ENCINO–The Armenian Youth Federation celebrated in 65th anniversary with more than 600 community members and leaders during a dinner-dance last Saturday at the Avedissian Hall of Ferrahian Armenian school–organized by the AYF Central Executive and the ARF Badanegan Organization. Lending a hand to the festivities were singers Harout Pamboukjian and Nersig Ispirian.
Former AYF Central Executive member Dzia Vartabedian addressed the gathering with the 65th anniversary message. She outlined the important role the youth organization plays in the Armenian reality today–and listed the numerous contributions the AYF has made–as the youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–since its establishment in 1933.
Master of Ceremonies Raffi Haroun–himself a former CE member–introduced the speakers–one of which was Badanegan representative Sarine Ashjian who discussed the activities of her organization and outlined the mission of the Badanegan (AYF Juniors) and its role in preparing and educating Armenian youth.
In his remarks–Haroun reflected on the task bestowed upon AYF founder Gen. Karekin Njdeh–and emphasized that the outlook and purpose with which the AYF was established was not outdated. The goals of the AYF–Haroun explained–are still as current as the day they were established in 1933.
A retrospective slide show followed the presentations.
The most impressive part of the evening was the official candle-lighting ceremony which began with a pre-recorded telephone message from AYF alumnus Hampig Sassounian–who is serving a life sentence.
Sassounian outlined the role the AYF had played in his development as a young Armenian and reflected on his days as an AYF member in the Pasadena Nigol Touman chapter. He praised the organization and the Armenian people and urged them to continue the struggle.
Following Sassounian’s moving message–65 AYF and Badanegan members encircled the 65th anniversary cake–each with a candle and each singing national-patriotic songs. The dark hall was lighted with the 65 candles and the AYF members marked their organization’s birthday in style–renewing their commitment to continue to fight for the Armenian Cause.
Earlier this month–the AYF Western Region held its annual convention at AYF Camp Big Pines. After careful evaluation of the activities of the previous year–the convention elected a nine-member Central Executive comprised of the following AYF members: Sarkis Arslanian–Shoushig Avakian–Armen Boyamian–Alan Douzjian–Lori Kajadourian–Apo Mitilian–Sebouh Simonian–Abe Yacoubian and Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian.