With a slogan of “For the Homeland, With the People,” the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western U.S. Central Committee marked the party’s 129th anniversary through a series of events and programs on January 25 and 26, including a ceremony during which 25 new members joined the ranks of the party and an innovative broadcast that, this year, replaced the traditional ARF Day celebration, which is customarily held in a large auditorium.
A commitment ceremony was held on Saturday, January 25 at Ferrahian High School’s Dickranian Hall, where 24 novices (one was unable to attend), having completed a six-month educational program, joined the ranks of the ARF. The ceremony began with ARF Western U.S. Education committee member Aram Manoukian inviting the novitiates to the front and introducing long-time ARF leader Arto Keuleyan, who officiated the ceremony.
In his remarks, Keuleyan announced that the new members will be inducted into the organization as the Rosdom generation, in honor of one of the three founders of the ARF.
In his remarks, he cited the great ARF leaders, Simon Vratsian, who in his writings had said, “If Kristapor was the mind and the will of the ARF and Zavarian was its heart and conscience, Rosdom was [the ARF’s] mind, will and conscience—he was the [embodiment of] ARF in all its essence.”
Keulyan said that Vratsian has had an indelible impact on his life, reminding the novices that “the ARF is a not a group for optimistic dreamers. It is an organization for our shared struggle. It is a political party that requires effort and hard work.”
He urged the new members to be ready take party in any effort that advances the collective interests with the conviction of the ARF’s Program and ideology.
On behalf of the ARF Western U.S. Central Committee, Razmig Shirnian welcomed the new members, adding that during the novitiate program they were introduced to the ARF’s ideology and learned that the organization’s—and the ARF member’s—sole purpose was in service to the Armenian people and the Armenian Nation.
Following the ceremony, the ARF Western U.S. Central Committee hosted a gathering at the adjacent Avetissian Hall, where more than 750 community members joined in celebrating the ARF’s 129th anniversary. The event featured a rousing performance by popular singer Harout Pamboukjian who enlivened the evening with his music and rendition of patriotic songs.
The celebration’s Mistress of Ceremonies Mirna Kassamanian welcomed the guests and, in brief remarks, said that ARF anniversary celebration should serve as an opportunity for all to recommit themselves to the ideals of the party and to advance the Armenian Cause.
This year, by a decision of the ARF Western U.S. Central Committee, the annual gathering marking the party’s anniversary was changed to an hour-long television broadcast that aired on January 26 at 6 p.m. on Horizon Television, US Armenia and ARTN/Shant channels, and was live-streamed on the social media platforms of Asbarez, Horizon and ARF Western Region. The aim of this experimental and innovative approach was to reach more people with the ARF’s message provide an accounting of the organization’s activities to a wider audience. According analytics from the social media platforms, tens of thousands of people tuned in to the broadcast, with several ARF chapters hosting watch parties in local community centers, allowing hundreds to come together and mark the venerable party’s anniversary.