WATERTOWN, Mass.—On Saturday, October 26, an inter-regional meeting, organized by the ARS Central Executive Board, convened in the “Papgen Suni” Hall of Watertown, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. This important gathering brought together the ARS regional executives of Canada, the Eastern and Western US, with the participation of ARS CEB members and ARF Bureau member, Hagop Der Khatchadourian.
This one-day meeting started with the singing of the ARS anthem, followed by the welcoming remarks of the ARS CEB Chairperson Vicky Marashlian who, after the proper introductions, gave a concise account of present ARS activities and the purpose and aims of this inter-regional meeting.
The sessions of the meeting focused primarily on issues concerning the following ARS programs and projects: the Akhurian “Mother & Child” Health and Birthing Center; the Artsakh ARS “Soseh” kindergartens; the Centennial Commemoration projects of the Armenian Genocide; ARS activities in the UN; the development of a strategic plan for the Society; programs of assistance to Syrian-Armenians; and cooperation and shared activities with sister organizations.
Concerning programs in the Homeland, ARS CEB member Alesya Benjayan presented some additional reports, while ARS CEB members Pauline Getzoyan and Rosie Bedrossian reported on ARS activities within UN circles.
ARS CEB member Graciela Kevorkian reported on the progress of the preliminary work of the ARS Strategic Planning Committee, followed by a presentation by committee member Nyree Derderian regarding the steps which the committee will be following in its endeavor to reach a final and proper plan.
During the meeting, by internet connection, ARS CEB member Zepure E. Reisian joined the session from Aleppo to report on the latest challenges facing the Society in its assistance efforts, focusing on a worsening array of societal, economic and related difficulties and the attempts to overcome them.
During the sessions, time was allotted for question and answer periods on agenda items being discussed. The Chairpersons of ARS Canada, Eastern and Western USA, Seta Malkhasian, Ani Attar and Lena Bozoyan presented their respective regions’ annual reports, projects, successes, and difficulties faced during implementation, concluding with their personal assessments and advice.
The last session of the meeting discussed various means of improvement in the modus operandi applied to such areas as finances, structure and organization.
ARS CEB Treasurer, Caroline Chamavonian presented the financial picture, while ARS CEB Vice-chairperson Nairy Shahinian focused on the preparation of brochures in the Society’s public relations efforts to promote ARS programs of activity in various fields.
Cognizant of the importance of strengthening its global structure and abiding by the resolutions of the ARS International Convention, the CEB organized this inter-regional meeting as an initial model for future continental meetings, also involving the ARS Strategic Planning and the Bylaws Committees.
This very productive ARS Inter-Regional Executives Meeting provided the opportunity to the ARS North American regions’ executives to coordinate their activities and to get back to work with renewed enthusiasm to bring their various programs to fruition.
Moving forward with this promising start, the ARS CEB plans to hold similar meetings in other continents as well. The intent is to bring together the ARS members, already active in their separate entities, in order to get reacquainted with the global nature and reach of the Armenian Relief Society and to apply themselves with renewed vigor to the implementation of the humanitarian programs that keep the ARS mission alive.