Detroit commemorates 132 years of the ARF

Detroit commemorates 132 years of the ARF at the Regency Manor and Banquet Center

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The Detroit Azadamard Gomideh celebrated the 132nd anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) with an event featuring guest speaker ARF Bureau chairman Hagop Der Khatchadourian. The event took place at the Regency Manor and Banquet Center on Saturday, January 21; it was led by Masters of Ceremonies Jemma Dawali and Narod Keyvanian. They emphasized that the only way for Armenians is through unity and noted that the ARF has always been with the Armenian people.

Jemma Dawli and Narod Keyvanian

The event opened with the singing of the American and Armenian anthems by Shant Massoyan, followed by a moment of silence honoring Armenia’s martyrs. Prayers were then offered by Pastor Hagop Haroutunian and Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian.

In his opening remarks, Detroit Azadamard Gomideh chairperson Raffi Ourlian spoke about the importance of the ARF’s work locally and globally. He thanked everyone for joining the celebration and reviewed the ARF’s past and current activities, including the work of affiliate organizations.

Following Ourlian’s remarks, Armenian National Committee (ANC) National Board member and ANC of Michigan chairperson Dzovinar Hamakorzian offered congratulations and a call to action. “The ANC has always been on the front lines,” she said. “We will keep pushing forward and need everyone’s help. I do believe brighter days are ahead of us but for that to happen, each and every one has to contribute in any way we can.”

In his keynote address, Der Khatchadourian began with an overview of the 2020 Artsakh War and current humanitarian crisis. “Surrounded by enemies and trying to recover from a major blow, today more than ever, national unity is a must. We have rolled our sleeves up and are continuing our work, as we have done before, during, and after the war. Armenia must turn its attention to its army and strengthen it. We can only rely on our own selves. Artsakh, although wounded at this time, is tending its wounds, protecting its Armenian identity, and fighting for self-determination. The diaspora, as one person, should utilize all its resources to fight for the protection of the homeland. It’s a difficult struggle but not impossible.”

ARF Bureau Chairman Hagop Der Khatchadourian

Finally, the Gomideh announced the recipients of various awards for activism and dedication. The Youth Awards were presented to Natalie Arslanian, Talar Baghdassarian and Adi Assadourian. ARF members Hrant Shahrigian and Roupen Fermanian were posthumously honored with the Legacy Award.

Guests then enjoyed dinner and dancing, featuring Spyurki Dzayn from Canada. The musicians also led the community in Armenian patriotic songs.

Detroit commemorates 132 years of the ARF
Sossi Essajanian

Sossi Essajanian

Sossi Essajanian is an Early Childhood Educator who has been teaching for 11 years. She began her career at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York City and later moved to Nicosia, Cyprus to teach at the American Academy. She holds a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Arts in Anthropology. She currently works at the Mustard Seed School in Hoboken, NJ. From 2003-2006 she served as assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly and later worked at Oxford University Press in New York City.

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