BETHESDA, Md.—The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of the Eastern United States held its 42nd Regional Convention on April 14, at the Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church in Bethesda. Around 40 delegates from nine chapters and invited guests participated in the meeting.
Hrair Baronian, the Eastern U.S. representative of the Hamazkayin Central Executive, Hovsep Avakian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern U.S. Central Committee, ArtLinks Program Director Khatchig Mouradian, as well as Rupen Janbazian, editor of the Armenian Weekly newspaper, were also present.
Baronian highlighted the significance of the 90th anniversary of Hamazkayin, and the decades-long legacy of the organization. He spoke of the general mission and work of Hamazkayin, as well as the various initiatives it is currently undertaking worldwide. He emphasized the importance of engaging the youth, and underlined the work that is being done in this regard, such as the Youth Forum in Armenia, the new YouthLinks Europe initiative, which will be held in Vienna this year, as well as the four-day arts retreat program, ArtLinks—the former two are projects of the Hamazkayin Central Executive, whereas the latter is a project of the Hamazkayin regional executives of the Eastern U.S., Western U.S., and Canada.
Avakian praised Hamazkayin’s cultural and educational mission of the past 90 years, and congratulated the work of the Hamazkayin Eastern region. He noted the significance of the re-establishment of the new Worcester Chapter in the East Coast, as well as the inspiring work of the local chapters in organizing musical, literary, and artistic events, which reflect the Armenian cultural wealth.
Representatives of sister organizations—Irma Kassabian of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), Houry Keurkunian of Homenetmen, and Galin Tanashian of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF)—delivered congratulatory remarks, as well as brief overviews of the work of their respective organizations.
The Eastern Regional Executive Committee’s 2017-18 annual report was then read. Brief presentations on various projects ensued, such as the Merry-Go-Round Daycare Center, as well as ArtLinks 2018, which will take place June 28-July 1 in Philadelphia. Discussions followed the presentations, focusing on opportunities and challenges. Delegates also donated to the forthcoming 2018 ArtLinks program.
Finally, the Convention elected a Regional Executive consisting of the following members: Arevig Caprielian (New York-Chairperson), Ani Aghajanian (Philadelphia-secretary), Kari Ghazarian (Philadelphia-Treasurer), Hasmig Aprahamian (New Jersey-Vice Chairperson), Taline Mavlian (New Jersey-Advisor), Nanore Barsoumian (Boston-Advisor), and Helena Bardakjian (Detroit-Advisor).
Exemplary Members Honored During Reception
On the evening of April 13, delegates and guests gathered in the home of Gregory and Arax Khachikian, where delegates socialized and members of Hamazkayin in the Eastern U.S. were honored.
Chair of the Hamazkayin Eastern Regional Executive Committee Arevig Caprielian shared her remarks with the attendees. She spoke of the 90th Anniversary milestone of Hamazkayin, the legacy of the organization, and the continued dedication of its members. On behalf of the Regional Executive, Caprielian thanked Mr. and Mrs. Khachikian for their hospitality. She then presented Arax Khachikian with the Hamazkayin Exemplary Engagement Award, in recognition of her longtime dedication to the organization.
The Regional executive also presented Hamazkayin Washington member Zareh Soghomonian with the Hamazkayin Exemplary Engagement Award for his continued work as a committed member of the organization.
Although not present at the reception, two other members were recognized for their commitment to the organization: Hamazkayin New Jersey member Vartivar Keshishian received the Hamazkayin Exemplary Engagement Award; and Hamazkayin Philadelphia member Harout Aghajanian received the Hamazkayin Founders’ Award.
Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian of the Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church blessed the dinner reception. Armenia’s Deputy Ambassador to the U.S. Hrachya Tashchian, Permanent Representative of the Artsakh Republic to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan, Hamazkayin Central Executive member Hrair Baronian, Hovsep Avakian of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee, and Hamazkayin Washington Chair Maggie Simonian delivered remarks during the reception.
Representatives of sister organizations, such as the ARS, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), and Homenetmen, were also present at the reception.
Delegates and guests mingled and socialized, and the evening concluded with impromptu piano recitals and singing.