ENCINO–Series of programs honoring long time leader–scholar–teacher and writer Hratch Dasnabedian–who visited California at the invitation of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Western US Central Committee–culminated this weekend with a plush banquet-reception Friday and a host of gatherings in San Francisco Saturday and Sunday. $50,000 was raised for the Nshan Palandjian Jemaran in Beirut from those events.
More than 400 Jemaran alumni and community members gathered at the Ferrahian School’s Avedissian Hall Friday for a banquet honoring Dasnabedian–where Prelate Moushegh Mardirossian–as well as representatives from the Catholicosate Central Executive–the ARF Bureau–the ARF Western US Central Committee–local ARF chapters and regional executives of affiliate organizations were also present.
The banquet welcoming remarks were delivered by Sako Berberian–who announced that an equally prominent writer and historian–Vahakn Dadrian–was also present at the gathering.
Dadrian–who was on tour promoting his most recent book–German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide–donated an autographed copy of the book to Dasnabedian.
The message of the Hamazkayin Regional Executive was delivered by Hagop Geovjehizian.
The speaker expressed his personal as well as the Hamazkayin’s love and respect for Dasnabedian–who–according to Geovjehizian–dedicated more than half a century to the development of the organization and the cultural literacy of the Armenian people.
The cultural portion of the evening began with the presentation of Jemaran alumni by Carmen Der Garabedian–who explained the common denominator of the group to be Jemaran.
Continuing the program Arpi Juljulian performed several Armenian selections–while Sako Dadoian recited works poetry by famous Armenian writers. Then George Baghdoian and Andranik Mouradian concluded the program with Armenian patriotic songs.
Alishan Topalian spoke on behalf of Jemaran Alumni–recounting several anecdotes about Dasnabedian–while quoting Levon Shant saying–"Serve your people everywhere and every which way you can. Serve to elevate the Armenian Nation’s cultural–spiritual and political standing."
In closing Dasnabedian spoke to the attendees–stressing the importance of the Armenian culture and education–challenging the guests to work tirelessly to preserve those ideals.
He noted that the cultural life of the Armenian community in Lebanon–is once again experiencing a developmental phase–however the economic situation of the country has made it difficult for the schools to sustain themselves.
The banquet was entirely sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Manuel and Josephine Sassounian–while Mr. and Mrs. Varoujan and Armineh Koundakjian had donated ARF Gold Centennial Commemorative coins–which at the end of the program were presented to Dasnabedian.
The Koundakjians also hosted a cocktail gathering at their home in the Hollywood Hills–where further funds were raised for the school.
At gatherings in San Francisco–donations were made in the name of Jemaran–at which point–the total amount of donations reached the $ 50,000 mark.
Dasnabedian–who will complete his 30th year as principal of the Nshan Palandjian Jemaran in Beirut–is considered one of the most important political and academic leaders of our time–and through his commentaries–publications and historical texts has become the foremost authority on ARF history and the national liberation struggle.