PASADENA—The mood was festive on Sunday at the historic Langham Hotel in Pasadena as several hundred community supporters and donors gathered for the annual Armenian Cultural Foundation Gala, during which Mr. & Mrs. Garo and Alice Gureghian were honored for their unwavering and decades-long support of the organization and its mission to advance the aspirations of the Armenian people.
Just last year, the ACF announced a generous gift of $300,000 by the Gureghians, who are from Fresno. A part of the donation is slated to be used for much-needed renovations to the Fresno Armenian Center, which has been the heart-beat of the Fresno community for generations and once housed the Asbarez editorial offices, when the newspaper was published in Fresno. Another part of the sum will bequeathed to the Fresno Center for future projects.
Garo Gureghian is the son of one of the most influential editors of Asbarez, Melik Shah (1949-52, 1969-1970). Since the couple does not have children, they have viewed all youth in the center, be they members of the Homentemen, the Armenian Youth Federation or its junior organization as their own children. They made their generous donation to ensure that future generations of Armenian youth would have a wholesome and equipped center to call home and advance their activities.
The Gureghians’ decades-long service, activism and contribution was highlighted during the ACF Gala by Dr. Viken Hovsepian, the chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee, who elevated their dedication saying that Garo and Alice Gureghian must serve as examples to future generations as they do to countless others who have witnessed their unwavering dedication to their community and the Armenian Cause.
In thanking the ACF, the Gureghians said they were humbled for the honor and would continue to support the needs of the community.
In his remarks, Hovsepian also thanked Mr. & Mrs. Varant and Hoori Melkonian for their generosity in becoming the lead sponsors of the evening saying the Melkonians are models of “loyalty, true models of discipline and kindness.” He also went on to acknowledge the numerous sponsors who have become the pillars of the ACF, and who, through their wholehearted contributions have made the annual ACF Gala of the most anticipated and sought after events in the Los Angeles Armenian community.
To that end, Hovsepian expressed his and the organization’s hope that this annual tradition would grow, given the ever-evolving need and the ACF’s mandate to nurture and advance the cultural and educational requisites of the community.
“We have a vision of turning the quantity that we’ve been fortunate to bring together into quality, and to develop our community NOT into a second capital for Armenians after Yerevan… NOT the capital of the Armenian Diaspora, but the nexus–the capital—where Armenians pursue justice and our national demands and a place to realize the dreams and aspirations of our Nation,” said Hovsepian.
The evening’s program began by welcoming remarks by Gev Iskajyan and Talar Kossakian, both of whom are members of the AYF. In their remarks, the two highlighted their advancement within the Armenian community, as students of Armenian schools and members of various organizations, and emphasized the critical role the ACF has played in guiding them and new generations in the community.
After the singing of the National Anthems by award-winning performer Maria Cozette, Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian delivered the evening’s invocation.
The evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies Pattyl Aposhian Kasparian welcomed the guests, highlighting the myriad ways the ACF has, and continues to impact community life, especially through its many community centers that house the various organizations, institutions and groups that work in various specialized fields to advance the aspirations of the Armenian people and fight for the Armenian Cause.
She then invited the chairwoman of the Gala, Elizabeth Boyajian who thanked her colleagues on the committee and highlighted the event’s importance to future activities of the ACF.
The evening also included remarks from Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian, also a member of the gala organizing committee, who welcomed the various guests and attendees through humorous mentions uplifting the event.
The evening’s guests included California State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian and his wife, Diana; recently re-elected Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian and his wife, Tamar; Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan and his wife Lori; and Glendale City Clerk and candidate for the 43rd Assembly district Ardashess “Ardy” Kassakhian.
This year’s gala boasted an impressive roster of performers, which included a rendition of folk and traditional songs by Heibert Sarian accompanied on the oud by Antranig Kzirian, a performance by Ani Christy, while “Honored Artist of Armenia” Andre Hovnanian rounded out the evening’s program. Musical selections were performed throughout the gala by ISM Productions Chamber Orchestra.
Prior to the official program, a cocktail reception was held in the Langham’s courtyard, where guests mingled and also bid on the many silent auction items and participated in a gold raffle.
The guests walked away with gift bags, with mementoes including accessories shaped in the form of the forget-me-not flower, which is the symbol and emblem of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.