GLENDALE–The Armenian Relief Society Western Regional Executive marked the organization’s 89th anniversary during a celebration Sunday at the Hoover High School Auditorium–in the presence of numerous dignitaries–organizational leaders–and community members.
Among those attending the ceremony were Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee member John Kossakian–Armenia’s Consul to Los Angeles Armen Hairapetian and newly-elected Glendale City Council member Rafi Manoukian.
Mistress of Ceremonies Arusiag Melkonian welcomed the crowd to the celebration–stressing that the ARS had more than 18,000 members and 200 chapters working throughout the world–in Armenia and Karabakh.
Mayda Bezdjian remarked on behalf of the ARS Regional Executive–emphasizing the important contributions of the ARS to the community and highlighting the organization’s benevolent mission in the world.
She stressed that in 1984–the Western Regional Executive was created and announced that in May a special celebration will mark that anniversary.
Bezdjian also described the network of ARS Social Service centers throughout the Western Region–saying that the centers in North Hollywood–Hollywood–Glendale–Montebello and San Francisco served an estimated 50,000 Armenia’s annually.
Kossakian delivered the ARF Central Committee message–stressing the role the ARS had played in the development and organization of Diasporan communities–undertaking the most challenging task of that process.
He characterized the ARS as the only organization which aims to close the gap left behind by the government–in providing social services. However–Kossakian stressed that the ARS must qualitatively and quantitatively increase its membership and aim to attract the youth into its ran’s.
The ARS Central Committee was represented by Houri Der-Simonian–in whose message the international achievemen’s of the ARS were outlined.
Der-Simonian announced that the ARS was currently registered as a non-governmental organization working under the auspices of the United Nations–through whose programs–the organization protects and advocates for the rights of Armenian women throughout the world.
The keynote speaker Marie-Rose Abousefian–who was introduced by ARS Regional Office Executive Director Rita Vorperian–recounted the myriad difficulties which the ARS has overcome throughout the 89 years of service to the Armenian people.
She pointed out that the ARS was borne outside of the homeland and flourished outside Armenia–because of mission to take care of its own people and provide for the basic necessities of the community.
In a historical overview of ARS activities–Abousefian stressed the ARS’ mission of maintaining and preserving the Armenian heritage and culture–as well as the organization’s drive continue the rich Armenian tradition.
She closed her remarks by expressing confidence that the ARS would was prepared to confront the changing needs of the Armenian nation in the new century.
The program began with the singing of the US–Armenian and ARS anthems by Garen Gharibian–accompanied by Armen Aharonian.
The evening’s celebration also included a rich cultural presentation featuring songs performed by Anahid Shahnazarian–with piano accompaniment by Armen Aharonian and Ararat Petrossian on Duduk. The father and son due of Raffi and Haybert Alahverdian performed a series of songs to the tunes of a traditional Armenian folk ensemble–while the Hamazkayin Ani Dance troupe demonstrated the art of dance under the direction of Yeghia Hoshalian and Suzy Parseghian-Tarpinian.
The program closed with remarks by Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian.