In a joint effort between the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States and Artsakh central committees and in the presence of Montebello-based benefactors Vartan and Sona Fundukian the ARF Torlakian and Fundukian Youth Center was inaugurated on Monday in the Kovsakan village in Kashatagh, Artsakh, reported the Stepanakert-based Aparaj newspaper, Asbarez’s sister publication in Artsakh.
After the official opening ceremony, a reception was held on Tuesday at the ARF Artsakh “Nigol Touman” center where ARF Western U.S. Central Committee member Garo Madenlian accompanied the Fundukians were welcomed by ARF Artsakh Central Committee chairman Davit Ishkhanyan and member Vahagn Dadayan.
During the discussion, Ishkhanyan stated that strengthening of Artsakh’s southern area is a great strategic imperative.
The ARF Western U.S. has other projects in addition to the opening of the youth center. The Orange County ARF Armen Garo chapter, through its “Yerkir” committee, has installed 30 solar water heaters in the Martuni region; the ARF Montebello Dro chapter donated a firetruck; while the ARF Glendale Aharonian chapter facilitated the installation of 30 greenhouses. The ARF Western U.S. has also undertaken projects in Artsakh that have economic development components.
In his remarks, Madenlian explained that the ARF Western U.S. Central Committee has the “Homeland Initiative’ project, explaining that the Kovsakan village youth center was one of the many efforts of the initiative. “I hope this philanthropy will become an example,” said Madenlian.
Kovsakan is strategically important for the Armenian population in the region, both in Artsakh and Armenia, simply by its geographic location. In the early 1990s, during Artsakh’s battle for liberation, it was subjected to intense fighting, was a launching point from which Azerbaijan regularly attacked the Republic of Armenia, and sustained heavy damages.
The center was named the “Torlakian-Fundukian Youth Center” in memory of Operation Nemesis avengers, Misak Torlakian and Yervant Findikian who, on July 18, 1921, assassinated Behbud Khan Javanshir, Minister of the Interior in Azerbaijan responsible for murdering 30,000 innocent Armenians in Baku in 1918.
“We wanted a youth center in liberated Artsakh to be named after Misak and Yervant honoring the legacy of the Nemesis avengers who assassinated the ‘Butcher of Baku.’ The Armenian spirit has endured in a region that continues to be a bulwark against Azeri aggression,” Fundukian said in April when the renovation of the center was first reported.
“There is something in Artsakh that always gives me pleasure every time I visit. That is the constant construction—change—the building of new structures and institutions, which is a source of comfort for any Armenian who lives away from the homeland,” said Vartan Fundukian, who said that sponsoring the youth center will not be his last project in Artsakh.
“We have to think about and conceive projects that can create jobs in Armenia and Artsakh. This way we can have an input in improving the lives of the people of Artsakh,” added Fundukian.