GLENDALE–By the initiative of Asbarez Daily Armenian Newspaper and the Armenian Cultural Foundaion, on the evening of Friday, May 16, a reception was held at Phoenicia Restaurant in Glendale in celebration of community activist, leader and philanthropist Varoujan Koundakjian’s 80th birthday. The event also served as an opportunity to honor Koundakjian’s decades-long service to the community.
On behalf of His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, the Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian awarded Koundakjian the “Knight of Cilicia” insignia and Pontifical Encyclical.
In the Encyclical, His Holiness commended Koundakijan’s lifetime of service and dedication to the Armenian Church and people, spanning from the Western United States to Armenia, his moral and financial support, and valuable input and contributions to the advancement of our religious, cultural, and social institutions.
In his remarks, the Prelate expressed his commendation to Koundakjian, with whom he has enjoyed over 30 years of friendship. Arch. Mardirossian extolled Koundakjian’s kindheartedness and benevolence and conveyed his best wishes on his 80th birthday.
The special event brought together Koundakjian’s old friends and colleagues who had gathered to honor a man, whose character and generosity has propelled many a project in this community and in Armenia.
As Koundakjian himself explained, he was born on April 24 and thus has not celebrated his birthday, or if he has it has been in intimate setting always not on his birth date.
The organizers, as well, taking note of this realities opted to host the event after Koundakjian’s actual birthday, but were convinced that honoring him was fitting to his vast involvement, leadership and generosity in the community and in Armenia.
Taking turns to extol Koundakjian’s virtues were his old friends, with whom he spend the early days of his life in the United States. Vahag Savoulian, Jano Titizian, Garbis Titizian and Armen Deirmenjian each recounted fond memories and the experiences that shaped their life here with Koundakjian at the center of it.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee Chairman Dr. Viken Hovsepian spoke, on behalf of the organization, expressing his gratitude for Koundakjian’s leadership in the ARF and his generosity toward the organization. Also speaking was Asbarez Armenian Editor Apo Boghigian who outlined that Koundakjian truly embodied the ARF’s call of “Tebi Yergir”—toward the homeland, since Armenia’s independence Koundakjian relocated to Armenia, where he established businesses that employ locals and continue his philanthropy in Armenia.
Koundakjian’s wife, Armine, who shares his husband’s love of Armenia and Artsakh also addressed the gathering recounting the time she and Koundakjian met and became a family and together working for the Armenian Cause.
The event served a humanitarian purpose, as more than $75,000 was raised for the Armenians of Kessab, who in March were forced to evacuate their town and are currently in Latakia and elsewhere as refugees. The donations were made to the Syrian-Armenian Relief Fund.