LA CRESCENTA—On the evening of Wednesday, July 31, the Western Prelacy family and community gathered at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall to bid farewell to Consul General Grigor Hovhannissian who will soon embark on his new mission as the first Ambassador of Armenia to Mexico.
The reception was held under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and was organized by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary. Among the guests in attendance were clergy, Central Executive member Khajag Dikijian, ARF Central Committee Chair Dr. Viken Hovsepian and member Dr. Viken Yacoubian, representatives from the Board of Regents, Homenetmen and ARS Central and Regional Executives Hamazkayin Regional Executive, ANC, Armenia Fund, United Armenia Fund, Armenian Bar Association, Armenian American Medical Society, Armenian Society of Los Angeles, Friends of New Julfa, benefactors who have assisted Armenia, Prelacy Committees, and Consular staff.
The evening began with welcoming remarks delivered by Ladies Auxiliary member Mrs. Alisa Konanyan, who thanked the guests for joining the Prelacy in honoring the Consul General, then invited the Prelate for the invocation.
During dinner, Khajag Dikijian invited the guests to raise a glass in honor of the Consul General and his wife Victoria, wishing them good health and success. Executive Council member and Master of Ceremonies Dr. Dikran Babikian in his greeting acknowledged the sister and community organizations represented and thanked them all for their attendance to express commendation for the Consul General’s service over the past four years.
Following dinner, the Master of Ceremonies addressed the guests once again, noting that the evening has a threefold purpose; to thank the Consul General, congratulate him on his promotion to Ambassador, and wish him and his family farewell. Dr. Babikian reflected on the Consul’s achievements during his term, among them the realization of the House of Armenia, and progress made in economic, commerce, cultural, and other realms. He noted that the Consul General and his wife will face new challenges in Mexico, such as raising their young daughters in a non-Armenian environment. He then invited Executive Council Chair Rima Boghossian to deliver her remarks.
Boghossian commended the Consul General on his service and accomplishments, noting that he earned the love and respect of the community with his strong leadership and dedication, and wished him success in his new mission.
In his address, ARF Central Committee Chair Dr. Viken Hovsepian first thanked the Prelate and Ladies Auxiliary for hosting and organizing the reception. He noted that the Consul General served a diverse community, which in itself is a challenge for any public servant, but he took on that challenge and successfully carried out the mission entrusted to him. Dr. Hovsepian stated that a diplomat’s top priority is securing the best interest of the government he represents; however, at time the interests of the nation as a whole are more important than the interests of the government, and in this too the Consul General was successful. He spoke highly of the close relationship and bond established between the Consul General and our community, stating that he leaves as a dear friend, and the impression he left will last even after his departure. Finally, Dr. Hovsepian exalted the Consul General’s deep love for our nation and people, which was evident in his service, and wished that our nation’s leaders carry out their mission with this same approach.
The Master of Ceremonies then invited the Prelate for his message.
The Prelate thanked the guests for joining in bidding farewell to the Consul General and his wife. He echoed the sentiments and commendations expressed throughout the evening towards the Consul General, stating that there are surely others who would have liked to express their feelings as well, however Dr. Hovsepian’s remarks on behalf of the sister organizations certainly encompassed the thoughts of all. Throughout his tenure as Prelate, Hovhannissian was the sixth Consul General, with whom he established a strong professional and personal relationship as a diplomat and a dear friend. He thanked the Ladies Auxiliary for their efforts and Haig Bagerjian, a close friend of his as well as the Consul General, for hosting the evening. On behalf of the Prelacy family and friends, the Prelate wished the Consul General and his wife the best of luck and great successes in their future endeavors, especially given that they are leaving behind a place like Los Angeles with its dense population of Armenians.
The Consul General conveyed his thanks for the moving remarks and well wishes expressed by all, and his gratitude to the Prelate and supporters. Considered the capital of the Diaspora, he stated that his service within this community had special meaning, and here he served not only as a government representative, but as a member of the community, and he was proud of the great support and collaboration he received. He stated that his diplomatic mission has afforded him the opportunity to become better acquainted with the Diaspora, and if he arrived here as a Consul, he returns to Armenia as an Ambassador, the Ambassador of the Diaspora.
The Consul General took the opportunity to stress two important points. He noted that we live in a fast-paced and ever-changing world, giving the example that at the time that he began his service, Turkey was presenting itself as a peace-loving nation with no issues with its neighbors. Today though, its role in Syria tells a different story. Therefore, stated the Consul General, we must keep pace with new developments and changes in the world, especially in regions surrounding Armenia, given that we stand before important milestones and challenges such as the Genocide centennial and the continued safeguarding of Artsakh. Armenia and Diaspora must adopt contemporary measures and maintain open dialogue to collectively overcome new challenges. Second, he stated that taking into consideration current world events and developments, some may say the vision for a united and independent Armenia is fading. However, this course is unacceptable for the Armenian people. The Armenian people will recoup its losses. It is crucial that the bond with Armenia remain strong and that we staunchly defend our nation and our ties with our homeland, otherwise we risk losing everything. The Consul General concluded by confidently stating that periods of gloom and dismay will give way to a bright dawn.
In commendation for his meritorious service and leadership, the Prelate presented the Consul General with a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the Prelacy Councils, and a book on rescued treasures from Cilicia to the couple. The Ladies Auxiliary presented his wife Victoria with a bouquet.
The reception also included musical selections performed by singer Anahit Nersesyan, accompanied on the piano by Professor Levon Aprahamian.
The evening concluded with the benediction and the Armenian national anthem.