Homenetmen Celebrates Centennial Anniversary

Eastern USA Region Welcomes Homenetmen Central Executive Chairman Y. Karnig Meguerdichian

In honor of Homenetmen’s 100th anniversary, the Homenetmen Eastern USA Regional Executive and 100th Anniversary Committees graciously welcomed Homenetmen Central Executive Chairman, Yeghpayr Karnig Meguerdichian to the east coast last month.

Meguerdichian started his tour of the Eastern Region in Washington, DC on October 23. Meguerdichian, accompanied by Homenetmen Regional Executive member Y. Shant Jamgotchian, Washington Chapter Executive member Kouyr Houry Keurkunian, and 100th Anniversary Committee member Y. Vahe Tanashian, met with Armenia’s Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States, Ara Markarian, the Permanent Representative of Artsakh to the United States, Robert Avetisyan, and ANCA Executive Director, Aram Hamparian, and ANCA Communications Director, Elizabeth Chouldjian, at their respective Washington offices.

At an evening reception, Washington Chapter Executive Vice-Chairman Y. Hovig Apkarian welcomed his guests, followed by a moment of silence in honor of Y. Hamo Sardarbegians and Y. Levon Palian. Meguerdichian honored K. Seta Khoyan, daughter of Archpriest Fr. Dickran Khoyan (one of the founders of Homenetmen). She was presented with a plaque from the Homenetmen Regional Executive.

Meguerdichian’s tour of the region continued to New York on the following day where Meguerdichian, Homenetmen Central Executive member Y. Hratch Mesrobian, and Y. Vahe Tanashian met with Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, prelate of the Armenian Prelacy Eastern USA. During the evening reception, Meguerdichian met with members of the local chapter and community.

In New Jersey, Meguerdichian met with members of the local Homenetmen chapter and community including New Jersey Chapter Executive Chairman Y. Mark Torossian.

The final leg of Meguerdichian’s regional tour coincided with the Homenetmen Eastern Region’s 100th Anniversary celebration weekend, organized by the region’s 100th Anniversary Committee, hosted by the Homenetmen Boston Chapter.

On Friday afternoon, Meguerdichian visited the Massachusetts State House with Homenetmen Eastern Regional Executive Chairman Y. Aram Kayserian and member Y. Vicken Khatchadourian, Homenetmen Boston Chapter Executive Chairman Y. Sevag Khatchadourian, as well as Y. Hratch Mesrobian and Y. Vahe Tanashian. Massachusetts State Representative David Muradian gave them a tour of the State House and presented the delegation with a proclamation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, honoring Homenetmen’s 100th anniversary.

That night, members of the community met Meguerdichian during a reception at Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church in Belmont. The following morning, there was a basketball tournament organized by the Homenetmen Regional Athletic Committee at the Armenian Cultural and Education Center (ACEC) in Watertown and a Khmpabedagan Hamakoumar (Scout Leader Conference) at the Hairenik building organized by the Homenetmen Regional Scouting Committee.

At the Khmpabedagan Hamakoumar, scouting leaders from across the Eastern Region convened to discuss the current scouting program, past and future scouting camps and seminars, the Pan-Homenetmen Jamboree in Armenia, and how to prepare future leaders in the ever-changing region. Additionally, several scout leaders received the rank of Khmpabed (scoutmaster) during the Hamakoumar, including Kouyr Marissa Ovassapian, Kouyr Nina Vosbigian, Kouyr Meghri DerVartanian and Yeghpayr Alex Ourfalian. Meguerdichian also visited the scout leaders and listened intently to their questions and offered thoughtful suggestions and compliments for their hard work. Meguerdichian said he looks forward to seeing the scouting program continue to thrive in the coming years.

On Saturday afternoon, Meguerdichian met with the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee for lunch accompanied by Y. Hratch Mesrobian, Y. Aram Kayserian, Y. Vicken Khatchadourian, and Y. Simon Bardizbanian, where they discussed local, regional and Pan-Armenian topics.

The celebration reached its peak on Saturday night during the 100th anniversary dinner dance at the Boston Marriott Burlington in Burlington, MA. Addressing over 300 guests that evening were 100th Anniversary Committee chairman Y. Vahe Tanashian, Y. Kayserian, and Y. Meguerdichian, who also emceed the event. The dinner program consisted of remarks from 100th Anniversary Committee chairman, Y. Vahe Tanashian, who also emceed the evening, Homenetmen Eastern Region Chairman Y. Aram Kayserian, and Homenetmen Central Executive Chairman Y. Karnig Meguerdichian.  Very Reverend Father Sahag Yemishian blessed the dinner and all those in attendance. Toronto’s Koko Asayan performed.

On Sunday at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, Very Reverend Father Sahag Yemishian and Archpriest Father Antranig Baljian blessed the Homenetmen flag during a special badarak. The requiem service also honored all deceased Homenetmen members.  Directly following church services, a parade of scouts and dignitaries marched from the church to the ACEC led by the Homenetmen Boston Fanfar (marching band).

At the ACEC, a formal ceremony concluded the 100th anniversary celebrations. Emcee Y. Hagop Khatchadourian (Homenetmen Eastern USA 100th anniversary committee member), greeted guests and introduced all central and regional executive and committee members.

The program consisted of remarks from Boston Homenetmen Executive Chairman Y. Sevag Khatchadourian, Homenetmen Eastern Region Executive Chairman Y. Aram Kayserian, ARF Eastern Committee Central Committee member Unger Jano Avedissian, Homenetmen Central Executive Chairman Y. Karnig Meguerdichian, and Very Reverend Father Sahag Yemishian. Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, pastor for Armenian Memorial Church in Watertown, Archpriest Father Antranig Baljian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown and K. Leony Sarmazian, Homenetmen Canada Regional Executive Chairwoman, were also in attendance.

K. Meghri Dervartanian and Baron Hovhannes Khacheryan sang a set of beautiful Armenian songs followed by a traditional and uplifting dance performance by The Sayat Nova Dance Company Boston.

Then Y. Shant Jamgotchian introduced the Dzarayoutyan Shkanshan (Service Medallion) recipients:

K. Heidi Guleserian — Albany
Y. Harout Arabian — Boston
Y. Avo Barmakian — Boston
Y. Ara Barsoumian — Boston
Y. Avo Bedrossian — Boston
Y. Bedig Der Vartanian — Boston
K. Zepur Kahwajian — Boston
Y. Marcel Karian — Boston
Y. Levon Khatchadourian — Boston
K. Heghig Margosian — Boston
K. Linda Marsoubian — Boston
Y. Missak Ourfalian — Boston
Y. Sarkis Ourfalian — Boston
Y. Sarkis Vosbigian — Boston
Y. Toros Vosbigian — Boston
Y. Varoujan Kokuzian — Chicago
Y. Raffi Markosian — Detroit
Y. Mardig Palanjian — Detroit
K. Elizabeth Dramgotchian — Philadelphia
Y. Hovig Apkarian — Washington

In his remarks, Meguerdichian described the history Homenetmen’s early days, when the founders’ vision was to establish a gathering place for Armenian orphans displaced by the Armenian Genocide. Y. Karnig said the founders could not have possibly imagined that the clubs they established have grown to become an organization with 28,000 members of over 100 chapters, spanning 26 countries worldwide.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary, Y. Karnig presented Y. Sarkis Stepanian, who formerly served on Regional and Central Executive, with the Arjanyats Shkanshan (Excellence Medallion) for his lifelong dedication to Homenetmen.

On his final day, Meguerdichian toured the archives at the Hairenik building in Watertown. Meguerdichian, Jamgotchian, and Sarmazian met with members of the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee and the editorial staff of the Hairenik and the Armenian Weekly.

In an interview with the Armenian Weekly, Meguerdichian addressed how Homenetmen is keeping pace with the modern era while still balancing tradition and still remaining relevant and interesting to today’s youth. In his answer, Meguerdichian described a 160-page study that started about eight years ago focusing on the state of Homenetmen today and its ten-year plan. For example, Meguerdichian said the organization is planning a conference in May for its 18 to 30 year old population, an age group where members may not be as active as they used to be when they were scouts, etc. The goal of this meeting is to understand their expectations and how Homenetmen can get them working and more involved again. Meguerdichian also said that social media has been more crippling than effective in some ways. He explained that even conducting in-person meetings are unfortunately becoming challenging and obsolete. One of the most basic tenets of Homenetmen is to bring Armenians together, to discuss ideas, and to ultimately build a strong community. Those traditions, Meguerdichian said, will not disappear.

Homenetmen Eastern USA Regional Executive extends its gratitude to the Armenian community for its enthusiasm in celebrating this important milestone. The motto for 100th anniversary across the world was “Honorable Past, Triumphant Future.” That being said, here’s to another 100 years.

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