SANTA MONICA—Looking ahead to a new century of service, the Armenian Relief Society Western US Regional Convention kicked off Thursday morning with an official opening ceremony at the Sheraton Delphina Hotel.
Present at the opening ceremony were Western Prelate, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee representative, Chris Gouldjian, Archpriest Viken Vassilian, ARS Central Executive chairwoman, Vicky Marashlian, Central Executive representative to the convention, Muriel Parseghian, Chairwoman of the Western Prelacy Executive Council, Rima Boghosian, Armenian National Committee of American-Western Region Executive Director, William Bairamian, Homenetmen Western Regional Executive representative, Nora Tchaparian, Asbarez Editor, Ara Khachatourian, members of the ARS Regional Executive and delegates and guests.
In her remarks, Central Executive member Parseghian highlighted the imperative for the convention to look ahead and rejuvenate the activities of the organization to best meet the challenges facing the Armenian nation both in the homeland and the Diaspora.
Having just marked the organization’s centennial last year, Parseghian emphasized the importance for the convention to look beyond the coming year and engage in the assessment of the organization’s priorities as it begins second century of service.
In his remarks, on behalf of the ARF Central Committee, Guldjian reflected on how his own life would have been different if the ARS was not an active force in his community of Orange County when he and his family immigrated to the US in the 1980s. He recounted the service the ARS provided in the then burgeoning Armenian community, by establishing Saturday schools, by bringing the community together regularly and by becoming an important mobilizer in the community’s development, which included the establishment of a church, a school and a community center.
Guldjian also stressed that the tireless efforts and work of the ARS makes the ARF whole and the two are inseparable entities.
ARS Western Regional Executive chairperson, Arousyak Melkonian echoed the need for progressive action as a way to enhance the activities of the ARS and reiterated the organization’s commitment to serve the Armenian people in the Diaspora, Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk.
The Prelate blessed the organization and the meeting and highlighted the close ties the Prelacy enjoys with the ARS and emphasized the important mission of the organization that has guided it for more than a century.
The 91st Convention is being hosted by the Santa Monica Gars Chapter. Its chairwoman, Helga Sarkis welcomed the guests at the opening ceremonies and provided a brief overview of her chapter and the activities its members have accomplished.
At the beginning of the program the US, Armenian and the ARS anthems were performed by Anahid Nercisyan.