Aug 17, 2018

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Funeral Notice: Karnig Shahinian

KARNIG SHAHINIAN
Born on October 10, 1927, in Beirut, Lebanon

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and relative Karnig Shahinian, who passed away on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Funeral services followed by internment will be held on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Church Of The Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90068.

He is survived by his;
Wife, Maro Shahinian
Son, Dr. Hrayr and Leslie Shahinian and children, Alexander and Karina
Daughter, Houry and Vatche Dakessian and children, Nareg, Alik and Ari
Daughter, Lara and Raffi Dilsizian

And relatives and friends


Tankian Reflects on First 100 Days of ‘Unique and Inspiring’ Revolution

Serj Tankian (left) with then popular movement leader Nikol Pashinyan on May 7 in Republic Square a day he was elected prime minister

Serj Tankian (left) with then popular movement leader Nikol Pashinyan on May 7 in Republic Square a day he was elected prime minister

LOS ANGELES—As the people in Armenia prepare to mark the 100th day of culmination of the “Velvet Revolution,” when Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took office, it is worth reflecting back on the events that led to that monumental change and assess the events that have shaped the narrative of the New Armenia.

“It’s hard to imagine that it has only been 100 days for the new government,” said musician, artist and activist Serj Tankian in an exclusive interview with Asbarez English Editor Ara Khachatourian, who reached out to the System of a Down frontman via email to gauge his views on this milestone.

Tankian, who was a staunch supporter of the movement, traveled to Armenia to be part of history when Pashinyan was elected prime minister on May 8, after the people of Armenia toppled the Serzh Sarkisian regime in a peaceful—and bloodless—revolution that ushered in a new era for Armenia.

Below are Tankian’s reflections on the first 100 days of the “New Armenia.”

ARA KHACHATOURIAN: What are your thoughts about the first 100 days of the new government?

SERJ TANKIAN: First off, it’s hard to imagine that it has only been 100 days for the new government as I think there’s been more progressive positive change in that short period compared to the last 25 years. The work of the new government is quite commendable as they are balancing cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous administration while forging ahead with rational egalitarian policies for the future of Armenia. The rule of law has finally been observed in Armenia creating an exciting rebirth of a nation.

A.K.: In your observation of visiting Armenia, has the prevailing approaches and attitudes of the people changed?

S.T.: I remember thinking that I’ve never seen so many ecstatic people in one place in all my life when I went to Armenia at the tail end of the revolution. Once people felt empowered to paint their own destinies freely unto the canvas of Armenia’s socio-political fabric, the country changed for the good, forever. They now have a government that truly listens and responds to their concerns and are embedded with the hope necessary to forge the road ahead of true nation building. Honestly; I feel more effective and productive in Armenia overall than I do in the US, especially given some of the political regression occurring here.

A.K.: Do you believe that the events that have taken place, especially within the judicial realm, are positive and will they address the larger corruption plaguing Armenia?

S.T.: Whatever corruption that may be left in Armenia is dissipating automatically as the oligarchic, monopolistic brand has been permanently poisoned. The population is utterly excited about seeing justice served by the national security apparatus and the courts. And irrespective of what we see in the short term there is full commitment to hold all responsible in front of the law. People in power have ashamedly and with impunity stolen billions from a country with one third of the population living below the level of poverty. Justice will prevail in this regard.

A.K.: What has the new government done to address social justice issues in Armenia?

S.T.: The new government is trying its best to address social justice issues in Armenia from pension reform to equal educational opportunities, environmental justice to bringing in new investments into a corrupt-free Armenia to create more jobs and opportunities for all its citizens.

All this is being done to create a more dignified happy public and create a homeland where repopulation occurs.

A.K.: Can you assess the role the Diaspora has played during this time?

S.T.: In the previous Armenia the diaspora was only seen but not heard. They wanted our investments but not our critique. The new Armenia wants us to join all-in to truly help the nation building process. Although financial investment is necessary they are more interested in our professional resources, expertise, and willingness to be a part of the fabric of the new Armenia. That is a strong departure from the past.

The diaspora in the past has been disconnected from Armenia. The revolution brought a new excitement to the diaspora as well. I like to say that we need a new revolution in the diaspora now as well. It’s time to reconfigure the diasporas to match the needs and enthusiasm of our new Armenia. Let’s not forget our overall complicity in supporting unjust regimes for all those years.

A.K.: What do you see your role in the burgeoning Armenia?

S.T.: The revolution is the best thing that could have happened to our people. We now all have a chance to make Armenia the place of our dreams with hard work, determination and vision. I have volunteered my services to be helpful wherever I can.

A.K.: Are there projects and programs that you will be engaging in?

S.T.: Yes, many. Along with being on the boards of some amazing foundations working in Armenia—“My Step,” Tumo, Creative Armenia to name a few—we are looking at completing a film about the revolution tentatively titled “I Am Not Alone.” The story of this peaceful Velvet Revolution is so unique and inspiring that it must be told to international audiences. It would help raise awareness for our nation and our people on a grand scale. We are also looking at other opportunities to bring more people and interest to Armenia in the musical realm. As in the past I am also interested in procuring environmental justice within Armenia and have put in some work in that direction.

A.K.: Talk about your involvement with Hai-Tahd. How can some of those initiatives be used to engage the youth of Armenia in fighting the Armenian Cause?

S.T.: Now is a great time in our nation’s history where we all need to truly evaluate the effectiveness and strategies of our past and current policies toward Armenia and the Armenian cause in general.

I have worked many years with a number of organizations especially the ANCA to further awareness on the Genocide.

We recently collaborated with ANC of Australia to start work on a motion for Genocide recognition in the Parliament of New Zealand and had a successful event in Wellington on Aug 6 and 7 with Taner Akcam as speaker and viewing of the film “Intent to Destroy” by Joe Berlinger. We need to build a global case for reparations against Turkey on a scale they can’t imagine and not just go after recognition of the Genocide while continuing to find ways to assist Armenia on an international level.

A.K.: Any thoughts that you might have that I have not asked about.

S.T.: Yes; one. The ARF needs to reposition itself within Armenia to be more in line with the principles of the revolution and the demands of the people there. Past and some current policies in Armenia have severely damaged the brand of an otherwise incredible international organization that has done more for the Armenian cause than any other worldwide. The organization’s strengths are in community building and fighting for political justice. That’s what the focus should be in Armenia.


Kocharian Re-Enters Political Arena in Armenia

Former president Robert Kocharian on Thursday announced that he will be re-entering Armenia’s political arena days after being released from pre-trial custody where he was remanded on charges of breaching Armenia constitutional order in relation to the March 1, 2008 post-election standoff when eight civilians and two police officers were killed.

Kocharian, once again, sat down with Yerkir Media’s Gegham Manukyan, his second since being charged, and said that he had no other choice but to enter the political arena, because he believes that the current government is too inexperienced to traverse what he called the complicated geopolitical realities facing Armenia.

“They don’t understand,” said Kocharian referring to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his administration. “They don’t fully comprehend that challenges facing Armenia” in the current geopolitical situation.

He also told Yerkir Media that his attorney crushed his case in court on last week, because, he said, the entire case against is “based on lies.”

Armenia’s Criminal Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that had remanded into custody until his trial. The charges are still pending against him.

He lamented the fact that he was unable to speak about the specifics of his case, and wondered why there was a shroud of secrecy surrounding the charged.

“I wish I could speak about the specifics of the case, because then I could outline the fabrications on which it is based,” Kocharian told Yerkir Media.

He also went to reiterate his concerns about the so-called inexperience of the government to deal with the Karabakh conflict resolution process.

He said that Pashinyan allegedly announced that he would not take part in the peace talks, when in fact, Pashinyan, from the time he assumed the leadership of government, has insisted on the inclusion of Artsakh at the negotiating table, which was how the talks proceeded until Kocharian became Armenia’s president.

The former president also boasted about the economic growth in Armenia during his tenure, and said the widespread corruption that is being attributed to his administration was exaggerated.

“There is corruption in the United States,” said Kocharian to illustrate his view that the practice of looting the national wealth was commonplace all over the world.

In discussing an upcoming rally in Yerevan on Friday called by Pashinyan, who has said that he will report on the first 100 days of the government, Kocharian was dismissive.

“So what if 100,000 people gather at Republic Square. Is that a big percentage of the population?” Kocharian pondered during the interview.


Code 3 Angels Continues Training Programs in Armenia and Artsakh

VIEW GALLERY: Code 3 Angels volunteers teach life saving skills in Artsakh and Armenia IMG_2202 IMG_2200 IMG_2199 IMG_2198 IMG_2197 IMG_2196 IMG_2195

Code 3 Angels is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 to bring emergency medical services skills and training, including but not limited to CPR and first aid, to people in developing nations such as Armenia as well as underprivileged communities throughout the United States.

“Our motto is ‘every life counts’ and our vision is to implement sustainable programs that improve pediatric and adult rapid assessment and resuscitation skills among health care providers” said Joseph Krikorian, founder and chairman of Code 3 Angels.

Code 3 Angels has provided basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, automated external defibrillator (AED) and first responder training to individuals, groups, and healthcare professionals in Armenia, Lebanon, Mexico and the United States. Code 3 Angels’ certified instructors trained local firefighters, doctors, lifeguards and hotel staff in Riviera Maya, and in Beirut held CPR and AED training sessions throughout the region.

Joseph has been an active member in the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and various organizations in the Armenian community in Pasadena, and participated in relief efforts in Armenia and Artsakh where it became evident to him that he should also bring these much needed life saving techniques to his homeland.

In fall of 2017, Code 3 Angels embarked on its first lifesaving mission to Armenia and conducted general first responder and pediatric emergency care training in Yerevan, Gyumri, Dzaghgatsor and Artsakh. These free training sessions were held at Tumo centers in Yerevan and Stepanakert, medical facilities in Vanatsor and Dzghgatsor, and the Shirvanian Youth Center in Gyumri where various community members and organizations attended. The Code 3 Angels program was well received and trained over 300 people throughout the region.

In May, Joseph and the Code 3 Angels staff and volunteers returned to Armenia and Artsakh to continue educating and training various communities and medical professionals. On May 30, 2018, they trained students at Yerevan State Medical University in basic life support. During the morning of June 5th they trained officers and support staff at the police department in Talin then returned to the Shirvanian Youth Center in Gyumri where they conducted similar sessions for the community members. The following day on June 6th at the Aram Manoukian Youth Center in Yerevan, they trained more community members, primarily comprised of youth.

In Code 3 Angels’ continued efforts to assist Artsakh, Joseph and his team met with Artsakh’s Defense Minister and Minister of Health to implement a collaborative country-wide plan to train all school nurses in basic life support and all teachers in first aid and CPR. “We will put together a plan and work closely with the minister to go from region to region to successfully complete this mission, after which we will continue to work with the Minister to assess needs and add additional training programs,” said Raffi Senekeremian, Operations Manager for Code 3 Angels.

Joseph also met with Sassoun Sarukhanyan, Chief of the Stepanakert fire department where they discussed a comprehensive department-wide fire and rescue training program to be implemented by Code 3 Angels in the near future. Meanwhile, Code 3 Angels will work on providing supplies on an as needed basis.

“We look forward to continuing to provide these much-needed lifesaving trainings free of charge to Armenia and Artsakh,” said Joseph Krikorian as he went on to explain “since our training began in various cities in Armenia, more lives have been saved.”

For more information and to find out how you can help or sponsor, contact Code 3 Angels at info@code3angels.org or visit the organization’s website at https://www.code3angels.org/

Code 3 Angels is non-profit organization founded in 2016 by Joseph Krikorian, owner of Code 3 Life, to bring emergency medical services skills and training to people in developing nations and underprivileged communities throughout the United States.


From Friends to Family: AYF Summer Camp Wraps Up Another Successful Year

All 8 sessions of the 2018 AYF Camp season were a great success

All 8 sessions of the 2018 AYF Camp season were a great success

GLENDALE—The campfire is out, the snack shop is empty and only the sounds of birds chirping at AYF Camp Big Pines remain. The 2018 AYF Summer Camp season has come to an end leaving behind the most successful season to date. In the span of eight weeks, over 1200 campers and staff from all over California and beyond participated in the AYF Summer Camp program where they were able to see old friends and make new ones while participating in classic AYF Camp activities.

Over the course of a week, campers participated in a wide array of activities and educationals, developed interpersonal skills and created lasting memories. “The best part of AYF Camp is that you are able to make friends while working together to accomplish goals and participate in the competitions. You really turn into a family over the week at camp,” says Edik Kermenikian, 14, Houston, Texas.

In addition to the traditional camp activities of canoeing, arts and crafts and Red-Blue-Orange group competitions, campers participated in daily educationals focusing on a diverse range of topics. Former camper and counselor Berj Parseghian, owner and chief instructor at Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 and 5th Degree Black Belt, led campers through a series of fun and exciting training exercises and spoke about the importance of health, fitness and self-defense.

AYF Camp also partnered with Beads for Battle, a nonprofit cancer support organization that aims to spread hope and positivity to everyone affected by cancer, to organize a workshop where campers had the opportunity to make bracelets, write encouraging notes to patients and learn about cancer awareness. Some campers were lucky enough to learn a variety of traditional Armenian dances from Patille and Cynthia Albarian, instructors at Patille Dance Studio in Pasadena, while others learned about traditional Armenian instruments and music from Arick Gevorkian. Deeown Shaverdian, an AYF member, presented the campers with information on the recent Velvet Revolution in Armenia.

“My experience with the youth of our nation was, as always, more of a learning experience for me than it was for them. The intelligent questions, the curious stares, the engaging discussions and, most importantly, the eagerness to enact change and take action were the most inspiring to me,” says Shaverdian. He adds that, “It is important now more than ever to instill in them a sense of responsibility to take ownership of their country and culture and to pave the way for its progression into a new era of unprecedented advancement. Through educationals about current events, history and culture, we can cement the creation of young patriotic Armenians who, through their education, activism and work, will proudly carry the torch of the Armenian culture into the next generation.”

These topics, along with educationals by the Armenian Youth Federation and Armenian National Committee of America, engaged campers of all ages providing them with information on Armenian history, culture and topics relevant in both our diaspora and Homeland today.

AYF Camp is an integral part of the summer for many by providing a fun and safe environment for children to learn and grow as individuals. “My favorite parts about AYF Camp are staying connected with the Armenian culture and making friends,” says Anjelique Alexander, 17, Laguna Beach, CA. “I’ve been coming to AYF Camp since I was 10 years old and it’s interesting to come back each year and see the same campers and meet new campers to embark on this journey together. I’m very excited to begin the next step and return as a counselor for the first time next summer.”

The AYF Camp Management Board and Summer Camp Committee is thankful to the directors, counselors, medical staff and educational speakers for volunteering their time and ensuring each week was a success, as well as to its community members without whose unwavering support the AYF Summer Camp program wouldn’t be what it is today.

Since 1977, AYF Camp has offered a genuinely rewarding experience, by serving as a place for Armenian youth to make new friends and memories for a lifetime. AYF Camp is the largest and oldest summer camp program in the Western United States focusing on Armenian culture and heritage. Visit AYFCamp.org for more information and sign up for our newsletter to receive news and updates on programs and events.


How an Armenian Family Survived a Pogrom in Baku

The author and her mom Tatyana Shahnazarova in Baku, 1987

The author and her mom Tatyana Shahnazarova in Baku, 1987

BY YULIA SHAHNAZAROVA

“Life is a like parachute; it keeps you waiting until it opens up, and all the way through you are filled with hope!”

I was a five year-old girl at the time and I didn’t understand the irreversible life changing events that were on their way. I never imagined that I was to become part of a very critical and political reversal of fate. And it all began quite unexpectedly…

We lived in Baku then, in a household that witnessed the tragic fate of ethnic persecution for two generations, just for being born Armenian. A descendant from Artsakh, Shushi, kin of the Meliks, my great-grandfather settled in Baku with his family back in 1890s.

But he had to flee with his family from Baku to escape the waves of the Armenian Genocide that reached Baku in 1918. It was the Baku Armenians’ turn to survive the massacres. After my grandfather was born, my great-grandfather died of typhus leaving his wife alone with four children. My grandfather, a child in exile, was brought up in hunger and poverty in Astrakhan. In 1920 my great-grandmother re-settled in the then Soviet Baku to start life anew. To this day, I vividly remember my grandfather, a man of word and deed and a veteran of World War II. He was a respected professor at the State University in Baku. We were close. He used to tell me: “Yulia jan, whatever happens, keep your faith and hope strong!”

The author's great grandmother Astghik and great grandfather Grigor Melik-Shahnazaryants, survivors of Genocide

The author’s great grandmother Astghik and great grandfather Grigor Melik-Shahnazaryants, survivors of Genocide

It was an ordinary working day in early spring, 1989. I was playing with my toys and my grandfather was sitting on the sofa and telling me fairy tales I always loved to hear him tell me. We were waiting for my mother who was always on time from work. This time she was late. At first we thought the reason was heavy traffic but when she was two hours late, we became nervous. Our anxiety was magnified when our neighbor came in and said that the city was seized with disturbances, roads were closed, and that the agitated crowds were targeting Armenians. My grandfather, usually reserved and calm, showed traces of unrest. My heart sank. Though I did not realize the full meaning of our neighbor’s words, I felt that they meant something awful. I still remember this ugly feeling of fear that lives deep inside.

The author's  grandfather Grigori Shakhnazarov

The author’s grandfather Grigori Shakhnazarov

Chaos overwhelmed both our hearts and the streets of the city. Hearing about the cruelty and brutality committed against Armenians a horrible thought came to my mind: “What if I never see my Mommy again?” But I drove the thought away and deep inside hoped for the better. At last I heard the noise of the key turning in the key-hole and I saw my mother. I didn’t recognize her at first. She was suddenly a different person, wild, frightened and at the same time determined. She did not say a word. She hugged me and my grandfather. Later I heard bits and pieces of the terrible truth my mother was telling my grandfather. The truth about the ruthless acts against Armenians, assaults on women and children in the streets, in their homes, the truth about violence and harassment, blood and suffering, infringed dignity and outrageous cruelty. All I could comprehend and feel was terror, despair, frustration and fear. Mass ethnic cleansing of Armenians began in Baku.

Several months prior to this life-changing event, my uncle had to flee the massacres of Armenians in Sumgait, a neighboring city. Leaving all possessions behind, but having saved the most precious possession, his life, he came to our door in the middle of the night. Something that he had never forgotten from that escape was what one of the Azerbaijani thugs said to his neighbor, a respected Armenian professor at the university, when they completely burned down his home library with a large collection of Armenian books.

“You, Armenians, have no history, write your history anew,” they laughed, setting the library ablaze.

Tortured to near death, my uncle’s neighbor, the professor, was able to flee to the railway station, carrying his empty briefcase and a grieving heart from irreparable loss.

The 1988 Sumgait massacres had normalized the anti-Armenian culture that before the pogroms such hate-filled attacks had become commonplace in Azerbaijan. The incident that took place that day was a precursor to a larger, government-sactioned, pogroms in Baku in 1990.

The author's great-grandmother Valentina Ter-Avanesyan

The author’s great-grandmother Valentina Ter-Avanesyan

The day my mother rushed home, barely surviving, was when the family made the final decision to escape death. We felt that no one would protect us at the expense of their lives. We were in our own house, but it was not our castle. The bricks on our house were shaking with every threat of Azerbaijani neighbors with whom we co-existed on friendly terms for over 70 years. They were determined to kills us, level our dwellings to the ground. Every day we heard of Armenians being tortured and dying. As we were making preparations to leave, a bloody cross appeared on the door of our apartment at night. We realized death is close – there would be no mercy to us the next morning. The marking of a cross drawn with blood meant that Armenians living in that particular apartment will be mercilessly killed soon. Were these the same neighbors and friends who just a couple of months earlier comforted our family to at the funeral of my grandmother? Was that a final point when an atrocity collides with the human face of war? History repeats itself. My family was a step away from death like my great-grandparents were during the Genocide of 1915.

With tears in our eyes and heartbroken, my mother, my grandfather and I parted with the house and memories of the entire lifetime. It was November of 1989. My grandfather’s mind and body refused to believe it until the last minute it was happening. He was already sick at the time and went into stupor. Standing in the doorway, he was unable to move. He didn’t want to believe the reality and did not want to leave the walls that house his history of 70 years.

The author's great-grandfather Hovhannes Ter-Hovhannisyan and great grandmother Parandzem, survivors of Genocide

The author’s great-grandfather Hovhannes Ter-Hovhannisyan and great grandmother Parandzem, survivors of Genocide

From there began our long story as refugees to Armenia – our historical, ancestral land. 27 years have passed since that day with many ups and downs, hardships of being a refugee. That gnawing feeling of anxiety and fear of losing my mother accompanied me for years after we fled. Every time my mother was late from work, I started crying thinking she would not be back. Eventually, together we overcame these fears. During the first few years in Armenia we experienced isolation, language barrier, unemployment, hunger and poverty, years of economic blockade with no electricity, gas. Yet we had a strong determination to survive and grow. I owe a lot to my mother – she is a very strong woman. Through these difficult years she is a light and beacon to me, helping to overcome the challenges of settling in Armenia and starting all anew, living in awful conditions, protecting my safety, struggling as the only breadwinner and boldly accepting life’s blows. She practically brought me up alone, paved her way as a professional and person, and stood firm on her feet, serving as a role model to me.

The author and her mother, Tatyana Shahnazarova, in Yerevan in 2017

The author and her mother, Tatyana Shahnazarova, in Yerevan in 2017

A proud citizen of Armenia now, with many personal and professional accomplishments behind me and with many more ahead, I often recall those days that are carved into my heart forever. Despite them, I am blessed with the biggest gift – life, life to create, spread light and humanity with the ultimate purpose of alleviating sufferings of people and children going through hardships, sharing hope and helping people experience happiness.


ARF Has No Decision or Agenda on Cooperating with Kocharian, Says Bureau Chair

ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian speaks to Azatutyun.am

ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian speaks to Azatutyun.am

YEREVAN—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has “neither a decidion nor an agenda to cooperate with [Robert] Kocharian, said the party’s Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian during an extensive interview with Azatutyun.am when asked whether the party will cooperate with Armenia’s former president, if he enters the political limelight in Armenia.

Below is an English translation of the interview, a video of which is also provided.

Azatutyun: There’s talk that Robert Kocharian is thinking about actively returning to the political stage. Is the ARF considering cooperating with Kocharian?

Hrant Markarian: We are considering cooperation will all forces.

Azatutyun: Including Kocharian?

H.M.: With everyone. We are ready to cooperate with all Armenians. We do not have a decision or an agenda to cooperate with Kocharian specifically.

Azatutyun: Evidently you are not ruling out cooperation with Kocharian and are you willing to cooperate with him?

H.M.: What should I rule it out? I am neither willing nor am ruling it out.

Azatutyun: Has there been such a proposal?

H.M.: No.

Azatutyun: Are you thinking about making such a proposal to him?

H.M.: No.

Azatytyun: Are you expecting that he will return to active political life?

H.M.: I don’t know what he is going to do. I really don’t.

Azatutyun: Given the events of March 1, 2008, do you find it possible to cooperate with Robert Kocharian?

H.M.: I don’t have a personal assessment of the March 1 events. I know that the incident occurred. The blame for those 8-10 victims, regardless of who shot at them, lies with everyone: with Levon Ter-Petrossian and also Robert’s [Kocharian]. It doesn’t matter who opened fire. What matters is who created that situation. At that time we warned both the [Ter-Petrosian-led] and Robert Kocharian not go down that dangerous path but they didn’t listen to us … They deliberately opted for that and got what they got.”

In discussing Kocharian being charged with breaching the constitutional order in Armenia, Markarian said: “It is unbecoming of our country to denigrate the institution of the president.”

H.M.: It doesn’t matter to me whether Kocharian can defend himself or not, nor do I get any benefit in defending him. I am defending the principle… The principle that the institution of the president must be respected in our country, even if we must pay a price for that we must pay a price for it. In 1996, Levon Ter-Petrossian unleashed tanks onto the streets. If we are being objective, why aren’t we looking into that? I am not saying we should. I am saying we shouldn’t jumble the past in such a way that it poses a danger to life today and tomorrow.

Azatutyun: Mr. Markarian, 10 years ago some bloody events took place in Armenia and no one has been called to accountability for it.

H.M.: I am not opposed to investigating, but that investigation must be such that it inspires trust, regardless of its outcome.

Azatutyun: Shouldn’t the president at the time be questioned?

H.M.: Yes. They must interrogate and conduct an investigation. They must do everything but in such a way that an atmosphere of trust is created and it does not leave the impression of a political persecution. I am merely talking about the perception it creates. I do not know about any political persecution. Robert Kocharian himself will talk about that.

Azatutyun brought of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s comments in Tavush where he said the ARF was free to decide whether to remain part of Armenia’s current government after the party issued an announcement warning that Kocharian’s arrest “can be interpreted as political persecution.”

Pashinyan said last weekend: “I want to make clear that there is no [governing] coalition in Armenia. That’s a misunderstanding. We tried to form a government of national accord. Whoever feels left out… We are not holding anyone captive.”

H.M.: Nikol Pashinyan is right. He can force us to stay. We can leave whenever we want. He is right. But there’s another thing: he’s the one who invited us to join the national [accord] government. We didn’t push our way there. He invited us and we accepted his invitation.

Azatutyun: Is the ARF getting ready to leave the government?

H.M.: To tell you the truth we are not getting ready, just like we weren’t getting ready to take part in the government. We weren’t getting ready to take part in the government. Based on Nikol Pashinyan’s appeal we took part in the government. Today, we are there because we still have hope… that we are able to be a true interlocutor and address concerns to save him and to save Armenia. If I am unable to meet with and have a conversation then I must speak publicly. What else can I do?

Azatutyun: Are you saying that you have asked to meet and he has declined to meet with you?

H.M.: They haven’t declined, they also haven’t accepted. But this how this government is: an embodiment of disarray.


Glendale City Council Approves Armenian American Museum Ground Lease Agreement

From l to r: Glendale City Manager Yasmin K. Beers; Museum Governing Board members Gabriel Moloyan and Filian; Museum Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian; Museum Governing Board Co-Chairs Reverend Berdj Djambazian and Archbishop Hovnan Derderian; Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan; Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Glendale City Council members Vartan Gharpetian and Paula Devine; Museum Governing Board Representatives Carmen Libaridian; Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Bishop Mikael Mouradian; and Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian

From l to r: Glendale City Manager Yasmin K. Beers; Museum Governing Board members Gabriel Moloyan and Filian; Museum Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian; Museum Governing Board Co-Chairs Reverend Berdj Djambazian and Archbishop Hovnan Derderian; Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan; Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Glendale City Council members Vartan Gharpetian and Paula Devine; Museum Governing Board Representatives Carmen Libaridian; Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Bishop Mikael Mouradian; and Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian

GLENDALE—The Glendale City Council on Tuesday approved the Armenian American Museum’s Ground Lease Agreement, officially marking Glendale Central Park as the future site of the cultural and educational center. The historic decision marks a major milestone for the landmark project, culminating four years of collaboration and partnership between the Museum and City of Glendale.

The $1-per-year Ground Lease Agreement will locate the Armenian American Museum in the southwest corner of Glendale Central Park near the prominent intersection of Brand Boulevard and Colorado Street. The Museum will neighbor the Downtown Central Library, Adult Recreation Center, and The Americana at Brand. The initial term of the Ground Lease Agreement will be 55 years with options to extend the lease term for four 10-year periods totaling 95 years.

The Museum will rise to three stories with approximately 60,000 square feet dedicated to a Permanent Exhibition on the Armenian American experience, Traveling Exhibitions on diverse cultures and subject matters, Performing Arts Theater, Learning Center, Demonstration Kitchen, Museum Archives, and Museum Store & Café.

Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan signs the land lease agreement as Armenian American Museum Board members look on

Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan signs the land lease agreement as Armenian American Museum Board members look on

Museum and City officials held a special joint press conference on Wednesday, at the Glendale Central Library to celebrate the historic decision at Downtown Central Library overlooking the future Museum site.

“It is a proud day for the City of Glendale and we are excited that the Armenian American Museum’s future home is going to be in our Jewel City,” stated Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan.

“The Museum is going to be a landmark for our city and a great addition for the entire community, especially our younger generation,” stated Glendale Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian.

“The Armenian American Museum is going to be a jewel in our city and a world class center that we are all going to be proud of,” stated Glendale Councilmember Paula Devine.

The joint press conference concluded with a signing ceremony to celebrate the historic partnership between the Armenian American Museum and City of Glendale.

“The Museum will be a legacy for the next generation and we have taken a great step towards making the project a reality,” stated Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian.

“Education is the key in appreciating cultural diversity,” said Glendale Councilmember Vrej Agajanian in a statement following the joint press conference. “I hope that the Armenian American Museum will promote understanding of the Armenian American experience and strengthen community ties.”

Museum officials will soon announce the next phase of the landmark project and opportunities for the public to get involved with the community project.

The Armenian American Museum is a developing project in Glendale, CA with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. The Museum will serve as a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.

The governing board of the Armenian American Museum consists of representatives from the following ten Armenian American institutions and organizations: Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union – Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society – Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.


AMAA Centennial Celebration will Laud Honorees for Life-Long Dedication

John and Victoria Sheen

John and Victoria Sheen

Stephen Philibosian and Conte Foundations, Sheen Family Trust, Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian and TF Educational Foundation among honorees

BY JOYCE ABDULIAN

LOS ANGELES—Celebrating a Century of Faith, Love, and Service, the Centennial Celebration of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), founded in 1918 by a small group of pastors, will usher in a new era of outreach at a Banquet on October 20, 2018 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The goal of the world-wide Centennial Campaign has been to raise $20,000,000. The AMAA will continue its level of commitment to its mission in education, orphan and childcare, Christian ministries, medical outreach, camps, and a range of social services impacting 24 countries world-wide — following our Lord’s mandate; “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Banquet Co-Chairs Lori Muncherian, Arsine Phillips, Helga Sarkis, and Tina Segel announced Kenneth L. Khachigian as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and welcomed all to join in this landmark celebration. “The AMAA salutes its Centennial Celebration Honorees for their gracious, gallant and bountiful contributions to the century-old legacy of this organization,” says Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO.

Sheen Family Trust
John H. Sheen was born in Aintab, Cilicia (present day Turkey) to evangelical parents. Fleeing Turkey in 1913, he came to the East Coast of the United States with his mother and brother. His goal was to work hard and quickly bring his father and brother to America. Sadly, both were killed during the Genocide of 1915. Working in a buttonhole factory, he became an expert in repairing the machinery—eventually opening his own small factory. Mr. Sheen married Victoria Basmajian and they had three children, Edward, Betty and Jack. Moving to Los Angeles in 1924, John began working in a church furniture manufacturing factory. Two years later he opened his own furniture manufacturing company—becoming the second largest manufacturer in California. He then ventured into the real estate business. Mr. Sheen supported many charitable organizations, entrusting the AMAA with the greatest portion of his estate.

Camp Sheen-Shoghig in Hankavan, Armenia has provided respite for disadvantaged children as they play in the summer sun, nourished both spiritually and physically through the legacy of the John H. Sheen Trust.

Under the direction of his father’s trust, Dr. Jack Sheen is continuing the remarkable extent of Sheen philanthropy world-wide— encompassing education, relief aid in Armenia and Lebanon, evangelism, and aid for churches and missions. Nazareth E. Darakjian MD, President, Board of Directors of AMAA, notes, “The AMAA can rightfully boast of serving the Armenian Nation for a full century and can take its place next to other organizations that helped save the survivors of the Genocide by rebuilding their homes, schools and churches. We are carrying a torch that has been passed to us from our predecessors and we need to carry that torch and run with it to raise the AMAA to a higher level of mission and service for the wellbeing of our people and the glory of God.”

Stephen Philibosian

Stephen Philibosian

Stephen Philibosian And Conte Foundations
Stephen Philibosian was born in Hadjin, Cilicia to evangelical parents. Moving with his family to historic Tarsus at age ten, he became quite accomplished as a tailor’s apprentice. In 1909, at age 19, Stephen arrived in America with his prosperous uncle who had briefly returned to Tarsus from the United States. Soon after, he found himself employed in his uncle’s Philadelphia Oriental Rug Emporium.

Philibosian’s fearless perseverance and rapid mastery of the business brought him prosperity. His creative sense of business and ever persistent efforts propelled him years later to be known as the “Dean of Oriental Rug Retailers.” He made the decision to use his wealth for the welfare of his countrymen—fulfilling a promise he had made to his mother. His passion to use his wealth for the welfare of his countrymen was inspired by the sixth AMAA Executive Secretary, Rev. Puzant Kalfayan, who profoundly captivated Stephen with narratives about the grievous situation in Lebanon—thus beginning the 75-year trajectory of Philibosian philanthropy.

Sirphue Philibosian Conte also was born in Hadjin. She came to America as a child, later becoming a successful businesswoman herself. Stephen and Sirphue married and had two daughters, Joyce and Louise. In 1955 Mr. Philibosian, under the auspices of AMAA, co-founded Haigazian College (now University) in Beirut, Lebanon—a beacon of education in the Middle East. Sirpuhe later married John Conte. They founded The Sirpuhe and John Conte Foundation and donated funds for the Conte Hall in Haigazian University’s restored landmark, the “Heritage Building.” Levon Filian, AMAA West Coast Executive Director, shares—the AMAA “has not become weary in doing good,”and has reaped God’s abundant blessings on its ministry for a full century.”

John and Sirpuhe Conte

John and Sirpuhe Conte

Joyce Philibosian Stein is a Trustee of the Stephen Philibosian Foundation. With husband Joe Stein at her side, Joyce, her sister Louise Danielian, daughters Tina Segel and Stephanie Landes, and grandson Stephen Danielian all continue the founder’s significant work of philanthropy. Joyce is the national Co-Chair of the AMAA Orphan and Child Care Fund. For 25 years, the Los Angeles Child and Orphan Care Children’s Fashion Show has been a much-anticipated community event, raising millions of dollars that have significantly impacted the lives of marginalized orphans and children in Armenia and Artsakh. Joyce’s devotion to one of the AMAA’s jewels, Haigazian University, has been constant throughout the well-known challenges. Some of Joyce’s multiple areas of outreach have included the Armenian Assembly, Salvation Army, Lark Musical Society, Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, Chair of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia ‘Daisy Day” fund-raising Campaign with Honorary Chair, President Dwight Eisenhower, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a 50-year volunteer/supporter of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joyce has chaired various major fund-raisers. Joyce was the president of the Haigazian Women’s Auxiliary of Los Angeles for 20 years, where her many friendships in the art world led to extremely successful community fund-raising events.

Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian

Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian

Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian, Tf Educational Foundation
The eldest of two Genocide survivors from Dikranagerd, Turkey, Gerald Turpanjian was born in Aleppo, Syria. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and immigrated to the United States to continue his education. He married Patricia Savoian and they had four children: Lori, Gary, Deanna and Paul. Founded in 2005 by Gerald and Patricia, the Turpanjian Family Educational Foundation (TFEF) is dedicated to furthering the progress of education in Armenia and the Diaspora.

Turpanjian founded Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers. Prior to selling to Best Buy in 2006, Pacific Sales was the largest retailer of luxury kitchen and bath appliances and fixtures in the United States. He is currently the chairman and CEO of New Spark Holdings, Inc. and the president of the TFEF.

The Turpanjians support many philanthropic organizations including the Armenian Missionary Association of America, American University of Armenia, Armenian General Benevolent Union, University of Southern California, projects in Artsakh, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

As a supporter of the AMAA, TFEF has helped fund many projects: Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon, Merdinian School in California, Camp Hankavan in Armenia, AMAA Child and Orphan Care, Artsakh and Syrian relief and Armenian Evangelical Central High School of Ashrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon, Gerald’s alma mater.

AUA has received the Foundation’s support for multiple projects including funding the School of Public Health, the Institute of Policy Analysis and the digitization of Western and Diaspora literature for the AUA Digital Library. In conjunction with those endeavors, Turpanjian is a member of AUA’s Board of Trustees and has awarded over 2,400 university scholarships to students in Armenia. Through the Turpanjian Rural Development Program, along with AUA he has helped Armenian entrepreneurs create over 300 small businesses around the country.

TFEF supports various AGBU projects and initiatives including the Children’s Center in Malatya, Armenia and AGBU Senior Dining Centers in Armenia.

A graduate of USC, Mr. Turpanjian established the first chair in Contemporary Armenian Studies and the Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC.

As a partner with the government of Artsakh, TFEF has built an elementary school, two high schools and has aided in the construction of a water system in which over 3,000 residents in the village of Hadrut now receive clean water daily.

The Foundation’s support of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America includes the renovation of the ancient scriptorium in Harichavank, the establishment of the Turpanjian Theological Seminary and support of St. Leon Cathedral in Burbank, California.

Locally, Torrance Memorial Medical Center has been gifted with support from TFEF including the Turpanjian Family Chapel and their support of the Occupational Rehabilitation Center.

The impact over the years of these esteemed Honorees cannot be adequately expressed in words. Hearts, minds, and souls have been immeasurably affected by their loving generosity.

For more information about the Centennial Banquet, please call Levon Filian (626)-487-5878 or the AMAA Office (201) 265-2607.


Armenian Professionals Summer Mixer Helps Raise Over $8,000 for Demining Efforts in Artsakh

Over 400 young Armenian professionals gathered at Giggles Lounge in Glendale on August 9.

Over 400 young Armenian professionals gathered at Giggles Lounge in Glendale on August 9.

GLENDALE – Last week, more than $8,000 was raised for de-mining efforts in Artsakh at the Armenian Professionals Summer Mixer held at the Giggles Lounge in Glendale. On August 9, more than 400 young Armenian professionals came together to expand their networks, connect with other Armenians, and to most importantly raise funds for a worthy cause. The mixer raised $4,310, which was later matched by an anonymous donor totaling the amount to $8,620.

The Armenian National Committee of America’s Professional Network (ANCA PN) in collaboration with Birthright Armenia, Armenian Volunteer Corps, the AGBU Young Professionals of Los Angeles, the Armenian Professional Network – Los Angeles Chapter, Armenian Professionals Society, and Nerouj organized an Armenian Professionals Summer Mixer at Giggles Lounge in Glendale with the aim of also raising funds for a campaign called #JobsNotMines organized by OneArmenia and the HALO Trust in Nagorno Karabakh.

“The Armenian Professionals Summer Mixer was, to say the least, a huge success! On behalf of Birthright Armenia, I will say that we are ecstatic that the night served its purpose of bringing all organizations together, bringing together and empowering so many young Armenian Professionals, all the while greatly improving the lives of those working to create a safer, brighter, and mine-free future for Artsakh! Birthright Armenia looks forward to collaborating with all the organizations who co-hosted with us again in the near future in hopes of continuously strengthening this momentum of bringing our youth together, building strong relationships with each other and empowering Armenians not only here in Los Angeles but in Armenia as well,” said Birthright Armenia Los Angeles Ambassador, Karina Halajian.

All proceeds from the mixer were donated towards demining efforts in Artsakh through One Armenia's and The Halo Trust's #JobsNotMines campaign.

All proceeds from the mixer were donated towards demining efforts in Artsakh through One Armenia’s and The Halo Trust’s #JobsNotMines campaign.

The “Job Not Mines” campaign aims to train and employ two teams of 8 local deminers over the next two years, providing them with a steady, higher-than-average income as they work to clear the last remaining minefield near Kavak Monastery. Once mine-free, Kavak Monastery, which offers a 360 panorama of southeastern Artsakh and Iran, has the potential to become a new tourist spot in Artsakh, bringing more positive attention and resources to the area. Since 2000, the HALO Trust has removed over a quarter million explosives from the countryside, thus bringing otherwise fallow land back into agricultural production.

WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT ONE ARMENIA’S CAMPAIGN https://www.facebook.com/onearmenia/videos/1862679420456883/

“It was a pleasure collaborating and showing a unified front with the rest of the professional organizations for this mixer,” said ANCA PN Co-Chair, Shaunt Kevork. “Our collective efforts proved to be very successful in both connecting young Armenians and raising funds for an initiative that makes a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Artsakh.”

The ANCA PN is an association that connects thousands of Armenian-American professionals and develops the next generation of leaders through social, educational, and community engagement programs and events. ANCA-PN is an initiative of the ANCA Western Region, the largest grassroots public affairs organization devoted to advancing issues of concern to the Armenian American community.

For more information on the ANCA Professional Network and how to get involved, please email pn@ancawr.org. You can also connect with ANCA-PN on Facebook at Facebook.com/ANCAProfessionalNetwork and stay tuned for more upcoming events.

Birthright Armenia, also known as Depi Hayk, is a volunteer internship enhancement program that also offers travel fellowships to eligible participants to assist in the development of Armenia.

Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) is a volunteer placement organization based in Yerevan, Armenia. The organization offers opportunities to individuals to come to Armenia to perform short or long-term volunteer service to participate in the country’s economic and social development.

The AGBU Young Professionals (YP) is a growing network of groups and supporters around the world who preserve and promote the Armenian identity and heritage for young Armenians between the ages of 22 to 40.

Founded in 2016, the Armenian Professional Network is a professional and social community organization providing Armenian American professionals the opportunity to interact, share, guide and assist one another.

The Armenian Professional Society is an organization for professionals, formed in 1958, for the advancement of education and fellowship among Armenians.

Nerouj was formed under the leadership of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America with the goal of developing a new platform for communication between Armenian youth and Los Angeles based professionals.


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