On Sat., May 17, Chicago community leaders and activists came together at Arpy Seferian’s home to celebrate the 115th anniversary of the Hairenik and the 80th anniversary of the Armenian Weekly. The evening was made even more memorable with special guest Prof. Richard Hovannisian, accompanied by his wife Dr. Vartiter Hovannisian, among other attendees from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee, including Chairman Richard Sarajian, members Antranig Kasbarian, Ari Killian, and Angele Manoogian, and Hairenik Weekly editor Zaven Torigian.
Guests were greeted by members of the Chicago Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) “Ararat” Chapter and welcomed graciously by Seferian and her son and daughter-in-law, Serge and Nadine. Following dinner, Kasbarian opened a brief program expressing the importance of Hairenik publications to the hearts and minds of Armenians everywhere, and especially to the Eastern USA as a connection and attachment to our nation and spirit. Remarks by Torigian conveyed the same sentiments and emphasized the importance of the Hairenik Weekly in preserving the Western Armenian language. Arpy Seferian shared her enthusiasm for Hairenik publications and its impact on her life, beginning with her father, who was a contributing writer for many years.
Guests that evening were also privy to Hovannisian’s private recollections and photos of his study in Beirut as a young university graduate at the Neshan Palanjian Jemaran. Amidst interesting stories and humorous anecdotes, Hovannisian told of the extraordinary place that Jemaran was in the late 1950’s, and his great fortune to have been there at the same time as so many of the quiet heroes of the Armenian nation, who served as the school’s teachers and administrators. Notably, Hovannisian established a close mentor-pupil relationship with Jemaran’s principal, Simon Vratzian, the former prime minister of the First Republic of Armenia. Vratzian advised the young American, and the two later became friends. The Neshan Palanjian Jemaran instilled a distinct “Armenianess” in its students—love, faith, and honor for the nation—that would never be forgotten nor repeated. Hairenik Publications aims to do the same.
More than $25,000 was raised at the event. In appreciation, guests received a copy of Hairenik Publication’s most recent work, Voices from the Past, translated by Vahe Habeshian.