WATERTOWN, Mass. —The 100th Convention of the Armenian Relief Society Eastern United States of America (ARS-EUSA) convened from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2021 at the Hampton Inn Suites in Watertown, MA. Seventeen chapters were represented with 34 delegates, as well as the Board of Regional Directors.
Central Executive Board (CEB) chairperson Nyree Derderian, ARS CEB representatives Silva Kouyoumdjian, Mayda Melkonian and Taline Mkrtschjan, ARS-Western USA Regional Executive member Maral Touloumian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern US Central Committee member Khajag Mgrdichian, Homenetmen Regional Executive chairperson Aram Kayserian, and Armenian National Education Committee executive director Mary Gulumian attended as guests. Araxie Tossounian of the Armenian Youth Federation Eastern Region attended the Convention virtually. Other guests included Caroline Chamavonian (Philadelphia “Artemis”) and Angele Manoogian (Florida “Sosseh”).
The convention was called to order by the Eastern Region’s Board of Directors chairperson Ani Attar who welcomed the delegates. She invited attendees to participate in a moment of silence to honor the fallen heroes who made their ultimate sacrifice for our homeland; ARS founder Edgar Agnouni; ARS members who dedicated their lives to this organization, established programs, started new initiatives and led this organization to new heights; and ARS benefactors and supporters.
Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church congratulated the gathering and offered words of encouragement and praise before leading the delegates and guests in prayer.
After the singing of the ARS anthem, the meeting proceeded with the election of the following temporary chairs who later became the permanent chairs: Mimi Parseghian (Lowell “Lousintak”) and Talin Daghlian (New Jersey “Agnouni”). Elected English secretaries were Tamar Alafian (New Jersey “Shakeh”) and Sara Vorsganian (Detroit “Shakeh”). The Armenian secretaries were Knar Kiledjian (New Jersey “Shakeh”) and Lena Dichoyan (New Jersey “Agnouni”).
Sosy Sagherian (ARC-Lebanon), Ani Zargarian (Cambridge “Shushi”), Anahid Mardiros (Cambridge “Shushi”) and Pauline Dostumian (New Jersey “Shakeh”) were invited as guests of the Convention.
The following ARS members were selected to serve on the Nominating Committee: Loucine Hovhanesian (Washington DC “Satenig”), Margaret Babikian (Bergen County “Armenouhi”), Mary Andonian (Florida “Sosseh”), Tanya Hassrjian (Cambridge “Shushi”) and Maral Kaprielian (New Jersey “Shakeh”). Seda Aghamianz (Cambridge “Shushi”), Zarouhi Suggs (Lowell “Lousintak”) and Marina Yakoubian (New Jersey “Shakeh”) served as members of the Credentials Committee.
The Correspondence Committee, whose function is to review the files and minutes of the Regional Office, included Vartouhi Koumrgian (Philadelphia “Artemis”), Marina Yakoubian (New Jersey “Shakeh”) and Tamar Berejiklian (Watertown “Leola Sassouni”). Elected to serve on the Auditing Committee were Lolita Babikian (New York “Mayr”), Arpy Seferian (Chicago “Zabelle”) and Suzi Kevorkian (Watertown “Leola Sassouni”).
The Resolutions Committee is tasked with gathering the decisions and intent of the Convention for the following year’s projects and plans and present them to fellow delegates for review, revision and approval. This Committee consisted of Suzanne Azarian (Bergen County “Armenouhi”), Maral Kachadourian (Providence “Arax”) and Annette Amiraian Maggio (Florida “Sosseh”).
The CEB report was presented by Silva Kouyoumdjian, who serves as treasurer and liaison to the Eastern Region. During the presentation, Kouyoumdjian focused on the many emergency relief efforts that the CEB has undertaken since 2019, which included assistance to the Armenian communities of Lebanon and Syria and to compatriots in Artsakh and Armenia. She also reported on the different programs that ARS has in the homeland and around the world.
On Friday, Attar presented the Board of Regional Directors’ Annual Report. She focused on the eastern region’s programs and initiatives, its financial support for programs in the homeland and emergency appeals in Lebanon and Artsakh.
Board Treasurer Maral Nakashian presented the financial report, which showed the overwhelming number of donations from community members for different emergency calls to action during the year. Delegates offered their appreciation to the Board and staff for their work during these unprecedented times and commended them for pivoting their programs, while staying committed to the humanitarian mission of the organization. The delegates then engaged in a series of organizational topics which included recruitment and increasing membership, evaluating and expanding programs, and increasing financial resources to sustain organizational programs. The Resolutions Committee presented a list of goals which will guide the newly elected Board of Directors in the next fiscal year.
The Convention concluded with the election of Regional Board members and the approval of the budget.
Elected to a second two-year term were Irma Kassabian (“Washington “Satenig”) and Carol Jaffarian (Worcester “Knar”). Elected to serve a two-year term were Caroline Chamavonian (Philadelphia “Artemis”), Talin Daghlian (New Jersey “Agnouni”), and Mary Andonian (Florida “Sosseh”). Maral Nakashian (Washington “Satenig”) and Heather Krafian (Cambridge “Shushi”) will be serving the second year of their two year-term.