BY MARO KESHISHIAN
LOS ANGELES–Generously accepting the request of the Homenetmen Western United States Regional Executive–Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Susan Kitsinian have taken on the duties of Honorary Chairpersons of the 28th Annual Navasartian Games currently underway in Los Angeles.
During a recent meeting–Mr. Kitsinian presented a brief overview of his life and his accomplishmen’s as a successful professional and community activist.
Kitsinian was born in the Nor Sis region of Bourj Hammoud–Lebanon–and completed part of his education at the local Lousinian Armenian School (currently Aksor Kasarjian); soon after completing his education–he followed his uncle Apo’s footsteps and learned the craft of jewelry making–at a young age becoming a well known artisan as well as a businessman and generous contributor to family and community.
Kitsinian–at a very young age–became involved with the Homenetmen Bourj Hamoud chapter as a cub scout–at the same time participating in the local Kristapor Youth Association. As an athlete–Kitsinian loved basketball–and routinely participated in the customary Homenetmen neighborhood games.
According to the benefactor–one of his most vivid and earliest memories of Homenetmen is his participation–along with his father–in an inter-regional event at the Aleppo Homenetmen Center–where he participated in the scouts’ parade.
As a first step toward his future success–Kitsinian established his first jewelry store in the Hamra region of Lebanon. Kitsinian today comman’s an impressive reputation in his business–and as a wholesaler of precious stones–is a supplier to hundreds of outlets across the United States.
In 1974 he met and married Susan Sassounian–who had recently graduated from the Levon and Sophia Hagopian College. Sassounian–too–was an athlete–and had participated in the Lebanese Secondary School Competitions.
Soon after their wedding–the couple settled in Hawaii–where they established a network of rare and precious stone production stores–and to this day–their store is the second largest of its kinds on the island of Waikiki. At the end of 1975–the Kitsinians moved to California–and that same year Mr. Kitsinian joined the ARF Aharonian Chapter–as well as the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter.
The community leader contributed greatly to the renovation of Glendale’s St. Mary’s Armenian Church–as well as to the activities of the Los Angeles Chapter of Homenetmen.
Since 1985–Kitsinian has been actively involved in the ARF Rostom Chapter in the San Fernando Valley–as well as the local Homenetmen Massis Chapter. In 1987–Kitsinian participated in Homenetmen’s 4th Delegates’ Congress in Athens–Greece.
In 1988–he was elected to the ARF Western US Central Committee; in that capacity–he served as one of the first delegates–as part of a team of community leaders delivering badly needed aid to Armenia–following the 1988 deadly earthquake.
That same year–Kitsinian played an integral role in the creation of the Armenian Cultural Foundation.
In 1997 the businessman was instrumental in organizing and establishing the Armenian Jewelers Association–whose aim is to create a forum of Armenia’s working in this arena–and to create a link between Armenia and Diaspora artisans and businesspeople in the jewelry trade.
As a successful international businessman–in July 2002–Kitsinian was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor James Kenneth Hahn to the Mayor’s Advisory Board for Office of International Trade. In February 2003–Mayor Hahn once again appointed Kitsinian to serve as Chairman of the Europe-Africa-the Middle East Region Subcommittee for his expertise in commerce within these regions.
The community activist continued his benevolent activities and charitable work–including a very generous contribution to the construction of the Pasadena Armenian Apostolic Church in memory of his parents Mr. and Mrs. Arshavir and Araxi Kitsinian. He is one of the first contributors to the Regional Homenetmen Center–and while being a multi faceted man–has never forgotten his roots. He is one of the founders–and later executive members of the Sis Compatriotic Union.
The Kitsinians have four children–all of whom are Homenetmen members. They are–Arshavir–who is already a master in his father’s domain–and is currently managing one his father’s establishmen’s in the Valley; Nareg and Vanna–who are both law students at Loyola and Pepperdine law schools–respectively; and Hrag–who is currently attending Ferrahian Armenian School.
According to the Kitsinians–Homenetmen’s work will never be finished–as each subsequent generation of Armenia’s will depend on Homenetmen to show the right path to national and personal pride.