BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
GLENDALE–Noted scholar and community activist Dr. Rubina Peroomian was awarded the Mesrob Mashtots medal on behalf of His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia during a luncheon Sunday at the Brandview Collection organized by the Armenian Educational Foundation–honoring Peroomian with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement award.
A stunned Peroomian accepted the medal from Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–who also read the accompanying Catholicosal Encyclical praising the educator for her years of service to the Armenian community and to the advancement of Armenian education.
It was precisely for the aforementioned reasons that the AEF decided to bestow its Lifetime Achievement award on a woman who has defied the norm and has excelled as an educator–an academician and community activist.
The luncheon–which was attended by more than 250 community members–became a testimonial for Peroomian’s lifetime of activities on behalf of the Armenian community.
Peroomian was introduced by the AEF Chair of Armenian Studies at UCLA Prof. Richard Hovannisian–who has been a mentor and an encouraging force in Peroomian’s ascent in academia.
In his remarks–Hovannisian stressed that the accomplishmen’s had not surprised him–simply because–given her upbringing and childhood–there was no other alternative for Peroomian but an active involvement in the pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
He did point out–however–that Peroomian’s achievement and activism place her among a unique group of pioneering Armenian women in history–but added that her achievemen’s were far from being over and wished many more years of success.
A humbled Peroomian took the stage to accept the award–which was presented by Mistress of Ceremonies Nora Sahagian and Prof. Hovannisian.
Peroomian approached the podium to the applause and standing ovation of the crowd. She thanked the AEF for the program and the attendees–making certain to point out that she was undeserving of such an accolade.
In her emotional speech–Peroomian said that she wanted to share the award with all the women who had forsaken all for the perseverance of the Armenian nation. She also added that the award was being accepted on the merit that would provide her with an added impetus to continue to work toward the resolution of national issues. She also expressed that the award needed to be shared with the AEF whose mission has been to advance the educational aspirations of the Armenian nation both in the homeland and Diaspora.
Peroomian was also presented with a recognition proclamation from State Assemblyman Scott Wildman who wished her much success in her continuing endeavors. Similar proclamations were presented to Peroomian by Lena Kaimian on behalf of Rep. James Rogan and Mannik Khachatrian on behalf of State Senator Adam Schiff.
Prior to inviting Peroomian to the podium personal testimonials were presented by Drs. Hasmig Tashjian and Rita Vorperian–both of whom praise Peroomian for her professional and personal affiliations and congratulated their classmate on the honor.
Peroomian has been a woman of firsts. She was the first woman to serve on the Western Prelacy Executive Council and she is currently the first Armenian woman to be a member of the Executive Council of the World Council of Churches. She was also the first recepient of a doctorate from the UCLA Naregatsi chair in Modern Armenian Language.
The program also included an opportunity for the AEF to unveil its 50th anniversary project of adopting schools in Armenia. AEF’s Herand DerSarkissian announced that in marking the 50th birthday of the organization–a project to rebuild schools in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has taken center-stage.
Congratulatory telegrams received from Prelate of Tehran Archbishop Artak Manoukian–Armenia’s former Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian–as well as other Armenian educational and women’s organizations abroad. The reading of the telegrams was conducted by Sahagian and AEF member Mina Shirvanian.
The program also included remarks by AEF Board member Vahik Petrossian–who invited Wildman and other political officials to make their presentations. Also attending the luncheon was Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Armen Melkonian.
The national anthems were performed by Anita Matta.