Hairenik Newspaper Commemorates 100th Anniversary

WATERTOWN–Hundreds gathered at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center in Watertown on the evening of Saturday–December 2– to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Hairenik newspaper.

The Hairenik newspaper has been publishing in the Armenian language since 1899–and is the oldest continuous Armenian publication in the world. In association with the event–a special bilingual Hairenik 100th Anniversary Commemorative Album was published. The Album honors past editors–contributors–donors–kordtzavars–and subscribers through photographs and text. The Hairenik newspaper is published by the Hairenik Association for the ARF Eastern United States Central Committee in Boston. Other Hairenik publications also acknowledged were the Armenian Weekly–Armenian Review–and Hairenik Monthly.

The master of ceremonies was Ned Apigian–National Chairman of the Hairenik Centennial Committee. Very Rev. Anoushavan Tanielian–representing Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan–the Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America–led the opening prayer.

The first speaker of the evening–Tom Vartabedian–a long-time contributor to the English-language Armenian Weekly–credited the start of his career as a journalist to former Weekly editor James Tashjian. Keynote speaker James Tashjian–former editor of the Armenian Weekly and Armenian Review–described the origins of the Hairenik from an idea in the back of a tailor shop in New York in 1899–to its relocation to Boston as an official organ of the ARF. Dr. Herand Markarian from New York presented a brief slide program about the Hairenik and some of its former and present contributors. C.K. Garabed–another long-time columnist and writer for to the Armenian Weekly–introduced contributor Sarkis Atamian. Atamian–who was a long-time member of the AYF-YOARF and the author of the book–The Armenian Community–described growing up as the child of Armenian Genocide survivors–and the important role the Hairenik newspaper provided in their household. He stressed the importance of maintaining the Armenian ethnic identity and pursuing recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The current Hairenik Editor–Khajag Mgrdichian read a statement by Armenian Ambassador to the United States Arman Kirakossian. The statement congratulated the Hairenik for its role in perpetuating Armenian national life over the past 100 years for the Armenian-American community. Mgrdichian stressed the ongoing importance of publishing in the Armenian language. The final speaker for the evening–ARF Bureau representative Garo Armenian–began by acknowledging and honoring Kohar Tololyan–wife of the late Minas Tololyan–and Arpie Donabedian–wife of the late Kevork Donabedian. Both men’served as long-time editors of the Hairenik daily newspaper–and were well respected for their contribution to the community and nation in this role. Armenian stressed the significance of the Hairenik as an organ of the ARF–and its role in promoting the Armenian Cause since 1899.

The Banquet program also included cultural presentations. Ms. Emma Hakobian performed three piano interludes by Babadjanian–Baghdassarian–and Khachaturian–and Ms. Ani Arakelian recited excerpts from Vahagn Davtian’s "Luys Aravoti."

In attendance were numerous dignitaries–intellectuals–and former and current editors and contributors. Members of the clergy in attendance included Rev. Fr. Antranig Baljian–Rev. Fr. Torkom Hagopian–Rev. Fr. Sam Agulian–and Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavorian–the newly appointed priest of the Holy Trinity Church in Worcester. Representatives of other media outlets included Vatche Proudian from the Asbarez daily Armenian section–Ara Khatchadourian–former editor of the Asbarez English section–Aris Sevag–managing editor of the Armenian Reporter–Daphne Abeel–assistant editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator–and Haig Oshagan–editor of the journal Armenian Review.

Also in attendance was ARF Bureau representative Dr. Viken Hovsepian–representatives of the ARF Central Committees of the Eastern United States–Western United States–and Canada–representatives of the Armenian Relief Society Central Executive and Eastern United States Regional Board–the Hamazkayin cultural organization–the Homenetmen athletic union–the Armenian Youth Federation–and the Armenian National Committee of America–represented by Aram Hamparian and Eastern Region Executive Director Grace Kehetian-Kulegian.

Others in attendance included foreign journalist Thomas Gourgisian–Gary Lind-Sinanian of the Armenian Library and Museum of America–Ruth Thomasian of Project SAVE–Manoog Young of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research–and Yevkine Gharibian of the Boston Armenian Radio Hour. Elected officials in attendance included State Senator Steven Tolman–State Representative Rachel Kaprielian–State Representative Peter Koutoujian–and former State Senator and Representative Warren Tolman.

The bilingual Hairenik 100th Anniversary Commemorative Album is available for $10 plus $4 shipping and handling from the Hairenik Association–80 Bigelow Avenue–Watertown–MA 02472.

For additional information about the Hairenik and its publications–call (617) 926-3974–email hairenik@compuserve.com–or visit the Web site www.hairenik.org.

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