AYF-ER polishes off Gharib Memorial Trophy, awards Chicago chapter

The 2020 AYF-YOARF Central Educational Council (CEC) and 2020 Central Executive (CE) have reintroduced the Gharib Memorial Trophy (Բաժակ՝ Ղարիպի Յիշատակի). The Gharib Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) chapter with the best educational program. 

The trophy is named in honor of Avedis Aharonian, whose pen name was Gharib. Aharonian was a writer, revolutionary, an Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) member, and a contributor for Troshag. As one of the leaders of the delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, he signed the Treaty of Sèvres that established the borders of Wilsonian Armenia and solidified the vision of a free, united and independent Armenia.

For the past few years, the CEC has been working on a new educational program aimed at helping chapters redesign their educational sessions; the council decided to revive the tradition of the Gharib Memorial Trophy to motivate chapters in educating the next generation of revolutionary leaders. 

The Chicago ”Ararat” chapter has displayed a continuous commitment to the growth of the Armenian community through the education of its members in the 2020 year. By promoting discourse on a variety of Armenian topics, the chapter strengthened its knowledge of Armenian issues and fostered an environment where discussions were welcomed and encouraged. The joint Hai Tahd and Educational committee produced in-depth educationals on complex issues within the Armenian community, including race, domestic violence in Armenia and the Lisbon 5. The Chicago committee also spearheaded an Armenian language learning program. The committee was diligent and introspective; they planned their educationals well in advance and reflected on the successes and shortcomings of each presentation with the goal of improving and expanding to benefit the chapter as a whole. The committee also understood educationals as a tool for personal growth and provided members with opportunities to hone their public speaking, organizational and research skills by presenting on topics of interest. Through the combined efforts of the Educational/Hai Tahd committee and the rest of the chapter, Chicago witnessed a surge of dedication to improving the chapter through a strong educational curriculum. The 2020 CEC was proud to award the Gharib Memorial Trophy to the Chicago “Ararat” Chapter for 2020. The trophy was presented to the Chicago chapter delegation on May 30th at the 87th Annual Convention.

Andrew Devedjian (AYF Chicago “Ararat” Chapter), CEC member Alexandria Kazandjian (AYF Philadelphia “Sebouh” Chapter), Emily Terian (AYF Chicago “Ararat” Chapter), Daron Bedian (AYF Chicago “Ararat” Chapter), Violette Dekirmenjian (AYF Chicago “Ararat” Chapter) and AYF-ER Central Executive chair Vrej Dawli

The Worcester “Aram” Chapter also impressed the 2020 CEC and was a close contender for the trophy with its passion and resourcefulness. Although Worcester is not the largest chapter, members have a way of putting love for their community into everything they do. Their educationals over the past year have been no exception. The chapter has been committed to providing its membership with relevant and interesting educational content. One educational in particular was about the history of the Armenian community in Worcester. The presentation, led by a Worcester AYF member, included research on the development of the community, ancestral histories and a look at the relationships developed with other immigrant and working-class residents of the city. This was one of many presentations that illustrated the Worcester chapter’s commitment to their community and the AYF, as well as their ability to stay connected during a pandemic.

Finally, the South Florida “Arev” Chapter’s educational program was impressive not only because of the quality and quantity of educationals (they covered more topics than any other chapter), but also because just two years ago, the chapter had been struggling to operate. The chapter has undoubtedly redeemed itself and is quickly becoming a bright spot in the region. As a joint Junior/Senior chapter, the “Arev” Chapter had to find creative ways to present topics in a way that was understandable to younger members while still being informative and of interest for older members. From ARF ideology and Armenian identity to Armenian dance and the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee worked hard to make sure all their members were enlightened. 

The CEC and CE were excited to see so many chapters work hard to improve their educational programs over the course of the year. We are looking forward to seeing what the upcoming year brings for the region’s educational programs.

Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.

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