Mexican Consul General Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez and his Armenian counterpart Grigor Hovhannissian. Photo by Nora Yacoubian
LOS ANGELES—The Consuls General of Armenia and Mexico to Los Angeles announced the formation of a task force that would promote cooperation in the sectors of health, economic development, as well as education and culture during a breakfast reception Thursday that honored Mexico’s Ambassador to US Arturo Sarukhan.
Consuls general Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez and Grigor Hovhannissian separately spoke about the need for the strengthening of the ties between the Mexican and Armenian communities during the event, organized by the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce with the sponsorship of the Armenian and Mexican consulates general.
“The task force will be designed to become a full fledged body, a consultation forum for concerted actions and continuous initiatives of both communities. While we have preliminarily identified three areas of cooperation, the coverage of the Task Force may expand to include other sectors,” announced Consul General Hovhannisian.
The Armenian community will be represented in the task force by Maria Mehranian, managing partner of the Cordoba Corporation (Health), Shahe Mazbanian, a vice-president of business development at Bank of America (Business Development) and Pattyl Aposhian-Kasparian, Vice President of Marketing and Development for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Credit (Education and Culture). They will be joined by Richard Zaldivar, Wall Las Memorias
Sandy Cajas, President of the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Rebeca Zapanta, in respective sectors from the Mexican community.
The guest of honor, Ambassador Sarukhan, was introduced by Alberto G. Alvarado, Los Angeles District Director of the US Small Business Administration, who highlighted the importance of the bringing the vast Armenian and Mexican communities together in common cause and for the development of the crucial sectors that guide each community.
Ambassador Sarukhan, who was greeted with a standing ovation, highlighted his dual interest in the gathering emphasizing his Armenian grandparents, who he said were “survivors of the Genocide by Turks.”
He provided an extensive and comprehensive explanation of the current state of US-Mexico relations, highlighting such themes as NAFTA, border security and immigration. In conclusion, he emphasized the important role the Armenian and Mexican communities can play in strengthening US-Mexico relations.
Sarukhan, who has been a career diplomat in the Mexican Foreign Service was promoted to ambassadorial rank in 2006. He served as the campaign coordinator for international affairs and foreign affairs spokesperson for the current Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Prior to Sarukhan’s remarks, through a video message, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) expressed his wholehearted support for the undertaking and congratulated the two consulates for spearheading such an effort.
Mazbanian, who was also the Master of Ceremonies of the event, welcomed the guests and explained that the event was a long time in the making and was an effort by the communities to bring together business and community leaders in an effort to foster cooperation and understanding.
“Bridging the Mexican and Armenian Communities,” as the event was called also featured displays by the two chambers of commerce as well as information about the two countries.