A two-day seminar organized by the Central Executive (CE) of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) convened on March 28 in Montreal at the Armenian Center Aharonian Hall.
The seminar attracted 350 ARS members from both the United States and Canada.
In opening the seminar–the Regional Executive chairwoman of ARS Canada Maro Froundjian–conveyed the region’s message–while ARS CE chairwoman Maro Minassian spoke about the importance of the seminar.
Representatives of ARS Regional Executives of both the East and West coasts of the United States–from South America–and Canada were present: Maral Torigian–S. America–Sonia Peltekian–ARS-West–Georgie Ann Oshagan–ARS-East–and Maro Froundjian–Canada.
Also present were past CE chairs as well as members Chake Minassian–Vanouhi Issajanian–Janet Markarian–Annig Zindarzian–Haiganoush Kohler–Mako Megerdichian–Araxie Aintablian–Margarite Stepanian–and Arpie Sabounjian (from Haleb–Syria).
Before moving to lectures–the seminar viewed a video of the daily life of students at ARS-sponsored kindergartens in Armenia.
After the viewing–ARS CE member Houri Najarian introduced the first lecturer Nairi Derderian–who presented a slide show titled "Volunteer organizations in the 21st century."
The accountant for the ARS CE George Katsarakis–gave the second lecture on "Fundraising and financial undertakings of non-profitable organizations."
After lunch–participants visited the St. Hagop secondary Armenian School–during which time principal Hagop Bulgarian expressed his gratitude for ARS’s constant support. ARS CE chair Maro Minassian presented a $15,000 for a pledge made earlier in the year.
At the afternoon session–the principal of the Toronto Armenian school Raffi Doudaklian presented an lecture–in Armenian–on the "preservation of Armenian culture in Armenian schools," tying in a selection from Vahe Berbarian’s "In The Name of The Father and The Son" about an Armenian father who wills 3,000 Armenian books to his teacher son–who is utterly puzzled about what to do with them. The lecture touched the hearts of participants who listened intently.
In its mission to support Armenian schools–the ARS CE presented a $15,000 donation to the newly constructed Toronto Armenian school.
The head of the ARS Western USA’s social services office Sona Tsendzalian then gave a lecture "The Social Difficulties of Women–and Their Effects."
At an 8:00 PM social gathering–the chairwoman of the ARS CE Maro Minassian honored Atom Egoyan and Arsinee Khanjian who then addressed the gathering; Minassian presented the newly established ARS "Ararat" honor–a stone plaque–to Egoyan.
The seminar convened the next morning with Noushig Eloyan’s lecture on the critical and inescapable mission of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in undertaking and resolving many issues.
The following lecture "The Millennium Development Goals. The Role and Impact of NGO participation," was presented by Joyce Buchanan.
Penny Giragosian’s spoke next on the role of NGOs and presented three young women–Lori Hovsepian–Linda Kharaboian and Karin Arakelian–all graduates of the Montreal St. Hagop secondary Armenian School who presented the ARS’s activities as an NGO.
After lunch–Hagop Der Khatchadourian addressed the issue of Diaspora-Armenia Relations.
The last presentation at the seminar was by Richard Giragosian on Javakhk.