GLENDALE—Supporters of the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee gathered at Legacy Banquet Hall on Friday, May 11 to benefit the three youth centers in Javakhk, specifically the expansion of the Akhaltskha Youth Center. The ARS Javakhk Fund Committee organizes fundraisers annually to support its ongoing efforts in the highly Armenian populated region of Georgia. This year, the committee honored its long time chairperson, Haigoush Keghinian Kohler with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The evening’s program began with an invocation by the Western Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church, His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, who congratulated the honoree and wished the Javakhk Committee continued successes in educating our community and supporting the people of Javakhk.
Committee member Carnie Armenian delivered opening remarks, welcoming Archbishop Mardirossian; ARS Central Executive members Nyree Derderian and Rita Hintlian; Regional Executive members, led by Chairperson Silva Poladian; chapter executives and members, as well as the ARF Central Committee representative Dr. Carmen Ohanian, and supporters. Armenian welcomed the regional chair of ARS Armenia, Diana Hovsepian; member of the supreme body of Armenia; Bared Maronian, and of course the honoree, Haigoush Kohler. Armenian stressed the importance of both moral and financial support to Javakhk Armenians and why as a young committee member she feels obligated to support the educational and outreach efforts of the Javakhk Committee. She stated, “I believe I speak for most all of us in the room in saying that our love for Javakhk is unmeasurable. The history- dating back to 785 BC, the “parpar” dialect similar to what we speak as Western Armenians, the picturesque landscapes, immense fortresses, churches, crystal lakes, and rolling mountains, the traditions and culture woven into the people for generations, but mostly- and despite all their hardships- the devotion the locals have to one another and to preserving the Armenian community of Javakhk.”
Thereafter, a dynamic video presentation displayed the vast accomplishments of the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee over the years in educational, outreach, coin bank collections, fundraising, Camp Javakhk, and the youth centers. Committee Chairperson Lena Bozoyan delivered remarks by thanking and appreciating all the members, donors, and supporters of the ARS Javakhk Fund, who trust the committee and help accomplish its projects. Bozoyan acknowledged the presence of all the supporters, especially the previous chairperson and honoree of the day, Haigoush Kohler, as well as the Melkonian, Baghdassarian and Shirvanian families and their children. She complemented the young committee members, who are energizing the committee’s work and advocated for them to carry the torch and lead the way. Bozoyan presented the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee’s major accomplishments throughout the past 17 years, the importance of the youth centers and their meaning to the region of Javakhk. She also discussed the struggles of Armenians in Javakhk, citing the danger of immigration from Javakhk, and the Turkish investments and presence, which endangers the northern border of Armenia. She further explained how the ARS Javakhk Fund strives to alleviate these difficult circumstances by sponsoring year-round educational, cultural, and social programs at the youth centers. Bozoyan reminded the significance of the committees’ slogan: “Supporting Javakhk is Our Duty,” which has resonated loud and clear in our community and to our supporters. “We have to do our utmost to secure our homeland and to create the vision that our heroic people and leaders envisioned one hundred years ago when they established the first Armenian Republic.”
The ARS Javakhk Fund Committee Chairperson also used the occasion to thank all ARS members, ARF members, sponsors, donors, and supporters, who have lent their unwavering support to advancing the welfare of Javakhk Armenians.
A special video was presented highlighting the life and achievements of the honoree, Haigoush Keghinian Kohler. Organizational and community leaders, as well as the former and current Artsakh Republic ministers, hailed and congratulated Kohler’s service to our nation and organization. They highlighted that in addition to her services toward Javakhk, Kohler has exhibited humanitarian work in Armenia and Artsakh as well.
Committee Chairperson Lena Bozoyan introduced Haigoush Kohler as “Selfless, perfectionist, assertive with strong principles and beliefs, a disciplined activist, a dedicated ARS member, a passionate philanthropist, unwavering patriot, a smart businesswomen, a giving friend and mentor and above all a loving mother and grandmother. Her exemplary commitment and dedication to her community and nation. She exemplifies the ARS Slogan ‘With my people, For my people,’ and that’s why we are honoring her today. When we told her about today she was hesitant and told me ‘I am not a mere benefactor or a sponsor, I don’t want to be identified like that…I am doing my duty as a “Gamavor Zinvor,” I am a volunteer more than a benefactor. That’s her legacy…’”
Bozoyan invited the honoree, as well as ARS Regional Executive Chairperson Silva Poladian and ARF representative Carmen Ohanian, to present the Lifetime Achievement award to Haigoush Keghinian Kohler. Kohler accepted the award and thanked all the supporters, family, friends and guests, who were present, and reiterated the importance of helping and supporting Javakhk.
The ARS Regional Executive Board’s remarks were delivered by Regional Executive Board member and Javakhk committee representative Nancy Bederian, who stressed that the Armenian Relief Society is always prepared to assist Armenians in need wherever they may be. She added that preserving the Armenian identity of Javakhk Armenians must be deemed as a responsibility and new methods must be discovered to keep Javakhk and Javakhk Armenians strong. She thanked the Javakhk Committee for always doing its utmost to organize and accomplish whatever the needs are in the region.
Throughout the evening, the committee announced, intermittently, the names of the donors as well as the raffle prizes donated by various supporters.
The event came to a close with well-known singer Arthur Hakobyan (Mister X), who entertained guests with Armenian and international songs.