HACKENSACK, NJ—Over 70 members from 10 chapters of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA, as well as supporters of the organization, attended its regional seminar on April 29 at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
MaryAnne Bonjuklian led in the singing of the ARS anthem and then introduced Caroline Chamavonian, chairperson of the ARS of Eastern USA.
In her welcoming remarks, Chamavonian noted that the last in-person seminar was held in 2019. Since then, however, she said the ARS “provided thousands of dollars worth of scholarships to young scholars. Our chapters worked in the community during the pandemic to support the elderly and thank our medical heroes. We extended our healing hands to our community members in Lebanon before and after the Beirut port explosion. We supported the work of the Central Executive Board in Artsakh and the work of our sister region in Syria.”
The first speaker of the day was Cynthia Ruggerio, Esq., who lectured on “Resonating Patterns of Cultural Destruction and Genocide.” Ruggerio discussed Lemkin’s creation of the word “genocide” and the role of cultural destruction; resonating patterns from the past to the present; the destruction of churches; the denialist narrative; the Artsakh blockade; and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and international shortcomings.
Dr. Kim Hekimian, assistant professor of nutrition in pediatrics (gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition) at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center, spoke about “Women’s Health in Armenia.” Hekimian presented a lifecycle perspective and highlighted the intergenerational consequences of undernutrition. She also discussed the leading causes of death in recent years; coronary heart disease has been ranked the highest.
After a brief lunch break, longtime ARS member Valentine Berberian and former ARS United Nations interns Taleen Nigdelian, Nory Boiatchian, Talar Hovsepian and Arev Ebrimian presented “Armenian Women’s Rights and Roles Throughout History.”
The seminar ended with Seda Aghamianz, ARS of Eastern USA Regional Executive Board member, who led a workshop on parliamentary procedures. “The understanding of parliamentary procedures is essential during meetings to ensure that the decision-making process is fair, efficient and effective, allowing for the best possible outcomes for the meeting,” she explained.
Dinner was held at Krichian’s Grill and Bistro.
The Regional Board expressed its gratitude to all attendees and the New Jersey “Agnouni,” “Armenouhi” and “Shakeh” Chapters for their hard work in organizing the event.