BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
BEVERLY HILLS—The grand ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel was teeming with excitement on Sunday, October 28, as 1,000 supporters of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region gathered to celebrate Hai-Tahd and the aspirations of the Armenian people during the organization’s annual banquet, which attracted a diverse—and youthful—crowd of supporters.
The banquet committee had worked diligently to ensure a successful event and it succeeded. Banquet Committee co-chairwomen Arsho Beylerian and Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian presented the welcoming remarks, in which they thanked the participants for realizing the importance of the Armenian Cause and commended their commitment to Hai-Tahd.
The Glendale High School Choir performed the National Anthems of the US and Armenia after the Homenetmen Scouts entered the vast hall to carry out an impressive flag ceremony.
Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presented the evening’s invocation, blessing the work of the ANCA and commending its community of supporters.
In her remarks, ANCA-WR Co-chairperson Nora Hovsepian detailed the numerous activities of the organization during the past year, and emphasized the vast spectrum of issues tackled by the organization. She urged the “army of 1,000 supporters” that had gathered at the banquet to continue to work and enlist other in the mission of the ANCA.
This year, the ANCA-WR honored Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with its Freedom Award, entrepreneur Varant Melkonian with the Legacy Award, Dr. Rubina Peroomian with the Lifetime Achievement Award, New York Time bestselling author Chris Bohjalian with the Arts & Letters Award, and Armenian Evangelical community leader Rev. Joe Matossian with the Khrimian Hayrig Award.
ANCA-WR Advisory Board member Harut Sassounian introduced Sen. Reid and his contributions and advocacy for Armenian-American issues. Sassounian informed that the Senator, who was involved in a six-car pileup in Nevada two days before the banquet was unable to attend, due to the minor injuries he had suffered.
The Senator’s remarks were presented by ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.
ANCA National Board member Seto Boyadjian introduced Dr.Rubina Peroomian; ANCA-WR Board member Pattyl Aposhian-Kasparian introduced Rev. Joe Matossian; ANCA National Board member Raffi Hamparian introduced Vartant Melkonian, while ANCA-WR Board member Raffi Kassabian introduced Chris Bohjalian before each was awarded with the honors.
In singling out the role of the youth in the success of ANCA activities, organizers also presented awards to this year’s class of interns, who whether in the regional office, local offices or the national office devoted their time and efforts to advancing the Armenian Cause.
In his introduction, ANCA Executive Director William Bairamian highlighted the importance of youth participation and suggested that many of the accomplishments of the ANCA would not be possible without the active involvement of young Armenian-Americans.
At the beginning of the program, announcer Carlo Ghailian introduced the more than 50 local, state and federal elected officials or candidates who were attending the banquet.
The evening also included two video presentations, one chronicling the activities of the ANCA-WR and showcasing the many volunteers that make up the fabric of this, the largest Armenian-American advocacy organization in the US and the other focusing on the organization’s Hye-Votes program, which has successfully registered thousands of new Armenian-American voters ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.
Look for more coverage of the ANCA-WR Annual Banquet in upcoming editions of Asbarez.