At Diocesan Center, New UN Ambassador Meets Community

On Mon., Sept. 14, the Diocesan Center held a reception to welcome Garen Nazarian, the newly appointed Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations.

Organized by the Eastern Diocese and the Fund for Armenian Relief, the evening was attended by some 150 people, who gathered to meet the ambassador and to hear him speak about his delegation’s goals at the United Nations.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), called the new ambassador “especially well-practiced in the arena of international organizations, having served as Armenia’s UN ambassador in Geneva, Switzerland, and on several influential international bodies.”

He also noted his personal qualities, among them “his ability to stand on principle, as well as his eagerness to engage others and seek common ground.”

Acknowledging that he assumes his position at a critical moment in history, Nazarian said the Nagorno-Karabagh peace process and Armenia-Turkey relations will be two central issues for Armenia’s UN Mission.

He stressed that the delegation would treat each matter independently, and would work toward both the continuation of Karabagh negotiations and the normalization of relations with Turkey.

More broadly, Nazarian said Armenia plans to extend its involvement in global agenda issues and strengthen its international presence. “Protection of peace in our complex region is another vital issue,” he said. “We consider that the key to it is multilateral cooperation among all countries of the region and among the neighbors.”

Also speaking during the evening’s program, Diocesan Council chairman Oscar Tatosian reflected on the Diocesan Center’s prominent role in Armenian American life, as the hub of major community events. “So many great and influential figures of our generation—Armenian and otherwise—have come here, to meet the people and address our concerns,” he said.

Dr. Movses Abelian, Armenia’s past UN ambassador, said he experienced a warm reception at the Diocese when he first came to New York 17 years ago. He recalled how Armenia’s diplomats occupied an office at the Diocesan Center even before Armenia became a member of the UN in 1992, and thanked Archbishop Barsamian for his assistance and encouragement.

Abelian currently serves as the secretary of the UN General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee and as a member of the Committee on Programme and Coordination. At the reception, he thanked Kevork and Sirvart Hovnanian for donating the brownstone in Midtown Manhattan, where the offices of Armenia’s UN Mission are housed.

Addressing Nazarian, Abelian said he was hopeful that Armenia would continue to build on its diplomatic ties and overall development. “I’m sure the coming months and years will show that it is a time for peace, it is a time for prosperity for Armenia,” he said.

Archbishop Barsamian spoke about the close relationship between the diaspora

and Armenia. “The existence of the Republic of Armenia is not merely important to us, as members of the diaspora, it is our other half, as it were. And the success or failure of the Armenian people as a whole depends on the strength and mutual support, the good will and trust, of both the diaspora and our homeland,” he said.

Nazarian most recently served as Armenia’s ambassador to Iran. Prior to that, he acted as the advisor and chief of the cabinet to the foreign minister of Armenia, as ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, and held a staff position in Armenia’s embassy in Moscow.

He has also served as a member of the United States Intergovernmental Commission and as vice president of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.

Nazarian is a graduate of Yerevan State University and the Diplomatic Academy of Moscow. He is married, with a daughter and son.

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