Playwright and Theater Critic Aram Kouyoumdjian to Moderate
BY PATRICK BAIRAMIAN
LOS ANGELES—Ever heard that saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,” spoken by Margaret Mead? Well no truer statement could have been made about the panelists that we’ve asked to join us for 2011‘s Grassroots, and now this year’s Grassroots. These ‘small group of people,’ are members of the community who have become our leaders in the fight for Hye Tad and the rights for the Armenian-American community’s voice to be heard. Indeed Ms. Mead, we undoubtedly agree with you.
Here is just a small little peek into the esteemed panelists about to take the stage on November 29th for the 2013 ANCA – Grassroots Conference!
Vahe Berberian – is a man who needs little to no introduction. His distinguishable hair, his bellowed laugher, his full embrace of the human soul’s taste for humor can be heard and seen anytime he makes his way on stage and in front of a room full of people that he takes pleasure in making laugh, think, be entertained, or all three at the same time.
A premier renaissance artist of raw talent, Berberian is the subtle painter who strokes his canvas with the deep turmoil brewing inside the very soul of humanity. His comedy shows put a spot light on the Armenian community at large, and he allows for the audience to take a step back, and laugh at these tiny absurdities. His plays are potent and deep, with elements of everyday life woven into them, while his energy is infectious to the senses. Berberian joins the ‘Film & Arts,’ panel as an artist, activist and public figure that can make any situation one to be remembered.
Aram Kouyoumdjian, Esq. – is a practicing attorney, formerly as a partner with the civil litigation firm of Poswall, White, Kouyoumdjian & Cutler, and currently as Assistant General Counsel for the Los Angeles Unified School District who will be moderating this incredible panel. Kouyoumdjian has broad experience in employment law, and civil and educational rights. He has handled multiple jury trials and appeals, and several of his high-profile cases have captured both print and broadcast media attention. He holds a B.A. in English from UCLA; an M.A. in English (with distinction) from California State University, Northridge; and a J.D. (with distinction) from the University of Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, where he served on law review.
Alongside the law, Kouyoumdjian is an award-winning playwright and director. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Vista Players, an ensemble that “set the standard by which others were judged” (Sacramento News & Review). He has won Elly Awards for writing (The Farewells) and directing (Three Hotels). And his feature plays and solo pieces have been performed in half a dozen cities, from Los Angeles (Fountain Theatre) to London (Finborough Theatre). His latest works are Velvet Revolution, Happy Armenians, and an adaptation of Levon Shant’s Ancient Gods.
The Grassroots Conference of 2011 introduced us to a panel of artists who advocated for the Armenian Cause and Hye Tad through their respective fields in the broad world of Art. We had directors Eric Nazaryan (The Blue Hour), Carla Garapedian (Screamers), Suzanne Khardalian (Grandma’s Tatoo’s), Eric Hachikian (Composer), and of course the ‘rock-star’ of the panel – Serj Tankian (System of a Down). And we aim to bring you the same potent cast of panelists for this year’s “Film & Arts” panel.
Berberian and Kouyoumdjian will take stage with renowned Los Angeles based music producer Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities and EMMY-Award-winning filmmaker Bared Maronian among others who will be announced in the days and weeks to come.
The successful ANCA Grassroots Conference will return on Thanksgiving Weekend, this time in the heart of Hollywood at Loews Hotel. The event bring together academicians, artists, historians, legal experts and political officials who will make presentations about varied topics regarding the myriad aspects of the pursuit of Hay Tahd.
The conference is open to the community, but requires registration. Register now by visiting itsmyseat.com/ancawr or by calling 818.500.1918. To obtain updates on the conference, like the ANCA Western Region Facebook page at facebook.com/ANCAWesternRegion or
The ANCA Grassroots Conference will bookend the annual ANCA Gala Banquet, which will take place on Saturday, November 30 at the Roy Dolby Ballroom and will featurea special menu created for the banquet by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.
This year’s honorees include, Jerry Tarkanian, Manas Boujikian, Archbishop Parkev Martirossian, Assemblymember Khatcho Achajian and filmmaker Ara Soudjian, among others.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.