Pasadena AYF Educates Community with Ongoing Lecture Series

On Sun., Feb. 15, the Pasadena “Nigol Touman” AYF held the second installment in its 2009 community educational series at the Pasadena Armenian Center. This time, the topic was political ideology and the speaker was Prof. Roger C. Marheine, a 30-year faculty member at Pasadena City College (PCC).

In attendance were a diverse mix of both young and old, with many AYF members, local students, and older community members coming to hear the professor talk about the role played by ideology in political action. In addition to discussing the ideological underpinnings of radical and Leftist movements, Marheine also discussed how the current global financial architecture and economic developments have been shaped by a distinct ideological philosophy.

The lecture was one component of a year-long effort by the Pasadena AYF, working in conjunction with its local ARF Gomideh, to educate its members and the community at large. The chapter’s Educational Committee set upon itself the task of organizing an educational at least once a month on topics of critical relevance to AYF members and the Armenian community.

“Some of the subjects are going to be strictly for AYF members,” said Pasadena Educational Committee chair Payla Kiork, “but the majority will be open to the wider public. This is because, when you look at the topics we are having discussed, they have to do with information everyone can relate to.”

The first lecture in the series, held earlier this month, was presented by ARS Inc. executive director Jirayr Beugekian and was on the topic of globalization. The next scheduled lecture will be on March 15 and will focus on the history of revolutions, including the French, American, and Bolshevik experiences. Future presentations will cover such issues as the 19th-century Armenian awakening (Zartonk), the history of the Armenian national liberation struggle, and contemporary issues pertaining to the Armenian Cause.

It is worth noting that these educationals are by no means exclusive only to the Armenian American community. During Marheine’s lecture, for example, many members of the Students for Social Justice Club at PCC were also in attendance. This created the opportunity for the AYF to forge new links with fellow non-Armenian youth and activists in the local community.

“Our main goal is to educate,” said Kiork, “but we also want to get students from various colleges to attend so we can build closer bonds with them.” Referring to the activists who came from PCC, she explained, “Now we know who they are and they know there is an Armenian Center in Pasadena filled with like-minded youth who might even be their classmates and allies in the future. In this way, at the same time that we are getting ourselves informed, we are informing others about our Cause.”

For more information about future lectures to be held as part of the Pasadena “Nigol Touman” Chapter’s community educational series, email

Serouj Aprahamian

Serouj Aprahamian

Serouj Aprahamian has always been actively involved in the Armenian community. From 2007-2009, he served as the Capital Gateway Program Director for the Armenian National Committee of America in DC, while obtaining a Master's in International Relations from American University. He also served for three years as the Executive Director of the AYF Western Region and has contributed regularly to the Armenian Weekly, Haytoug, and Asbarez. He is currently a correspondent of the Armenian Weekly in Yerevan.

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