BY TALAR AINTABLIAN
SANTA MONICA—Delegates from across the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA’s regional boundaries, representing 22 chapters, convened at the Sheraton Delfina Hotel in Santa Monica from July 14-16, 2011 for the ARS 91st Annual Regional Convention.
Kicking off with an opening ceremony on July 14, 2011 (details published in the July 16, 2011 issue of Asbarez), the convention proceedings commenced the same day and, over the course of a 3-day long period, focus centered on regional activities, including financials; review of the Regional Executive Board’s annual report, including a video segment focused on the past year’s activities; review of the ARS Social Services’ annual report; a video presentation on the ARS Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center; presentation of the past fiscal year’s financial report; passage of resolutions that will help guide the region in the upcoming term; and budget approval. Delegates posed questions of clarifications, evaluated existing programs and procedures, as well as commended a variety of aspects of the 2010-2011 Regional Executive’s work.
The official representative of the ARS Central Executive to the convention was Muriel Parseghian; ARS Central Executive Chairperson Vicky Marashlian and ARF Central Committee Representative Chris Guljian were also in attendance during sessions of the convention. The Regional Executive Board’s official guests to the convention included Anoush Chamlian, Hasmig Derderian, Emma Garabetian, and Hayganoush Kaloustian.
After the convention was called to order by Arousyak Melkonian, ARS-WUSA Regional Executive Chairperson, Judy Jingirian and Annie Kechichian were elected as co-chairs who would preside over the duration of the convention’s proceedings. Arsho Aghjayan, Sossie Djabrayan, Sona Bostanian, and Mayda Chahinian were elected as secretaries (the former two English, the latter two Armenian). The convention invited Silva Poladian and Maco Setrakian as guests as well.
With the ARS 70th International Convention scheduled for October 2011 in Greece, ARS Central Executive’s representative Muriel Parseghian presented the Central Executive Board’s triennial report. She also praised the region for its impact on ARS activities worldwide. Later, delegates proposed resolutions that will be presented on behalf of the western region during the international convention.
Since Arousyak Melkonian, Rita Hintlian, Sona Madarian, Hasmig Kozanian, and Vicky Kataroyan completed their two-year terms on the Regional Executive Board, five new members were elected prior to the convention’s conclusion. As such, as part of the 2011-2013 Regional Executive Board, Nyree Derderian, Kristine Keshishian, Seta Hagopian, and Carmen Libaridian continue their terms; and Judy Jingirian, Zharmen Mirzakhanyan, Armenouhi Tomassian, Angele Ohannessian, and Liza Santikian were newly elected.
Elections were also held for the four delegates who would represent the ARS-WUSA during the ARS 70th International Convention and include Rita Hintlian, Seda Khojayan, Arousyak Melkonian, and Sossie Poladian.
This year’s convention had the ARS Santa Monica “Gars” Chapter as its host for the first time and their tireless efforts helped ensure a successful and smoothly progressing three days for the regional convention and its associated events. Each evening, the convention organizing committee and “Gars” chapter members had special programs organized for delegates and guests, including a dinner on July 14 and a banquet the evening of July 15.
The evening of July 16 saw a special reception hosted at the residence of community benefactress Ashkhen Pilavjian and was unique in its own right as ARS Central Executive Chairperson Vicky Marashlian and Central Executive Treasurer Muriel Parseghian presented Pilavjian, the sole sponsor of the ARS Centennial Volume, with a copy of the publication. Although the official inauguration of this publication was held during the concluding events of the ARS Centennial in Armenia at Yerevan’s “Moscow” Theatre in October of 2010, the reception on July 16 was the prime opportunity to present Pilavjian, who was not in Yerevan at that time, with an official copy. The volume entails the history of the Armenian Relief Society from 1910-2010 and its publication was made possible through Pilavjian’s generous donation.
With a new term upon the ARS-WUSA, the region looks brightly ahead to ensure the utmost service it can offer to those in need throughout the Diaspora, Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakhk.