ARS of Eastern US

Reflections from the 101st ARS of Eastern USA Convention

By Kohar Bargamian Teague (Kohar Mardig)
101st ARS of Eastern USA Convention Reporter 

On the first day of the 101st ARS of Eastern USA Convention, delegates arrived in the hotel lobby to a warm welcome from members of the ARS North Carolina “Nayiri” Chapter: Judy Hagopian Edwards, Lusya Shmavonian Schnelli and Anita Mangasarian Bolz. By the time the opening session in the evening had begun, all knew the legendary story of the newly-established chapter. The chapter’s start was very William Saroyanesque – “See if the race will not live again when two of them meet.”  Shmavonian Schnelli explained, “It was our family’s fascination with the pineapple and my son’s taking a picture of Ungerouhi Judy’s Pineapple Realtor sign while on a bike trip that was the catalyst. The pineapple and that picture connected us. My son came back from his biking trip with the picture and noticed that the realtor’s last name on the sign had an -ian at the end of the name. I reached out to Judy with a simple telephone call, and the rest is history.”

When the 2020 Artsakh War began, Shmavonian Schnelli, Hagopian Edwards and Mangasarian Bolz knew that they needed to organize humanitarian efforts. With the administrative assistance of ARS-EUSA executive director Vartouhie Chiloyan and the ARS-EUSA executive board, they formed North Carolina’s first ARS chapter. Like the founding members of the ARS over a century ago, Shmavonian Schnelli knew that there was no such thing as “sitting on the sidelines;” Artsakh’s soldiers and citizens alike needed aid. The fledgling chapter and its members have already made a profound impact—to rise up, organize and serve the noble cause of providing humanitarian and educational aid for all Armenians in the diaspora and homeland. We are sure to see many more great things come from this vibrant chapter.

The ARS North Carolina “Nayiri” Chapter was not the only “hot” act at the convention. First-time delegates not only excelled in their duties, but they also went above and beyond and filled the roles of tivan, secretaries and committee members. After the reading of the English meeting minutes of the first session, the convention cheered and clapped hands for a job well done. Both English meeting minute scribers, Areni Margosian and Ani Aroyan, quickly explained, “This is not our first go around with writing minutes; the AYF has trained us well with taking minutes for AYF chapter meetings and conventions.” 

Equally impressive was the resolutions committee; three ARS members—Artvine Nekrourian, Hagopian Edwards and Sossy Shahinian Sagherian—deftly crafted resolutions and made the language clear for the new ARS-ER Board to understand and execute. Hagopian Edwards described her participation on the committee as “total immersion!” Fascinated by the process, Nekrourian admitted, “There is a fine line and balance between what the committee received as a resolution and ‘the needed cleaning up of the language’ so that the intent of the author is maintained.” Shahinian Sagherian took it all in stride knowing diligence in listening was the key in designing a resolution that matched the convention’s wishes. She found that her role on the committee was a valuable experience.

The 101st ARS of Eastern USA Convention delegates were not shy to share their thoughts. On the contrary, every delegate needed to share their thoughts on everything from the smallest of issues (order of agenda, breaks, lunch, etc.) to the topics at hand (funding sources, leadership and strategy). Delegates were grateful to convention chairpersons Shakeh Basmajian and MaryAnne Bonjuklian and all the committee members. For many, this convention was their first time—in a long time—attending an in-person meeting—a welcome break from the Zoom meetings of the pandemic.

On Friday night, the convention delegates and guests (who did not have convention/committee duties to complete) organically commandeered the entire hotel outdoor pool patio and gave new meaning to “singing with the stars,” as Armenian revolutionary and love songs echoed in the summer evening air. The ARS-ER Convention’s lead singing stars were Yn. Maggie Kouyoumdjian, Silva Kouyoumdjian, Marina Yakoubian. 

On Sunday morning August 21, the tone of the convention was unified. With the new Board elected, the ARS-EUSA Board and delegates were energized to return to their chapters and members and carry out the established programs of the ARS-EUSA and help plan the strategic growth of funding and membership resources, as well as maintain vigilance in providing humanitarian aid to Armenians in crisis zones.

Many ARS members shared their heartfelt gratitude for the inspiring gathering. Heather Krafian and Maral Nakashian wished the new Board success as they stepped down upon completing their terms. Angele Manoogian presented the new Board with a generous donation. The convention cheered and thanked her for her unwavering commitment and generosity to the ARS Eastern USA. The ARS-EUSA Board was able to present the North Carolina chapter with seed money to fund their projects through funds collected from the Saturday night gala raffle and the convention’s Sergeant at Arms.  

The chapters that voted and sent delegates to the 2022 convention should be commended. Each delegate contributed their very best as they listened, learned and mentored. One should always strive to “leave it better than you found it,” reminded Krafian. Congratulations to all the delegates. You made a difference.

ARS of Eastern USA convenes 101st convention in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Armenian Relief Society of the Eastern United States of America (ARS EUSA) convened its 101st convention on Thursday, August 18, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Twenty chapters were represented with 39 delegates, as well as the ARS EUSA Regional Executive Board.

ARS Central Executive Board (CEB) liaison Silva Kouyoumdjian and representatives Mayda Melkonian and Taline Mkrtschjan; Armenian Revolutionary Federation Eastern Region (ARF-ER) Central Committee member Ani Tchaghlasian; and Homenetmen Eastern Region representative Raffi Chamoun were also in attendance. Angele Manoogian was a guest of the ARS EUSA Board; Ani Attar and Sonia Bezdikian were invited but unable to attend.

ARS EUSA Board chairperson Caroline Chamavonian welcomed the delegates and guests to North Carolina. The meeting was called to order with the singing of the ARS anthem. A moment of silence was observed in memory ARS members and supporters who recently passed away, including Maro Minassian and Arpi Demerjian Davis, who served tirelessly on the ARS EUSA Board; Vanouhi Isajanian of ARS Canada, who served on the ARS Central Executive Board; and victims of the Surmalu Market explosion in Armenia.

Chamavonian thanked the chapters for their continuous dedication and support of ARS programs in the Eastern US, the homeland and throughout the Diaspora. She thanked the newly-established North Carolina Nayiri Chapter for hosting the convention. Chamavonian emphasized the privilege of having generations of dedicated volunteers and supporters and expressed her appreciation for the unwavering generosity and commitment of ARS members, supporters, partners and friends who have made it possible for the ARS to be successful in fulfilling its mission in Armenia and throughout the diaspora.

[RELATED: Reflections from the 101st ARS of Eastern USA Convention by Kohar Bargamian Teague]

Before leading the invocation, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, commended the activities and endeavors of the ARS and thanked members for their unwavering service to the Armenian nation and to people.

The meeting proceeded with the election of the following temporary chairpersons, who later became the permanent chairpersons: Maryanne Bonjuklian (English) and Shakeh Basmajian (Armenian). Elected as temporary English secretary was Pearl Bargamian Teague. Elected as permanent English secretaries were Ani Aroyan and Areni Margossian. Elected Armenian secretaries were Nayiri Balanian and Marina Yacoubian.

Delegates elected Yn. Maggie Kouyoumdjian, Edna Galo and Anita Mangasarian Bolz as guests of the convention.

The following appointments were made:

-Parliamentarian: Mayda Melkonian, ARS CEB
-Reporter: Pearl Bargamian Teague
-Sergeant at Arms: Sona Garabettian
-Credentials Committee: Marina Yacoubian, Lusya Shmavonian Schnelli and Mina Hovsepsian
-Nominating Committee: Knarik Kiledjian, Tamar Kassarjian, Yeran Manjikian, Maria Ebrimian and Manoog Kaprielian

On Friday, August 19, 2022, Kouyoumdjian presented the activities of the ARS, which included initiatives in Artsakh, Armenia and Javakhk, humanitarian programs in Syria and Lebanon, as well as other activities throughout the Diaspora.

Elected to the Correspondence Committee were: Maral Kaprielian, Nayiri Manjikian and Sarah Dudek. Elected to serve on the Auditing Committee were Pearl Bargamian Teague, Margaret Babikian and Mina Hovsepian. Elected to the Resolutions Committee were Artvine Nekrourian, Judy Hagopian Edwards and Sossy Sagherian.

In her presentation, Chamavonian highlighted ARS EUSA programs and projects and successful fundraisers in support of ARS EUSA programs, such as:
– Giving Tuesday for Warm Home Program
– Christmas Cheer Campaign for children of Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk, Syria and Lebanon
– Honorariums to the teachers and staff of the United Armenian Schools (Miyatsyal Varjarans) in Syria and Lebanon
– Christmas gifts to the students of one-day schools in the Eastern Region
– Christmas gifts to the Birds Nest (Trchnots Puyn)
– Share the Love Campaign for the Hot Meal Programs in Syria and Lebanon.
– Easter gifts to the ARS Aleppo Orphanage (Badsbaran)

Board Treasurer Maral Nakashian presented the ARS EUSA Financial Report, which included an overwhelming number of donations from community members, throughout the year, for emergency calls to action.

After the presentations, several delegates offered their appreciation to the ARS EUSA Board and staff for leading the organization and commended them for carrying out projects that made a powerful impact on communities throughout the Diaspora.

Delegates then engaged in discussions, which included recruitment and increasing membership; evaluating and expanding programs; and increasing financial resources to sustain programs. At the end of the convention, the delegates ratified various resolutions based on the discussion sessions on educational, youth, health and social services and organizational topics.

Manoogian, a guest of the Eastern Region Board, shared a visionary and strategic outline for the ARS EUSA to focus on the Diaspora. “Take the time to assess the needs of our established communities and build new [ARS] communities,” she said.

On Saturday, August 20, 2022, the day concluded with the approval of the 2022-2023 budget, as well as the election of the new ARS EUSA Executive Board. Newly elected to serve a two-year term were Caroline Chamavonian, Artemis Chapter, Philadelphia, PA; Seda Aghamianz, Shushi Chapter, Cambridge, MA; Margaret Barbikian, Armenouhi Chapter, New Jersey; along with first and second alternates Artvine Nekrourian from Shushi Chapter, Cambridge, MA; Pearl Bargamian Teague from Lousintak Chapter, Lowell, MA; and Carol Jaffarian, Worcester Knar Chapter. Irma Kassabian, DC Satenig Chapter; Talin Daghlian, New Jersey Agnouni Chapter; and Mary Andonian, Florida Sosseh Chapter will continue the second year of their terms.

The 101st convention banquet was held on Saturday evening. Master of ceremonies Heather Krafian welcomed all the delegates and guests of the North Carolina Armenian community.

In her remarks, Chamavonian shared that as challenges arise, the humanitarian mission of the organization is strengthened and that the ARS continues to assist the most vulnerable in our communities and around the world. Chamavonian thanked outgoing ARS EUSA Executive Board members: Krafian of the Shushi Chapter, Cambridge, MA and Nakashian of the Satenig Chapter, DC for their dedication and commitment to the organization. She presented them with scarves made in Artsakh. Chamavonian also presented each member of the ARS North Carolina Nayiri Chapter with ARS pins and officially welcomed them to the organization.

Before he gave his blessings, Deacon Serop Krajeklian of St. Sarkis Armenian Church of Charlotte, NC thanked the ARS for the invitation and praised the work of the ARS. As a token of appreciation, the Regional Executive Board presented the deacon with an ARS signature plate.

On behalf of the ARF-ER, Tchaghlasian congratulated the ARS and praised its service to the nation during its hardship. In his comments on behalf of the Homenetmen Eastern Region, Chamoun referenced the meaning of the ARS emblem, which represents every member’s belief in the organization’s mission. He thanked the ARS for its ongoing service.

ARS of Eastern USA awards 48 students with scholarships

WATERTOWN, Mass. — The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA is proud to announce that 48 graduate and undergraduate students have been selected to receive scholarships totaling $64,750. The applicants prevailed in a highly competitive application process that looked at each student’s academic achievements, involvement in the Armenian community and financial need.

“We are proud to learn about the academic accomplishments and each student’s contribution to their community and our homeland,” remarked Caroline Chamavonian, chairperson of the ARS of Eastern USA. “By investing in their education, the ARS is making a tremendous investment in our community and we hope that they become successful in their professional fields and continue giving back to the cause,” she continued.

Undergraduate scholarships were awarded to: Talar Aroyan, Shant Asadurian, Nyrah Balabanian, Lena Bardakjian, Sona Bardakjian, Pete Klanian Blonkvist, Talia Boyajian, Corinna Corriveau, Karni Dechoian, David Donoian, Aram Elmayan, Haig Emirzian, Juliette Ezgilioglu, Datev Gevorkian, Tsoline Gevorkian, Tatev Gomtsyan, Sevan Gulleyan, Hayk Mardanyan, Kalina Mesrobian, Jessica Nahigian, Nataleen Orangian, Raffi Sarrafian, Ania Torigian and Nishan Torigian.

Graduate scholarships were awarded to: Sevan Asadurian, Alex Avaneszadeh, Victoria Armineh Babikian, Ani Baghdassarian, Nora Bairamian, Vahan Boyajian, Lusine Chobanyan, Adam Guemidjian, Patelle Jivalagian, Alexandra Kasparian, Garine Koushagjian, Anna Martirosyan, Christina Mehranbod, Sarkis Mikaelian, Alec Ohanian, Robert Petrosyan, Abigail Porto, Aleena Surenian, Mher Tarakjian, Knar Topouzian, Sarine Vosgueritchian and Alina Yousefian.

The ARS Undergraduate Scholarship Fund was established through the generous donations of many benefactors who provided the financial resources necessary for the ARS to assist Armenian undergraduate students. Similarly, the ARS George and Beatrice Lazarian Graduate Scholarship Fund was established by the Lazarian couple to award scholarships to those pursuing their graduate education.

Mher Tarakjian was selected to receive the first Karnig Alajajian Family Scholarship, which was established in 2021 by Karnig Alajajian of New York, who donated $250,000 to the organization to support students of Armenian descent from the Middle East pursuing their higher education in the United States. Tarakjian was born in Aleppo, Syria. From an early age, he looked at surrounding buildings with great interest, which eventually led him to major in architecture. Over the years, he saw how the frenzy of economic activities, geopolitical power struggles and alienation of nature or land expedited the climate change crisis. This research topic is what brought him to the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His post-graduate professional work will be to prepare communities for climate change. Building from his community engagement and creative work through the Armenian Creatives, he will be able to support, via collaborative formats, infrastructure developments in dry regions, prepare for water scarcities, track energy portfolios and devise sustainable methods in urbanization while safeguarding endangered ecosystems.

Arman Dzhragatspanyan received the Hagop and Pearl Mooradian Scholarship, which supports students of Armenian descent from the United States pursuing their education in Armenia. Dzhragatspanyan graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Human Services, where he also minored in political science. During his time at school, he was a student worker at the USC Institute of Armenian Studies and a research associate intern at the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR). He also conducted a research study under USC and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professors and clinical psychologists to find factors that increase resilience and buffer trauma among Armenians living in Armenia and Artsakh. Earlier this month, Dzhragatspanyan was admitted into the American University of Armenia (AUA), where he will pursue his master’s degree in political science and international affairs in the fall.

Congratulations to all the scholars.

ARS Eastern US announces 2022 annual essay contest winners

The Armenian Relief Society of Eastern US Board of Directors has announced the winners of its 2022 Essay Contest. “The ARS of Eastern US Board of Directors extends its heartfelt congratulations to all the students for devoting time and effort to the ARS of Eastern US Essay Contest and sends its continuing gratitude to the principals and teachers for their contribution in this mutually beneficial educational initiative.”

Over 100 students from Armenian schools across the eastern US participated in the annual essay competition. The ARS of Eastern US sponsors the annual event for Armenian daily and one-day school students to encourage them to think about matters of importance to Armenians and how those issues impact their young lives. Since His Holiness Catholicos Aram I proclaimed 2022 the Year of the Diaspora, the ARS Eastern US Board of Directors decided on the following prompt for students: How do you see your role as a young member in the Diaspora?

Students were invited to write about their roles and responsibilities toward their nation, their church, their culture or their dream profession.

Judges were members of the ARS Washington “Satenig” Chapter: Lousin Hovanesian, Sarah Dudek, Elo Tanashian and Lena Damirjian. The ARS Regional Board liaison was Irma Kassabian.

Students from the following Armenian one-day schools participated:  Hamasdegh School, Washington, DC; Haigazian School, PA; Nareg School, N.J.; St. Stephen’s Saturday School, Watertown, Mass.; Taniel Varoujan School, Glenview, IL

Students from the following Armenian day schools participated: Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School, Oakland Gardens, N.Y.; Armenian Sisters Academy, Radnor, PA.

All winners will be awarded Amazon gift cards.

Armenian – Day school

3rd & 4th

  1.     Ari Shirozian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  2.     Victoria Stepanian – Holy Martyrs School, NY
  3.     Lucia Betrano – Holy Martyrs School, NY

 5th & 6th

  1.     Vani Ashodian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  2.     Nazani Baronian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  3.     Gabriella Keshishian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA

 7th & 8th

  1.     Zachary Badalian Sarikian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  2.     Araz Balian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  3.     Cameron Santerian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA

Armenian – Saturday school

3rd & 4th

  1.     Benjamin Berberian – Nareg School, NJ

5th & 6th

  1.     Victoria Penenian – Hamasdegh School, DC
  2.     Ani Garabet – Hamasdegh School, DC

7th & 8th

  1.     Haig Penenian – Hamasdegh School, DC
  2.     Alex Belekian – St. Stephen’s School, MA
  3.     Leanna Seraydarian – St. Stephen’s School, MA

English –  Day school

3rd & 4th

  1.     Aren Torcomian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  2.     Sophia Keshishian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  3.     Victoria Megerian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA

5th & 6th

  1.     Sebastian Markarian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  2.     Isaiah Ambartsoumian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  3.     Zaven Sevag – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA

7th & 8th

  1.     Nicholas Soltanian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  2.     Sophie Yacoubian – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA
  3.     Cole Cosgrove – Armenian Sisters Academy, PA


English – Saturday School

3rd & 4th

  1.     Varak Dakarian – Taniel Varoujan School, IL
  2.     Taleen Ghazaryans – St. Stephen’s School, MA

 7th & 8th

  1.     Michael Bederjikian – Nareg School, NJ
  2.     Dickran Kochian – Nareg School, NJ
  3.     Vahe Kassarjian – Holy Martyrs School, NY

ARS of Eastern USA hosts virtual regional seminar

More than 50 ARS members participated in a webinar hosted by the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA on Saturday, May 14. Regional chairperson Caroline Chamavonian welcomed dozens of chapter members to the seminar, thanked them for their participation and encouraged them to share their knowledge with fellow ARS members.

Chamavonian introduced the first presenter Simon Maghakyan, a Denver-based researcher and community organizer. Maghakyan discussed how he has been independently investigating Azerbaijan’s ongoing erasure of Armenian culture since 2005. His exploration of Azerbaijan’s erasure of Nakhichevan’s Armenian heritage in light of the Artsakh War engendered a conversation about the fate of Armenian cultural heritage sites that have come under Azeri control after the ceasefire agreement and what can be done to prevent further destruction.

Verginie Touloumian, former executive director of the ARS and current community outreach director of the ANCA-WR and marketing director of the ARS of Eastern USA, presented on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Touloumian offered a snapshot of ARS global and regional activities and programs and simultaneously reported on the organization’s overall progress towards the 17 goals. “By implementing these projects, the ARS is not just serving its noble mission, it’s literally changing the world,” said Touloumian.

Dr. Tro Kalayjian, an internal medicine and obesity physician, presented about low-carb and ketogenic diets and how they can conquer the cravings that challenge efforts to lose weight. He presented his own personal experience of losing 150 pounds and offered advice on lifestyle changes.

After a brief break, Dr. Yeraz Markarian, a licensed clinical psychologist and the founder and executive director of Healthy Mind New York, took the stage to discuss the psychological and emotional impact of the pandemic and the 2020 Artsakh War. Her presentation focused on how to use hope and other important mechanisms to achieve resilience-building.

ARS Cambridge “Shushi” Chapter member Artvine Torossian also presented. Torossian is the founder of Karaka, a wellbeing, lifestyle and management consulting company. She shared creative ways each person can work toward achieving individual and collective significance, peace and happiness, one “character” at a time. Her methods are designed to guide each person to seek authenticity, leadership and wellbeing.  

Each presenter had the opportunity to answer questions from audience members.

The productive seminar stressed the importance of having a healthy mind and body in order to achieve a resilient community and continue serving the homeland and humanity.

ARS Norian Youth Connect to tackle creativity and ‘Armenia(ns) Tomorrow’

The 2022 Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Norian Youth Connect Program will be held on Zoom on March 26, 12-2pm (Eastern Time).  

This year’s program features two sessions: 

—A panel discussion on “Creativity in Challenging Times” featuring journalist Liana Aghajanian, novelist Nancy Kricorian and pianist Kariné Poghosyan. Nanore Barsoumian will serve as moderator.

 —A lecture by Dr. Khatchig Mouradian titled “Armenia(ns) Tomorrow: Where do we go from here?” followed by discussion.

Registration is required. 

Liana Aghajanian

Liana Aghajanian is a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and BBC, among other publications. She is the winner of the Write A House residency program in Detroit, which awarded homes to writers, and is currently at work on a project tracing the Armenian culinary legacy in America. 

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2014 to 2016. She served as assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2010 to 2014. Her writings focus on human rights, politics, poverty, and environmental and gender issues. She has reported from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Javakhk and Turkey. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and English and her master’s in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts (Boston). Her master’s thesis titled “Struggling for Memory: Beyond Genocide Commemorations in Turkey” explores the role of social identities in Armenian Genocide commemorations in Turkey. Part of her research will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming volume After the Ottomans: Genocide`s Long Shadow and Armenian Resilience (London: I.B. Tauris, 2022).

Nancy Kricorian

Nancy Kricorian is the author of the novels ZabelleDreams of Bread and Fire, and All the Light There Was. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books QuarterlyGuernicaParnassusMinnesota ReviewThe Mississippi Review and other journals. She has taught at Barnard, Columbia, Rutgers, Yale, and New York University, as well as in the New York City Public Schools with Teachers and Writers Collaborative and in Birzeit for the Palestine Writing Workshop. She is currently working on a novel about Armenians in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War.

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Khatchig Mouradian is the Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress and a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. Mouradian is the author of The Resistance Network: The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarianism in Ottoman Syria, 1915-1918.

Kariné Poghosyan (Photo: Dale Kolarek)

Kariné Poghosyan is an award-winning Armenian-American pianist praised on the world stage for her “ability to get to the heart of the works she performs.” Poghosyan’s most recent concerts include two sold-out recitals at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, the second of which was a CD release concert of her “Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky” recording on Centaur Records. This recording has since garnered rave reviews, with Gramophone Magazine praising its “masterly textural layering and resounding climaxes,” and the American Record Guide stating that “a more heroic program would be hard to find, and few could play as well as the Armenian-American Poghosyan.” Since the first week of the New York City lockdown, Poghosyan has been hosting a weekly livestream mini concert series on her Facebook page, with an entirely new program performed each week. In 2022, she also launched a monthly virtual recital concert series on her Patreon titled “Musical Time Travels!” 

ARS of Eastern USA launches “Share the Love” fundraising campaign

To celebrate the month of love, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA has launched its “Share the Love” fundraising campaign to collect donations throughout the month of February in support of the “Hot Meal Program” for the Armenian communities of Lebanon and Syria.

Through this program, volunteers at the Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon (ARCL) and the Armenian Relief Cross of Syria (ARCS) prepare hot meals for community members who are struggling to put food on their tables. In Lebanon, the ARCL serves 800 meals to community members once a week, and in Syria, the ARCS provides 350 meals to community members, twice a week.

Lebanon Hot Meal Program

“We are urging community members to share their love in the month of February by making a donation to empower and uplift community members in Lebanon and Syria during these uncertain times,” stated ARS of Eastern USA chairperson Caroline Chamavonian. “Please join our campaign and financially support our fundraiser, so we can fulfill our critically important humanitarian mission and to help community members struggling with hunger in this time of crisis,” she continued.  

Individuals are encouraged to donate to the program online.

The “Hot Meal Program” (Պնակ Մը Կերակուր | Benag Muh Geragoor) was first conducted in 1942, under the leadership of Chavo Shant, Chairwoman of ARCL (wife of Armenian playwright and founder of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, Levon Shant). The program initially provided meals to Armenian students in Lebanon who came from disadvantaged families. For several decades thereafter, members of the ARS have made a commitment to respond to the needs of individuals struggling with food insecurity during times of uncertainty in different parts of the world. During and after the civil war in Syria, ARS of Eastern USA provided financial support to the ARCS who had adopted the program to serve hot meals to struggling community members and to the ARCL which provides meals to the people of Lebanon as they continue to face economical and political instability in their country.  

ARS of Eastern USA accepting undergraduate and graduate scholarship applications

WATERTOWN, Mass. — The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern United States is now accepting applications for its annual Undergraduate and Graduate Lazarian Scholarship program.  

George and Beatrice Lazarian Graduate Scholarship: Students who have graduated from an accredited four-year college or university in the USA are eligible to apply for the Lazarian Scholarship for postgraduate studies in the USA.

ARS Undergraduate Scholarship: Students who are attending an accredited four-year college or university in the USA are eligible to apply.

Hagop and Pearl Mouradian Scholarship: Students from the USA who are pursuing higher education in Armenia can apply for this scholarship.  

The application deadline is April 1.

Scholarship grants are awarded based on a combination of financial need, merit and involvement in the Armenian community. All three areas should be addressed in the application. Each application is only valid for one year, but students who have received a grant may apply for a second one. Applications are not automatically renewed, and an individual may only be granted a maximum of two scholarships.

The applicant must be of Armenian descent and must have already completed at least one college semester at an accredited institution in the United States. The application form must be accompanied by financial aid information, an official transcript and letters of recommendation. 

For further questions, please email the ARS Regional Office at arseastus@gmail.com

Հ.Օ.Մ.-Ի Ա․Մ․Ն․ ԱՐԵՒԵԼԵԱՆ ՇՐՋԱՆԸ ԿԱՏԱՐԵՑ 100-ՐԴ ՊԱՏԳԱՄԱՒՈՐԱԿԱՆ ԺՈՂՈՎԸ ԵՒ ՊԱՏՈՒԵՑ ԱՆԺԷԼ ՄԱՆՈՒԿԵԱՆԸ

Հինգշաբթի, Սեպտեմբեր 30-էն մինչեւ Կիրակի, Հոկտեմբեր 3, Պոսթընի մէջ տեղի ունեցաւ Հայ Օգնութեան Միութեան Ամերիկայի Արեւելեան շրջանի 100-րդ պատգամաւորական ժողովը։ Շաբաթ երեկոյեան, Ուոթըրթաունի Սուրբ Ստեփանոս եկեղեցւոյ յարկին ներքեւ տեղի ունեցաւ աւանդական ճաշկերոյթը նախագահութեամբ Թեմի բարեջան Առաջնորդ՝ Գերաշնորհ Տ. Անուշաւան Արքեպիսկոպոսի, հանդիսավարութեամբ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի Ա․Մ․Ն․ արեւելեան շրջանի ատենապետուհի՝ Անի Աթթարի։

Ձեռնարկը մեկնարկեց Ալլա Պետրոսեանի «Մեր Հայրենիք» քայլերգով եւ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի քայլերգով՝ Քեմպրիճի «Շուշի» մասնաճիւղի Անի Զարկարեանի կատարմամբ։ Ապա, Անի Աթթար բարի գալուստ մաղթեց ներկաներուն։ Ան իր խօսքին մէջ նշեց Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի առաջին համագումարը, որ տեղի ունեցաւ Մայիս 30, 1915-ին Պոսթըն քաղաքին մէջ, եւ այսօր նոյն քաղաքին մէջ գումարուեցաւ 100-րդ պատմական պատգամաւորական ժողովը։ Այսօր կազմակերպութիւնը Մ․Ա․Կ․- ի անդամ է ու կը գործէ 27 երկիրներու մէջ: Անդամակցութիւնը տասնեակէն հասեր է հազարներու, հիմնելով դպրոցներ, առողջապահական կեդրոններ, ճամբարներ եւ ներդրումներ կատարած երիտասարդական եւ կրթական ծրագիրներու:  Աթթար նաեւ նշեց, թե անցեալի երկու պատգամաւորական ժողովները տեղի ունեցան մեր ազգի աննախադէպ ժամանակներուն, սակայն Հ․Օ․Մ․-ը շարունակեց արձագանգել, կոչ ուղելով ծառայել հայ ժողովուրդի ծովածաւալ կարիքներուն։ «Մենք պիտի շարունակենք մեր առաքելութիւնը եւ օգնութեան ձեռք երկարենք  բոլոր անոնց, որոնք մեր կարիքը ունին։ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ը հզօր է, շնորհիւ ձեր բոլորին», ըսաւ եւ շնորհակալութիւն յայտնեց անխտիր բոլոր ընկերուհիներուն եւ միութեան հաւատացող ազնուասիրտ նուիրատուներուն։

Յանուն Կեդրոնական Վարչութեան, խօսք առաւ Նայիրի Տէրտէրեան յայտնելով, թէ մեծ պատիւ է ներկայ գտնուիլ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի Արեւելեան Միացեալ Նահանգներու 100-րդ պատմական պատգամաւորական ժողովի տօնակատարութեան։ Այս շրջանը Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի ողնասիւնն է, ուր ծնունդ առաւ այս կազմակերպութիւնը 1910-ին Նիւ Եորք քաղաքին մէջ։ Կազմակերպութիւն մը, որ աւելի քան դար մը շարունակեց ծառայել Հայ ժողովուրդի կարիքներուն ամէն մարտահրաւէրներ յաղթահարելով։ Կազմակերպութիւն մը, որ յոյս տուաւ նորածինին Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի «Մօր ու Մանկան» ծննդատան մէջ, յոյս տուաւ նորակազմ ընտանիքին, յոյս տուաւ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի Սօսէ մանկապարտէզ յաճախող մանուկին, յոյս տուաւ Ջաւախքի Հայ երիտասարդին տէր կանգնելու մեր մշակութային արժէքներուն, եւ յոյս աշխարհացրիւ ամէն գաղթօճախներուն։

Տէրտէրեան նշեց.- «Մեր ազգային կեանքէն ներս մենք չենք գնահատեր մեր վաստակաշատ ընկերուհիները, սակայն այսօր պարտք կը զգանք շնորհաւորանքի արժանի Մանուկեանը գնահատել իր տարիներու անխոնջ ծառայութեան համար»։ Շնորհաւորանքի արժանացաւ նաեւ Շրջանային Վարչութիւնը եւ պարգեւատրուեցաւ “Գնահատանքի Յուշագիր”-ով։

Այս առթիւ, շնորհաւորագրեր եւ մաղթանքներ ընթերցուեցան նաեւ Քալիֆորնիոյ եւ Գանատայի շրջանային վարչութիւններուն կողմէ։

Ապա Սրբազան Հայրը իր ողջոյնի խօսքը փոխանցեց.- «Յանուն Ազգային Առաջնորդարանի Վարչութեան Կրօնական ու Քաղաքական ժողովներուն, կ՚ողջունեմ Հայ Օգնութեան Միութեան Ամերիկայի Արեւելեան Շրջանի 100-րդ պատգամաւորական ժողովը եւ ժողովականները։

Պատմական այս համաժողովը կ՚ենթադրէ ցամաքամասիս տարբեր շրջաններուն մէջ մեղուաջան ու նուիրեալ կամաւորներու 100 տարիներու անխափան հաւաքներ՝ Հայ կեանքը յուզող տագնապներու լուծումներ որոնելու եւ  զանոնք իրականացնելու վսեմ գաղափարականով։

Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի հիմնադրին ժամանակաշրջանը, պայմաններն ու տիրող կարիքները որքան որ տարբեր էին մերօրեայ կացութենէն, սակայն տեսլականը՝ անսակարկ կերպով ծառայել մեր ժողովուրդին, կը մնայ նոյնը, աւելի ճիւղաւորուած եւ աւելի ընդարձակուած։ Արդարեւ, եթէ մինչեւ 1988-ի աղէտալի երկրաշարժը Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի հոգածութեան առարկան դարձած էր Միջին Արեւելքը, այնուհետեւ կիզակէտ դարձաւ մայր Հայրենիքը, Արցախով ու Ջաւախքով, միշտ պատրաստ նորանոր տարածքներ ընդգրկելու։

Հայ ժողովուրդի ի սպաս բարեսիրական, մշակութային ու ընկերային ծառայութիւններու ատոք հասկերով ծանրաբեռնուած աւելի քան մէկ դարու մայրական գուրգուրանքով ու զոհողութեամբ համակուած այս սքանչելի կազմակերպութեան անկիւնադարձային հանգրուանին կ՚աղօթենք Հայ Օգնութեան Միութեան հիմնադիր, եւ անցեալի բոլոր անձնուրաց անդամներու հոգիներուն ի հանգիստ, կը մաղթենք յարատեւ ու աննահանջ կորով ներկայի նուիրեալներու, կը ցանկանք որ նորանոր կամաւորներ խտացնեն շարքերը Հայ կեանքը հարստացնող ու լուսաւորող ընծայեալ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ուհիներուն, եւ կը քաջալերենք որ բարերարներ լայն բանան իրենց սրտերը որպէսզի փառապանծ այս Միութիւնը նորանոր իրագործումներով պսակուի», ըսաւ Սրբազան հայրը ։

Ապա բեմ բարձրացաւ Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութեան Արեւելեան շրջանի Կեդրոնական Վարչութեան անդամ Խաժակ Մկրտիչեանը։ Ան շնորհաւորեց Արեւելեան Ամերիկայի Հ․Օ․Մ․-ը, իր պատմական 100-րդ համագումարին եւ կազմակերպութեան 111-ամեակին առիթով։ Ան ընդգծեց շարունակական գնահատման, ինքնաքննադատութեան եւ վերագնահատման կարեւորութիւնը՝ կատարելագործելու եւ առաջ ընթանալու համար: Հայ Օգնութեան Միութիւնը կը շարունակէ բարգաւաճել հիմնադիր Էտկար Ակնունիի դրած ամուռ հիմերուն վրայ։  «Կազմակերպութիւնը կը շարունակէ բարգաւաճիլ, քանի որ խորապէս արմատաւորուած է ազատ, անկախ եւ միացեալ Հայաստանի գաղափարական համոզումներով», եզրակացուց ան։

Ձեռնարկը շարունակուեցաւ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի ընկերային ծառայութիւններու յանձնախումբին «Ծառայութեան» վկայագիրներ բաժնելով։ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի «Լէօլա Սասունի» մասնաճիւղի Ուոթըրթաունի եւ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի «Շուշի» մասնաճիւղի անդամներ՝ Նուարդ Գույումճեանին, Վանի Թաշճեանին, Անժէլ Յովհաննէսեանին, Շաքէ Մինասեանին, Սօսի Պողարեանին, Լուիզա Խրիմեանին, Մարի Պազարեանին, Մելինէ Թոփուզեան-Պէրպէրեանին եւ Նարինէ Ապրիմեանին։

Արեւելեան Ա․Մ․Ն․-ի Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի 100-րդ Պատմական Պատգամաւորական Ժողովի առթիւ կազմակերպուած այս ձեռնարկը պարգեւատրեց Միութեան երկարամեայ անդամ Անժէլ Մանուկեանը  «Երկարամեայ Նուաճումներու» (Lifetime Achievement Award) մրցանակով։

Անի Աթթար խօսք առնելով, ըսաւ․- «Անժէլ Մանուկեանը հիմնասիւնն է մեր կազմակերպութեան։ Ան Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի անսասան, հաստատուն եւ նուիրեալ ղեկավար է ընդմիշտ, եւ մեր տարածաշրջանին, եւ միջազգային մակարդակի վրայ: Մանուկեանի տարիներու գործունէութեան լուսանկարներով պատրաստուած է յատուկ տեսահոլովակ մը, որուն մէջ ընդգծուած է Սպիտակի երկրաշարժէն ետք անոր 28 այցելութիւնները հայրենիք։ Այս ընթացքին ան վերահսկեց Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի չորս միլիոն տոլար արժողութեամբ աղէտէն վնասուածներուն օգնելու ջանքերը, որոնք կը նեռարեն  42 տուներու շինութիւն, “Նիկոլ Աղբալեան” դպրոց ու Ախուրեանի  “Մօր ու Մանկան” Առողջապահութեան կեդրոնն ու Ծննդատունը, բուժքոյրերի եւ բժիշկների վերապատրաստման ծրագրի ֆինանսաւորումը, ինչպէս նաեւ նոր մանկապարտէզի շինութիւնը։ Արցախեան պատերազմի առաջին օրերուն իր ներկայութեամբ Արցախ բաժնուած վառարանները, հաշմանդամներու համար բժշկական սարքաւորումներ, դեղորայք եւ սննդեղէն եւ այլ շարք մը անհամար ծառայութիւններ»։

Անժէլ Մանուկեանը բուռն ծափահարութիուններով բեմ բարձրացաւ եւ խօսք առնելով շնորհակալութիւն յայտնեց արեւելեան Ա․Մ․Ն․-ի Հ․Օ․Մ․-ին այս մրցանակին արժանանալուն համար եւ ներկաներուն յայտնեց, որ տասնամեակներ առաջ տուած երդումը ոգեշնչած է զինք յարատեւ ծառայելու այս կազմակերպութեան, հայրենիքին ու ժողովուրդին։ Ան ապա խոնարհութեամբ յիշեց Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի Արեւելեան Միացեալ Նահանգներու գրասենեակի աշխատակիցները, որոնք աշխատած էին իր ղեկավարութեամբ, որոնցմէ շատերը  (Սեդա Աղամեանց, Մարալ Հապէշեան, Ռուզան Խաչատուրեան, Սոնա Տուլկարեան եւ Նարդուհի Ապրիմեան) ներկայ էին: Ընթերցուեցան բազմաթիւ շնորհաւորական ուղերձներ եւ յայտարարուեցան նուիրատուութիւններ՝ արեւելեան Ա․Մ․Ն․-ի Հ․Օ․Մ․-ին։

Յաջորդ մրցանակը՝ «Ակնունի», յանձնուեցաւ Ամերիկայի Հայ Դատի յանձնախումբին  Ամերիկայի կողմէ Հայոց ցեղասպանութեան ճանաչման աշխատանքներուն համար։ Մրցանակը ընդունեց Պոսթընի մէջ Հայ Դատի համար գործող  Տիգրան Խալիկեանը: Իր խօսքին մէջ ան յիշեց Հայ Դատի ռահվիրաները, ինչպէս Վահան Քարտաշեանը, եւ բոլոր անոնք, որոնք լուռ ու քուլիսներու ետեւ աշխատեցան ստեղծելու ժամանակակից Հայ Դատ շարժումը։

Ան շնորհակալութիւն յայտնեց Հ․Օ․Մ․-ին նշելով, որ այս միութիւնը ոչ միայն բարեգործական կազմակերպութիւն է, այլ այն հայու ոգիի մարմնացումն է։

Այս առթիւ, Սրբազան Հայրը շնորհաւորեց բոլոր անոնց, որոնք արժանացան գնահատագրի, ի մասնաւորի Անժէլ Մանուկեանը՝ Հ․Օ․Մ․-ի Կեդրոնական ու Շրջանային Վարչութիւններու բազմամեայ անխոնջ սպասարկուն։ «Ան իր անջնջելի դրոշմը թողած է Միութեան ժողովրդանուէր ծառայութեան վրայ, ներշնչելով սերունդներ, որ սիրով եւ ուրախութեամբ փարին Հայ Խաչուհիին ընձեռուած առաքելութեան», եզրակացուց Սրբազանը։

Գեղարուեստական կոկիկ յայտագիր մը ճոխացուց ձեռնարկը։ Շնորհակալութիւն Ալլա Պետրոսեանին, Անի Զարկարեանին, Յովիկ խաչերեանին, եւ Մհեր Մնացականեանին ու իր  նուագախումբին։

Ճաշկերոյթը փակուեցաւ եկեղեցւոյ հոգեւոր հովիւ՝ Արժպ. Տ. Անդրանիկ Ա. Քհն.  Պալճեանի «Պահպանիչ» աղօթքով ու «Կիլիկիա» երգով։

ARS of Eastern USA convenes 100th Convention

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.