PROVIDENCE, RI – The 86th annual convention of the Armenian Youth Federation-Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Eastern Region USA concluded in high spirits in the early hours of the morning Monday, December 30th in Providence, RI. The convention adjourned following three full days of discussion with 29 delegates representing 13 of the region’s chapters. Also present was the representative for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee, John Mkrtschjan, who offered perspective to the delegates throughout the convention. Mkrtschjan stressed the importance of improving public relations and outreach to increase membership within the AYF, especially in new communities where there’s potential to establish new chapters.
The convention heard from invited speakers including David Hamparian of AYF Camp Haiastan, Ara Barsoumian of the Homenetmen Eastern US, Heather Krafian of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Eastern Region USA, Michael Varadian of the AYF Olympics Governing Body, Leeza Arakelian and Pauline Getzoyan from the Armenian Weekly, Varant Chiloyan of Hamazkayin Eastern USA, and Chris Simonian of the AYF Western US. The representative for AYF Canada Manoug Alemian and the representative from the ARF Bureau Office for Youth Affairs Arshak Mesrobian spoke via video conference call.
During the convention, delegates participated in discussions reviewing the organization’s many initiatives in 2019 and proposed resolutions to guide the 2020 agenda. Topics included the AYF Internship in Armenia, Camp Javakhk, AYF Camp Haiastan, the AYF Juniors, general membership and the importance of implementing Armenian language into chapter educationals. The delegates also spoke about recent events in Armenia and in the diaspora. Most notable were the protests led by the Armenian Youth Federation in Armenia (HEM), the US House and Senate passage of the Armenian Genocide resolutions and their implications on the direction of the organization.
The meetings started at eight in the morning and ended around midnight each day to ensure every agenda item was discussed in detail. As part of tradition, the money raised from fines was donated to an organization voted on by the convention; this year over $1200 will be donated to the Syrian Youth Federation (SEM). The local Providence ARF Kristapor chapter supported the convention by hosting a dinner for the delegates at the Sts. Vartanantz Church on Saturday night.
The newly elected 2020 AYF-YOARF Central Executive consists of Kenar Charchaflian (Worcester, MA), Nareh Mkrtschjan (Providence RI), Garin Bedian (Chicago, IL), Vrej Dawli (Chicago, IL), Vartenie Kachichian (New Jersey), Saro Sakaian (Boston, MA) and Aram Balian (Manhattan, NY).