GLENDALE–A capacity group of more than 300 dignitaries, guests, community members and supporters gathered at the new Embassy Suites Hotel for an unforgettable evening to mark the Armenian Relief Society Western US Regional Executive’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner on Sunday, April 5.
Among the many distinguished guests in attendance were Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, the newly appointed Consul-General of Armenia to Los Angeles Grigor Hovhannisyan, President of the Armenia Fund Ara Aghishian, Congressman Adam Schiff, State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, Glendale Councilmen Bob Yousefian and Ara Najarian, Glendale Unified School District Board President Greg Krikorian and School Board Member Nayiri Nahabedian, as well as representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee headed by its chairman Avedik Izmirlian, representatives of affiliate organizations, the chairwoman of the ARS Central Executive Vicky Marashelian, members of ARS chapters from throughout the western US and others.
The banquet’s Mistress of Ceremonies Anahid Oshagan, Esq. welcomed the attendees and highlighted the achievements of the ARS, stressing that in 2010, the venerable organization will celebrate its centennial. Oshagan then invited Arous Melkonian who offered her opening remarks.
Before his invocation, Prelate Mardirossian praised the ARS for its almost century of service to the Armenian nation, highlighting its enormous contribution during the Genocide, the Diaspora community-building, the earthquake, the Karabakh movement and now in ensuring that the needs of the Armenian community in Javakhk are met.
As guests dined on a delectable dinner, a video presentation chronicling the myriad achievements of the organization was presented.
Oshagan invited ARS Western US Regional Executive Chairwoman Rima Boghosian, who delivered the ARS Regional’s message. She then invited Congressman Schiff, Consul-General Hovhannisyan and others who delivered their remarks and made proclamation presentations.
Following the presentations, ARS Central Executive chairwoman Vicky Marashelian presented her congratulations to the Western US Regional Executive, praising it for a quarter of century of service to the community.
The evening’s program concluded with a traditional candle lighting ceremony and cutting of the 25th anniversary cake. This was preceded by a performance by the Armenian Folk Ensemble, under the direction of Rouben Haroutunian, followed by performances by soloists Salpi Mayelian and Mary Melkonian.
“I am so very happy and proud with this event. It was a wonderfully fitting celebration for such a monumental occasion. All aspects of the evening from the turnout, to the organization, down to the program, were extremely impressive,” said Boghosian.
“I commend all of the Ungerouhis who worked tirelessly to organize such a magnificent event. All who attended left truly impressed and pleased,” said Marshelian, “We all leave here tonight with a renewed sense of pride in our ARS and feel reinvigorated to serve it with a renewed sense of fervor.”
The ARS is the largest Armenian humanitarian organization of its kind within Armenia and throughout the Diaspora. Over the course of a century, since its founding in New York City New York, in 1910, the organization has continually expanded and currently has chapters in 26 countries.
The establishment of the first two ARS-WR chapters west of the Mississippi River occurred in Fresno in 1915 and Hollywood 1918. The Region has grown since, to include 26 chapters, five Social Service Offices, Child Youth and Family Guidance Center, fifteen Saturday Schools and after school programs and the list goes on. Its Social Services and the Guidance Centers are open to every member of our community, Armenians and non-Armenians alike. It also maintains several programs in Armenia and Artsakh such as: the “Sponsor a Child Program,” “Food for Orphans Project” as well as other humanitarian assistance programs in the region. During its 100-year history, the ARS has worked faithfully and tirelessly to meet the social, humanitarian, educational, and cultural needs of the Armenian people, in both the Diaspora and in Armenia. It has established schools, social service centers, youth camps, and day care kindergartens across the globe and recently extended its role in the international forum by becoming a roster member of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) and an active participant in ECOSOC’s many working groups.