On the Threshold of a Centenary…

With the ominous noises of a crumbling world economic structure, shaken by tremors caused by shifting financial fault lines on a global scale, everyone is aware that historic changes are taking place and that the search for a new world order is causing serious political tremors in the status quo, so far defined and sustained by a declining “unipolar” free market-based hegemony over nations, large and small.

The Armenian nation—one of the smallest, to be sure—whose recent historic decades were marked by dauntingly trying times, commemorates and celebrates losses and triumphs culminating in the reestablishment of an independent, sovereign state after a long hiatus of total or partial dependency under foreign autocratic regimes. In a region beset by constant turmoil, our 18-year-old third republic still strives for the recognition and realization of its demographic and territorial integrity within viable, open boundaries, trying to hold its own in the treacherous jungle of world diplomacy.

Just when our resurgent Homeland, hand in hand with the Armenian Diaspora, was mustering its potential to rebuild the areas devastated by the 1988 earthquake, it found itself constricted in the relentless noose of the Azeri-Turkish blockade, aggravated by murderous border clashes, an acute shortage of grain and fuel, and most of all, the ongoing armed conflict over the status of historically and culturally Armenian Artsakh, known to the world with its alien name as Nagorno-Karabagh.

In those days of confrontation with brutally determined adversaries, the contribution of each and every Armenian individual, each and every Armenian organization, to our common national cause had special significance. The Armenian Relief Society (ARS), as an experienced, global Armenian organization that had gone through the crucible of the first genocide of the 20th century, now with numerous regional entities around the world and countless supporters—both in the diaspora and the Homeland—felt deeply the urgency of its commitments and remained cognizant of the very real needs of the day, and the immediate future.

In this context, the year 1991, along with the fateful years preceding and succeeding it, was a frantic time of accelerated accomplishment for the ARS. Surely, the numerous successful results wouldn’t have been achieved without the total commitment of the Society’s regional executives, its disciplined entities and their membership, and, most of all, its ever-present friends and supporters throughout the diaspora and the Homeland. With such united backing, the ARS family was effectively able to assume responsibilities often considered beyond its reach.

Naturally, there was an accumulative price tag attached to these countless projects—all necessary, all worthwhile—albeit, way over the Society’s means, taxed beyond its limits. As a result, today the Armenian Relief Society looks to its devoted membership, its loyal supporters and concerned beneficiaries to replenish its depleted resources in order to continue its long, uninterrupted service to our nation whose growing needs everywhere cannot be side stepped or ignored.

We are more than confident, that by the coming centennial year—and beyond—with the same zeal and enthusiasm shown over the past decades, the disciplined ranks of all the regional entities and chapters—backed by supporters and benefactors, worldwide—will stand by the organization as one and make its fundraising efforts for the ARS Centennial Fund an unqualified success, allowing this magnificent society of dedicated Armenian women to continue its humanitarian work while attaining new standards of excellence in dedicated service to our embattled nation—united in its quest for the triumph of peace rising on the firm foundations of truth and justice.

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