BEVERLY HILLS-More than $450,000 was raised at the annual Armenian Cultural Foundation Banquet Sunday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Ballroom for the annual Armenian Cultural Foundation banquet, which became a celebration of the organization’s achievemen’s and provided the ACF leadership with an opportunity to report on the activities of the organization.
This annual event, which attracted more than 500 community leaders and benefactors and has become a Western Region tradition, is an opportunity for the ACF to thank and acknowledge its supporters, whose commitment and dedication have enabled the regional entity and local chapters to enhance their community activities through the construction of youth centers and sponsorship of other worthy projects.
Among the special guests at the event were Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Dr. Vicken Hovsepian, this year’s event sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Cheryl Nadjarian, Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Armen Liloyan, Rev. Manouk Markarian, representing the Western Primate Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Rev, Andon Saroyan of the Armenian Catholic Church, Vice President of the Lincy Foundation Harut Sassounian and National Executive Council representative Khajag Dikijian, as well as regional board representatives of the Homenetmen, the Armenian Relief Society, the Armenian National Committee-Western Region, the Hamazakayin and affiliate organizations.
"You are our shareholders," said ARF Bureau member Dr. Vicken Hovsepian, who in his address to the banquet described the critical role ACF supporters and donors play in the every-day life of the organization’s advancement and its pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
Hovsepian continued by delineating the organization’s priorities both in the Diaspora and Armenia, emphasizing the important challenges facing the ARF in Armenia, and as a result throughout the world.
He recalled last year’s ACF Banquet, where a special programmatic emphasis was placed on the ARF’s participation in the 2007 Armenian Parliamentary election, adding that it was the imperative to engage the Armenian public with the ARF’s political goals and mission that prompted the party to take part in the 2008 presidential elections.
The ARF leader explained that given the political culture of elections dominating Armenia’since its independence, the ARF, throughout the years, had participated in the election process to present an alternative, with the conviction that the culture will eventually change to a truly democratic process.
To that end, he explained that, in successive elections, support for the ARF had grown exponentially and the base within the electorate that wanted change was expanding with every election.
Hovsepian also discussed the post-election events in Armenia, saying that the motivations of the opposition, led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, were not to instill real change in the country and were guided by foreign influences, the most logical step for the ARF-in the national interests of Armenia-was to join the governing coalition and as an active entity attempt to initiate much-needed reforms in the political life of Armenia.
Especially moving was Hovsepian’s commemoration of the Lisbon Five at the beginning of his address. He asked for the observance of a moment of silence in memory of the five young Armenia’s who in 1983 sacrificed themselves at the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon for the pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
Also speaking during the event was ARF Western US Central Committee chairman Avedik Izmirlian, who after extending his gratitude to the attendees delineated the ACF’s activities throughout the year.
He highlighted efforts by the Glendale and Los Angeles chapters for following up on plans to build youth centers in their communities. In Glendale, he said, construction had already begun on a state-of-the-art youth center, with construction expected to be completed in the near future.
Izmirlian also announced that a ground-blessing ceremony was held in Hollywood last month, paving the way for groundbreaking and subsequent construction of a youth-athletic center in Little Armenia.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Izmirlian presented a commemorative plaque to the evening’s sponsors Mr. & Mrs. Harry and Cheryl Nadjarian.
ARF Western US Central Committee member Aram Kaloustian spoke of the youth activities of the organization, outlining the activism of the Armenian Youth Federation, the ARF Junior Organization and the ARF Shant Student Association and crediting the successes of the activities to the generosity of ACF supporters. Kaloustian also emphasized the unprecedented season of AYF Camp, which was in the midst of a seven-session season.
A video presentation highlighting ACF’s activities in the past year was also featured. The video especially focused on the 100th anniversary of Asbarez and the upcoming 20th anniversary of Horizon Armenian Television. Plans for the both entities to move into a new media center in the heart of Little Armenia were also revealed, with footage of the construction providing a glimpse into the new facilities.
The program began with Mistress of Ceremonies Lena Bozoyan’s welcoming remarks. The US and Armenian national anthems were performed by Alenoush Yeghnazar, accompanied on the piano by Maestro Mikael Avetisyan.
Musical presentations were made throughout the evening by the Cilicia Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Avetisyan and soloists Alenoush Yeghnazar, Sarkis Yeghnazar, Razmik Chalian, Armine Chalian, Noonik Martirosian, Tigran Stepanyan and Raffi Kerbabian. Allen Aghajanian performed during the cocktail reception preceding the banquet.