YEREVAN–The Armenian Relief Society’s 69th International General Assembly convened Saturday with the participation of delegates representing the various chapters of the organization, including Karabakh and Javakhk.
The opening ceremony, which was open to the public, was attended by Armenia’s Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakobian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian, and Bureau members Aghavan Vartanian and Hagop Der-Khachadourian, who served as the Bureau’s representative to the convention. Joining other government officials and members of the diplomatic corps stationed in Armenia were Director of the Armenian National Archives Virap Amatouni, Armenia’s former first lady, Bella Kocharian, chairman of the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia, Armen Rustamian, representative of the Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association Massis Baghdasarian, AGBU representative Ashot Ghazarian, as well as representatives of the His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia and His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenia’s.
Mistress of Ceremonies and chairwoman of the ARS Armenia Regional Executive Alvart Petrosian welcomed the delegates and guests and, following the singing of the Armenian and ARS anthems, read the encyclical by Catholicos Aram I. She also read welcoming remarks from Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Prime Minister Ara Harutunian and the president of the Heritage Party of Armenia Raffi Havannisian.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Sargsyan praised the ARS and its activities and the pledged the government’s support for ARS initiatives. Diaspora Minister Hakobian also commended the ARS and praised its efforts both in Armenia and the Diaspora.
Outgoing ARS Central Executive chairperson Hasmig Derderian presented an overview of the organization’s international activities and highlighted plans for the celebration of the organization’s centennial in 2010.
During a special ceremony, the ARS was presented a plaque by the chairperson of the Mothers of Karabakh Freedom Fighters Association Galia Mayrig, who also detailed the ARS Kindergarten Fund activities in Karabakh and presented moving accounts about the impact the ARS has had in touching the lives of children.
The opening ceremonies were covered by all Armenian media and were a highlight of the nightly newscasts there.