WORCESTER, Mass.—The Worcester “Aram” Gomidehoutiun celebrated the 129th anniversary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) at the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church on Sunday. The program was emceed by Dr. Henry Theriault of the Worcester chapter who welcomed local members and supporters along with those from surrounding communities, including members of the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee.
Theriault expressed serious concerns over recent actions taken by the government of Turkey and what they will mean for the future of the Middle East. “I think they’re actually destabilizing not only the Middle East but potentially the broader, sort of, world order,” said Theriault. “I think the more attention that we can draw on that from our particular perspective, which understands Turkey probably better than anybody…and what it means when they move outside their borders with military aggression, I think it’s something we really have a duty to pass on, and I think we’re doing that.”
Shant Massoyan from New Jersey’s “Tro” chapter, sang the Armenian national anthem and the anthem of the ARF, as well as other patriotic songs throughout the program.
Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian of the Holy Trinity Church offered his blessings. Following a delicious luncheon prepared for the occasion, the program began with a member of the Worcester Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) chapter, Alana Wyatt, discussing the current status of the joint junior-senior AYF chapter in Worcester and sharing the excitement of the community hosting the 2020 AYF Olympics for the first time since 1974. Wyatt also expressed the AYF’s deep appreciation for the ARF and “their unwavering support and look forward to continuously working together to reach our goals and aims.”
Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Eastern Region Board and Worcester ARS member Carol Jaffarian presented on the many programs of the ARS, both on a regional and international level. She expressed a particular connection to the ARS Mother and Child Birthing Center located in the earthquake region of Akhourian, Armenia. “This clinic has absolute American standards,” explained Jaffarian on the modern facilities. The Center sees about 1,200 births a year and has never lost a mother or child in its 22 years of existence. Jaffarian also outlined the ARS Eastern Region’s scholarship programs and its commitment to Camp Haiastan, noting that it pledged $15,000 for an air conditioning unit in its recreation hall. That unit has since been installed.
ARF Eastern Region Central Committee member Ani Tchaghlasian was the keynote speaker. Tchaghlasian spoke about the history of the ARF, its historic mission and where the organization stands today. “The ARF, when it was created in 1890 in Tiflis, was created to help the Armenian nation survive where they were,” said Tchaghlasian. “The Armenian nation was split up between three empires at that time, between the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Persian Empire. Armenians in all of these locations lived in dire circumstances, some more dire than others.” Tchaghlasian stressed the ARF’s creation of the First Republic of Armenia in 1918 (the predecessor of today’s independent nation), an important part of the organization’s history following the horrific events of the Genocide under very difficult circumstances. “The reason we have a republic today, called the Republic of Armenia…the reason it exists today is because the ARF created this republic that has now survived through the Soviet Union and has now become independent again,” said Tchaghlasian. Thanks to the work of the ARF during the Soviet years, she said, “We stayed Armenian for 70 years. A nation without a state remained Armenian for 70 years, and that is entirely due to the structures of the ARF.” She went on to stress the importance of the ARF now and in the future, not only in Armenia but also in the diaspora, citing the overwhelming passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the House of Representatives. “We’re here. We’ve been here for 129 years. Our goal has always been to benefit the Armenian nation and now the Armenian nation state that exists today,” she concluded.