ARS Social Services Distributes Thanksgiving Cheer
GLENDALE—Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian visited the Armenian Relief Society of Western US headquarters on November 26. Prior to the President’s meeting with the ARS representatives, he met with needy children who were awaiting a concert and turkey giveaway at the center.
The guests included Western Prelate Arch. Moushegh Mardirossian, Artsakh Presidential Advisor Georgi Petrossian, NKR Permanent Representative in Washington Robert Avetisyan, Armenia’s Consul General to to Los Angeles Sergei Sarkisov, ARS Central Executive Chairperson Vicky Marashlian and member Annie Kechichian, ARF Central Committee representative Dr. Viken Yacoubian, Armenia Fund Chairman Antranig Baghdassarian, and other clergy, advisors, staff members, representatives of Armenian community organizations, current and former ARS central and regional executives, and chapter executives.
ARS Regional Executive Chairperson Lena Bozoyan made welcoming remarks to the honored guests noted the important projects that the ARS has undertaken in Artsakh during the past two decades, including the Sosse Kindergartens. She said that whenever the youth visit Artsakh, they return feeling more Armenian, more patriotic and more determined to achieve our national aspirations and goals.
Bozoyan said that the ARS with a keen sense of the priorities in Artsakh was one of the initiators of the Armenia Fund and has participated in the annual telethons. Bozoyan said that the latest campaign for the construction of the Vartenis to Martakert Highway has economic and strategic importance to Artsakh and the ARS has resolutely raised funds for that purpose. Noting the difficulties faced by the Armenians in Syria, she said that part of the telethon proceeds would be allocated to them.
Sahakian spoke to ARS members with admiration and gratitude regarding their organization’s century-old humanitarian mission. He told his audience that they probably could not imagine the importance of the kindergartens for Artsakh, following the dark days of war, because that’s where the critical stage of the development happens for the future generation of protectors of the homeland, artists, engineers, and social and political scientists. He applauded the attention to the educational system, despite the difficult overall situation in Artsakh.
Sahakian explained the vital and strategic importance of the Vartenis to Martakert Highway in terms of economic development, as well as the further development of the ethno-tourism industry and hydroelectric power generation. He pointed out that the development of ethno-tourism would further develop ties between the Diaspora and the homeland, and the development of additional hydroelectric plants would make Artsakh an exporter of electric energy. Sahakian then introduced Sarkisov.
On behalf of the ARS, Bozoyan presented a memento to the President, then invited the attendees to a reception. Archbishop Mardirossian blessed the tables, accompanied by Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian. The ARS members got a chance to meet with President Sahakyan and Consul General Sergei Sarkisov.
While the reception was going on, downstairs the ARS Social Services children’s Hoy Lari concert was in progress. The Social Services invited 200 needy families to the performance and to take home an uncooked turkey and CD compliments of the Mr. & Mrs. Sean and Nadia Shamsi of the Shamsi Law Firm.
Earlier, donors including students from Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian School, had provided complete Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings, and the ARS Social Services Glendale office distributed them to needy families.
On Thanksgiving Day, during the Armenia Fund Telethon, Bozoyan delivered a televised message, urging the world-wide audience to donate to the telethon “to assist, to support and to overcome” for the sake of the people of Armenia, for the reconstruction of Artsakh and for the perseverance of the Armenians of Syria.
The ARS delegation headed by ARS Regional Executive Vice Chairperson Carmen Libaridian, announced that the greater world-wide ARS family contributed $40,000 to the Telethon, which featured the construction of the Vartenis to Martakert Highway as the main project.