SYDNEY–An overflow crowd at the Nerses and Leslie Nalbandian Hall of the Hamazkayin Arshag and Sophie Galstaun Armenian School in Sydney–Australia–attended the 113th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
The event took place in the afternoon of Sunday–November 9–following festivities earlier in the day on the scenic grounds of the school.
The keynote speaker was ARF Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian–from the Western United States. He was introduced by Asadour Shougayan–representing Australia’s ARF organization.
"Celebrations such as these lose their meaning if along with the enjoyable and emotive–the opportunity is not taken to give an accounting of the ARF’s activities–which has traditionally been the basis for and the immediate value of ARF Day celebrations," Hovsepian stated.
He went on to present the worldwide efforts of the ARF–focusing on efforts during the past year–from the work of ANC offices in Washington–Brussels–and Moscow to efforts in the Middle East–Karabagh–and Javakhk.
The speaker analyzed the work of the ARF in the political life of the Armenian Republic–noting–"Today–the most complex challenge confronting us is transitioning from the conceptual and the ideal to the practical and immediate while not losing the meaning and significance of that work–which refers to our ideology and grand national vision–the creation of an utterly free–fully independent–and uncompromisingly united Armenia–where every individual has the sacred opportunity and right to live and create a peaceful–just–and prosperous life.
Dr. Hovsepian qualified the ARF’s participation in the coalition government in Armenia as "uncomfortable and cautious." He added that to bring its positive participation in–and place its own stamp on–the political culture being developed in Armenia today–the ARF heeded the people’s "expectations of results and demand for change" and therefore assumed responsibility for three government ministries (agriculture–health–social welfare).
"The only common thread present is that the three ministries are connected to the people’s immediate needs and the problems of the humbler segmen’s of society," he said.
In closing–Dr. Hovsepian stated: "All of us have a good understanding of our grand national vision–and our march toward that vision continues with your participation–your assistance–and the permanent promise that on the frontlines of our sacred collective campaign you will always find us–the ARF."
The day’s MC was Armen Karamanian–who on behalf of the ARF Youth Organization of Australia stated: "We vow to continue the struggle for our just deman’s–our courage forever fortified with the ideas of Kristapor–the conscience of Simon–and the will of Rostom–to continue the sacred task of achieving the totality of the Armenian people’s rights–from Artsakh to Mush–to Van-Vasbourakan–to the land of Ararat."
The celebration ended with Karnig Sarkisian’s renditions of national and revolutionary songs.
A fundraising dinner at the Fresh Catch restaurant on the night of Saturday–November 8–attracted some 100 members of the community.
In addition to Dr. Hovsepian–present were special guests Mr. and Mrs. Arshag and Sophie Galstaun–member of the New South Wales legislature Gladys Berejiklian–and permanent representative of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic to Australia Varoujan Iskenderian.
Dr. Hovsepian and Asadour Shougayan addressed the gathering. During the celebratory atmosphere–nearly $50,000 was raised for the ARF.
Also worth noting is that on Friday–November 7–an evening of revolutionary songs was held at the North Sydney League Club with singer Karnig Sarkissian and organist Jacque Tutunjian. Some 500 Australian-Armenia’s participated in the festivities.