GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region announced Gevik and Peter Baghdassarian as the sponsors of the 2019 ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet, in memory of their father, lifelong community leader and benefactor Hacop M. Baghdassarian. This year, the gala banquet will take place on Sunday, October 20 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“Hacop Baghdassarian was a major pillar not only in our Southern California community, but his visionary leadership transcended Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk and beyond. Our Board of Directors decided to pay special tribute to his memory in recognition of decades-long service to the advancement of the Armenian Cause,” remarked ANCA-WR Board Member Lina Davidian, Esq. “We’re grateful to the Baghdassarian Family for their generosity and, more importantly, for carrying forward Hacop Baghdassarian’s legacy of patriotism, philanthropy, and leadership.”
Baghdassarian’s decades-long and storied efforts in advancing Armenian education, culture and the just aspirations of the Armenian Nation both here in the United States and in Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk made him an exemplary Armenian and a passionate humanitarian who, with humility and dedication, changed many lives due to his generosity.
In March 2017, Baghdassarian and his wife, Hilda, were honored and recognized for their service in the community by the Armenian Cultural Foundation and Baghdassarian was named ACF Man of the Year. In 2011, Baghdassarian was bestowed with the ANCA-WR Legacy Award at the organization’s annual gala.
Baghdassarian’s contributions to varied organizations earned him numerous accolades from the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, the Armenian Relief Society, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Educational Foundation, through whose programs he rebuilt schools and cultural facilities in Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk.
His contributions have enabled the Vahan and Anoush Chamlian school to be endowed with a state-of-the-art gymnasium, Armenia’s and Artsakh’s rural village to have top-notch schools and cultural centers and the ARS to advance its activities in Javakhk and the ANCA to advance its pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
In 2016, during a pontifical visit to Los Angeles, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia bestowed the “Prince of Cilicia” medal to Hacop and Hilda Baghdassarian.
Baghdassarian was born in Tehran, Iran on March 30, 1948 to Petros and Marous Malek Baghdassarian. He grew up in Tehran with his four sisters – Nora, Emma, Rima and Asieh. He attended Kooshesh Armenian School in Tehran until the age of fifteen when his father Petros unexpectedly died from a heart attack. Baghdassarian cut short his educational aspirations to attend to his father’s paint supply business. He maintained his father’s reputation as a fair and honest entrepreneur and was sought out by young Armenians arriving in Tehran looking for work.
In 1973, Hacop married Hilda Voskanian and later had two sons, Peter and Gevik. In 1979, leaving behind the turmoil of the Iranian Revolution, Baghdassarian and his family immigrated to the United States. In Los Angeles, Baghdassarian followed his entrepreneurial inclination and opened the first of several restaurants patriotically named “Massis Kabob” in Glendale. For over four decades, Baghdassarian worked tirelessly to make his businesses successful–his motivations always being providing for his family as well as contributing to the Armenian community to the best of his ability.
Baghdassarian often traveled to the rural villages in Armenia to review plans for the renovation of dilapidated elementary schools. Baghdassarian has been responsible for the construction or renovation of several schools in rural Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk. In 2005, Baghdassarian’s philanthropy and dedication were officially recognized when he received the Yerakhtagitutiun Award for his humanitarian services from then President of Artsakh Arkady Ghoukassian.
The 2019 ANCA – WR Gala is the premier event for the ANCA – WR and the Armenian-American community, where supporters, community leaders, public officials, and coalition partners come together to acknowledge and encourage the work of the organization and to pay homage to honorees whose contribution to the Armenian Cause is recognized each year. As the largest event of its kind each year, the ANCA – WR Annual Gala serves as a catalyst to unify the community around the Armenian Cause in all its facets and to highlight the many accomplishments of the most effective and well-organized grassroots advocacy organization in the Armenian Diaspora.
Last year’s Gala attracted over 1,000 attendees as it honored a variety of individuals who have served their community and their country. Past honorees have included Baroness Caroline Cox, U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, the “Architects of Denial” executive producers and team including David McKenzie, Montel Williams, Dean Cain, Laura McKenzie, and Elizabeth Stanton, musician and activist Serj Tankian, Turkish MP Garo Paylan, Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, Archbishop Parkev Martirosyan, International and Human Rights Attorneys Geoffrey Robertson and Amal Clooney, and many other distinguished honorees.