NEW YORK—Armenian Americans from throughout the Eastern United States gathered at New York City’s trendy “Espace” to support the grassroots efforts of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Eastern Region at the third annual banquet hosted by the Armenian Cultural Association of America (ACAA).
The Oct. 3 gathering gave community leaders and activists an opportunity to reminisce about past successes and collectively commit to addressing the challenges facing the Armenian nation in the coming year.
“The banquet is a celebration of the accomplishments of the ANCA Eastern Region and a time to honor those that go above and beyond the call for truth, justice, and the principles of freedom so cherished by the Armenian American community,” explained 2009 Banquet chairwoman Nairee Hagopian, who organized the gala along with a team of volunteers spanning New York to Chicago.
Among those in the spotlight and honored during the event were New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who received the prestigious Freedom Award; internationally renowned lawyer Mark Geragos; Ohio Congressional candidate David Krikorian; and community leaders Bedros Bandazian and Melanie Kerneklian, who jointly received the Vahan Cardashian Award. Offering remarks during the evening were ANCA-ER chairman Steve Mesrobian and ARF Central Committee member George Aghjayan. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan and Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) executive director Andrew Torigian led attendees in the opening and closing prayers.
Mesrobian, in his closing remarks, challenged attendees and supporters across the region to answer the question, “Have I done all that I can to help our cause?” He urged all “to be
ready to answer further calls to action. After all it is only with your support that we are able to defend Armenian rights, counter Turkish and Azerbaijani propaganda and programs, and pursue the cause of justice for the Armenian people.”
The annual banquet is organized to fund the educational efforts of the ANCA-ER and encourage expanded Armenian American civic participation. As part of the banquet festivities, a silent auction was held featuring autographed memorabilia by Serj Tankian of Serjical Strike Records; Greg Mooradian, the executive producer of Twilight; and, Eli Manning, the quarterback for the New York Giants.
Established in 1969, the Armenian Cultural Association of America (ACAA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists and supports impoverished people of Armenian origin; welfare institutions that aid those of Armenian origin; and educational and charitable organizations that encourage and develop the Armenian cultural heritage. The ACAA also aids students, authors, artists, and researchers who are pursuing intellectual efforts in Armenian culture and education, and publishes educational, scientific, and literary books that raise the educational, cultural, and intellectual standards of the community. The ACAA sponsors projects both in the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. It also serves as a repository of historic Armenian national documents and archives.