NEW YORK–On March 28, the ARS Eastern USA will proudly celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary (1910-2010) by hosting the ARS Centennial Gala Banquet at the prestigious Yale Club in New York, commencing at 7 p.m. The organization’s members, relatives, friends, and supporters will come together to celebrate the 100 years of service that the ARS has devoted to Armenia and Armenian communities worldwide. The gala is merely the beginning of a series of centennial celebrations that will occur over the course of this year and continue into 2010.
This premiere gala event was slated to be held in New York for historic reasons since the ARS was founded in this great city. Its founder, Edgar Agnouni (Khachadour Maloumian) was truly a visionary. After his arrival in the U.S., he brought together several existing women’s organizations that began operating as the Armenian Red Cross. During the Armenian Genocide, Agnouni joined forces with the Near East Organization to set up camps, hospitals, orphanages, and soup kitchens to help the refugees. Keeping true to its motto of “with the people,for the people,” the ARS worked among the populace of the newly established Republic of Armenia of 1918. Women continued to organize themselves and formed ARS entities in Middle Eastern and European countries as well as in Armenia. The organization continued to expand over the century and currently has chapters and entities in 26 countries.
The ARS, in its 100-year history, worked faithfully to meet the social, humanitarian, educational, and cultural needs of the Armenian people in the diaspora and in Armenia. It stood firm in its mission of supporting Armenia’s in Armenia and across the globe. The long arms of the ARS reached across continents to conduct its activities, often in face of great challenges. It established schools, social service centers, youth camps, and day care kindergartens, to name a few. It also extended its role in the international forum and is currently a roster member of the UN’s Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) and an active participant in its many working groups.
Dr. Herand Markarian, a noted playwright, literary and drama critic, director, actor, and professor will be the master of ceremonies for this extraordinary gala to honor the ARS’s 100th birthday. Markarian has long been a supporter of the ARS. He was most recently a recipient of the ARS Eastern Region’s Agnouni Award, which was in acknowledgment of his relentless work on behalf of the Armenian people over a lifetime.
The gala will have as its keynote speaker Representative Anna G. Eshoo of the 14th district of California. Eshoo is of Armenian descent and has a solid record of supporting Armenian American concerns. She is a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian issues.
Eshoo serves on one of the busiest and most important committees in Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee. She also serves on the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Many of Eshoo’s key interests have been in supporting children, women, and families. Since being elected to Congress, Eshoo has championed the interests of women throughout the country and around the world on the most significant social, economic, and health issues. She is a member of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, which works in a bipartisan manner to improve the lives of women and families.
The Centennial Banquet will be also honor ARS members with 50 years of service to the organization. Some members in that category began their ARS activities in different countries and made it a priority to join the organization after reaching the United States. Their contributions and accomplishmen’s are worthy of recognition. These proud members often pay homage to those who enlisted them into the membership’s ran’s. They often orally recount the history of their great-grandmothers, grandmothers, or mothers when they speak of how they came to join the ARS.
Guests are expected from the local communities and from ARS chapters throughout the eastern U.S. and even California. The Armenian ambassador to the United Nations, Armen Mardirossian, will also be in attendance.
The ARS Centennial Gala Banquet promises to be an unforgettable, once in a lifetime event. Come stand as one with those who have served “with the people, for the people,” and consider that open hearts, strong minds, and effective leaders are needed to lead the ARS into the next 100 years of its existence.