ARS Centennial Committee Kicks Off Gala Banquet

GLENDALE–Mr. & Mrs. Vahe and Aida Yeghiazarian opened their stunning, steel architecture home with its sweeping vistas, to the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Centennial Committee, for a successful Gala Banquet Kickoff event. More than 70 guests enjoyed the elegant afternoon and listened to what the ARS-WR is trying to accomplish for its part in raising over 5 million dollars for an Endowment Fund for the ARS International projects. The Kickoff event successfully sold tables for the inaugural celebration at the Downtown L.A. Marriott Hotel on April 29, 2007. The event will be held under the auspices of His Eminence Arch. Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, and the keynote speaker will be Baroness Caroline Cox, of the United Kingdom House of Lords, who is one of the honorary members of the International ARS Centennial Committee. Baroness Cox was Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, and is a prominent advocate of human rights around the world. Her support of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh led her to visit the region over 60 times. The Battling Baroness, as Caroline Cox is affectionately known, has deliberately chosen causes overlooked by the world at large, and has put her life at risk on a great many occasions in places as varied as Sudan, Burma, Nagorno Karabagh and Russia, has written Andrew Boyd. The event started with an invocation and blessing of the table by Rev. Father Vazken Atmajian, pastor of St. Marys Armenian Church in Glendale. On behalf of the Prelate, Rev. Vazken congratulated the ARS and praised the Yeghiazarian couple for their participation in a worthy cause. Dzovig Zeitlian, Chair of the ARS-WR Regional Centennial Banquet Committee, welcomed the guests and stated that the intent of the kick-off was to provide the financial and moral support necessary to have a successful event. Mako Mgrdichian, Chair of the ARS-WR Regional Centennial Committee asserted that the ARS for almost 100 years helped create and maintain community structures to keep our heritage alive and lent a helping hand everywhere around the world. She said that the ARS work has expanded in such a way that ARS members alone can not sustain it, and need the communitys help to build the Endowment Fund. She introduced the ARS Central Executive member, Nova Hindoyan; Regional Executive Vice Chair Karine Barikian-Setian; members of her committee; other ARS members. She also introduced representatives of other organizations in attendance, Anahid Stepanian of the ARF Central Committee, Anita Havadian of the Hamazkayin Regional Executive, and Vahe Bzdikian and Peklar Pilavjian of the Prelacy Executive Council. Mourad Topalian, Executive Director of the Armenian Cultural Foundation, was the keynote speaker. He inspired those present to do their best for the ARS, so it can have the necessary resources to continue doing its work for the orphans, for the hungry, for the needy, and for those ailing physically and emotionally, locally and internationally. His inspiration was his mother who, as an ARS member for 59 years, provided his earliest memories of the ARS. He poignantly pointed out that the ARS is the story of the heart. Its like a mother who looks after all her children, but the child of the ARS has been the Armenian people. He added, What a wonderful asset you are to the Armenian people… To give so much of yourselves is a blessing… I salute you and I stand in awe of you… We wait for you to lead us to new directions, to new heights with new efforts. Jasik Jarahian asked a long-time community collaborator, Stepan Kabadayan, to help the committee distribute tickets. Fifty tables were sold at the event. According to Abraham Lincolns advice, Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. The March 18th kickoff event was resolved to succeed.

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