LA Community Prepares to Honor Richard Hovannisian

Supports and friends of the Narekatsi Chair during a kick off brunch

LOS ANGELES—The Friends of the UCLA Armenian Language and Culture Studies on Friday announced the program details of its upcoming annual banquet, at which Professor Richard Hovannisian will be honored with the Narekatsi Medal of Achievement. The highly anticipated community event will take place on Saturday, March 16, at the Armenian Society of Los Angeles Hall in Glendale.

In the run-up to the banquet, the Friends held a champagne brunch in appreciation of donors who have generously supported the UCLA Armenian-Studies program. During the brunch, which was held on March 3 at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Missak and Nairie Balian in Altadena, California, the attendees learned of the fast growth in the number of undergraduate and graduate students seeking to specialize in Armenian Studies at UCLA, and, accordingly, the ongoing need to support the expansion of the curriculum and faculty. Among supporters attending the brunch were representatives of the Armenian Educational Foundation, including the current president, Hermineh Pakhanians.

One of the world’s most renowned Armenian scholars, Prof. Richard Hovannisian will be bestowed with the Narekatsi Medal in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a historian, teacher, and defender of the Armenian cause. At the March 16 banquet, his accomplishments will be celebrated by a cross-section of the Armenian community and colleagues from UCLA.

Dignitaries and community leaders participating in the event will include, among others, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese; a representative of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy; Armen Hovannisian, vice-chair of the Armenian Bar Association; Alice Petrossian, former president of the Association of California School Administrators, chief academic officer-deputy superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District, assistant superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District, and currently a commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission for Women; several representatives of the Armenian Educational Foundation; and Ara Khachatourian, editor of the English edition of Asbarez.

“For the past several months, the Friends of the UCLA Armenian Language and Culture Studies have gone to great lengths to organize an extraordinary banquet program, one which promises to stand out with its prestigious roster of speakers and memorable presentations,” said Professor S. Peter Cowe, head of UCLA’s Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies. “The program will also comprise some surprises which are certain to delight the attendees. In short, I think this eagerly awaited event has all the makings of a truly magnificent and unique celebration.”

The banquet will kick off with a reception and book exhibit, beginning at 6 p.m. in the foyer of the dining hall. The exhibit will feature Prof. Hovannisian’s many publications, including The Republic of Armenia series and the proceedings of the landmark “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces” project.

The main program will start at 7 p.m., when banquet co-chairs Ani Aivazian and Hilda Fidanian will introduce the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies, Alice Petrossian.

Following the dinner, which will commence with the blessings of a representative from the Western Prelacy, remarks will be delivered by Alice Petrossian; Hasmig Baran, president of the Friends of the UCLA Armenian Language and Culture Studies; and Prof. S. Peter Cowe.

Later in the program, a short video documentary on the life and achievements of Prof. Hovannisian will be shown, and congratulatory remarks by Professor David Myers, chairperson of the UCLA History Department, will be conveyed.

One of the highlights of the event will be an onstage interview between the honoree and Ara Khachatourian. Subsequently there will be an artistic interlude, featuring a violin performance by Mari Haig, with piano accompaniment.

Next to take the podium will be Armen Hovannisian, the honoree’s son, who will speak about “Hovannisian the Man.” Armen Hovannisian’s address will lead into the culminating moment of the evening, the award ceremony.

After Speros Vryonis, UCLA professor emeritus of history, introduces Prof. Hovannisian, the Narekatsi Medal will be presented to the honoree, who will then deliver his acceptance remarks.

The evening will conclude with the blessings of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.

At press time, a limited number of tickets to the banquet were still available, the Friends of the UCLA Armenian Language and Culture Studies said. Tickets ($125 for general admission, $70 for students with current ID) can be purchased by calling (323) 668-2609 or (818) 249-3330.

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