DUBAI (ARF Press Service)–An unprecedented $5 million dollars was raised over the weekend at a gala benefit for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s political activities throughout the world. The benefit gala, held Saturday at the Festival City Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai was attended by hundreds of benefactors and presided over by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.
The event’s contributions surpassed previous such gatherings held in Geneva in 2001 and in Paris in 2005.
The global economic crisis did not deter benefactors from stepping forward this year and recognizing the important work of the ARF’s international political offices in the last four years. The money raised will greatly elevate the work of Hai Tahd in meeting the challenges facing Armenia’s foreign policy priorities.
Presided over by Catholicos Aram I, a large number of businesspeople and ARF members and supporters from Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Armenia came together to reaffirm their commitment to the political activities of the ARF. More than 250 donors took part in the event.
Members from the ARF’s ministerial rank in Armenia, Arsen Hamabrtsoumian, Aramayis Grigorian and Spartak Seyranian were joined at the event by their counterpart in Lebanon Andre Tabourian. Members from the ARF’s Armenian parliamentary bloc and the ARF’s Lebanon member of parliament, Hagop Pakradouni were also at the gala. Also present were Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Vahagn Melikyan, Armenian Relief Society Central Executive chairwoman Vicky Marashlian, as well as the majority of the ARF Bureau and directors of Hai Tahd offices in Europe, the Middle East and Moscow.
Shahe Barsoumian, a Master of Ceremonies and a member of the organizing committee, welcomed the guest and those who were unable to attend for their continued support and generosity. He discussed the various the activities of the ARF’s political offices around the world, underscoring the positive impact of their work on Armenia’s standing in the world.
Representing the UAE and Dubai region, Hrair Soghomonian welcomed those gathered and throughout the evening recognized the donors who had generously contributed to the event.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s message was read by Armenia’s Education Minister Spartak Seyranian.
“New components are continually being added to the concept of %u218Hai Tahd’,” said Sarkisian in his message, adding that international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the just resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are being supplemented by new challenges. “We need to assist in the strengthening of our homeland.”
The second Master of Ceremonies, ARF Bureau member and chairman of the ARF parliamentary bloc, Vahan Hovannesian, presented the gathered guests with a list of donors.
With a message to “believe, work and triumph,” ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian addressed the gathering, expressing gratitude to the generous benefactors gathered at the event on behalf of the organization.
Markarian said the network of Hai Tahd offices are “effectively second embassies in Washington, Brussels, Moscow, Beirut and Tbilisi. They coordinate and marshal the efforts of Armenia’s and our friends toward elevating Armenia’s political stature internationally, securing economic assistance to Armenia, defending rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, the realization of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and to counter Turkish and Azeri anti-Armenian propaganda.”
Markarian added that defense of the Armenian Cause was, for decades, an undertaking and priority of the Diaspora. He welcomed that Armenia and its population have now joined the fight for justice, making Hai Tahd a truly pan-Armenian reality.
At the conclusion of the event, Catholicos Aram I addressed the gathering highlighted the pan-Armenian nature of Hai Tahd, commending the current Armenian leadership for elevating the Armenian Cause within the country’s foreign policy priorities. He called the event not merely a fundraiser but rather an opportunity to renew the commitment toward the successful fruition of national aspirations.
Renowned and popular singer Rouben Hakhverdian entertained the guests during the banquet.
A DVD chronicling the ARF’s political activities in Europe, Russia and the CIS, the Middle, and within international bodies was distributed to the guests and donors.