BIG PINES, CA–On the weekend of September 11-13, over 50 AYF delegates representing fourteen chapters from across the western United States came together at AYF Camp Big Pines for the annual AYF-Western Region Convention. Finding itself gathered at a time when Yerevan is engaged a dangerous negotiation process with the Republic of Turkey, the Convention placed a heavy emphasis on defeating the so-called Protocols on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Armenia and Turkey.
“At the Annual Convention, much was discussed about how there is always room to improve every facet of the organization: educational, social, political, athletic, and cultural,” said Saro Haroun, one of the co-chairs elected to run the meeting. “The issue of the Protocols, however, evidently grabbed the hearts of the delegates as something urgent affecting all Armenians around the world.”
A special agenda item was set aside at this year’s Convention to discuss the developments surrounding the announcement of the Protocols between Armenia and Turkey. The delegates discussed the matter in depth after a concise briefing on what has taken place thus far presented by ARF Central Committee Member Aram Kaloustian. The meeting came to the agreement that the AYF will put its immediate priority on doing everything in its power to mobilize pressure against the signing of the Protocols.
Delegates also evaluated the 2008-2009 fiscal year and the work of the Central Executive. Some of the key issues discussed were the success of programs such as Youth Corps and the Haytoug magazine, as well as the need to take more concerted and strategic political actions. The state of the organization was also a lively debate with participants evaluating some of the strengths and weaknesses of chapters and activities.
Joining the delegates were invited guests and representatives from the ARF Badanegan Central Council, AYF Camp Management Board, ARF Shant Student Association, ARF Youth Board, as well as ARF Western Region Central Committee member Aram Kaloustian.
The Convention concluded with the election of the 2009-2010 AYF Central Executive. The regional administrative body will consist of the following elected members: Chairperson Arek Santikian, Vice Chairperson Saro Haroun, Secretary Kevork Babayan, Treasurer Tamar Injeyan, and Advisors Anya Agopian, Ishkhan Boghossian, and Allen
This seven-person team looks forward to setting in motion the course for the 2009-2010 fiscal year outlined by the Convention and usher in another successful year for the AYF.