GLENDALE—The news that Hayastan All-Armenia Fund’s director had misappropriated the organization’s fund has raised concerns in the community about the fund’s work and management. To clarify and discuss next steps Asbarez sat down with Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee’s Political Chairman Avedik Izmirlian to discuss the party’s position on the matter, especially since the ARF is part of the fund’s governing board.
Asbarez: What was your reaction to the news about Hayastan Fund’s financial misappropriations?
Avedik Izmirlian: The resignation of decades-long former executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund, Ara Vardanyan, along with his arrest and admission to using the organization’s credit card to engage in online gambling, sent shock waves throughout Armenia and the Diaspora. The ARF Western US Central Committee severely condemns this unacceptable behavior.
The Hayastan All-Armenia Fund is an important part of the Armenian Nation and must be preserved and strengthened since its mission is far from over.
Asbarez: What should the Hayastan Fund do moving forward?
A.I.: We welcome the appointment by Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian of Bedros Terzian as the interim director and are confident that he will stop at nothing to put the house back in order. Of course, we offer our support and assistance to this end.
However, in light of recent events, the Fund requires transparency, restructuring and reforms, an imperative to the Fund’s longevity and necessary conditions to our continued participation.
The ARF Western US Central Committee calls for an immediate and transparent investigation of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund’s day-to-day operations. We also believe that all offices of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund and it’s regional affiliates should create mechanisms to monitor the day-to-day activities of its main and regional branches, in addition to being audited by independent and highly-experienced companies.
The ARF also believes that if anyone is found guilty of corruption, criminal conduct, or engaging in such acts he or she must be removed from his or her position and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Only through such efforts can we collectively repair the Fund’s tarnished image and regain the trust of the public.