Mar 17, 2018




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How Azerbaijani Children Are Taught to HATE Armenians

“You are not my enemy. I am not your enemy,” say children of Artsakh

Earlier on Friday Asbarez shared a video on its Facebook page from the Artsakh Ombudsman’s Office (Human Rights Defender) in response to a video recently circulated on social media of Azerbaijani pre-school children voicing their hatred toward Armenians as part of Baku’s state policy of armenophobia that is taught in schools across Azerbaijan.

The said Azerbaijani video depicts pre-school children in Azerbaijan who say that Armenians are their enemy.

The Artsakh Ombudsman’s office surveyed children in the same age bracket in Artsakh about who they believe their “enemies.” The responses from children in Artsakh varied from Batman and dragons as being their enemy, while other simply said they do not have enemies.

The Artsakh Ombudsman’s Office also detailed the atrocities—war crimes—committed by Azerbaijanis during the 2016 April War, during which some soldiers were decapitated and elderly residents of Artsakh were brutalized.

At the conclusion of the video, the children in Artsakh expressed their worldview on the topic: “You are not my enemy. I am not your enemy.”

ANCA Briefs Artsakh President Bako Sahakian at National Headquarters

A scene from the Artsakh policy briefing held in the ANCA’s Aramian Conference Room

A scene from the Artsakh policy briefing held in the ANCA’s Aramian Conference Room

Shares ANCA Artsakh Advocacy and Youth Development Priorities with Visiting President and his Delegation

WASHINGTON—Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) President Bako Sahakian was joined by his Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian, Parliamentarians David Ishkhanian and David Melkoumyan, and his Deputy Chief of Staff David Babayan at a policy briefing by national and regional leaders of the Armenian National Committee of America on the full array of pro-Artsakh priorities at the national, state, and locals levels of the U.S. government.

Prior to the policy briefing, President Sahakian visited the Aramian House, the downtown Washington, DC home of the ANCA’s signature youth and career development initiatives: The ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program and the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship Program.  The visiting head of state was welcomed by Gateway Program Director Tereza Yerimyan, who shared the programs, features, and successes during a presentation and tour of the 8-bedroom property in the prestigious Dupont Circle neighborhood.

Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan and his delegation at the ANCA headquarters

Artsakh President Bako Sahakian and his delegation at the ANCA headquarters

“We were pleased to welcome President Sahakian to the Aramian House, a powerful brick-and-mortar symbol the ANCA’s long-term investment in our youth and enduring commitment to strengthening America’s friendship with the people of Artsakh and Armenia for generations to come,” said Gateway Program Director Tereza Yerimyan. “It was an honor to host this first of many visits by an Artsakh head of State, whose warm words of support for our ANCA leadership development programs hold special meaning for us all.”

The ANCA was honored to receive an Artsakh rug and Artsakh’s “Partez” teas from President Sahakian and his delegation

The ANCA was honored to receive an Artsakh rug and Artsakh’s “Partez” teas from President Sahakian and his delegation

Among those taking part in the briefing were ANCA Board Member Greg Bedian of Illinois, ANCA-Western U.S. Chair Nora Hovsepian, ANCA Eastern U.S. board member Armen Sahakian and the ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and his Washington DC team.  Accompanying the Artsakh delegation was the republic’s Representative in the United States, Robert Avetisyan and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannessian.

ANCA Program Director Tereza Yerimyan describes highlights of the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program and Leo Sarkisian Internship Program to President Sahakian and his delegation.

ANCA Program Director Tereza Yerimyan describes highlights of the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program and Leo Sarkisian Internship Program to President Sahakian and his delegation.

ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian, who led the national-level advocacy section of the briefing, noted afterward, “We welcome high-level policy briefings as truly unique opportunities to share our work, to exchange ideas, and explore pathways forward toward a durable and democratic resolution of outstanding issues between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Our Artsakh advocacy program – which covers a broad array of policy priorities – aligns with our core aims of independent status and inviolable security for Artsakh’s citizens and state.”

Among the key issues included in the briefing were:

– Promoting peace/stability, via implementation of Royce-Engel proposals
– Promoting dialogue, via Travel/Communications Act and Artsakh’s return to talks
– Continuing direct aid to Artsakh (de-mining and Baroness Cox Rehabilitation Center)
– Cutting/suspending military aid to Azerbaijan (Section 907 of FREEDOM Support Act)
– Supporting Congressional and other U.S. official and non-official travel to Artsakh
– Expanding state recognition of Artsakh (beyond CA, GA, HI, LA, MA ME, MI, RI)
– Opposing potential Iron Dome sale to Azerbaijan (U.S. third-party/arms export laws)
– Seeking Azerbaijan sanctions due to corruption, crackdowns, and regional aggression
– Opposing Azerbaijan’s WTO membership due to its blockade and aggression

The ANCA-Western U.S. briefing was led by Nora Hovsepian, while the ANCA Eastern U.S. briefing was offered by Armen Sahakian. Each presented detailed reviews of state and local advocacy efforts on Artsakh-related issues.

President Sahakian is on a week-long working visit to Washington, DC, where, in addition to meetings with Congressional leaders, he and his delegation have met with media outlets and think tank experts.

37 Members of Congress Join Call for $70 Million Aid Package for Artsakh and Armenia

A bi-partisan group of 37 U.S. House members called on Appropriations Committee leaders to support a $70 million aid package to Armenia and Artsakh

A bi-partisan group of 37 U.S. House members called on Appropriations Committee leaders to support a $70 million aid package to Armenia and Artsakh

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff Support Pro-Armenian Aid Priorities

WASHINGTON—Thirty-six Members of Congress Thursday joined with the Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in calling upon Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations to back a $70 million Fiscal Year 2019 aid package for Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We want to once again express our appreciation to Congressman Pallone, his colleagues in the leadership of the Armenian Caucus, and all those who joined with them in backing this ‘peace and prosperity,’ aid package for Artsakh and Armenia,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “The priorities outlined in this letter represent investments in peace, prosperity, and long-term stability that will return dividends for decades to come.”

Cosigners of the Congressional Armenian Caucus letter advancing pro-Armenia and Artsakh funding priorities are Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, Jackie Speier (D-CA), Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), House Democratic Caucus Chair and Vice-Chair Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), James Langevin (D-RI), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Jared Polis (D-CO), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).

The dollar amounts and policy priorities requested by the Armenian Caucus, which annually spearheads bipartisan efforts to secure support for Armenian-related aid appropriation, align with ANCA testimony submitted last month to the Senate panel writing the foreign aid bill:

  • Artsakh: $6 million to complete de-mining and rehabilitate the disabled, $4 million to promote peace via the Royce-Engel proposals.
  • Armenia: $30 million in economic aid, $10 million in military aid, and $20 million to help Armenia serve as a safe haven for Middle East refugees
  • Azerbaijan: Suspend all U.S. military assistance and strengthen Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act

The ANCA has also called upon Congressional appropriators to encourage the Trump Administration to make full use of the U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and Economic Task Force, and, most urgently, to move forward with the long-overdue negotiation of a modern U.S. Armenia Double Tax Treaty.

Istanbul Street to be Renamed After Dink

The slain Agos editor, Hrant Dink

The slain Agos editor, Hrant Dink

ISTANBUL—The Sisli District Council of Istanbul has decided to rename a street in the district after slain Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

According to the decision, Samanyolu Street will be renamed Hrant Dink Street, according to reports published by the Turkish BirGün newspaper.

The Şişli District Council has forwarded this decision to Istanbul Municipal Council, after whose approval the decision will come into force.

Hrant Dink, the founder and chief editor of Agos Armenian weekly of Istanbul, was gunned down on January 19, 2007, outside the then office of this newspaper.

In 2011, the perpetrator, Ogün Samast, was sentenced by a juvenile court to 22 years and ten months for the murder.

After long court proceedings and appeals, however, a new probe was ultimately launched into this murder case, and regarding numerous former and serving senior Turkish officials’ complicity in this assassination.

ANCA Glendale Supports Renaming a Stretch of Maryland Ave. to Artsakh Street

The stretch of Maryland Avenue in Glendale eyed to be renamed Artsakh Street

The stretch of Maryland Avenue in Glendale eyed to be renamed Artsakh Street

GLENDALE—On Tuesday, March 13, the Glendale City Council unanimously voted to initiate the process of renaming a public right of way in honor of the Republic of Artsakh. Among the several alternatives provided by the city staff, was the option to rename the stretch of Maryland Avenue between Harvard and Wilson Street. The Armenian National Committee of America – Glendale (ANCA Glendale) expressed strong support for the option to rename Maryland Avenue to Artsakh Street.

Referring to the option of renaming Maryland Avenue, ANCA Glendale, Community Outreach Director Margarita Baghdasaryan stated that, “the area, which is situated in the Glendale Arts and Entertainment district sees significant foot traffic, attracts thousands of shoppers every day, and is home to several local Armenian American business who would welcome the name change.”

Glendale City Mayor Vartan Gharpetian stated proudly that “tonight we are making history, 50 years later they are going to talk about this night. I am so proud to go towards this route and to name the first street in our City Artsakh.”

Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan remarked on the City’s plans to liven and potentially turn the area between Wilson and Harvard street to a pedestrian promenade, which would attract thousands of visitors, making it an ideal geographic location to be named Artsakh.

Mr. Sinanyan, also stated that he “would like to thank the ANCA for being here in such large numbers and being in support of this; and for being instrumental in channeling the venue for the potential renaming towards Maryland paseo.”

Several community members spoke in support of the ANCA Glendale position, emphasizing the historical and cultural significance of Artsakh to the Armenian American community; and the educational opportunity such a street name would provide for pedestrians interested in the history of Artsakh. This idea was echoed by Councilmember Ara Najarian, who suggested displaying a plaque with information about the Republic of Artsakh.

“Although we are pleased that the City Council indicated its preference for the option of renaming Maryland Avenue to Artsakh Street, we recognize that this is only the beginning of an extensive process that will require the support of many stakeholders and residents,” observed the ANCA Glendale spokesperson.

The 8-step process for naming streets adopted by the Glendale City Council in August 2017 is expected to take several months before a final resolution is considered by the City Council. The process requires comments from several City Departments, outside agencies including the US Postal service, and property owners of the street to be renamed. The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the proposed name change and make its recommendation to the City Council.

The ANCA Glendale Chapter advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels. Learn more at

The U.S.-USSR Double Tax Treaty Does Not Fit U.S.-Armenia Relations

Archival photo of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and U.S. President Richard Nixon

Archival photo of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and U.S. President Richard Nixon


When was the last time you licensed out your song or book?  Or sold your trademarked design or patented invention?  Or performed lighting fixtures or air conditioning installation work?

Or how about the last time you received interest payments for financing cross-border trade?  Or earned income from operating or selling airplanes or ships internationally?  Or received reinsurance premiums?

Ok, now… when was the last time you transacted on any of the above with someone living outside of the United States?  Say, someone from the post-Soviet area… Armenia, anyone?

Running the risk of drastically decimating the readership of this op-ed with each additional question, I should better stop here.

International law expert Rufus Rhodes, Esq. with the author, Stepan S. Khzrtia

International law expert Rufus Rhodes, Esq. with the author, Stepan S. Khzrtia

You see, the highly singular items of income listed above make up a very large part of a 1973 accord between the U.S. and USSR governments on waiving their own taxes for residents of the other country, in an effort to avoid double taxation.  A noble cause, indeed.  However, this antiquated tax treaty has since outlived its Soviet co-author and has instead found a foster home in U.S.-Armenia relations, with the U.S. insisting on its validity and Armenia renouncing it.

Until recently, when asked about replacing the 1973 double tax treaty with a new one between U.S. and Armenia, the position of the U.S. government has been brutally straightforward: negotiating a new tax treaty is a “very resource-intensive process” that is not warranted by the limited bilateral trade between the U.S. and Armenia or the lack of interest from the private sector… and besides, the 1973 U.S.-USSR double tax treaty does the job.

But does it?

This “legacy” double tax treaty was adopted when the Cold War was at its coolest and Containment policy was being deployed without containment.  Double tax treaties otherwise tend to regulate critical aspects of bilateral trade between two countries and thus have profound economic significance… except that this one was signed between two countries with limited bilateral trade and fundamentally divergent economic systems.

So, one cannot help but wonder whether this Nixon-Brezhnev pact was anything but a grand exercise in theatrics of highly ceremonial importance.

To be fair, the 1973 treaty did have some tooth to it.  For example, the income of teachers, researchers, students, trainees, specialists, intergovernmental cooperation program participants, and governmental employees who were residents of one country but were temporarily physically present in the other country for educational, research, professional, or similar purposes was tax-exempt in that other country.  The personal services income earned by a resident of one country while temporarily physically present and working in the other country was also free from tax in that other country.  Finally, it had respectable, albeit minimal, clauses on non-discrimination, mutual agreement procedure, and exchange of information.

But, essentially, this is where it ended.

This may have been ambitious at the time given the atmosphere of distrust and the state of technology – but in today’s age of globalization, advanced telecommunications, and free flow of resources and capital, this treaty is plain anachronistic.  Focusing on yesterday’s income items and lacking any substantial reference to more popular income types such as business profits, dividends, and capital gains only compounds the obsolescence of this international contract.

Unfortunately, the problem goes further than that.  Showcasing a treaty that is on “life support” as a modern solution to bilateral trade is not only a disservice to the level of cooperation that the U.S. and Armenia have achieved over the past nearly thirty years.  It also sends the painful, if unintended message that those relations are premised on a treaty adopted between two antagonistic powers.

Whichever way you look at it, the U.S.-USSR double tax treaty just does not fit U.S.-Armenia relations as they stand today.

This is why the recent remarks by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin come as a healthy break from a decades-long stream of pushbacks.  Responding to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) during congressional testimony, Secretary Mnuchin publicly committed 28 hours of negotiations to work on a new tax treaty with the Armenian government – reflecting the number of Congressional signatures collected at the time for a letter addressed to the Secretary by Congressmen Sherman and David Valadao (R-Calif.) in support of the treaty.  That number has since grown to 31 Members of Congress, who represent over 22,000,000 Americans.

The Armenian government is also onboard, and has been so for decades since the founding of the republic.  Most recently, the Armenian Embassy in Washington, D.C. affirmed that Armenia is willing to conclude a tax accord on the basis of the U.S. Model Income Tax Convention.  Just last month, the importance of deepening economic ties and expanding the agenda of cooperation between the U.S. and the Republic of Armenia was highlighted at the meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bridget Brink.

The private sector is also in.  The U.S. position that there is lack of interest from the private sector is being silenced by the bustle of tech companies, knowledge-based start-ups, and capital-intensive enterprises like energy and hospitality that acknowledge the benefits of doing business cross-border: whether it’s access to capital and consumer markets in the U.S., or access to talent and regional markets in Armenia.  Paul Korian and Peklar Pilavjian, leading U.S. investors in Yerevan’s landmark Marriott hotel; internationally renowned Tufenkian Artisan Carpets; Apple Design Award-winning Triada Studio; and creator of the super-popular photo-editing app PicsArt are among the many advocates urging the lifting of tax barriers to U.S.-Armenia trade.

International tax law experts are also welcoming the long-overdue developments.  “The 1973 U.S.-USSR tax convention is long antiquated.  An income tax convention between Armenia and the United States is necessary to improve commerce between the two countries and to allow American companies operating in Armenia to do so with the protection that a modern treaty would provide,” commented Rufus Rhoades, Esq., author of the authoritative legal text on U.S. international taxation and tax treaties spanning six volumes.  “Russia has a modern treaty with the United States; Kazakhstan has a modern treaty with the United States; Ukraine has a modern treaty with the United States.  It is time for Armenia to have a modern tax treaty with the United States.”

With the U.S.-Armenia TIFA Council set to meet in a few days, this build-up of momentum comes at just the right time.  As Armenian National Committee of America National Board Member Aida Dimejian recently remarked, “The ANCA is eager to see concrete progress on a Double Tax Treaty coming out of the much-awaited meeting this March 19th in Washington, DC of the U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council.”

At the end of the day, as emphasized time and time again by the ANCA through over ten years of diligent advocacy on the topic, having a new tax treaty in place is not a benefit or a privilege or a favor to be extended by one country to another.  It is a commonplace exercise in establishing house rules on working together for mutual benefit and for the benefit of their residents and businesses.

And with the Armenian government ready to use the very language adopted by the U.S. government as the basis for treaty negotiations, that exercise goes from being a “resource-intensive process” to a “fill in the blanks” assignment, doable in under 28 hours.

So that the next time you want to sell or rent out your apartment on Komitas to a young couple, or expand your R&D operations to the free economic zone at the Mergelyan Institute, or invest in a promising high tech start-up out of TUMO, or import wine from the lush valleys of Ararat, or buy bonds issued by the Armenian Government, you can rely on a modern, living tax treaty that actually fits.

Stepan S. Khzrtian, Esq. is founding partner of LegalLab, an international business and corporate law firm with offices in Armenia and California, and a licensed attorney in both jurisdictions.  He earned his law degrees at the American University of Armenia and the University of Cambridge, where he studied international commercial tax law with an emphasis on international double tax treaties.

Dr. Shushan Karapetian Awarded Young Scholar Award in Heritage Language Education

Dr. Shushan Karapetian walking to the stage to receive the Young Scholar Award

Dr. Shushan Karapetian walking to the stage to receive the Young Scholar Award

LOS ANGELES—The National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA hosts an International Conference on Heritage/Community Languages every four years, during which the Russ Campbell Young Scholar Award in Heritage Language Education is presented. The award was established in 2014 in honor of Professor Russell Campbell, whose work was instrumental in launching the field of Heritage Language Studies. The aim of the award is to recognize outstanding scholarship by two individuals who are currently working on a dissertation, or who have filed one within the last five years, that focuses on topics related to heritage language. The award is accompanied by a $500 prize.

On February 16, during the Third International Conference on Heritage/Community Languages at UCLA, Dr. Shushan Karapetian was announced as the first winner of the Russ Campbell Young Scholar Award in Heritage Language Education for her work on Armenian heritage language speakers. The second winner was Dr. Marta McCabe from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic for her work on Czech and Slovak languages in the U.S. context. The selection committee, comprised of several blind reviewers, received submissions from various disciplines, including sociolinguistics, linguistics, and pedagogy, covering a wide range of languages such as Armenian, Chickasaw, Chinese, Cornish, Czech and Slovak, Greek, Korean, Persian, Spanish, and Russian. In regard to Dr. Karapetian’s submission on heritage language anxiety and the debilitating impact of its manifestation on heritage language development and maintenance among Armenian heritage language speakers, one of the reviewers said: “This was a really strong paper that looked at the anxieties of Armenian heritage language speakers and how that maps on to anxieties of belonging. The discussion of the psychological aspect of heritage language learning, namely, the effects of shaming is crucial and insufficiently addressed in the field.”

Dr. Karapetian received a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA in 2014, where she has taught Armenian Studies courses over the past eight years. Her dissertation, “‘How Do I Teach My Kids My Broken Armenian?’: A Study of Eastern Armenian Heritage Language Speakers in Los Angeles,” received the Society for Armenian Studies Distinguished Dissertation Award for 2011-2014. Based on her doctoral thesis, she has developed and is currently teaching an entirely new course entitled Language in Diaspora: Armenian as a Heritage Language, which has now become a part of the Armenian Studies curriculum at UCLA. Her research interests focus on heritage languages and speakers, particularly on the case of Armenian heritage speakers in the Los Angeles community, on which she has presented and lectured widely. Dr. Karapetian also holds a position with the Center for World Languages at UCLA, where she is Program Director of the Center’s High School Heritage Program, which offers language classes for heritage speakers of Armenian, Russian, Persian, Korean, and Japanese. She is currently serving on multiple committees both in the local Los Angeles and global diasporic Armenian communities aimed at reforming Armenian language instruction and promoting the use of the Armenian language.

Virabyan, Matiossian, and Astourian to Present at the ARF’s First Republic Conference

The 100th anniversary of Armenian Independence

The 100th anniversary of Armenian Independence

GLENDALE—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Western United States, in collaboration with the Cal State Northridge Armenian Studies Program, has organized a two-day academic conference, “Armenian Statehood Reborn: Achievements and Reflections,” to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first Republic of Armenia. The conference will take place on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 at the Plaza del Sol Hall on the campus of CSU Northridge.

During this two-day academic conference, the program will feature presentations by Dr. Amatuni Virabyan, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, and Dr. Stephan Astourian.

Dr. Amatuni Virabyan

Dr. Amatuni Virabyan

Dr. Amatuni Virabyan is the Director of the National Archives of Armenia. He holds a Ph.D. from the Faculty of History at the State Pedagogical Institute of Vanadzor. He has published more than 50 works, including “Armenia from Stalin to Khrushchev: Socio-political Life, 1945-1957” and “The Republic of Armenia in 1918-1920: A Collection of Documents and Materials.” He has served on the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Advisory Council since 2004 and on the Matenadaran Research Institute Advisory Council since 2007.

During the conference, Dr. Virabyan will present on the socio-economic situation during the first Republic of Armenia. The first Republic was founded and existed in the midst of great socio-economic hardship, which were mainly a result of World War I, Turkish invasions in Armenia, and the influx of refugees and orphans from the Armenian Genocide. There was a dearth of industry and agriculture, which led to widespread famine and the emergence of infectious diseases. Around 180,000 people lost their lives to starvation and the Armenian government instituted a state monopoly on bread in order to control the famine. The government made attempts at restoring the economy and implementing land reform, but the Turkish-Armenian War and the beginning of the Sovietization of the country in 1920 stymied those efforts.

Dr. Vartan Matiossian

Dr. Vartan Matiossian

Dr. Vartan Matiossian is the Executive Director of the Armenian National Education Committee in New York. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences in the Republic of Armenia. Matiossian has publishes scores of articles, translations, book reviews, and essays, mostly in Armenian, Spanish, and English. He has authored six books (five in Armenian and one in Spanish), including a biography of writer Gostan Zarian in 1998.

During the conference, Dr. Matiossian will present a lecture titled “From the Mountain to the Lake: The Ships of the Republic and Gostan Zarian.” The armed forces in the first Republic of Armenia included the so-called Sevan fleet, which included one armed sailing ship, called “Ashot Yerkat,” but also a prospective warship, called the “Geghanush,” which had been abandoned by the Russian army in Nakhichevan after the October Revolution. The transportation of the latter to Lake Sevan became the metaphorical subject in Gostan Zarian’s The Ship on the Mountain (1943), one of the few novels devoted to the history of the Republic.

Dr. Stephan Astourian

Dr. Stephan Astourian

Dr. Stephan Astourian is the William Saroyan Director of the Armenian Studies Program at UC Berkeley and an Associate Adjunct Professor in its Department of History. He is serving on the boards of various centers and research institutes, including the Executive Council of the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies at UC Berkeley. His research and publication focus is on modern Armenian, Ottoman, and Azerbaijani history and post-Soviet Caucasian politics.

Professor Astourian will present a lecture titled, “Reflections on the Origins, Development, and Aftermath of the First Armenian Republic.” There are a few implied or clearly expressed characteristics that are shared among the various strands of Armenian historiography and political thought. Professor Astourian will focus on a few of these characteristics in relation to the first Armenian Republic and what can be learned of it. Namely, some of these characteristics are the long-lasting yearning and strive of the Armenian people for independence, the endless “treasonous” behaviors of foreign powers, and an inability to analyze Armenian mistakes and take responsibility for them.

The event will be free and open to the public. The conference is generously sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Cheryl Nadjarian. Further information about the program and speakers will be presented in the coming months. Please check the conference website for information and updates.

Theater Review: Khanzadian Serves Up ‘Nice Fish’

Barry Heins and Don Fischer in "Nice Fish," directed by Rob Brownstein and Anita Khanzadian. (Photo by Ed Krieger)

Barry Heins and Don Fischer in “Nice Fish,” directed by Rob Brownstein and Anita Khanzadian. (Photo by Ed Krieger)


Upon winning his first Tony Award, actor Mark Rylance gave a surreally funny acceptance speech that began, “When you’re in town, wearing some kind of uniform is helpful.” Turned out he was reciting a prose poem by Louis Jenkins – something he did again after his second Tony win. Rylance has since adapted Jenkins’ humorous, plainspoken poems into a full-length theater piece entitled “Nice Fish,” now having its West Coast premiere (through March 25) in an Interact Theatre Company production directed by Rob Brownstein and Anita Khanzadian.

“Nice Fish” is constructed of short, loosely-woven scenes – one of them wordless – that unfold while two friends are fishing on a frozen Minnesota lake. They are joined by a handful of other characters, including a father and daughter duo (she is, ironically enough, named Flo), a fishing officer, and the occasional puppet.

Staged on a spacious set with a vast array of imaginative props, “Nice Fish” is an amusing and thoughtful (though sometimes ponderous) exploration of friendship, loneliness, the passage of time, love, regret, allergies, baloney sandwiches, and death. Devoid of any particular plot or tension, the existentialist script ultimately runs a bit too long; however, its final exchange between the two leads, written in the style of an elderly couple commenting on life – as if a movie they’d just seen – is so heartachingly beautiful that it not only justifies the play’s length but (nearly) excuses the freezing conditions in the theater.
Khanzadian and Brownstein ably lead their cast through the play’s whimsicality. While a few of the numerous scene transitions feel clunky, the directors well capture the text’s myriad comic absurdities, striking a smart balance between zaniness and profundity. It is this deft handling of a delicate script that ultimately makes “Nice Fish” a rather tasty treat.

Aram Kouyoumdjian is the winner of Elly Awards for both playwriting (“The Farewells”) and directing (“Three Hotels”). His next production, “William Saroyan’s Theater of Diaspora: The Unpublished Plays in Performance,” is slated to have its world premiere this fall.

Funeral Notice: Oshin Vertanessian

Oshin Vertanessian

Oshin Vertanessian

Born on December 19, 1956, Tehran, Iran

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, brother and relative Oshin Vertanessian, which occurred on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Memorial services will be held on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018, at 1 p.m. at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504.

He is survived by his:
Wife, Roubina Khoylian
Daughter, Anya Vertanessian
Daughter, Grace Vertanessian
Brother, Garegin & Loudmilla Vertanessian
Father-in-law, Rouzas Khoylian
Sister-in-law, Rima and Donnell Cameron and Sabrina Grigorian
Brother-in-law, Armen Khoylian
Cousin, Zorik and Rouzan Gasparian
Cousin, Armineh Gasparian

Friends, Shahinian, Ohanian, Balalian, Davidian, Aghabegian, Hambarchian and Hambarsumian families.

A memorial reception will take place following the memorial services at the church hall 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Circle of Friends, Cedars-Sinai Gift Administration, 8700 Beverly Blvd., Suite 2416, Los Angeles, CA 90048-0750.







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