Montebello, CA–Over 400 Armenian American community members and leaders from throughout Southern California gathered in Montebello on Sunday, October 26, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society.
The banquet, hosted in “Baghramian Hall” of Montebello’s Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral, featured a moving medal and commendation ceremony during which Hamazkayin’s US Central Executive Representative Edward Misserlian recounted the decades of selfless contributions to Armenian culture made by beloved teacher and actress Carmen Der Garabedian and inspirational Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian. The mistress of ceremonies for the evening was Dr. Talar Chahinian.
Both honorees delivered sentimental acceptance speeches, reflecting on pivotal stages of their life, decades of community service and leadership, and the evolution of their professional and personal involvemen’s alongside the very growth and development of Hamazkayin.
To reflect on the passing of 80 years of Hamazkayin service, guests viewed a video presentation documenting Hamazkayin’s involvemen’s in the Diaspora and Armenia.
The main speaker was Hamazkayin Western USA Regional Executive Chairman Dr. Viken Yacoubian, who also presented a commemorative plaque to banquet sponsors Drs. Vicken and Aline Sahagian.
The 80th anniversary program also included energetic performances by Hamazkayin Ani Dance Group, Lark Musical Society Choir, and Razmig Mansourian.
In addition to the program, Hamazkayin Western USA Regional Executive Member Anita Hawatian announced the recipients of the 2008 Hamazkayin Scholarship–Myrna Douzjian in Literature and Raffi Barsoumian in Theater. Hawatian stated that Hamazkayin is proud to be setting a new tradition of support to Armenian American graduate students who actively demonstrate a passionate connection to Armenian culture.
Special guests and community leaders joined the celebration, including Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Mesrob Shaboyan, ARF Bureau Member Vicken Hovsepian, Hamazkayin Central Executive Member Mgo Yapoujian from Lebanon, ARF Western Region Central Committee Chairman Avedik Izmirlian, Rev. Father Arshag Khatchadourian and Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian.