MONTREAL–The Armen Garo Student Association of the ARF initiated a gathering of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Student Associations of North America for a conference on October 22 in Montreal.
Central Executive members from the AYF Eastern and Western regions–ARF Youth Organization of Canada–and ARF Shant Student Association participated in the event. Representatives of the ARF Central Committee of Canada were also present.
The main topic discussed at the meetings was the ARF Youth Office organized pilgrimage to Western Armenia this past summer. The meeting aimed to clarify the responsibilities of the organization after the trip–in addition to discussing the cultural genocide being committed there by the Turks.
Other agenda items included organizational–educational–and information distribution topics.
The meeting discussed the topic of Armenian churches and monumen’s being destroyed in Turkey–and resolved to establish a committee made up of members from each organization–who will–through their universities–follow the issue.
During their discussions–the group criticized the Turkish government’s recent conviction of Hrant Dink–editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos. Dink–who received a six-month suspended term–was found guilty of "insulting and weakening Turkish identity through the media" in articles about the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of Armenia’s. The meeting decided to stand in support of the editor.
The participants also examined the situation in the Armenian region of Georgia–Javakhk–and the organizations pledged to continue their moral and financial support of the Javakhk Armenia’s.
At the conclusion of the conference–the Central Executives of the three AYF regions met–and cultivated their tri-regional work. Similarly–the ARF Armen Garo and Shant Student Association Gomidehs outlined their united work and aims.
"The AYF and ARF–unfortunately–are only one of a handful of organizations that continue to raise the question on the status of our historic Armenian lands in present-day Turkey," said AYF Eastern Region Central Executive member Aram Hovagimian. "It is both our responsibility and duty to lead the effort of reconnecting the diaspora and–in turn–the Armenian people with her ancestral homelands in Western Armenia."