$600 000 Raised for ARF Projects During Banquet Richard and Tina Carolan Make Donation of $500 000

PASADENA–Armenian Revolutionary Federation projects and activities got a $600,000 boost Friday evening during the Western US Central Committee’s annual $1000 per-couple fundraising dinner-banquet at the Ritz Carlton hotel–where a princely donation of $500,000 by Mr. & Mrs. Richard and Tina Carolan was announced–as Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian addressed the more than 300 patrons and guests.

In attendance at the gathering were Foreign Minister Melkoumian; Shaghig Maroukhian–the First Secretary of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Permanent Representation in Armenia; Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Armen Melkonian and his wife Yevgenia; Western Primate Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian and Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian; as well as representatives of local ARF chapters–the Asbarez newspaper and ARF committees.

In his remarks–ARF Central Committee chairman Dr. Viken Hovsepian–expressed the organization’s gratitude to all donors and patrons of the ARF–adding that their vision of support to the ARF was the foundation for community activism on the West Coast.

While the Carolans were unable to attend the lavish gala–nonetheless their presence was acknowledged by the announcement of their $500,000 donation to ARF activities and projects.

Dr. Hovsepian praised the couple for their unwavering moral and financial assistance to all efforts Armenian be they educational–cultural or the needs of the people of Karabakh–to whose assistance the Carolans came at the height of the Karabakh conflict.

Hovsepian also announced that the ARF Center on 104 North Belmont Street in Glendale would be dedicated to the memory of Tina Carolan’s late parents Mr. & Mrs Kerop and Lussik Peshekerian.

Following this announcement Hovsepian invited foreign minister Melkoumian to the podium and presented her with a gold medallion of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic coat of arms as a humble gift on behalf of the Western Region community.

Visibly moved by the gesture–as well as the generosity of the attendees–Melkoumian pointed to the event as an example that the Nagorno-Karabakh movement reawakened Armenia’s throughout the world and Armenia to the reality of a cause. She also added that the gathering attested to the enormous power of the Diaspora in realizing the just aspirations of the people.

She thanked and praised the Western Region community for its dedication and commitment to the Karabakh liberation movement and pledged that the changes in Armenia would benefit the national agenda of peace and prosperity for the Armenian nation.

The official portion of the program began with Khajag Dikidjian welcoming all on behalf of the banquet committee. He discussed the purpose of the banquet and thanked the 94 couples who had made the evening an unprecedented success.

Dikidjian then invited the Mistress of Ceremonies Dr. Roubina Peroomian who adeptly walked the guests through the short and insightful program.

In her opening remarks–Peroomian discussed an urge to delve into a discussion about the Nagorno-Karabakh liberation movement and the current changes in Armenia–both of which–she explained–have been on the ARF agenda as priorities.

She explained the ARF’s efforts in working toward the realization of the Armenian Cause through the Armenian National Committee of America and its satellite offices.

The most poignant point of her remarks came as she introduced foreign minister Melkoumian to the audience by presenting her as a representative of a just struggle and advances of the liberation movement.

She called on all the women in the audience to take note of the reality that the individual representing the interest of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the international arena was also a woman and praised the people of Karabakh for their advances in women’s rights and equality.

In recognizing Consul General Melkonian and his wife Yevgenia–Peroomian stressed the importance of the Consulate as the representation of the homeland in Los Angeles–and highlighted the significance of Malkonian’s presence at the ARF-organized event–since due to the political conditions by the previous regime–the Armenian consulate did not partake in such events.

Peroomian welcomed the newly appointed Melkonian and pledged the ARF’s support for the advancement of democracy and democratic principles in Armenia and the strengthening of the Consulate in Los Angeles.

In his remarks–Melkonian congratulated and thanked the Armenian Revolutionary Federation for organizing this event and the slew of celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Nagorno-Karabakh liberation movement.

Melkonian said that the undertaking of these activities demonstrated the outlook and commitment toward the Karabakh movement and generally the concerns of the people of Armenia–for which he–once again–applauded the ARF.

In conclusion he pledged that the Consulate and its staff would work with all segmen’s of the community and welcomed the input of the ARF. He also stressed the importance of strengthening democracy in Armenia and seizing the opportunity presented to the Armenian people.

ANCA-Western Regional Board chairman Armand Keosian–Esq.presented a brief synopsis of ANCA activities throughout the nation.

Keosian began his presentation by stressing that ANC activities have been part and parcel with the Armenian community since 1918 with the establishment of the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia which later evolved into the ANC.

He highlighted some of the inroads in the Armenian lobbying effort–by pointing to the successful block of a measure seeking to abolish Section 907–aid restrictions to Azerbaiajan–and the garnering of $12 million direct humanitarian aid to Karabakh.

Keosian also highlighted efforts to halt Turkish influence in academia and efforts to establish Turkish studies chairs in the country. As an example he cited the failed attempt to buy a Turkish studies chair at UCLA and the grass roots activism prompted by the ANCA to prevent the Turkish government from further distorting history.

The attendees arrived at the lavish Viennese Ballroom at the Ritz Carlton Pasadena to the classical melodies of the Spiurk quartet. The national anthems of the US–Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were performed by Garen Gharibian who was accompanied on the piano by Levon Abrahamian. Marineh Antekelian-Bedrossian also entertained the audience with traditional Armenian songs during the program with piano accompaniment provided by Armen Aharonian.

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