WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—During Armenian President Serge Sarkisian’s visit to the Hairenik headquarters on March 28, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee (CC) Chair Hayg Oshagan, on behalf of Sardarapat Memorial and Museum Director Karen Aristakesyan, presented ARF member Zohrab Tazian with the museum’s “Yervant Lalayan” Medal for his dedication to the Armenian Cause and the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations, as well as for his contributions to the Musa Ler Resistance Museum in Armenia. The medal was presented on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Musa Ler resistance.
Receiving the medal, Tazian expressed his gratitude to the president of Armenia, to the ARF Central Committee chair, and to the Sardarapat Museum director for the honor. In his brief comments, he expressed his hope that the combined efforts of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora would lead to a strong and prosperous homeland where the highest standards for the protection of the human rights of every Armenian prevail.
Tazian’s grandfather was one of the fighters in the Musa Ler resistance, giving the award an added, special meaning. Tazian supported the renovation of the Musa Ler Memorial and Museum in Armenia for the very same reason. “It was an initiative that spoke to my heart,” he said.
Speaking to the Armenian Weekly, Tazian recounted his reaction upon receiving the honor. “My first reaction is gratitude. My second is asking, ‘Did I earn that?’ My third is, I believe [my support] went to the right place. Yes, as a human, you feel good about the recognition, but you also should make the commitment to do more. This is not the end. I feel like I got more value than I gave, so I have a strengthened sense of commitment to do more for my Armenian heritage.”
Tazian said his support of Armenian projects over the years—be it in the diaspora or Armenia—has been driven by the desire to see Armenian causes strengthened.
“I have tried to live my life the way my father would have liked to live,” he explained. Tazian lost his father at an early age. After attending seminary for three years in Jerusalem, he returned to Lebanon to help support his family. “I could not afford to be selfish. Individualism didn’t exist for me—I did what I did for my family and for my nation,” he said.
“I sometimes look at his picture and ask, ‘Dad, how am I doing? Am I being your worthy son?’ Is that childish or simplistic? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. That’s how I look at things.” The circumstances of his early years—the hardships and the support he received—have deeply affected Tazian, and continue to give meaning to his life.
“I live for my family and the Armenian nation,” he added.
Tazian received the award in the presence of President Sarkisian, Armenian Minister of Education Levon Mgrthchyan, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakopyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannisian, Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.N. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Chief of Staff Vigen Sargsyan, ARF Central Committee Chair Hayg Oshagan, members of the ARF Eastern Region CC, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Hairenik and Armenian Weekly editors and staff, Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Central Executive and local chapter representatives, ARF Gomideh representatives from various New England chapters, Homenetmen and Armenian Relief Society (ARS) regional and local representatives, clergy, and community leaders.