ARS Hosts Presentation of ‘A Place Far Away’ by Vahan Zanoyan

L. to r.: ARS Regional Executive member Nanik Kupelian, ARS Regional Executive member Maral Matossian, Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan, ARS Regional Executive Secretary Karine Barikian-Setian, ARS Lori Chapter Executive Chairperson Arsho Avakian, Vahan Zanoyan, ARS Anahid Chapter Executive member Annie Buchakjian, and ARS Regional Executive Chairperson Lena Bozoyan

GRANADA HILLS—The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA (ARS), Educational Committee organized the presentation of “A Place Far Away,” a novel by Vahan Zanoyan, on May 8, at the North Valley Armenian Center in Granada Hills, hosted by ARS Anahid and Lori Chapters. Among the audience were editors and scholars, including Troshag editor Nazaret Berberian.

ARS Lori Chapter Executive Chairperson Arsho Avakian welcomed the audience, pointed out the importance of the subject of the novel, and read the biography of the author. Next, she introduced the presenter of the book, Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan, who is the President of Mashdots College in Glendale, Calif.

Dr. Der-Yeghiayan presented the novel about human trafficking through the challenges of a 16-year-old victim. He noted that it is an unprecedented publication authored by a courageous scholar to address the ills of our society in Armenia and to suggest remedies for its possible cure. The devastating impact of the communist era on Armenia has jolted our moral, spiritual and social values and national structures for seven decades. As our homeland recovers from its societal maladies, concerned compatriots, and especially Vahan Zanoyan with his novel are rendering invaluable service with their diagnostic procedures in order to create a more robust youth and a more promising future for our compatriots in Armenia.

The author, Zanoyan, spoke regarding the reasons that led to the publication of the novel, the dreadfulness of human trafficking, and why he chose to write a novel, instead of an article.

Four years ago, the author by chance met Armenians in Dubai and tried to find out more about their circumstances. He went on to interview a dozen women in Dubai, Istanbul, Moscow and Armenia, who were victims of forced prostitution and decided to write a novel, where he had the artistic freedom to write about a bit of their lives in a format that would be acceptable by the readership.

Zanoyan answered questions from the audience. Karine Barikian-Setian thanked all the participants, hosts and audience on behalf of the ARS Regional Executive. During the reception that followed, Zanoyan autographed his books. The English version is available in print and Kindle format from The book was also published in Armenian and Russian, and other translations are pending.

The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 26 chapters and more than 1,200 members in four western states. The ARS-WUSA operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For further information, please visit or call (818) 500-1343.


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