On April 9, Armenian Relief Society (ARS) members from eleven chapters gathered for the of ARS Eastern USA Regional Seminar entitled “The ARS in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges.” The seminar was held at the Aramian Auditorium, Providence, R.I., and was hosted by the Ani and Arax chapters.
The seminar opened with the singing of ARS anthem and a moment of silence to honor the martyrs who lost their lives a week earlier during the Azeri aggression. Talin Daghlian, Chairwoman of the ARS of Eastern USA, said, “Since the outbreak of the Artsakh war at 2:30 a.m. on April 2, it was immediately clear the need for this chance to connect with our dedicated ARS members half way around the world, and we will modify today’s seminar agenda to connect via skype with the ARS Artsakh chapter at large members around noon.”
At 11:30 a.m., the ARS Artsakh members joined the seminar via Skype and provided an update on the ongoing ARS relief efforts in Artsakh. “The unity of our people in Armenia and the Diaspora touched us,” said Artemis Gregoryan. “We affirm you that our young soldiers are brave. We are much more organized and strong. We have all ARS entities worldwide supporting us, ARS Central Executive responded immediately when we needed funds. We are the body and you are our wings, together the Diaspora, Armenia, and Artsakh are strong.” The attendees listened the courageous ARS Artsakh ungerouhis and expressed readiness to support ARS Artsakh efforts.
The morning session, titled “ARS at the UN: Connecting the Dots,” was presented by Nora Simonian and Nory Boiatchian, ARS UN Committee members.
Nora Simonian started the presentation by giving an overview of the current ARS worldwide projects and a brief history of the ARS at the United Nations. She then focused on the benefits of ARS active participation in the United Nations NGO CSW Committee. Simonian eloquently talked about her personal experience when she participated on a panel organized by the ARS and the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the UN during CSW 59, and the ARS exhibit “Stitching to Survive”. This year’s panel, “Uplifting Women From Poverty Through Partnerships,” focused on the new project which will take place in the Tavush region of Armenia and is meant to uplift women from poverty by focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); SDG 1 (poverty eradication), SDG 2 (hunger), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (employment) and SDG 17 (partnerships).
Nory Boiatchian, previous ARS intern, continued the presentation by explaining United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015. She discussed in detail opportunities for ARS as countries adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity to all part of the world.
The afternoon session, titled “Grant Writing and Fundraising,” was presented by Sarah Varadian-Vartanian, regional Executive Director of the Jefferson Awards Foundation, and Marie Kelly, Director of corporate and foundation relations at Stonehill College. The interactive session included analysis of ARS fundraising efforts. The participants highlighted ARS fundraising strength, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities and shared experiences. The presenters discussed how philanthropy and charitable giving ties to ARS fundraising culture and how ARS members can utilize charitable giving opportunities.
The last session was dedicated to ARS of Eastern USA projects in the United States and around the world. Talin Daghlian’s presentation highlighted the board’s recent fundraising efforts and educational programs such as the ARS Youth Connect Program, the ARS Art Exhibit and the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC). The ongoing ARS relief efforts in Syria, Artsakh, Javakhk, and Armenia were detailed. The Seminar participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the board about the programs.
The Armenian Relief Society was established in 1910 in New York City to provide educational and humanitarian assistance to Armenians throughout the world. For more information, contact the ARS of Eastern USA office by calling (617) 926-3801. The ARS Eastern USA a 501(c)(3) is charitable organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.