MONTEBELLO—Under the slogan of “Path to Unity. Together we Serve and Preserve,” the Armenian Cultural Foundation hosted its annual fundraising banquet on April 11 at Montebello’s Baghramian Hall, with more than 700 community members in attendance.
The theme was echoed by the evening’s keynote speaker, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian, who emphasized the need for a common national agenda to promote national unity.
“Unity is not unification, but rather a state of affairs whereby, in the case the Armenian nation, entities come together to work for a common cause,” explained Hovsepian.
“More important than the ideal structures for promoting unity, is the creation of a common [national] agenda, which can serve to promote unity,” said Hovsepian.
“The lack of a common national agenda is our biggest vulnerability, and that which threatens any effort to unity,” added Hovsepian.
The keynote speaker went on to recall the myriad obstacles on the road to forging a national unity since Armenia’s independence and outlined the current challenges to this imperative resulting from the Armenia-Turkey protocols.
Hovsepian also outlined the role the ARF has played in safeguarding the nation and advocating for national interests and noted that the organization has effectively performed its role of preserving our national ideals and aspirations.
He then thanked those in attendance who, despite the grave economic climate, had turned out to support the organization and ensure the progress of the Armenian Cause.
The evening’s upbeat tone was set with the commencement of the brief, yet powerful, program, which was introduced by two college-age community activists, Vache Thomassian and Sanan Shirinian. Their introduction ushered in a the message that an active youth in the community will ensure its perseverance and the continued growth of the Armenian Nation. Thomassian is member of the ARF Shant Student Association, while Shirinian chairs the United Human Rights Council and is a member of the Armenian Youth Federation.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies, long time community activist Charles Ghailian presented an overview of the ACF’s activities and discussed the wide-ranging organizations that form the critical circle for the ACF to achieve its goals and mission.
Western Prelate, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian said the invocation prayer and wished continued progress to the ACF and its activities.
ARF Western US Central Committee Chairman, Avedik Izmirlian praised the attendees for their continued support of the ACF and its activities and commended all organizations and individuals who work side-by-side with the ACF and through dedication and sacrifice elevate the mission and goals of the organization.
A video chronicling the various achievements of the ACF in the last year was presented. It highlighted the several youth center openings around the Southern California community, as well as the successes registered in the educational and cultural needs of the community.
Ani Christy and Harout Pamboukjian were the featured musical performers, while Hovannes Shahbazian led an Armenian folk band during dinner.