PASADENA–More than $125,000 was raised last Friday–June 11–during a gala banquet at the Ritz Carlton Pasadena and hosted by the Armenian Cultural Foundation to benefit activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
A generous contribution of $50,000 by Mr. & Mrs. Richard and Tina Carolan and the sponsorship of the gala banquet by Dr. and Mrs. Albert Karamanougian–coupled with the presence of 75 couples who donated $1,000 made the evening a success. This has become an annual event for the ACF.
To address the important issues facing Armenian-Americans and to examine the outstanding potential of the Armenian community–Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America provided a brief synopsis of ANC activities in the past several years.
Hamparian highlighted that since the independence of Armenia in 1991–the Armenian community has faced some difficult obstacles–since given the policies of the previous regime in Armenia–the community and the message being sent in Washington was polarized.
He commended the community for its active pursuit of the Armenian Cause and stressed that the Armenian-American involvement in pushing for Armenian-oriented issues in Washington–as well as on state and local fronts–ensured successes against very great odds.
Hamparian cited last year’s victory in defeating efforts to overturn Section 907–a ban on US assistance to Azerbaijan until that country ends it blockade of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
The ANCA Executive Director reminded the audience that Section 907 was passed in Congress in 1992 due to the diligent support and advocacy of the Armenian-American community–which also showed strong conviction last year when the measure was threatened. Hamparian explained that the Armenian-American community was being opposed not only by the Azeri and Turkish lobbies–but also the US State Department–a consortium of powerful oil companies with vested interests in Azerbaijan and five prominent Jewish-American organization.
He congratulated the community for its involvement and encouraged continued activism in the name of the Armenian Cause.
Also speaking at the gathering was Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Armen Melkonian who congratulated the attendees on the 81st anniversary of Armenia’s independence.
In his remarks–Melkonian reflected on his relations with the ARF during his one and half-year tenure as Consul General and said that he has had a rewarding experience in working with the party to address and resolve important issues facing Armenia and the community.
Melkonian went on to say that the ARF and its leadership of the West Coast have always placed the national interests of the community ahead of all other matters.
In conclusion of his statement–Melkonian presented a certificate of commendation to the ARF Western US Central Committee on behalf of Armenia’s foreign minister Vartan Oskanian–for the organization’s efforts in cooperating and working with the Consulate in Los Angeles.
In his address to the banquet Saliba thanked the attendees for their continued support for the ARF and its activities–making special mention of the regional executives of the Armenian Relief Society–the Homenetmen and the Hamazkayin–as well as the Western Prelacy Executive Council. In expressing his appreciation to the community he thanked Mr. & Mrs. Richard and Tina Carolan for the generosity they have demonstrated toward the organization and their most recent contribution of $50,000. Saliba also thanked Dr. & Mrs. Karamanougian for sponsoring the banquet and expressed the organization’s gratitude to the countless supporters and donors–making special mention to Dr. & Mrs. Stepan Martirossian and Mr. & Mrs. Manuel and Josephine Sassounian.
The program began with salutations from banquet committee chairman Khajag Dikijian.
Welcoming remarks were made by Master of Ceremonies Charly Ghailian–who in his presentation spoke of the fundamental concept of freedom–for which the ARF was established and because of which the ARF has survived for more than a century.
Ghailian praised the party for its dedication to meeting the aspirations of the Armenian people and stressed that his support for the organization was due to the ideals and beliefs of the party.
Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian said the invocation and the benediction of the evening.
Garine Avakian performed the national anthems and entertainment was provided by Anahit Nersesian–with piano accompaniment by Armen Aharonian.