The 73rd International Convention of the Armenian Relief Society was held in Yerevan from October 16 to 20.
Of the 12 ARS regions, 11 participated in the convention, with 51 delegates; 11 members of the outgoing Central Executive; 11 guests from Artsakh and other regions, ARF Bureau member Raffi Donabedian; Hamazkayin representatives Artashes Shahbazyan and Dikran Babikian; as well as 66 observers and five staff members.
The convention assessed, in depth, the multi-faceted activities of the ARS Central Executive’s 2019 to 2023 term and found its efforts commendable, noting that most of the efforts were carried out under extraordinary circumstances at an existential time for the Armenian people.
The convention also discussed the organizations’s PR, financial, educational, social service, healthcare and organizational activities, emphasizing the urgent issues that arose during the Central Executive’s tenure. Thus, the meeting passed resolutions that would ensure the successful continuation of these efforts.
Artsakh and its forcibly displaced population became the focal point of the 72nd ARS International Convention. A comprehensive assessment and discussion took place about the vast needs of the displaced Artsakh residents. The convention affirmed the imperative to utilize all efforts to assist and stand by our sisters and brothers of Artsakh, who are facing unfathomable obstacles and challenges.
A briefing was presented on the efforts that already are underway and as a practical step, an on-the-spot fundraising initiative took place, which brought in $500,000 from regional bodies and members.
Artsakh ARS members presented eyewitness accounts of their activities and the hardships suffered by Artsakh’s forcibly displaced population and their current predicament as they settle in Armenia’s various provinces.
The convention participants also were briefed about important service and activities, as well as the challenges, of the ARS Akhourian “Mother and Child” Clinic. One of the key challenges was the imperative to expand the facility. Another on-the-spot fundraising effort brought in $60,000 to benefit the ongoing efforts of the medical center.
The Convention also reaffirmed to continue the program that are already in progress.
The difficult crisis facing the Armenian communities of Lebanon and Syria was also focal point of the convention, whose participants were briefed about the difficulties facing these crucial hubs for Armenians. Methods of further assisting these communities were discussed.
The Convention concluded with the election of the Society’s new Central Executive Board. The CEB’s function is to govern the international organization’s administrative and organizational aspects. The following members were elected to serve for the 2023-2027 term:
Arousyag Melkonian (Western USA) – Chairperson
Talin Daghlian (Eastern USA) – Vice-Chairperson
Nayiri Balanian (Eastern USA) – Secretary
Annie Kechichian (Western USA) – Treasurer
Irma Kassabian (Eastern USA) – Accountant
Zharmen Mirzakhanyan (Western USA) – Advisor
Arminee Karabetian (Canada) – Advisor
Zoya Kocharyan (Armenia) – Advisor
Siran Ambarjian (Middle East, Syrian Relief Cross) – Advisor
Liza Tchalikian Gillibert (Europe, France) – Advisor\
Nora Sevagian (Australia) – Advisor