Armenian Bar Association Elects New Leadership

From left: Edvin Minassian, Garo Ghazarian, and Armen Hovannisian


NEW YORK—With the installation this week of a veteran and dynamic leadership team, the Armenian Bar Association continues into its 25th year of service to the Armenian Diaspora and to the Homeland. So, too, has the Association — for as long a time and with your continued support and participation — built an unparalleled professional organization.

The Armenian Bar Association’s Executive Committee is headed by Armen K. Hovannisian as the Chairman of the Board of Governors.

Joining Hovannisian at the helm is the Association’s Chairman Ex-Officio, Garo B. Ghazarian of Los Angeles.

The Vice-Chairmen are Harry Dikranian of Montreal, Edvin Minassian of Los Angeles, and Gary Moomjian of New York.

The Treasurer is Saro Kerkonian of Los Angeles.

The Secretary is Katherine Ossian of Detroit.

The spirit of our late Chairman Emeritus, Vicken I. Simonian, will continue to serve and inspire.

The Board welcomes to its general ranks Christine Engustian of Providence and Vanna Kitsinian of Los Angeles, and thanks Laura Karabulut of Toronto and Ara Babaian of Los Angeles for their years of service on the governing body. The great breadth and diversity of the Board of Governors are represented by incumbent members Raymond Aghaian of Los Angeles, Michael Amerian of Los Angeles, Sara Bedirian of Los Angeles, Judge Amy Hoogasian of San Francisco, Gerard Kassabian of Los Angeles, Nigol Manoukian of Los Angeles, Hovanes Margarian of Los Angeles, and Sonya Nersessian of Boston.

Together and individually, the officers of the 2014-2015 Executive Committee and their fellow Board members embody, and in many ways are responsible for, the Association’s proven track record of success. That record includes:

• strengthening and extending our collective voice on impact issues such as our protections of Genocide truths and our challenges to Genocide falsifications;
• laying the groundwork for the stages of justice beyond Genocide recognition;
• lending our expertise to some of the many necessary legal reforms in the Republic of Armenia;
• standing up and speaking out for the human and civil rights of Armenians around the world;
• planning cutting-edge legal education programs, performing pro bono legal services, and hosting highly-amped social receptions and professional exchanges; and
• establishing and broadening the common ground for our members who share, importantly, the same profession and, more importantly, the same Armenian heritage.

Outgoing Armenian Bar Association Chairman Garo Ghazarian offered a message as he left the chairmanship. Below are his remarks.

“For the 98th and 99th years of the post-Armenian Genocide era of our people, the members of the Armenian Bar Association charged me with the awesome responsibility of chairing our one-of-a kind organization.

“We are not an ordinary Bar Association like many others. We are the children and grandchildren of Genocide Survivors. We are April 24, 1915. Though a genocidal policy wiped out many of our intellectuals who were rounded up on that traitorous day never to be heard from again, today we are those people. That is why in 1989 Raffi K. Hovannisian founded the Armenian Bar – to be the voice of our people, to advocate justice and to speak for those too weak or meek to fend for themselves. We have done that. We have carried the mantle for 25 years with great vigor and inclusiveness, partnering with many organizations and taking on a multitude of challenges, big and small.

“Too many are our accomplishments of the last several years. I will not list any of them. Our work speaks for itself. We are eternally grateful to our Chairman Emeritus, Vicken I. Simonian for a lifetime of service. He and two other unsung heroes, who have and continue to be the axis of the Armenian Bar, are due our heartfelt thanks.

“Vicken Simonian: I salute you. You are the Armenian Bar Association. You are Our Chairman Forever!

“Armen Hovannisian and Edvin Minassian: all credit is due to you both, for the accomplishments prior to, and during my two terms as chairman. You traveled with me daily on my journey, often carried me on your backs, never saying “No” to my requests for help or guidance, and all the while answering the calls for action.

“Gratitude is due to all whose resolve of the past two years fueled our battle against the injustices suffered by the Armenian Nation. While I conclude my service as chairman, I bid you farewell and look forward to joining the great and diverse ranks of the Armenian Bar, vowing to continue working with all Armenian organizations taking on the challenges ahead to bring resolution to the Armenian Cause, by pledging to — Always Reach Farther.”

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