GLENDALE—More than 60 members of the Armenian Youth Federation Juniors and Seniors gathered at the Glendale Youth Center on Saturday, April 2 for a day-long presentation series about Artsakh, an event, which was organized ahead of time, but became more imperative due Azerbaijan’s massive attack on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic earlier that day.
Following opening remarks by AYF Juniors Central Council member Hovig Kazandjian, a brief history of Artsakh was presented by AYF Central Executive Chairperson Gev Iskajyan.
“With the urgency of the situation in Artsakh, the importance of events like these couldn’t be stated enough,” said Iskajyan. “This forum is a testament to how the AYF Juniors operate, think and work towards a stronger, better and safer homeland.”
Dr. Vahe Peroomian, Board of Trustees member at Glendale Community College and a talented photographer, who has traveled extensively to Armenia and Artsakh, discussed education and activism through the arts.
“As a parent of an AYF Junior myself, and a past AYF member, it was a pleasure being part of the education process of our next generation,” said Peroomian. “The Juniors learned very valuable lessons on activism and the role they will soon play in the Armenian Cause.”
Attendees were able to hear about the current situation on the ground via a Skype connection with former AYF member Patil Aslanian, who currently lives in Armenia.
As the current Azeri aggression in Artsakh yields new Armenian heroes, AYF Central Executive member Joseph Kaskanian paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the 1988-94 liberation struggle.
“We had planned for this presentation series a few weeks ago, because we wanted our members to be aware of the history, the liberation struggle, the current situation and our role in Artsakh’s statehood,” said AYF Juniors Central Council Chairperson Saro Shirinian. “The Azeri aggressions of the last couple days is a testament to the imperative for engagement and involvement in our continued struggle for justice.”
Members also had the opportunity to hear from Balabek Barsamyan, who shared his first hand experiences from the frontlines of the Artsakh war and how it changed the lives of so many.
ANCA Western Region Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan discussed the various ways the ANCA works to aid and support Artsakh and former AYF Central Executive Chairperson David Arakelyan discussed the “With Our Soldiers” campaign and the assistance it has offered to injured veterans of the Artsakh war.
“It is imperative to educate the new generation about our just struggle in Artsakh and the sacrifices made to achieve freedom,” said Arakelyan. “At the same time, we should be speaking to our youth about the necessity to protect the territories already liberated and the future steps aimed at taking back the rest of our occupied homeland.”
At the conclusion of the gathering, each participant received a Certificate of Completion, an “Artsakh Strong” poster and an Artsakh flag patch.