Over 2,000 supporters gathered on Sunday–January 11 to celebrate the 113th Anniversary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Organized under the auspices of the ARF Central Committee–Western Region–the event took place at Pasadena City College Sexson Auditorium.
Present were representatives of Western Region Prelate and Primate–Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Gagik Kirakossian–ARF CC Western Region members–Prelacy Executive Council and Board of Regents members–and representatives of Regional Executives of the Armenian Relief Society–Homenetmen–and Hamazkayin.
Opening the event–the Pasadena Azadamard Homenetmen’scouts–accompanied by the Homenetmen Regional band–conducted the flag ceremony–followed by the US and Armenian national anthems–and the ARF anthem sung by Nersik Ispiryan.
Armenian Youth Federation member Myrna Douzjian presented opening remarks–and also served as the emcee for the evening. Eloquently speaking in Armenian and English–Douzjian noted that the ARF founders Christapor–Rostom–and Zavarian were only youth when they established the powerful political party. Conveying pride as an AYF member in having been given the opportunity to conduct the evening’s program–Douzjian said that the transfer of such tremendous responsibility to a youth is proof that the ARF consistently fosters the development of the future generation and values all of its undertakings.
ARF CC–Western Region member Hovan Tashjian delivered the CC message–noting the spirit of devotion and the recommendation of the founding members of the ARF to consistently serve the Armenian people.
"The 113 year history of the ARF is composed by the courage and martyrdom of dedicated individuals–who worked silently and with humility," stressed Tashjian–noting that this year also marks the 108th year of the ARF’s existence in the United States.
The CC member outlined the history of the ARF–highlighting the organization’s century-long dedication–by way of volunteers and financial assistance–to the American-Armenian community–and specifically Armenia’s worldwide.
Tashjian addressed the victories–both great and small–of the regional and national offices of the Armenian National Committee of America–specifically efforts in Congress to pass legislation (H.Res.193 and S.Res.164) recognizing the Armenian Genocide and reaffirming America’s resolve to prevent future genocides–as well as efforts that lead to $75 million in US assistance to Armenia–$5 million for Mountainous Karabagh Republic–and finally the Swiss Parliament’s adoption of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
Addressing the social and cultural challenges that the Armenian youth face–Tashjian noted–"Without making superficial generalizations–it is a simple fact that in order to correctly discipline future generations of Armenian-American youth–we must all help to create more serious and fundamental means to provide instruction."
He also spoke of the challenges the young independent nation of Armenia faces: strengthening of democracy–establishment of just social and economic programs–fighting corruption–as well as a responsibility to the Armenia’s of Javakhk.
Keynote speaker–Armenian National Assembly representative from the ARF Vostanik Maroukhian said that the last decade of the 19th century and the entire 20th century holds a unique place in the history of our nation. He added that there are no limits to political freedom and that only an independent state can guarantee the secure and complex journey of its people to the depths of future centuries.
Addressing the participation of the ARF in Armenia’s coalition government–Maroukhian said–"It is the first time the ARF is taking on its share of responsibility in governing the country–in the 12 years that the nation has been independent. And it does so because the ARF does not wish to follow the difficult and complex struggles of the government as a spectator–rather as a participant–working on the inside to–armed with complete information–tackle and resolve issues."
In concluding–Maroukhian emphasized the increased responsibility of the ARF: "I hope that each time the Armenian Revolutionary Federation marks its birth–it understands that its responsibility to preserve its nation–independent statehood–and its timeless value in the national political arena increases."