ANC-IL Fundraiser Features Hamparian

GLENVIEW, Ill.—On Sun., Oct. 6, a crowd of supporters of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois gathered at the home of Dr. Khachig and Lena Ishkhan to hear about recent developments in Hai Tahd at the local, regional, and national level.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian speaks at an ANC of Illinois fundraiser at the home of Dr. Khachig and Lena Ishkhan on Oct. 6.
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian speaks at an ANC of Illinois fundraiser at the home of Dr. Khachig and Lena Ishkhan on Oct. 6.

The featured speaker of the event was ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, who discussed the various phases that Armenian political activity has passed through. He described how Armenian political activity began nearly a century ago when efforts were centered around fostering sympathy, especially with regard to securing aid for victims of the genocide and for Armenia’s fledgling republic. With the Soviet takeover of the republic, Hamparian said, the community entered a stage of partisanship, which peaked during the Cold War, when different elements aligned themselves within the different poles.

Hamparian discussed how in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the community began to take a more outward focus, organizing protests and becoming more forceful in our demands. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the community grew much active in lobbying efforts and influencing the decision-makers within our government structures. More recently, the ANCA has tried to expand the community’s reach by helping young Armenian Americans join the government structures and eventually become the decision-makers.

He also described how the ANCA’s palette of issues has expanded beyond human rights and the genocide, to demands for reparations, support for Armenia, Karabagh, and Javakhk, and support for Armenian communities in Iraq, Syria, and other areas in turmoil. He talked about the transition of Armenia’s relationship with the U.S. from one that is aid-based to one that is trade-based in order to help fuel economic growth.

Earlier, ANC of Illinois Chair Claude Ohanesian opened the program by thanking everyone for attending. He then presented hosts Khachig and Lena Ishkhan with a gift of a signed copy of the newly published book One Church, One Nation by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian.

Reviewing some of the many activities of the ANC of Illinois, Ohanesian spoke about the organization’s continuing efforts to raise awareness about Armenian issues with local, state, and federal officials, mentioning meetings with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Michael Grimm, Congressman Brad Schneider, members of the Illinois State Assembly, and others. Ohanesian also spoke about the ANC’s 2013 Armenian Genocide commemoration, which was co-hosted by the Illinois Holocaust Museum and featured noted author Peter Balakian. He also discussed continuing efforts with the museum to mark the Centennial of Armenian Genocide. He then introduced Illinois State Holocaust and Genocide Commission member and long-time ANC activist Greg Bedian to provide an update on the commission and other outreach activities.

Bedian, who was appointed to the commission by Gov. Quinn, described the newly organized commission’s efforts to raise genocide awareness. He spoke about how the commission was working to encourage the various communities impacted by genocide to work more closely together and learn from each other, and how the ANC had hosted a meeting of the commission at the Armenian Community Center in March. He also discussed the international academic conference held in May that was co-organized by the ANC and the Assyrian and Greek communities, and held at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. It was the first major conference ever held devoted to the three genocides committed by the Ottoman Turks.

Upon conclusion of the program, attendees were given copies of the book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, written by Samantha Power, the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The Armenian National Committee of Illinois is a grassroots public affairs organization that works in coordination with a nationwide network of offices, affiliated organizations, and supporters to inform, educate, and actively advance the concerns of the Armenian-American community on broad range of issues.

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Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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