GLENDALE—On May 3, hundreds of community members including elected officials and representatives from multiple local organizations gathered to celebrate and honor the work and achievements of the Armenian National Committee of America Glendale Chapter’s 2018 Awardees at the 2nd Annual ANCA Glendale Award and Appreciation Dinner held at the beautiful Renaissance Banquet Hall.
Attending the event were state and local elected officials including, Congressman Adam Schiff, Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Glendale City Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, along with Councilmembers Vartan Gharpetian, Ara Najarian, Paula Devine and Vrej Agajanian, as well as City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian. Representatives from the offices of LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and LA County Assessor Jeffrey Prang. Glendale Community College Superintendent and President Dr. David Viar, President of the Board of Trustees Dr. Armine Hacopian and Trustees Dr. Vahe Peroomian and Yvette Vartanian Davis. Glendale Unified School District Board of Education President Gregory Kirkorian, Vice President Jennifer Freemon, Clerk Dr. Armina Gharpetian, and board members Nayiri Nahabedian and Shant Sahakian. Crescenta Valley Town Council President Mr. Harry Leon. Also attending, were newly appointed Glendale City Manager Yasmin Beers and Chief of Police Carl Povilaitis, as well as Fire Chief Gregory Fish, along with department heads and numerous commissioners. Representatives and leaders from several dozen cultural, philanthropic, educational and youth oriented community based organizations were also in attendance.
The evening began with an invocation delivered by Archpriest Vazken Atmajian. Following the invocation, local student Talin Ourfalian sang the national anthems of the United States of America and the Republic of Armenia. A short video message introducing the mission and scope of the ANCA Glendale was presented.
Master of Ceremonies and former Chairman of the ANCA Glendale Zanku Armenian thanked and welcomed the guests who joined the ANCA Glendale in honoring the remarkable set of awardees. Armenian recognized the elected officials, notable individuals and organizations who were attending. Reflecting on the recent developments in Armenia, Mr. Armenian stated, “let us take some lessons and inspiration from this example in Armenia that it is absolutely possible to make great things happen, when there is a will, there’s a way. The people we will be recognizing tonight are some of the great examples of the people in our community who are making that difference for all of us.”
Armenian invited on stage Congressman Adam Schiff who congratulated each awardee on their accomplishments and thanked “the selfless volunteers within the ANCA and within the community, for what they’ve done for make our City and indeed entire region prosper in many ways.”
ANCA Glendale Community Outreach Director Margarita Baghdasaryan began the presentation of awards by saying, “As you know the ANCA Glendale places a special emphasis on youth empowerment, through various educational forums, scholarships and the ANCA Glendale internship program. This year the ANCA Glendale selected two outstanding young leaders for their commendable leadership, extensive record of activism and engagement in the community and classroom.”
Baghdasaryan introduced the first Youth Activist Award recipient Lilit Bazikyan.
In her remarks Bazikyan called for unity in the diaspora stating that, “we must now look to the Youth Activists of Armenia and take notes. For many years the diaspora not only hoped but worked tirelessly to change things for the better in Armenia. Today it is them, the young students…who have taken the future of the country into their own hands and are shaping and molding Armenia into a homeland we all want to live in. They are setting an example for us to establish a more unified diaspora. We must stand together. In the diaspora more than elsewhere, we must stand united.”
ANCA Glendale Board Member Hasmik Burushyan introduced Shant Eulmessekian who also a recipient of the Youth Activist Award. Eulmessekian thanked Chamlian Armenian School, Herbert Hoover High School, the Armenian Youth Federation, ANCA Western Region and ANCA Washington DC for shaping him into the activist he is today. He concluded his remarks by stating, “There is no greater gift in this life, than to be activated, to strive for a cause and purpose higher than yourself.”
Glendale Community College Armenian Students Association President, Preny Alaverdian congratulated the youth activists both of whom had previously served on the executive board of the GCC Armenian Students Association.
ANCA Glendale board member Lucy Petrosian introduced the second awardee of the night, Seda Khojayan who received the Community Service Award for her dedication to raising the quality of life within our community, selfless contribution and service to the ongoing welfare of the community-at-large.
Khojayan who serves on the Commission on the Statues of Women, was joined by representatives from the YWCA, Soroptimist International of Glendale and the Armenian Relief Society. In her remarks, Khojayan stated, “I can tell you with all honesty, it is I who benefits from giving. I urge everyone who has the opportunity and ability to get involved in any organization, to serve selflessly without expectations and without reservations.”
Renowned soprano and recipient of multiple awards Anahit Nersisyan was invited on stage. She graced the audience with a mesmerizing performances of classical French and Armenian melodies.
ANCA Glendale board member Aida Babayan introduced the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, which was the recipient of the Maria Jacobson Humanitarian Award for its devotion to the welfare of humanity by eliminating the suffering and pain of the less fortunate throughout the United States. President of Kiwanis Club of Glendale Toni Beck Espinoza was joined on stage by former President Mercy Velazquez to receive the award.
“It is obvious that our work and the work of ANCA Glendale and our mission are aligned, as we strive to serve the children of the world and to bring people together one community at a time. We are honored to be your partners and to work by your side to make [Glendale] the best place to live,” stated Espinoza.
Former President Mercy Velazquez who is of Cuban descent delivered her speech in Armenian, surprising the attendees, she stated, “On behalf of the Glendale Kiwanis Club, she wants everyone to understand, how proud we are for being here and receiving the 2018 Maria Jacobson Humanitarian Award. Thank you and God Bless Armenia and the United States of America.”
ANCA Glendale board member Ronnie Gharibian introduced Isahak Kazangian, who received the Hye Tahd award for his exemplary dedication, unwavering support and selfless contribution to the Armenian Cause and the betterment of the Armenian-American community in Glendale. Kazangian, joined his family and friends has been a longtime supporter of the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian community at large.
“From being a board member in the Armenian Society of Los Angeles to representing the St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church as an elected delegate from its flock, Isahak’s life is marked with the character of someone who always aims to give back and serve his nation with integrity, diligence, and above all humility,” stated Gharibian.
ANCA Glendale board member, Jackie Tomasian introduced local student, and self-taught musician, Vazgen Barsegian who entertained the guests by playing a medley of Armenian folk music with traditional instruments.
Following Barsegian’s performance, the MC, Armenian, introduced Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian, who was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Public Service Award for dedicating his career to serving the public and going above and beyond the call of duty to promote democracy and social equality in Glendale. Armenian commanded Kassakhian’s passion for public services, his advocacy for minority populations and the work he has done as the youngest person elected to public office in Glendale. Armenian remarked on Kassakhians integrity and honesty and attempts to instill those same values in others.
Mayor Sinanyan joined them onstage to present the award. In his remarks Sinanyan reflected on his longtime friendship with Kassakhian and highlighting his dedication and passion for public service. Attributing his political career to his friendship with Kassakhian, Sinanyan jokingly stated, “I both thank him and blame him for getting me involved in politics.”
In his remarks, Kassakhian stated, “in order for us to prosper and for us to be at our best, and for our City to be at its best, it is important for us to remember that activists should have the heart of a public servant at all times and that public servants and philanthropists should have that passion of activists at all times. As we were reminded just in the last two weeks in Armenia, people from all walks of life were forced to become activists in the cause of liberty to determine the future of their county.”
The final awardee of the night was President of the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees Dr. Armine Hacopian, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the exemplary contributions she has made toward the enrichment of our community throughout her lifetime and her dedication to public service.
Dr. Rubina Peroomian, a longtime friend and mentor was invited onstage to introduce Dr. Hacopian and present her with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Peroomian recollected the friendship between their parents and commented on how love for the homeland and her community was bestowed upon Dr. Hacopian by her parents. She also highlighted Dr. Hacopian’s achievement throughout her lifetime, starting proudly that she is an exemplary mother, grandmother and wife, and a dedicated community servant who inspires others with her passion and tenacity.
Joining them on stage to present the award was California Senator Anthony Portantino, who congratulated Dr. Hacopian and commended her for being a staunch advocate for the Glendale Community College, stating “she is a tireless advocate and activist for education, I am honored to be your friend, and to share this moment with you.”
“My passion for education increases with every dialogue I have with each student and my enthusiasm grows exponentially as I carry out discussions with employees regarding the exciting future of education and the advent of technology…So I am sincerely appreciative of this honor and I bow my head to the ANCA – and specially, to their tremendous work with our youth. I promise that I will continue to Educate, Motivate, and Activate as that is the ANCA motto,” stated Dr. Hacopian.
ANCA Glendale Chairman Artin Manoukian provided the closing remarks. “First and foremost I would like to thank you all for being here tonight and joining us in honoring the service and contribution of six devoted individuals and an organization with members equally dedicated, whose commitment to the cause and selfless dedication to our community has greatly contributed to building our beautiful city, our Jewel City, our Glendale.
Manoukian thanked and acknowledged the major sponsors of the evening including, Adventist Health Glendale, City of Glendale Water & Power, Carmel Partners, Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie and Agneta Gharibian, Mr. and Mrs. Zareh and Melina Issakhanian and the Armenian American Museum.
Manoukian also announced the establishment of the Tsolag Hovsepian Scholarship Fund for students attending Glendale Unified School District. “On behalf of our Board, I would like to thank his family, especially Dr. & Mrs. Viken and Lucie Hovsepian for generously agreeing to sponsor the scholarships in honor of their patriarch.”
Manoukian concluded the evening by emphasizing the importance of volunteering, “I would like to leave you all tonight with a simple reminder that volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. We vote in elections once a year or once every two years, but by educating, motivating and activating ourselves and everyone around us, by volunteering, we vote everyday about the kind of community we want to live in, we want our children and grandchildren to grow in. Thank you again, we look forward to yet another year filled with success and multiple achievements.”
The ANCA Glendale Chapter advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.