ANCA Eastern Region Celebrates Artsakh Liberation Movement and Grassroots Advocacy at Sold-Out Gala

The 11th Annual Gala Brings Together Hundreds of Advocates from Around the Eastern U.S. to Boston

BOSTON—Hundreds of advocates from New England to the Midwest, from the South to the East Coast and around the U.S., came together at Two International Place in downtown Boston to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments of the Armenian National Committee of America—Eastern Region (ANCA-ER).

Hundreds of advocates from across the U.S. came together in downtown Boston to celebrate the accomplishments of the ANCA—Eastern Region (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

The Gala, sponsored by the ANCA-ER Endowment Fund, began with an elegant cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 2.

“Every year, the ANCA-ER Gala is an opportune moment to reflect on all the achievements—which are substantial—we have made as an organization, as well as to chart the course for the work still lying ahead,” remarked ANCA-ER Chair Steve Mesrobian. “I wish to express our gratitude to all of our supporters, grassroots volunteers and activists, as well as partners who empower and enable us to get the job done.”

ANCA-ER Chair Steve Mesrobian (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

On the occasion of the Gala being held in Boston, Massachusetts Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito sent a welcoming letter “congratulating all the honorees and commending the ANCA for another successful year full of impactful work.”

Representative Seth Moulton (D-Mass.-6) in his letter stated, “Today, 25 years after declaring independence from the Soviet Union, Armenia is a strategic ally of the United States in the wider Middle East, playing an active role in peacekeeping and anti-terrorist activities.… We will continue our work to ensure a full and frank reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide by the U.S. government and the government of Turkey, continuation of direct assistance to Armenia and Artsakh, and further development of trade and economic relations between the two countries.”

A group of ANCA-ER supporters and activists with Senator Edward J. Markey (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

In his letter, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.-4) noted, “This year marks the 25th anniversary of established diplomatic relations between the United States and Armenia. As a strategic ally of the U.S., Armenia stands strong as a beacon of democracy and freedom in the region.”

Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan also sent a letter “to express deep appreciation for the enduring commitment of the ANCA Eastern Region to advancing an agenda of common interest and importance for Armenia and the Armenian people.”


2017 ANCA-ER Awards

Emceed by the founder of the Armenian Business Network, Jack Antounian, the 11th annual Gala included a diverse group of distinguished honorees.

This year the ANCA-ER honored U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and Representative Niki Tsongas with its highest honor, the prestigious Freedom Award presented annually to worthy individuals for their commitment to freedom, truth, and justice for the Armenian Nation.

(L to R) Steve Mesrobian, Senator Edward J. Markey, and Jack Antounian (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

In his acceptance speech, Senator Markey noted, “Next year marks the 30th anniversary of Nagorno-Karabagh Liberation Movement. This anniversary is an important reminder of how far the Armenian people of the region have come, but also how far we still have to go. Since Azerbaijan launched its brutal offensive against Nagorno-Karabagh last year, it is our duty to stand with all Armenian communities who remain at risk. It is our duty to end this gruesome aggression against Armenian people. It is our duty to call out this violence for the crime, which it is. And as long as Azerbaijan continues to violate the ceasefire agreement and attack Armenians, the United States should cut off all military aid to Azerbaijan.”

(L to R) Don Boyajian and Mari Manoogian, both running for Congress, with Armén Sahakyan of the ANCA-ER (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

Past recipients of the ANCA-ER Freedom Award include Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan; Senator Christopher Van Hollen Jr.; former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk; former House Majority Whip David Bonior; lawyer, writer, and human rights activist Fethiye Cetin; renowned lawyer Robert Morgenthau and the Morgenthau Family; former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John M. Evans; Pulitzer Prize winning author and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Samantha Power; former U.S. Senator Robert Menendez; the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy; former U.S. Senator Robert Dole; former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole; and Baroness Caroline Cox.

Named after Yale-educated lawyer Vahan Cardashian, the ANCA-ER Cardashian Award is presented annually to individuals for longstanding activism and dedication to the Armenian Cause. This year’s honoree was Carolann Najarian, MD.

Antranig Kasbarian of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee presented Carolann Najarian with the Cardashian Award (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

Past recipients of the ANCA-ER Cardashian Award include John Jerikian of Washington D.C.; Levon Palian of Washington DC.; Tom Vartabedian (in memoriam) of Massachusetts; Armen Topouzian of Michigan; Alice Movsesian of New Jersey; Vahe Amirian of New Jersey; Martha Aramian of Rhode Island; Bedros Bandazian of Virginia; Melanie Kerneklian of Virginia; Tatul Sonentz-Papazian of Massachusetts; Ruth Thomasian of Massachusetts; Stephen Dulgarian of Massachusetts; Professor Richard Hovannisian of California; and Zohrab Tazian of Indiana.

Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, JD, was bestowed with the 2017 ANCA-ER Activism Award, which is presented to individuals and organizations that work toward enhancement of human rights, democracy, truth, and justice in the United States, Armenia, Artsakh, Turkey, and beyond. Sayat Tekir and the Nor Zartonk Movement in Turkey last received the Activism Award at the 2015 ANCA-ER Banquet in Detroit.

Tatul Sonentz-Papazian presented Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte with the 2017 ANCA-ER Activism Award (Photo: ANCA-ER/Azat Gevorgyan)

To make a tax-deductible donation to the ANCA-ER Endowment Fund, visit

Below is a video recap of the ANCA-ER’s work in 2017.

For a full set of Gala photos, click here.

The ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization that supports the ANCA-ER in outreach to Armenian-American communities.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.

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