNI and friends willpresent “INS & OUTS: Armeniancomposers of Asia Minor,”on Sunday at 3:00 PM, September28, at Merkin Hall, 129 W.67 St, NYC. The event celebratesthe 175 anniversary of the foundationof Surp Prgich ArmenianNational Hospital in Istanbul.Tickets are available throughMerkin box office (212 501 3330,credit cards are accepted), Arto(718 937 7660) and Araxie (201227 9615).OCTOBER 3 & 4 - CELEBRA-TION OF HAMAZKAYIN AR-MENIAN EDUCATIONAL &CULTURAL SOCIETY’S 80THANNIVERSARY AND NEWJERSEY CHAPTER’S 40THANNIVERSARY. Friday October3rd at 8 pm - Film Festival.Saturday, October 4 “Youth inSearch of Their Identity” discussionseries starting at 10:00 am.Both events at Sts. VartanantzChurch Hall, 461 Bergen Boulevard,Ridgefield, NJ. For moreinformation please call (201)945-8992.OCTOBER 4 - AGBU ANTRA-NIG DANCE ENSEMBLE presents“Repertoire: 2008.” Hostedby the Columbia University ArmenianClub at Columbia UniversityRoone Arledge Auditorium,2920 Broadway, New York.8pm. Tickets available now. (347)837-5342.OCTOBER 12 – CELEBRAT-ING 40 YEARS OF ST. VARTANARMENIAN CATHEDRAL. DivineLiturgy celebrated by Abp.Khajag Barsamian, Primate, at10:30 a.m.; Requiem Service forfounders of the Cathedral; distributionof the Holy Muron toour parishes. Celebratory luncheonto follow services. Forluncheon reservations, mail a$40 check (payable to Diocese ofthe Armenian Church) to: LorraineMarootian, 774 ButternutDr., Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417.For information, call the Dioceseat 212-686-0710.OCTOBER 24 - CHILDREN OFARMENIA FUND’S 5TH AN-NUAL SAVE A GENERATIONAWARDS DINNER at Cipriani42nd St., NYC. www.coafkids.org.MARCH 28, 2009 - SAVE THEDATE! ARS Centennial GalaBanquet Celebration at ThePrestigious Yale Club of NYC.Details to follow.NEW JERSEYSEPTEMBER 17 - EMERSON,NJ - FAH (FRIENDS OF THEARMENIAN HOME) NEIMANMARCUS FASHION SHOW/LUNCHEON, Garden State Plaza,Paramus, NJ. Fashion presentationat 11:00 am followedby a luncheon. For reservations,please contact Mrs. KarenNargizian at 201/560-9787 orMrs. MaryAnne Bonjuklian at201/934-8930. The tickets are$85. per person. Seating is limitedso please reserve early, RSVPby Sept. 3, 2008.SEPTEMBER 21 - SUNDAY,AT 3:00 PM: ARMENIAN IN-DEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRA-TION ORGANIZED BY ARF NJ“DRO” GOMIDEH. Guest Speaker- Ara Papian, Ambassadorof the Republic of Armenia toCanada (2001-2006) to discuss“The Legal Basis for ArmenianClaims”. Cultural program includesHamazkayin Arev ArmenianFolk Ensemble and YerazDance Ensemble of St. SarkisChurch. Dwight EnglewoodSchool, Englewood, NJ. FREEADMISSION. For more informationplease call ARF NJ “Dro”Gomideh at (201) 945-0011.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.SEPTEMBER 28 – ST. LEONWOMEN’S GUILD 80TH ANNI-VERSARY BANQUET at St. LeonArmenian Church, 12-61 SaddleRiver Road, Fair Lawn, 07410.Banquet immediately followingchurch services in Abajian Hall,Church Community Center. Allare welcome to honor this greatmilestone. Come enjoy deliciousfood, great entertainment andshare in our special celebration.Contact Grace Pinajian for reservationsfor this historical event at201-891-5420. Reservations willbe taken until September 15th.SEPTEMBER 13 - ODE TOSETA, AN ARTISTIC PERFOR-MANCE. Saturday, 7:30 PM.Saddler Hall Performances byAkh’Tamar Dance Ensemble,Antranig Dance Ensemble, Dr.Levon Capan, Tenor, HasmigMeikanejian, Mezzo-Soprano,Ani Kalyjian, Cello, St. ThomasJunior Choir, Rubik Vartanyan,Flutist (Doudouk), Tickets are$35 and $25. For tickets contact:Sylva Torosian at (201) 894-0143,Ani Hamparsumian at (201) 941-3228, Madlen Setian at (845)425-8683 or the church office at201-567-5446.OCTOBER 3 & 4 - Celebrationof Hamazkayin ArmenianEducational & Cultural Society’s80TH ANNIVERSARY ANDNEW JERSEY CHAPTER’S40TH ANNIVERSARY. FridayOctober 3rd at 8 pm - Film Festival.Saturday, October 4 “Youthin Search of Their Identity” discussionseries starting at 10:00am. Both events at Sts. VartanantzChurch Hall, 461 BergenBoulevard, Ridgefield, NJ. Formore information please call(201) 945-8992.OCTOBER 8 - LUNCHEONAND TRICKY TRAY. Presentedby the Women’s Guild of St.Mary Armenian Church, Livingston,NJ. Wednesday, 11:30a.m. At The Manor, 111 ProspectSt. W. Organe, NJ. Donation:$50. For reservations call BettyHovsepian, (973)635-2262.OCTOBER 25 - GALA CEL-EBRATION OF THE 50TH AN-NIVERSARY OF THE PRELACYOF THE ARMENIAN APOS-TOLIC CHURCH OF AMERICAunder the jurisdiction of theGreat House of Cilicia and the110th anniversary of the establishmentof the ArmenianChurch in America. Marriott atGlenpointe, Teaneck, New Jersey.Details to follow.NOVEMBER 15 & 16 — TEKEY-AN CULTURAL ASSOCIATIONMHER MEGERDCHIAN THE-ATRICAL GROUP PRESENTSRAFFI SHART’S “MY WIFE’SNAME IS MORRIS” —A COM-EDY IN ONE ACT DIRECTEDBY HAROUT CHATMAJIAN.Oradell Elementary School, 350Prospect Avenue, Oradell, NJ.Saturday, November 15th at8:00 pm and Sunday, November16th at 4:00 pm. Tickets: $35 and$25. For more information and/or tickets, please call Maro Hajakianat 201-934-3427, NoushigAtamian at 718-894-5878 or MissakBoghosian at 212-819-0097.RHODE ISLANDSEPTEMBER 14 - ProvidenceARS Centennial Benefit Concert.Featuring world-renowned acapella trio “Zulal”, singing Armenianclassical and folk music.Also featuring Harry Bedrossian,Leon Janikian, Ken Kalajian andCharles Kalajian performingtraditional and classical music.Begins at 3 p.m. at Rhode IslandCollege, Sapinsly Hall, 600 Mt.Subscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zipPleasant Ave, Providence, RI. Topurchase tickets ($35; $25 for studentsunder 18), call Joyce Yeremianat 401-354-8770 or RamonZorabedian at 401-884-6626 oremail firstname.lastname@example.org.MASSACHUSETTSSEPTEMBER 21 - Celebrationof New Independent Republicby Lowell ARF Committee, 1p.m., Sts. Vartanantz Church,180 Westford Road, Chelmsford,MA; New England premiereof Apo Torosyan’s documentaryfilm “The MorganthauStory.” Dinner and program.Free admission, compliments ofJeknavorian family.BUENOS AIRES,ARGENTINANOVEMBER 9 - 12 - “ArmenianWomen Interacting in WorldwideArenas,” Armenian InternationalWomen’s Association’s5th International Conference,Sheraton Libertador Hotel. Info:AiwaInc@aol.com, 617-926-0171,310-472-2454.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 | September 6, 2008Communitywliw21 to air Armenian Genocide documentaryDirector AndrewGoldberg will be livein the studioNEW YORK – The documentaryThe Armenian Genocide, whichreceived international critical acclaimand aired nationally on pbsin 2006, will premiere on wliw 21(www.wliw.org) in New York onWednesday, September 17, at 8:00p.m. Director Andrew Goldbergwill be in the studio live to discussthe documentary. The film will befollowed by an encore performanceof The Armenian Americans at 9:30p.m., which was also produced byMr. Goldberg in 1999.The Armenian Genocide receivedextraordinary reviews and coveragein almost every major newspaperin the United States, includingthe New York Times, where it wasdescribed as a “powerful” storythat “honors the victims of theGenocide.” It was also covered inthe Wall Street Journal, the Los AngelesTimes, the Boston Globe, andothers. The Star Ledger in New Jerseycalled it “serious, literate, andultimately heartbreaking.” Narratedby Julianna Margulies, thefilm features additional narrationsfrom Ed Harris, Natalie Portman,Orlando Bloom, LauraLinney, Paul Rudd, Jared Leto,and others.The Armenian Genocide is thestory of the first genocide of the20th century. This unprecedentedand powerful one-hour documentarywas written, directed, and producedby Emmy Award–winningproducer Andrew Goldberg of TwoCats Productions, in associationwith Oregon Public Broadcasting.Featuring interviews with leadingexperts in the field, such as PulitzerPrize–winning author SamanthaPower, and New York Times bestsellingauthor Peter Balakian,this film features never-before-seenhistorical footage of the events andkey players of one of the greatestuntold stories of the 20th century.The Armenian Americans (airsat 9:30 p.m.) captures the spirit ofan amazing culture and its legacyof inspiration, achievement, perseverance,and survival. It featurespersonal recollections from threegenerations of proud Armenians,including tennis champion AndreAgassi, Mr. Balakian, actor MikeConnors (“Mannix”), actor/writerEric Bogosian, comedian AndreaMartin (sctv), Carnegie Corporationof New York President Dr. VartanGregorian, mgm Chairpersonand ceo Alex Yemenidjian, ncaabasketball coach Jerry Tarkanian,historians, musicians, politicians,religious leaders, and corporate executives.The program pays warmtribute to a cultural identity thathas survived even near annihilationto arrive at a modern revitalization.For The Armenian Genocide, majorunderwriters are John and JudyBedrosian, the Avanessians FamilyFoundation, the Lincy Foundation,and the Manoogian-Simone Foundation.For The Armenian Americans,the underwriter is the ManoogianSimone Foundation.Two Cats Productions is a documentaryproduction companyin New York City led by AndrewGoldberg. His television credits includepbs, abc News, E!, cnn, andcountless others. In addition todocumentaries, he has also writtenand produced commercials for suchcompanies as Bell South, Sephora/Louis Vuitton, at&t and PetSmart.Goldberg and Two Cats’ recentdocumentary productions include,A Yiddish World Remembered for pbsThe Armenian Genocide.which won an Emmy in 2002, andThe Armenians, A Story of Survival,which aired on pbs stations nationallyin 2002 and was awarded thecine Golden Eagle.Genocide and Human Rights University Program graduates 198th studentTORONTO – The InternationalInstitute for Genocide and HumanRights Studies (iighrs), a divisionof the Zoryan Institute, in a pilotproject with the University ofToronto has just completed a twoweekgraduate course for studentsfrom Africa, Asia, Europe, NorthAmerica, and South America. Thestudents wrestle with the complexhuman realities of genocide using amultidisciplinary and comparativeapproach. Many of these graduatesgo on to studies and careers in thefield of genocide studies feeling empoweredto make a difference andwork toward genocide prevention.Each case studied in the coursesheds light on recognizable – andperhaps preventable – stages ofgenocide. At the same time eachcase of mass human right violationspresents challenges we ashumanity have to face with thiscomplex political and moral issue.The themes of prevention, reconciliation,and humanization werecentral to the discussions in theclassroom.Roger Smith, director of theGenocide and Human Rights UniversityProgram, said “I thoughtthis seminar, our seventh, was oneof the best we have had; the lecturerswere excellent and the studentsamong the most diverse. Themain difference between previousstudents and those in this seminarhad to do with how scholarship oraction could contribute to the preventionof genocide. The previousgroup put the emphasis on explanation,the current group on action.Participants inthe Genocideand HumanRights UniversityProgram.Both need to be brought together.My expectation is that in the 2009seminar we will be able to bringthese issues together in creativeand productive ways.”Yoni Levitan, one of this year’sstudents and the executive directorof stand (Students Taking ActionNow: Darfur) Canada reflected,“Knowing that there are such committed,capable minds from aroundthe world striving to prevent genocidein their own communitiesheartened me. It is one thing to beAbp. Aykazian leads ncc delegation on Mideast visita part of a group of dedicated Canadianyouth motivating the Canadiangovernment to lead the world instopping genocide when it happens.It is another thing all-together tobecome part of a global network ofemerging leaders, each addressingunique academic questions, but allworking together to contribute tothis sorely needed change.”The international program alsoprovides a networking opportunityfor young scholars committedto the cause. Another studentdescribed the experience, “For twosolid weeks we bonded throughlearning, discussing, listening,laughing, and crying together, twodozen people from around theworld who still have faith in humanityto mediate conflict in orderto prevent genocide and mass violationsof human rights.”The new accreditation by a majorCanadian university is an importantpartnership in the evolution ofthe program. “We are very pleasedthat the University of Toronto recognizesthe uniqueness of this programand its importance in the fieldof Genocide Studies”, said GeorgeShirinian, executive director.Current registered Universityof Toronto students and graduatestudents from any university inOntario may receive credit with noadditional cost in tuition. In addition,undergraduate students registeredat other institutions acrossthe province may make special arrangementsfor the same privilege.In summing up his experience inthe program, Richard Pilkingtonremarked, “The two weeks provedto be both highly educational andgreat fun. Indeed, they have providedme with a much appreciated injectionof motivation as I approachmy work on comparative genocide.Thank you for all your hard work.Your tremendous effort has provedinspirational, not only to me, butalso to many others. Long may itcontinue.”connect:email@example.com.WASHINGTON – Diocesan Legateand president of the NationalCouncil of Churches ArchbishopVicken Aykazian and a delegationof representatives from the ncc recentlyreturned from a visit to theMiddle East where they focusedon promoting peace and solidaritywith Christian minorities in theregion.Accompanying Abp. Aykazianon the 12-day trip was ncc GeneralSecretary Rev. Dr. MichaelKinnamon and United Church ofChrist Area Executive for MiddleEast and Europe Rev. Dr. PeterMakari.The group departed on July21 and traveled to Israel, Palestine,Lebanon, Jordan, and Syriaas part of a new ncc initiative tofoster peace and to extend supportto Christian communities in theMiddle East. They led discussionswith Christian, Jewish and Muslimreligious leaders throughoutthe region and met with PresidentBashar Assad of Syria and PrinceHassan of Jordan.The ncc acknowledged the effortsof the Middle East Councilof Churches in assisting Iraqi refugeesand urged religious and politicalleaders to work toward stabilityand mutual understanding ina part of the world that has longbeen fraught with ethnic, religiousand political conflicts.“Our biggest concern is the dwindlingnumber of Christians in theMiddle East,” Abp. Aykazian said.“The conversation with Prince Hassanof Jordan was extremely important,as well as our meetingswith Israeli leaders, especially RabbiDavid Rosen and church leadersin the Middle East.”In Israel, the delegation also metwith His Beatitude ArchbishopTorkom Manoogian, the ArmenianPatriarch of Jerusalem, andArchbishop Aris Shirvanian toreview the state of Christian communitiesin the Holy Land. In addition,they spoke of the financialdifficulties the Patriarchate is experiencingand the much-needed constructionprojects the Patriarchatehopes to undertake in the comingyears, and heard updates about thePatriarchate’s seminary and the St.Tarkmanchatz School.The delegation’s visit to Lebanonincluded meetings with Sunni andShiite leaders as well as MgrdichKaragozian of the ArmenianEvangelical Church in Lebanon andBishop Nareg Alemezian. nccrepresentatives also conductedmeetings with representatives ofthe Greek Orthodox Church andRoman Catholic Church in Beirut.ncc GeneralSecretaryDr. MichaelKinnamon andncc PresidentArchbishopVicken Aykazianmeet with SyrianPresident BasharAssad.Discussions focused on the politicalsituation in Beirut and recentchurch activities in the area.Traveling to Jordan, the ncc representativesspoke with ArchbishopVendiktos of the Greek OrthodoxChurch about the shrinkingChristian presence in the country.In Syria, the delegation met withBishop Armash Nalbandian, Primateof the Armenian Diocese ofDamascus, and spoke about therecent wave of Armenians immigrantsmoving to Syria from Iraq.About 500 Armenian families fromIraq are now living in Syria.Before returning to the UnitedStates, Abp. Aykazian and Dr. Kinnamonlectured at the HaigazianUniversity in Beirut as part of anevent organized by the Universityand the Arab Group for Christian-Muslim Dialogue. Among attendeeswere members of the clergy,diplomats, and representatives ofvarious interest groups.During the address, Dr. Kinnamonstressed that the mission ofchurches “is not simply to focuson spiritual things, and eternal lifeonly, but to be a credible sign andinstrument of social transformationtowards the day God’s will ismore fully done.”“Salvation is not simply an individualquest to be saved out of theworld, but it’s a communal effort inresponse to God, to build a bettersociety on Earth,” he added.Dr. Kinnamon said the ncc, too,should strive to play a greater rolein supporting programs that upholdpeace and justice. The nccaims to raise awareness aboutChristian communities across theglobe and to improve ecumenicalcooperation on spiritual and socialinitiatives.The delegation will report itsfindings to the ncc Governingboard in September. During theboard’s meeting, participants willdiscuss steps the organizationcan take to address some of thechallenges Christians face in theMiddle East.
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 17ArmeniaArmenian president meets Russian counterpartSerge Sargsiandiscusses theGeorgia conflict withDmitry Medvedevby Maria TitizianYEREVAN – President Serge Sargsianof Armenia met with Russia’sPresident Dmitry Medvedev inSochi on September 2. The two mendiscussed bilateral, regional, and internationalissues as well as the strategicpartnership between Armeniaand Russia, including Armenia’spresidency of the Collective SecurityTreaty Organization (CSTO).The military alliance comprises theformer Soviet states of Armenia,Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia.This was the first time the twoleaders were meeting after the conflictin Georgia turned into a fullscalewar with Russia. The conflict,which threatened security in theentire region, was high on theiragenda. During the meeting, Mr.Medvedev said CSTO should formulatea common position regardingthe conflict and the status of thebreakaway regions of Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia at its summit to beheld in Moscow at the end of thisweek. Russia had announced onAugust 29 that it would seek supportfrom CSTO for its recognitionof the breakaway Georgian regions.But soon after the meeting it becameclear that South Ossetia andAbkhazia would not be asked tojoin the alliance.Mr. Sargsian announced later inthe week that Armenia could notrecognize the independence of thetwo entities, nor of Kosovo, withoutrecognizing the independenceof Karabakh, which it would not doas long as Azerbaijan continued tonegotiate.Mr. Sargsian said that the meetingsbetween the two presidentshave been a good tradition, providingthe opportunity to discuss manybilateral and multilateral issues inFrom Armenia, in briefKarabakh marks17th anniversary ofindependenceSeptember 2 marked the 17th anniversaryof the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.President BakoSahakian of Karabakh, PrimeMinister Tigran Sarkisian of Armenia,Defense Minister SeyranOhanian of Armenia, togetherwith other high-ranking officialsvisited the Stepanakert memorialto pay homage to those who died indefense of the homeland. Mr. Sahakianlater conducted a meeting withMr. Ohanian and Karabakh’s Ministerof Defense Movses Hakobyan,where they discussed a wide rangeof issues on bilateral relations.In Yerevan, the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation on September 2held a celebratory rally and concertin front of the Matenadaran, therepository of ancient manuscripts,in central Yerevan. The same spacehas been used this summer for antigovernmentrallies; this was thefirst major rally in Armenia sincethe presidential election seasonsponsored by a party of government.The City of Yerevan had bannedthe rally, but the decision was overturnedby an administrative court.Secretaries of CSTOmember states arrive inYerevanSecretaries of the security councilsof member states of the CollectiveSecurity Treaty Organization(CSTO) arrived in Yerevan on September2 to take part in meetingsto discuss cooperation issues. Thedelegations headed by Secretaryof the Russian Security CouncilNikolay Patrusheev conductedbilateral and multilateral meetings.The participants signed a numberof agreements on cooperation inthe sphere of security.Taking part in the meetingin Yerevan was the Secretary ofBelarus’ Security Council YuriZhadobin, Secretary of the KazakhSecurity Council KairbekSuleymenov, Kyrgyz SecurityCouncil Ismayil Isakov, Secretaryof Tajik Security CouncilAmirkul Azimov and Secretaryof Uzbekistani Security CouncilShukurlo Makhmudakulov andArmenia’s National Security ChairArthur Baghdasarian.Goran Lenmarker.CSTO MinisterialCouncil meets inMoscowThe Collective Security Treaty Organizationheld its Ministerial Councilin Moscow on September 5. Takingpart in the Ministerial Councilon behalf of Armenia was PresidentSerge Sargsian, Foreign MinisterEdward Nalbandian, National SecurityChair Arthur Baghdasarianand Defense Minister SeyranOhanian. Kyrgyzstan will pass therotating presidency of CSTO to Armeniathis year.The ministers discussed ways toimprove the mechanisms to coordinateresponses to internationalproblems and prospects of furtherdeepening military and military-technicalcooperation of CSTOmember-states. The question ofSouth Ossetia and Abkhazia wasalso on the agenda.OSCE SpecialRepresentative arrivesin YerevanThe OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly’sspecial rapporteur GoranLenmarker arrived in Yerevan onSeptember 4 to discuss the currentround of talks regarding the Karabakhconflict negotiation process.He was in Baku on September 1. Mr.Lenmarker is the special rapporteurof the OSCE PA on the Karabakhissue and has now also beenappointed as the OSCE PA specialrepresentative on Georgia. Therebyhe assumes responsibility for thewhole of the south Caucasus.According to Armenpress, whilein Baku Mr. Lenmarker said, “Theregulation of the Karabakh conflictmay become the beginning of thea relaxed atmosphere. Accordingto Arminfo, Mr. Sargsian said: “Iwould like to discuss economic issues,as well as issues of consolidationand deepening of our relationswithin the framework of CSTO.This is our first meeting after theevents in South Ossetia, Abkhazia,and Georgia. I want to once againexpress my condolence over thenumerous human victims, deathsof Russian citizens and peacemakers.”Armenia’s president reiteratedArmenia’s readiness to assist in theeffort to alleviate the humanitariandisaster created as a result of theconflict. Mr. Sargsian also notedthat Armenia has been waiting forschoolchildren from South Ossetiafor the past two weeks.Meanwhile, the secretary generalof CSTO, Nikolay Bordyuzha,who was in Armenia along with thesecretaries of the national securitycouncils of CSTO member-states,told reporters at a press briefingin Yerevan that Moscow expectsfellow CSTO member states to endorseits actions on Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia, hinting that theycloser cooperation of the SouthCaucasian countries. The conflict isthe only obstacle on the way of cooperationof the three states and Iconsider it necessary to exert effortsfor the settlement of the conflict.”He will prepare a special reporton the situation in the South Caucasuswhich will be heard in theOSCE PA’s fall session scheduled tobe held in Toronto in September18-21.March 1 Parliamentarycommission says policenot cooperatingAccording to RFE/RL, SamvelNikoyan, a high-ranking memberof the governing RepublicanParty of Armenia and chair of theparliamentary commission investigatingthe events of March1, which took place in Yerevan afterthe presidential elections, hassaid that the police have failedto provide sufficient informationto the commission. Mr. Nikoyan even went so far as to say thatthe police were not only not cooperatingbut even hindering theinquiry regarding the use of lethalforce against protesters.The commission, among otherthings, is investigating the deathsof eight civilians and two interiorforces soldiers. A letter was forwardedto the police asking for additionalinformation on August 19requesting details of the firearmsand riot gear that was utilized bypolice. Ten days later, the commissionreceived a letter from policewhich Mr. Nikoyan deemed a “totallyuseless response.” The commissionhas openly questionedthe official line for the heavyhandeddispersal of thousands ofprotesters.While the opposition has refusedto take part in the work ofthe commission, according to RFE/RL Nikoyan hinted that he mightask parliament to extend thecommission’s term and has saidthat the time has come to set up Serge Sargsianand DmitryMedvedev inSochi. Photo:MartinShahbazyan.might even agree to their accessionto the military alliance.“What is happening after the conflict. . . is certainly driving SouthOssetia and Abkhazia into the collectivesecurity system,” Mr. Bordyuzhasaid. “I believe that SouthOssetia and Abkhazia cannot successfullyand steadily develop without[being part of] a collective securitysystem, without the backing ofother states.”But the secretary of the RussianSecurity Council, Nikolay Patrushev,said in Yerevan that Moscowwould not pressure the memberstates of the CSTO to recognize theindependence of South Ossetia andAbkhazia.Mr. Sargsian and Mr. Medvedevalso spoke about the current stateof the Karabakh peace process. Mr.Medvedev stated that the conflictshould be settled through negotiationsand that Russia would continueto support those negotiationswithin the framework of the OSCEMinsk Group.fa group of Armenian and foreignexperts to investigate the tragicevents of March 1.Trial of former deputyprosecutor-generalbeginsThe trial of Gagik Jahangirian,a former deputy prosecutor-general,who was arrested on February23 when he went publicwith his support of Levon Ter-Petrossian, commenced on September1. Mr. Jahangirian claimsthat his arrest was politically motivated.Charges against the formerdeputy prosecutor-generalhave been changed twice since hisarrest. He was initially accusedof possessing illegal arms. Thatcharge was later dropped and hewas then charged with attemptingto usurp state power. Thatcharge, too was dropped and hewas then charged with assaultson representatives of the stateauthority.f
18 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008ArmeniaArmenia’s national soccer team set to face TurkeyArmenia’s soccerfederation dropsMount Ararat fromlogoby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – “When you look at itrealistically, all the pressure is onTurkey,” Jan Poulsen, Armenia’shead coach, said in a news conferenceon December 4. “If you knowhow they played in 2008, and allthe facts of both countries, the favoriteis Turkey. Therefore the pressureis on Turkey.“I am aware that emotions, thehope of the people of Armenia isvery high for this match, but againI think our players will go out andplay as if it was Poland or Portugal,”he added. Armenia beat Poland andtied with Portugal last year. “Theyhave proven that they can do thisand I’m sure they can do it again.”Midfielder Levon Pachajyan,who usually plays for Sweden’s GAISclub, said he was “in very high spirits.I am in excellent physical conditionand I am anxiously waiting forthe game. All the talk surroundingthis game has not inhibited us inany way. We have been practicingtogether for four days now and wedon’t talk about that among theplayers.” He said the players perspectiveis that this is their game,and they are preparing for it likeany other match.The Armenian Reporter askedPachajyan what advice his familyhad given him. “Our family membershave placed orders for goals,victory, and dedication to theArmenia’s soccerplayers speak outOur staff correspondent Armen Hakobyanjoined other journalists atHrazdan stadium on December 4 tomeet with Head Coach Jan Poulsenand members of Armenia’s nationalsoccer team. Here are some quotesfrom the players and their coach.Karen Dokhoyan(Pyunik), defender“We are preparing for this gamelike we prepare for every game. Butbecause this game is against Turkey,the press and soccer fans have exaggeratedthings a bit. To be honest,that doesn’t bother us. We are professionalathletes and we must viewthese things calmly. I feel good. I amready. If the coach thinks that I canbe in the starting lineup, then I willplay. Our coach is very well aware ofour abilities. It is true that we are especiallywound up. The fact that wewill be playing in front of a full stadiumand against Turkey says it all.We are going into the match believingwe will win.”Roman Berezovsky(Khimki, Russia),goalkeeper“I am ready for the game. Whoeverplays in this kind of matchwill play even if they are injured;you have to go out there and giveit your best. Regarding all the commotionsurrounding the game, Ithink our coach made the best decisionto let us prepare in peace andonly today meet with journalists.It’s understandable; people want toknow what is going on.”game! They have passed on theirpositive energy to us. I know thatour compatriots also wish for thesame things. That is why we mustdo everything to make sure to realizetheir wishes.”Armenia’s teamintroduces changesOn September 2, Ruben Hairapetian,a Republican member of parliamentand president of the FootballFederation of Armenia, held apress conference to unveil the federation’snew logo and the team’snew uniform. Whereas the old logoconsisted of a soccer ball and a representationof Mount Ararat, thenew logo consists of Armenia’s coatof arms with a soccer ball and theletters FFA on a shield.The absence of Mount Ararat isstriking because the sudden changein logo was announced just days beforethe match between Armenia’s“We have to show that we can play even against the best teams”Jan Poulsen, Head Coach. Photos: Photolure.Robert Arzumanyan(Randers, Denmark),defender“The opposing team is strong andindividually they are well prepared.But that doesn’t interest me verymuch. We have to play our gamethe best we can. The overall moodof the team is very good. My moodis also very good.”Levon Pachajyan (GAIS,Sweden), midfielder“I am in very high spirits. I am inexcellent physical condition and Iam anxiously waiting for the game.All the talk surrounding this gamehas not inhibited us in any way. Wehave been practicing together forand Turkey’s national soccer teams.The Armenian Reporter asked Mr.Hairapetian whether the Turkishteam had objected to the Armenianfederation’s logo. “There wereno complaints about it or proteststhat would have sufficed for us tochange it,” he replied. “It is simplythat we had many complaints bysoccer fans that the logo was notbeautiful or good enough and itneeded to be changed. There wereno other protests. We just foundit expedient to place our country’scoat-of-arms instead.”Armenia’s coat-of-arms includesMount Ararat, as did the Sovieteracoat of arms. In the new FFAlogo, however, the soccer ball onthe shield obscures the part of thecoat of arms that includes MountArarat.A new team uniform was alsounveiled during the press conference.In place of the old uniform – ared jersey, blue shorts, and orangefour days now and we don’t talkabout that among the players. Thisis how we are viewing things: Thisis our game and we are preparingfor it like any other match.“Our family members haveplaced orders for goals, victory,and dedication to the game! Theyhave passed on their positive energyto us. I know that our compatriotsalso wish for the samethings. That is why we must doeverything to make sure to realizetheir wishes.”Jan Poulsen, HeadCoachLeft: RubenHairapetian.Photo: Photolure.Right: Theold logo ofthe FootballFederation ofArmenia, whichwas retiredthis week. Farright: The newlyunveiled logo ofthe FFA.“We have to show that we canplay even against the best teams.Having said that I think we havesocks – the players will now sporta red jersey, blue shorts, and redsocks. “There were complaints thatthe colors weren’t good,” Mr. Hairapetianclaimed. Red, blue, andorange are the colors of Armenia’sflag. “In my opinion, it is muchnicer now. If you look carefully youwill see the Armenian flag on theback of their jerseys,” he added, referringto a small flag near the napeof the players’ necks.Searching for Turkishfansa good team. In the six monthsthat I’ve been here we have hadimprovements. We have had somegood friendly matches. We will givethe favorite team a very tough runfor their money.“For me the important thing isthat we go out and we play as wellas we can and then we have totake it from there. You can lose inmany ways. You can lose by playingbadly and not having the rightattitude. If we go out there anddo our best then I am satisfied.Then maybe we need that little bitof luck, maybe.“As I told you, when you look atit realistically, all the pressure is onTurkey because if you know howthey played in 2008, and all thefacts of both countries, the favoriteAccording to FIFA rules, the hostcountry must set aside at least5 percent of its stadium ticketsfor fans traveling to their countryto watch the game. The Armenianside was thus obligated toset aside almost 3,000 tickets forpotential Turkish fans. Armenia’sfootball federation and the Armeniangovernment were morethan willing to comply with thiscondition. The Armenian governmenteven waived visa fees forany citizen of Turkey who wishedto travel to Yerevan to watch thegame. According to Mr. Hairapetian,they have been informedthat soccer fans will not be comingto Armenia. He said that Turkey’sfootball federation has onlyrequested 15 VIP tickets and 115tickets for members of the Turkishdelegation. As many as 100Turkish journalists are expectedto travel to Yerevan to cover thegame.Soccer fans would be barred frombringing banners into the stadiumthat make reference to the ArmenianGenocide or other “politicalissues,” he announced. “My wishis that we as a country and as apeople show that we are hospitable.I don’t want us to take measureswhich will not bring pride to ournation,” he said.He then declared, “History thathappened 100 years ago of courseis painful, but let’s not turn thismatch into a political show. This isfootball and it is desirable that weas a nation support our team andfind success.”Further politicizing the game, Mr.Hairapetian added, “In my opinion,we will send a much more seriousmessage by our victory than byhanging a few banners and makingproclamations.”Ticket prices for the match rangefrom 3000 drams ($10) to 10,000drams.fArmenia’s national soccer team prepares for the World Cup qualifying match with Turkey.is Turkey. Therefore the pressure ison Turkey. I am aware that emotions,the hope of the people of Armeniais very high for this matchbut again I think our players willgo out and play as if it was Polandor Portugal. They have proven thatthey can do this and I’m sure theycan do it again.“The role of the supporters is very,very important. Sometimes they’rethe twelfth man on the team. I dohope and wish that the supporterswill give their full support tothe team and if we are in difficultsituations, that’s when you feel thetrue support of your fans. I hopethe supporters will show fair playtoward the Turkish team.”“I know who I want to play, butI’m not going to tell you.” f
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 19ArmeniaTurkey’s Gül prepares for unprecedented visitn Continued from page building, stability, security, and cooperation,”Mr. Sargsian said.In recent days, Mr. Gül had a telephoneconversation with PresidentGeorge W. Bush. The main focusof the conversation was Georgiaand the situation in the Caucasusin general. “The two leaders alsotalked about their support for effortsto improve Turkish-Armenianrelations and the growing Turkish-Iraqirelationship,” GordonJohndroe, a spokesperson for theU.S. National Security Council saidon Tuesday. In Ankara, the presidentialpalace said Mr. Gül had informedMr. Bush about Ankara’sinitiative to create a Caucasus Stabilityand Partnership Platform.A difficult relationshipAnkara recognized the independenceof Armenia, Azerbaijan, andGeorgia in 1991. Whereas it establisheddiplomatic relations withTbilisi and Baku, it refused to doso with Yerevan, citing the declarationof independence adoptedon August 23, 1990, by Armenia’sSupreme Soviet (parliament), Article12 of which states, “Armeniasupports the efforts for the internationalrecognition of the 1915Genocide perpetrated in WesternArmenia by Ottoman Turkey.”The Turkish government officiallyclosed the border with Armeniain 1993, when the armed forcesof Karabakh took over Kelbajar,which was outside of the borders ofthe Soviet-era Nagorno-KarabakhAutonomous Region.Mr. Sargsian’s efforts to normalizerelations with Turkey is alsochampioned by the opposition ArmenianNational Congress, led byArmenia’s first president, LevonTer-Petrossian.“I can only welcome Gül’s invitation,especially because it is a convenientopportunity. There are nopolitical intrigues at play, only asporting event that may provide theconduit to begin melting the ice,” Mr.Ter-Petrossian said at a news conferenceon December 2. “It is strangethat no high-ranking Turkish officialhas ever come to Armenia. I wentto Turkey three times as Armenia’spresident and [former president]Robert Kocharian also went. Armenianpresidents have been in Turkeyfour times, and not one high-rankingTurkish official has ever been toArmenia. This is not a normal phenomenonnor is it normal relations,”Mr. Ter-Petrossian added.Serge Sargsianmeeting withUnal Cevikoz.Photo: Photolure.Protest planned“Turkey and Armenia are neighborsand there is no alternative toimproving relations between theArmenian and Turkish peoples,”Levon Mkrtchian, a member ofthe Bureau of the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation (ARF) and aformer minister of education, saidon Tuesday. “But dialogue can startonly in conditions of Turkey’s honestyand repentance. That is theguarantee for the security of therepublics of Armenia and Karabakh;that is the assurance that thepast will not be repeated.” The ARF,which is part of Armenia’s governingcoalition, planned a “civil andlaw-abiding” protest gathering atthe Zvartnots airport on Mr. Gül’sarrival, said the party’s Hrair Karapetian,a deputy speaker of theNational Assembly.Meanwhile, the unprecedentedvisit has the Turkish opposition upin arms. Deniz Baykal, the leaderof the Republican People’s Party,said “Turkey’s true friend was Baku,not Yerevan.”The Turkish press in recent dayshas been flooded with articles discussingthe possibility of Mr. Gül’svisit to Armenia and the future ofArmenian-Turkish relations.“The Turkish side (during Gül’svisit) will explain to Armenia itsplan to restore stability in the Caucasusregion and will invite Armeniato join it. Gül will also repeatTurkey’s proposal to establish ajoint committee composed of independenthistorians to study the1915–1917 incidents. Gül’s trip representsa key step towards endingalmost a century of animosity overthe massacre of Armenians underthe erstwhile Turkish OttomanEmpire,” the Turkish Daily Newswrote on September 3.The daily Sabah quoted Turkishnational team coach Fatih Terimas saying, “This is just a footballmatch, not a war.” The ultrasecularistdaily Cumhuriyet preferredto quote a retired ambassador assaying it is the “wrong timing fora visit.”On the front page of the probusinessHurriyet, the Turkish Industrialistsand Businessman’s Association(TÜSİAD) encouraged Mr.Gül to go to Armenia, while the Stardaily quoted Armenian businesspersonSamson Ozararat, who in1993 arranged a meeting betweenAlpaslan Türkeş, a notorious ultranationalistTurkish politician,and Mr. Ter-Petrosian, as saying:“It will be a big step even if they justsit and watch the match.”Mustafa Karaalioğlu, editorin-chiefof the Star daily, wrote inhis column on September 2 thatMr. Gül’s apparent decision to goto Yerevan is “an appropriate anddelayed decision.” Turkey shouldget rid of its taboos, both insideand outside of the country, Mr.Karaalioğlu wrote in his column,the headline of which read, “Gülmust go . . . just as Sezer, Demireland Özal should have gone,” listingthe names of former presidents.f“Turkey is treating us like unloving step-mother,” Gulizade saysAzerbaijan reacts toGül’s coming visitWASHINGTON – Turkey’s blockadeof Armenia is a centerpiece inAzerbaijani government’s effort topressure Armenia. It is not surprising,therefore, that every time thesubject of improved Armenia-Turkeyrelations comes up, Azerbaijanis irritated.In recent years Azerbaijan haspledged to spend hundreds of millionsof dollars toward the developmentof economically depressedeastern Turkey in order to diminishthe urgency for Turkey of openingthe Armenia-Turkey border. Payingfor the Kars-Akhalkalaki rail bypassand airline flights between Baku andKars have been part of this effort.More sentimentally, Azerbaijan hastried to emulate its ethnic cousinsand be a “little Turkey,” while paintingArmenians as a common “evil.”As Turkish president AbdullahGül’s decision to accept theinvitation from President SergeSargsian to visit Yerevan becamepublic, Turkish officials made aneffort to assure Azerbaijan thatthe visit does not signify a changein Turkey’s Armenia policy. Underthat policy, Turkey will not establishrelations with Armenia unlessArmenia agrees to concessions onthe issues of Karabakh and the acknowledgementof the ArmenianGenocide.Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarovof Azerbaijan arrived inAnkara for consultations on August29 and sought to downplay the extentof Azerbaijan’s anxiety, callingMr. Gül’s decision “Turkey’s internalmatter.” But reactions frommost Baku pundits laid bare theAzerbaijani establishment’s truefeelings.Vafa Gulizade, a former Sovietdiplomat who served, between 1991and 1999, as the architect of Azerbaijan’sforeign policy under threeof its four presidents, had in thepast called for Azerbaijan to mergewith Turkey into one state. Reactingto Mr. Gül’s upcoming visit, Mr.Gulizade complained, “Turkey istreating Azerbaijan as an unlovingstep-mother would treat her stepson,while Azerbaijan would wantto see Turkey as our true mother,”Day.az reported on September 1.Mr. Gulizade expressed hope thatthe Turkish president would keepAzerbaijan’s concerns in mindwhile visiting Yerevan.Ganira Pashayeva, a former TVanchor turned Majlis member whois close to the ruling Aliyev family,told APA.az on September 2 that“no Azerbaijani can agree to TurkishPresident’s visit to Armenia.This visit hurts us morally. That’swhy I will await till the last minutethat Abdullah Gul will refuse thevisit.” Ms. Pashayeva also remainedhopeful that Mr. Gül would makestrong anti-Armenian statementsif he were to arrive in Yerevan.Another Majlis member, AnarMammadkhanov, wrote on September3 that Turks should nothope that they would be able to usethe visit for public relations purposes,suggesting that “in terms ofpropaganda Armenians are clearlyoutplaying Turks.” A former comedianand also a friend of the Aliyevfamily, he warned in a caustic commentaryfor Day.az that Turkeyis about to hand Azerbaijan’s andTurkey’s only trump card – economicpressure – to the Armeniansat the cost of cooling Turkish-Azerbaijanirelations, “only getting inreturn, I hope, victory by the Turkishfootball team.”Ilgar Mammadov, a commentatorpreviously affiliated with a pro-Turkish nationalist party, offereda positive spin. He suggested thatafter the Russian-Georgian war,Armenia has become even moreisolated and therefore willing tocompromise with Turkey and Azerbaijan.“Gul will try to explain to Armenians that were they to dropterritorial demands against Azerbaijanand Turkey, Armenia wouldgain great advantages from economicand political cooperation.”As in the past, a veteran of theAzerbaijani politics of the 1990s,Zardusht Alizade struck a contrariannote. “I welcome the decisionof the Turkish president,” Mr.Alizade told Day.az. “Through this visit, Turkey will have more opportunitiesto influence the progressive,sober-minded part of theArmenian society which has longsought to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations.... Meantime,Azerbaijan should once and for allabandon illusions that anyone else,in this case Turkey, would be solvingour problems on our behalf.” f—Emil Sanamyan
20 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008ArmeniaThe big dreams of Armenia’s “Little Switzerland”Life in the futurefinancial center ofDilijanby Armen HakobyanDILIJAN – There was a time whenthe people of Dilijan were veryproud that a famous guest, afterseeing the beauty of its scenery,had named Dilijan “Little Switzerland.”The critical years followingArmenia’s independence saw unrestrainedtree logging in Dilijan;one of the most heavily forestedregions in Armenia was in dangernot only of deforestation but oflosing its title as Armenia’s LittleSwitzerland.However, life continues to flowlike bubbling, crystal rivers runningdown from alpine heights andDilijan also seems to be reawakening.The locals, who call themselves“koletsi,” which means forest dwellers,still complain about unemployment,lack of a steady and stable income,their standard of living, anda thousand other things. However,there are many people in Dilijan todaywho are looking to the futurewith high expectations – and theirnumbers are increasing. This summerthe number of tourists alsoincreased, although the events inGeorgia and the return of Armeniantourists relaxing on the BlackSea coast contributed to this.“Do you know what? Our newprime minister and president havedecided to turn Dilijan into ‘LittleSwitzerland,’” said 60-year-oldSahak, who is one of the 16,000residents of Dilijan. “Well, at leastsome of the forest has been salvaged;we have not completely cutthem down. But the most interestingthing is that Serge Sargsianand Tigran Sarkisian announcedthat Dilijan was going to becomea financial and banking center. Sowhy not compare it to Switzerland?There are the forests and the alpinezone, sanatoriums and resorts, aswell as banks…”In the central square of the city,where once the statue of Leninstood, was a large stone globe surroundedby fountains and statuesof muses. The square is framed bythe ArmenTel-Beeline building andpost office on one side and on theother is the faded facade of thegeneral store, which resembles acheap version of one of Yerevan’sopen-air markets. The cultural palaceof Dilijan stands at the frontwith its deteriorated walls.I can talk about Dilijan for hours,just like any one of you could aboutyour own birthplace.A light is visible at the end of thetunnel. This newly constructed tunnelfor automobiles cuts through aswath of mountains. It was constructedduring President RobertKocharian’s administrationand funded by Kirk Kerkorianthrough the Lincy Foundation, andhas been functioning now for thepast couple of years. You emergefrom the tunnel and embark upona winding road, which weavesthrough the forest-covered slopes.The first thing that catches theeye is that the Haghartsin restaurant,which is by the last bend inthe road to Dilijan (from Yerevan)and was slowly dilapidating, hasbeen restored and renovated andnow boasts a motel complex underthe same name. The new establishmenthas created 90 jobs for localsand that is no small number forDilijan.Just driving down the main roadof Dilijan toward the bus station,it is hard not to notice many smallOne of many construction sites in Dilijan. Photos: Armen Hakobyan for the Armenian Reporter.Tufenkian Heritage Hotel’s Old Dilijan Complex.and large buildings under construction.Near the bus station itbecomes very clear that there is aconstruction boom taking place inDilijan. There is an artificial lakeunder renovation, shops and otherstructures are being restored to replacethe ramshackle structures operatingas kiosks. Everything seemsto be under construction except thebus station, which still looks like aCommunist-era relic – old and unattractive.It does not suit a newfinancial center. Not at all. Thereisn’t even “half” a toilet in the areaand an empty cardboard box hasbeen appointed to the post of trashbin. Many ignore the box, thoughthere was a time when the peopleof Dilijan were proud of their city’scleanliness.Mayor Armen Santrosian(Republican), who is preparingto run for a second term in theupcoming local elections, promisesthat in the near future thoseshortcoming will be rectified. Heis obviously excited about the constructionboom: “Currently about1,000 people are working on thetown’s construction sites. I don’tthink there is a single street inDilijan where there is no construction.About 30 buildings are underconstruction, not including privatehouses, the renovation of thewater pipeline, and the repaving ofroads. During the past three yearslarge-scale works have been carriedout, and that is obvious. Thetheater is under construction. Anamphitheater is under construction;the Number 1 School yardis under construction; the clubin the Shamakhian district is alreadyfunctioning; the entire cityhas been gasified; 14 children’sparks have been constructed and80 out of 101 roofs of residentialbuildings have been renovated.”Dilijan’s mayor said that most ofthe construction taking place hadbeen carried out through localbudget funding, totaling 1.8 billionAMD. (The current exchangerate is 300 AMD for a dollar.) Accordingto the mayor, 103 millionAMD of thebudget is subsidized,and the rest is the result of localinvestment.Along one of the many rollinghills of Dilijan there is a road underconstruction leading to the futuresite of the Central Bank EducationCenter Building. The plan ofthe building itself does not yet existand construction will probablystart next year. “About 40 people,mostly employees of our company,and heavy machinery are involvedin the construction work. The clientis the Central Bank. Currentlythe reinforced-concrete-coveredroad leading to the future educationalcenter is under construction.The length of the road is about 400meters and the width is 6 meters. Apermanent structure with its drainagesystem and retaining walls isbeing constructed, in order to functionfor many years,” says GareginMkhitarian, chief architect ofthe Yerukrshin Company, whichis implementing the constructionworks.Banks have already started tomove toward Dilijan. For now,however, Dilijan, known as a touristicand resort town, doesn’t evenhave a single ATM machine. It ispossible to withdraw cash with acredit card from local branches ofnational banks, that is if the Internetconnection does not fail. Todayin Dilijan, the future financial centerof Armenia, there are branchesof only three banks operating.Dilijan’s mayor said that ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank has appliedfor permission to construct abranch and Ameria Bank alreadyhas a lease and will start working intwo months. “All of the banks haveexpressed a wish to open brancheshere,” noted the mayor with joy. Hedoesn’t conceal the fact that thisDilijan’s old bus station.Mayor Armen Santrosian.will help solve some of the unemploymentissues in the city. “Mostdefinitely becoming a financial centerallows us to have expectations,”confides the mayor.Life will show what will becomeof those expectations. However,breathtaking scenery opens outfrom the future financial educationalcenter, the jewel of whichis, of course, the buildings of thehistorical cultural center of Dilijan,preserved from the mid-19thcentury. There is a street that wasrenovated during the Soviet yearsthrough the efforts of Hovhannes(Vanik) Sharambeian, a culturaland national art benefactor, whichnow bears his name. Dilijan (andnot only Dilijan) is very luckythat three years ago Armenian-American philanthropist JamesTufenkian obtained the dilapidatedhistoric cultural enclavewithin the city. Here Mr. Tufenkianestablished the Old Dilijancomplex, which will become a partof the Tufenkian Heritage Hotelsnetwork. This is a dream come truefor the city.“The entire complex, which coversthe territory of the previoushistoric cultural enclosure-museum,has been restored. We haverenovated it by carefully preservingeverything,” says MichaelSeferian, the director of thecomplex. “Currently we have a restaurant,museum, a two-storiedguesthouse, and a bakery. The OldDilijan complex hotel is currentlyunder construction and it is envisagedthat it will start working ina year. Currently we have 35 employeesand with the opening ofthe hotel, naturally, vacancies willopen.” My interlocutor notes thatthe complex has aroused interestamong many and it is naturallyincluded in tour routes. “Peopleare happy because of the job openings.For some families that jobbecomes a source of stable income.It is pleasant for the people ofDilijan to have such a structure intheir city. You already know thatDilijan is going to become a financialcenter and there are no vacantplots left; all the land is taken. Iwant to say that Dilijan has goodprospects,” Mr. Seferian notes.When I start talking to Grigor,master carpenter RevikHovsepian’s son, who has settledon this beautiful street and continueshis father’s traditional work,he smiles broadly and notes brieflywith natural optimism, “Everythingis going to be fine.” Then hecontinues his work and polishing awooden pomegranate, which is goingto become a Christmas tree decoration.Those original decorationsprepared by father and son Hovsepianshave even reached the UnitedStates. On the wall of the master’sworkshop there is a picture of thePeace Corps Christmas tree at theWhite House, decorated with thosewooden pomegranates. FormerPresident Bill Clinton and PeaceCorps Director Mark Gearan arephotographed next to the tree.It can be said that the investmentsof Mr. Tufenkian in Dilijanhave been a catalyst. Member ofParliament and businesspersonHakob Hakobian has started reconstructingthe tourist center. TheHayrapetian Brothers Companyhas leased and is trying to restorethe leisure area near Parz Lake,which is located 10 km away fromDilijan, deep in the beautiful forest.The road toward Parz Lake is still inruins, but some work has alreadybeen carried out in the main area,even though the leaser-owners ofthe lake are asking for astronomicalsums for rowing the rubber boatfor an hour: 4000 drams.This puts a damper on the overallimpression. However, the essentialthing is that the restoration trainhas finally begun to move forwardin Dilijan.f
The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008 21CommentaryReopening the Kars-Gyumri railroad is a foreignpolicypriority, President Serge Sargsian saysCalls on Armenia’sdiplomats to increaseengagementThe following is the Armenian Reporter’stranslation of the text of a speech delivered onSeptember 3 by President Serge Sargsian to theannual gathering of Armenia’s diplomats, consuls,and Foreign Ministry leaders.The annual gatherings of ambassadors area good occasion to coordinate our tasks inthe field of foreign relations and to talk aboutour future issues in a fast-changing world.These gatherings not only provide an opportunityto place issues before you, guidingyour diplomatic activities, but also for youto share opinions among yourselves aboutdevelopments in the world, and to plan taskstogether.I must begin with our analysis of the situationthat has developed in the region andof the challenges that stand before us as aresult. Clearly what happened delivered a directblow to Armenia’s economy. We have repeatedlystated that Armenia’s economic developmentrequires peace in the region – justas living things require air. Blood was spilledagain in our region, tensions mounted, andmany innocent people lost their lives.It is also clear that our actions with regardto the issues of South Ossetia and Abkhaziain the future, as in the past, will have to takeinto consideration the presence of a largenumber of Armenians in the region, and theimperative to avoid putting them in danger.Naturally, we have an interest in the rapidand peaceful resolution of all of Georgia’sproblems and the establishment of enduringstability in our neighboring country, withthe people of which we are tied to by centuriesof friendship.Three challengesThe present situation poses at least three essentialissues for Armenia:• the resolution of frozen conflicts;• transit routes;• rising tensions in international relations.In the first matter:The true level of tension in the Caucasushas become evident to everyone, as has theseriousness of the challenges and dangers. Itwas a reminder to all sides that in this regionevery careless statement, every unconsideredstep is pregnant with unforeseeableconsequences; that the arms race, themarked increase in military spending, andbellicose statements inflame the environment,unavoidably leading to provocations,actions, and situations that can get out ofhand; as often happens, political operativeswho are responsible for creating the environmentcan lose control of the situation.More evidence was amassed in support ofour contention that ignoring the will of apeople engaged in a struggle for self-determinationwill have serious consequences andthere is no alternative. Let them repeat thatKosovo is not a precedent, and some may saythat Abkhazia and Ossetia likewise are notprecedents. But the fact remains that the resolutionsthat are exceptions-not-precedentsare starting to become the primary resolutionsfor such conflicts. Let us consider thedevelopments in the very recent past: EastTimor, Kosovo, Abkhazia, Ossetia, and othernames can of course be added to this list, butI think that's enough: everywhere the decidingvoice, the deciding factor is the will ofthe people, the wish of the people expressedthrough referendum.Why not recognize Kosovoand the others?Today, from time to time the question israised, “Why does Armenia not recognizethe independence of Abkhazia and SouthOssetia?” The answer is clear: it is for thesame reason that Armenia did not recognizethe independence of Kosovo. Having the Nagorno-Karabakhconflict, Armenia cannotrecognize an entity in the same situation aslong as it has not recognized the Republicof Nagorno-Karabakh. I am confident thatthe realization of the right to self-determinationthrough secession is a process thatrequires time, over which all interested partiesmust come to terms with that instance ofself-determination. That is what happenedwith the collapse of the USSR and Czechoslovakia.Our negotiations with Azerbaijan onthe question of Nagorno-Karabakh are aboutexactly that. Our overarching goal is to persuadethe Azerbaijani side through peacefulmeans, through negotiations, that the recognitionof the right to self-determination ofNagorno-Karabakh is unavoidable.I expect the more active engagement ofour entire diplomatic corps in the questionof Karabakh. Azerbaijani officials and diplomatsdisseminate their approaches and positionsregarding the Nagorno-Karabakh questionin all possible forums and on all possibleoccasions without thinking twice. Wemust represent, in an appropriate mannerthe legal demands of the people of Karabakhand the battle for survival imposed on them.We must show that the attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh were nothing less than attempts atethnic cleansing, which failed only becauseof the courage and resilience of the Armenianpeople.Second:Much has been said about the importanceof alternative transit routes for Armenia.Working with IranThe significance of our past success becameobvious to us in this situation. I am speaking,of course, about the marked increase in natural-gasreserve capacity and the constructionof the Iran-Armenia natural-gas pipeline. Thepipeline, thank God, is already constructed,and we can receive natural gas from the IslamicRepublic of Iran as early as tomorrow.The work of increasing the capacity of thepipeline most probably will be completed bylate October or early November and Armeniawill be able to receive 2 to 2.5 billion cubicmeters of natural gas per year. That’s exactlythe amount we receive now.You know that other crucial programs withIran are in the implementation or agreementstage: from joint water usage and the constructionof an oil refinery in Armenia to theambitious project to build an Armenia-Iranrail line. The implementation of these programsrequires perseverance, mutual trust,and joint hard work. These efforts must continue.Gyumri-Kars is a top priorityIt is technically possible, in a matter of a fewdays, to open the Gyumri-Kars rail line forrenewed utilization.In general, I think a situation has emergedwhere definite changes in the Turkey-Armeniarelationship are possible, for which politicalwill and perseverance must be exhibitedon both sides of the border. That will bethe test of the political maturity of our twostates.I have invited the president of Turkey toArmenia, convinced that direct contacts betweenneighboring states is the only effectiveway to develop relations. Of course, there isa political context to my invitation. Not forgettingthe past, we must look toward thefuture, develop an agenda reflecting our mutualinterests, and start interactions withoutpreconditions. Where there’s dialogue, it willbe possible to examine any question, eventhe most difficult ones.I expect the active engagement of all of youin explaining to our colleagues – in the diasporaand in international forums – the importanceof the Gyumri-Kars railroad. Armyourselves with maps, statistics, evidence;we must reach the point where everyone isconscious that these few kilometers of railroadcan fundamentally change the entirepicture of cooperation in the region. Manythink like us in this matter. Let us cooperatewith civil society. I am convinced that manycivic organizations and intellectuals in all ofthe countries in the region are our naturalallies and activists in this matter.More engagementThird, tensions are rising in internationalrelations. For one thing, I think, objectivefactors and life itself require that the unipolarworld order be reconsidered. For another,the flexibility needed for maintaininginternational peace and security is missing.Serious changes have taken place in the systemof conventional arms control, while newcomponents are being added to the proliferationand limitation of strategic arms.We must deepen our engagement in regionaland international forums, make anactive effort to make our positions and approachesmore understandable. In our relationswith our colleagues we must continueto express our goals and corresponding activitiesin a clear manner.We expect to become more active in theCollective Security Treaty Organization, ofwhich we assume the presidency in a fewdays. Increased activity and clarifying themechanism for carrying out the obligationsspelled out in Article 4 of the treaty emanatefrom the interests of the member-states,and Armenia will take corresponding stepsin that direction. [Article 4 reads, “In case anact of aggression is committed against any ofthe member-states, all other member-stateswill render it necessary assistance, includingmilitary assistance, and provide support withthe means at their disposal through an exerciseof the right to collective defense in accordancewith Article 51 of the UN Charter.”]I would like to note the recent “Rubezh 2008”military exercises were held successfully inArmenia. Please take special care to avoid delaysin the approval and implementation ofdocuments in the CSTO context.We will develop and expand in every wayour bilateral strategic treaty relations withRussia, which are based on the centurieslongfriendship of our peoples. We must usethe entire potential of these relations.Yesterday, in my meeting with the presidentof the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev,we discussed a number of regional programsthat seriously sustain this cooperation.The Millenium ChallengeCompactWe intend to expand and strengthenour friendly partnership with the UnitedSerge Sargsian meeting withArmenia’s diplomats. Photo:Martin Shahbazyan.States of America. We have serious expectationsin this matter. Numerous programs areincluded in the U.S.-Armenia agenda, amongwhich I would like to draw your attention tothe plan being implemented with the MillenniumChallenge Corporation. Taking intoconsideration certain foot-dragging with regardto the program, to save time, the governmentof Armenia allocated sums from itsown resources to prevent the process frombeing interrupted. The Board of Trustees ofthe corporation will meet soon. I hope thatthe efforts of Armenian authorities so farwill be understood correctly there, and theopportunity will be given to continue theproject jointly agreed to.We must fully master the whole range oftools available in our cooperation with theEU and use them effectively. In our bilateralrelations with EU member-states, we mustconsider the purposes of our activities withinthe European Neighborhood Policy, andtry to make them a constituent part of ourbilateral relations. I have taken the implementationof the European NeighborhoodPolicy under my personal supervision, andwill insist that our program be completed beforedeadline.New embassies, newpartnershipsWhen we speak of the European direction,we have in mind not only European institutionsbut also bilateral relations with countrieswith which we have had traditional tiesand also countries with which our relationsare not yet on a satisfactory level. I wouldlike to emphasize especially the need forexpanded relations with Eastern Europeancountries, considering our historical and culturalties with some of them. We are going totake steps in the future to open embassiesin the Baltic states and Scandinavia, but weexpect you, too, to put forward a substantialstrategy to develop relations with thosecountries. The presence of an embassy is notin itself enough to allow us to establish thelevel of relations we deem necessary.We must broaden our international relationsin other geographic directions too. Isn’tvariety the basis for the flexibility that is sonecessary to diplomacy? It is important forus to broaden our relations with the giantsof the East – China, India, Japan – as wellas Brazil. In the latter two countries we willopen embassies in the first half of 2009. Wemust especially reevaluate the magnitude ofour cooperation with China. I am certain thatwe are not utilizing even a small part of thepotential of effective cooperation with thatcounty. And by the way, I am talking aboutpolitical, economic, and humanitarian areas.I think our efforts in those capitals can beextremely useful in terms of the goals of ourforeign policy. I was persuaded of that duringa very short visit and I think we can draw themost serious conclusions.In terms of cooperation with NATO, we aregoing to persistently implement the IndividualPartnership Plan. Having a peacekeepingforce with experienced officers meeting in-Continued on page 23 m
22 The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008Editorialthe armenianreporterCommentaryWelcome the Gül visitor protest it?The debates around kitchen tables in Southern California, at church picnics in the MiddleAtlantic, at cafés in Armenia, in living rooms in Russia, at clubhouses in the Middle East– and online – began as soon as the announcement was made in June.The president of Armenia, speaking to Armenians in Moscow, announced that he wasgoing to invite the president of Turkey to Yerevan to watch the World Cup qualifying soccermatch between the national teams of Armenia and Turkey. Writing in the Wall StreetJournal on July 9, he made the announcement again. The invitation went out. Deputy AssistantSecretary of State Matthew Bryza could not hide his joy. The Turkish administration– bogged down at the time with a court challenge to its legitimacy – was noncommittal in itsresponse. Then the war in Georgia happened, Turkey announced its intention to enhanceits role as a regional power broker, and next thing you know, the Turkish president, AbdullahGül, has dispatched an advance team to prepare for his arrival.As it appeared that Mr. Gül would indeed come, the debates intensified: Should Armeniawelcome the president of Turkey, or should he be greeted with protests?The case for welcoming the president was straightforward: The people of Armenia andTurkey alike have an interest in normal, good-neighborly relations. For all practical purposes,the process of establishing such relations stopped over a decade ago. While Armeniahas done quite well for itself despite Turkey’s closing of the land border between the twocountries, the war in Georgia was a reminder of the desirability of alternative routes for thetransportation of essential goods.The soccer match in Yerevan was an opportunity for Armenia to demonstrate goodwilland make an effort to restart the process.The case for greeting Mr. Gül with protests was likewise straightforward: Turkey continuesto enjoy the material fruits of the Armenian Genocide of 1915–17 and rather than comingto terms with our collective past and its obligations to the victims, Mr. Gül’s administrationcontinues the policy of vigorously denying the Armenian Genocide. Meanwhile, theclosing of the land border with Armenia cannot be seen in any way but an effort to starveArmenia into submission in the matter of Karabakh. How could the president of Turkeystep foot in Armenia without facing a word of protest?So which is it? Welcome or protest?Why not both? Armenians can welcome the initiative of the Armenian administration,which is showing goodwill and making an effort to jumpstart a dormant process. At thesame time, Armenians can show that they are not cowed by Turkey’s closing of the border.As Turkish officials reiterate their preconditions for the normalization of relations – unacceptableconcessions in Karabakh, acquiescence in the Turkish denial of the ArmenianGenocide, and the renunciation of any territorial claims against Turkey – the Armenianadministration needs to be able to demonstrate to them that the Armenian people simplywill not tolerate such preconditions.fAn undignified moveThe Armenian Football Federation chose this week as the time to unveil a new logo.Whereas the old logo featured a representation of Mount Ararat, the new one featuresArmenia’s coat of arms – with the middle part, where Mount Ararat appears in the coat ofarms – obsured by a soccer ball.Did Turkey object to the representation of Mount Ararat on the logo? We asked the obviousquestion. The president of the Armenian Football Federation, Ruben Hairepetian, saidno. He said fans found the old one unappealing. Since the state is supporting the federation,he added, it seemed appropriate to use the coat of arms of the republic.This explanation does little credit to the football federation. If aesthetics were the issue,surely a decent graphic designer could do better than to superimpose a soccer ball on thecountry’s coat of arms. Is a heraldic symbol like the coat of arms even fitting as a sportslogo?It’s not like we insist that Mount Ararat must remain on every logo it has ever graced.Indeed, it used to be part of the Reporter’s logo and no longer is. But the timing of the announcementis unfortunate at best.The situation was not helped by Mr. Hairapetian’s unfortunate choice of words: “Historythat happened 100 years ago, of course is painful, but let’s not turn this match into apolitical show.”We trust Armenia’s national soccer team will play a vigorous, smart, and enjoyable gametoday. And we hope to see more maturity on the part of the folks who manage the team. fLettersImagine Azerbaijanipeddlers in StepanakertSir:Emil Sanamyan raises a very important pointabout the possibility of war between Armeniaand Azerbaijan in “Ossetia War: Lessonsfor Armenia” (August 23). The conventionalview in Armenia is that this would be a verysobering lesson for Azerbaijanis. And, yes,Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev has proven to bea far more astute statesman than Georgia’sMikheil Saakashvili will ever be. But as thewar in Ossetia showed, a decision to launchthe war might not be based on rational decisionmaking. Who would have thoughtthat Saakashvili would be stupid enough toplunge headlong into the trap the Russianshave been setting up for him all these years?I was in South Ossetia last year. In Tskhinvali,I ran into a group of Georgian peasantsselling fruits and vegetables in the market.Georgians had organized an entire congressof Ossetians still living in Georgia.Can you imagine Armenians and Azerbaijanistrading in Stepanakert? All these yearsthe Azerbaijanis have been primed for anothergenocide. It’s absolutely terrifying toread their papers and realize the level of hatredthey feel toward Armenians.Very truly yours,Levon SevuntsMontrealWhat is a precedent?Sir:This is in response to Emil Sanamyan’s commentaryon the war in Ossetia and Russia’snew assertiveness, “Ossetia War: Lessons forArmenia” (August 23).I usually approach issues like this withthe assumption that when there is a will,people might look for a way to do something,but that when there is a will and away, things will happen almost inevitably.The “way” is post-Yeltsin Russia, the priceof oil, the gullibility of Saakashvili, etc. Thewill, I expect, is both the general desireto tell the world Russia is back, but morespecifically, Kosovo and the unbelievablycomplacent, not to say arrogant, Westernattitude that (1) there are no precedentsin the “court” of international law; it’s notthe same as U.S. or British law; and (2) aprecedent is what we say it is, and we sayKosovo is not a precedent.Ossetia gave the Russians the way, Kosovothe will to talk back to that.Very truly yours,Khachig TölölyanWesleyan UniversityGold for “Bronze Age”Sir:I am writing regarding your special pulloutsection in the August 23 issue of the ArmenianReporter, entitled, “Armenia’s BronzeAge.” I felt I had to write to express mythanks for the wonderful coverage you hadof Armenia’s Olympic team in Beijing. Thecolor photos and the in-depth informationabout Armenia’s athletes, not only in thesegames, but in history was truly educationaland inspirational.It’s good to know that young Armenianboys and girls in the homeland have rolemodels to look up to. Winning a medal inthe Olympic Games is a major achievement,not only for the individual athlete but for theentire country. Taking into consideration thevery difficult journey of any athlete, coupledwith the extra burdens athletes in a developingcountry like Armenia must face, it ispretty miraculous the success these youngathletes have achieved.Bravo to all our athletes and to all thosewho support them.Very truly yours,Lena AznavourianPasadena, Calif.A job well doneSir:For a long time I have wanted to tell youhow much I appreciate your newspaper. But Inever got around to it. Now I have the August23 issue in front of me and I know I shouldn’tprocrastinate any more.The Armenian Reporter is raising the barfor Armenian journalism almost every week.Your reporter went to Georgia to cover thewar there. Your reporters talked to Armenia’sOlympic medalists and their coach. Your reporterstalked to people in Glendale to seewhat they think of a city council memberwho might not like Armenians much. Yourreporter catches up with three generationsof one family, visiting Armenia from the eastcoast and the west coast. Your writer talksto an Armenian jazz legend. Your columnistreads Saroyan on [Saroyan’s] 100th birthday.Your reporter gives us a one-stop source forwhat happened in Georgia. Your editorialsand commentaries provide insight, not justbrave words.All in one week!And the paper looks good. I am proud toshare it with my friends.Thank you. Thank you. Keep up the goodwork!Very truly yours,Mark SafariGlendale, Calif.Tell us what you think.Write to firstname.lastname@example.org call 1-201-226-1995 (N.J.), 1-818-955-9933 (Calif.), 374-10-367-195 (Armenia)Armenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPublisher Sylva A. BoghossianOffice manager Lisa KopooshianCopyright © 2008 by ArmenianReporter llc. All Rights ReservedPeriodicals postage paid at Paramus, N.J., andadditional mailing offices.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PO Box129, Paramus, NJ 07652-0129.The views expressed, except in the editorial, arenot necessarily those of the publishers.Editor Vincent LimaWestern U.S. Bureau Chief andArts & Culture editor Paul ChaderjianWashington editor Emil SanamyanAssociate editor Maria TitizianAssistant to the Editor Seda StepanyanCopy editor Ishkhan JinbashianArt director Grigor HakobyanLayout assistant Nareh BalianThe Armenian Reporter is your newspaper. We urge you to send us your news and yourviews.News. Please send your news to .Letters. Please send your letters to Letters should be no morethan 250 words long and may be edited for clarity. Please include your mailing addressand daytime telephone number.Commentary. Please send your essays to Essays and articlesnormally should be no longer than 900 words.Photos and artwork. We require high-resolution originals. 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The Armenian Reporter | September 6, 2008Celebratingthe 110th anniversary ofthe official establishmentof the Armenian Churchin Americaby CatholicosKhrimian Hairig&the 50th anniversary ofthe Prelacy’s affiliationwith theGreat House of CiliciaCelebratoryBanquetSaturday,October 25, 2008Marriott at GlenpointeTeaneck, New JerseyReception: 7 o’clockDinner: 8 o’clock$150.00 per personAn exhibit and DVD presentationwill be on view during the reception.