ARS of Eastern US

ARS of Eastern USA hosts banquet in honor of its 100th Convention

WATERTOWN, Mass. — On Saturday, October 2, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA held a banquet in honor of the 100th convention in the hall of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church.

The event kicked off with the singing of the Armenian anthem by Alla Petrosyan and the singing of the ARS anthem by Ani Zargarian of the ARS “Shushi” Chapter of Cambridge, MA. Then, ARS of Eastern USA chairperson Ani Attar welcomed the attendees to the banquet. In her remarks, Attar noted the ARS’ first convention on May 30, 1915 in the city of Boston. She recounted how the organization has changed since that first convention and has now become an international NGO working in 27 countries. Membership has grown from the dozens to the thousands, and it has now established schools, health centers and camps and invested in youth and educational programs. Attar also explained how both conventions have taken place during unprecedented times for our nation. “Despite the deep scars that we have, the ARS has continued to answer the calls of action and serve Armenians and non-Armenians alike,” she said, “We have continued to remain focused like a laser beam on our mission, and we will continue to extend our healing hands to all those who need us.” 

In her formal remarks, ARS Central Executive Board (CEB) chairperson Nyree Derderian mentioned that the “ARS has represented the will, mercy and heart of the Armenian woman for decades.” “ARS has constantly evolved and grown in strength, with every turning point, without losing hope,” she went on to say. She thanked supporters who have continued to play a major role in the advancement of the organization. Silva Kouyoumdjian, Mayda Melkonian and Taline Mkrtschjan jointly presented the ARS Eastern USA with a congratulatory plaque on the occasion of the 100th convention. 

ARS Central Executive Board members presenting a plaque to chairperson Ani Attar (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

Then, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee member Khajag Mgrdichian took the stage to congratulate the ARS of Eastern USA on its historic convention and the 111th anniversary of the organization. In his remarks, he stressed the importance of continually evaluating, self-criticizing and reassessing in order to improve and move forward. He reminded attendees that the ARS continues to thrive because of the strong foundations laid by founder Edgar Agnouni. Finally, he emphasized that the organization continues to prosper because it is deeply rooted in the ideological belief of a free, independent, and united Armenia. 

Attar expressed the Board’s gratitude to the ARS Social Services Committee made up of members from the ARS “Leola Sassouni” Chapter of Watertown and the ARS “Shushi” Chapter of Cambridge. “They represent the very best of us, and the care and kindness they have shown on a daily basis and especially during the most challenging days of the pandemic inspired us all,” said Attar. Nevart Kouyoumdjian, Angela Hovanesyan, Shake Minasian, Sossi Bogharian, Louisa Kheremian and Mary Bazarian were presented with the ARS Service Award Certificates. Vany Tashdjian, Meline Topouzian-Berberian and Narineh Abrimian also received certificates in their absence. 

ARS Service Award recipients (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

The ARS of Eastern USA was proud to present this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Angele Manoogian for her extraordinary leadership and service. “Angele Manoogian is definitely a pillar in our organization and many other organizations in our community and region,” said Attar. “She has been an unwavering, staunch and deeply committed ARS leader, both on the regional level as well as on the international level.” A special video was created with photos of Manoogian’s activism, which highlighted her 28 visits to the homeland following the Spitak earthquake. During this time, she helped oversee the ARS’ $4 million in disaster relief efforts, which included the construction of 42 homes, a new kindergarten, the Nigol Aghpalian School and the prenatal clinic, the distribution of food and milk, kerosene heaters, sewing and weaving equipment, baby layette sets, prosthetics for the handicapped, medical equipment, medication and the funding for the Leninakan (currently, Gyumri) nurse and physician training project. Manoogian received a standing ovation as she accepted her award. 

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Angele Manoogian with her family (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

In her speech, Manoogian thanked the ARS of Eastern USA for bestowing this award and told the audience that the oath she took many decades ago inspires her everyday to serve this organization, the homeland and the people. She then humbly recalled the ARS of Eastern USA office staff who worked under her leadership, many of whom were in the audience (Seda Aghamianz, Maral Habeshian, Ruzan Khatchadourian, Sona Tunkerian and Nartoohi Abrimian). Many congratulatory messages were read, and donations to the ARS of Eastern USA were announced.

Ani Attar presenting Dikran Kaligian with the Agnouni Award (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

During the presentation of the Agnouni Award to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Attar thanked the organization for working around the clock in the political trenches to safeguard our collective priorities: a safe, secure and prosperous Armenia; a free and independent Artsakh; truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide; and an energized, inspired and sustainable Armenian Diaspora. “The ANCA serves as the defender of the Armenian nation and its cause throughout the United States,” said Attar. Accepting the award on behalf of the ANCA was Dikran Kaligian of ANC-Boston. In his remarks, Kaligian remembered pioneers of the Armenian cause like Vahan Cardashian and all those in the first generation who worked quietly and behind the scenes to create the modern Hai Tahd movement. He said that he accepted the award not only on behalf of the Washington, DC office, but on behalf of every chapter and activist. 

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian was also in attendance. His powerful message focused on the importance of service to the Armenian nation. He recalled that the ARS is “not only a philanthropic organization, but it is the embodiment of the Armenian spirit.” 

Attar, an outgoing member of the Board of Directors, as well as Johanna Chilingirian and Sandra Vartanian (in absentia) were congratulated for their work and presented with bouquets for their dedicated service to the ARS over the past four years.

Throughout the evening, local young artists from Boston including Alla Petrosyan, Hovig Kacherian and Mher Mnatsakanyan’s band entertained the guests with recitations of poems, songs and instrumentals.

The program concluded with a prayer led by Rev. Archpriest Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Greater Boston and the singing of “Giligia.”

Community members can watch segments of the banquet on YouTube.

Outgoing and newly elected Regional Executive Board with H.E. Archbishop Tanielian, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, ARF CC Representative Khajag Mgrdichian and Angele Manoogian (Not pictured: Sandra Vartanian and Heather Krafian) (Photo: Sona Gevorkian)

Angele Manoogian to receive ARS of Eastern USA Lifetime Achievement Award at Boston gala

BOSTON, Mass.—The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA has announced that it will honor ARS member, humanitarian and community leader Angele Manoogian with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Anniversary Banquet. The banquet is set to take place on Saturday, October 2, at the St. Stephen’s Armenian Church of Watertown.

“Our community and programs are filled with successes – and ungerouhi Angele’s handprints are all over them,” remarked ARS of Eastern USA chairperson Ani Attar. “Her passion, leadership, humility and generosity of time and talent is admired by all those who know and work with her and her undying love for her nation, community and homeland is an inspiration to all of us,” she continued.

Manoogian was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Louder and Nazelli Arakelian. Born into an ARF and ARS family, Manoogian inherited her drive and commitment from her parents who were both active members in these organizations. In 1961, she married Megerdich Manoogian in Germany; they moved to Detroit, Michigan a year later. Upon her arrival, Manoogian searched for the nearest Armenian church and community center and immersed herself in community life. In 1968, she joined the ranks of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) “Sebouh” Chapter (later renamed as the Azadamard Chapter) and the ARS “Sybille” Chapter and began her service to the Armenian Cause through these organizations.

Since her arrival in the United States, Manoogian has had an active and productive role in the ARS and ARF. She has served on the ARF Central Committee for two terms. During her tenure, she undertook several successful ventures that ensured continued financing of the organization by establishing the Armenian Heritage Cruise. Most notably, she played an influential role ensuring that the Detroit Armenian community had its own community center, which continues to serve as a gathering center for the community, especially the youth, until today. She served 14 years as the center’s committee chairperson and co-chair and was instrumental in the burning of the mortgage. Similarly, she co-chaired the committee that burned the mortgage of the Hairenik Building in Watertown, MA.

As an ARS member, Manoogian volunteered for many years as an Armenian school teacher at the local Saturday school. But it is her tenure serving in various ARS leadership positions that brought her the respect, admiration and gratitude of the ARS worldwide: ARS Mid-council chairlady for eight years; ARS Central Executive member for two terms (six years); and ARS Eastern USA Region chairlady for four terms (eight years). After the Spitak earthquake in 1988, Manoogian traveled to Armenia 28 times in eight years to oversee the ARS’ disaster relief efforts, which included the construction of 42 homes, a new kindergarten, the Nigol Aghpalian School and the prenatal clinic; she also helped oversee the distribution of food and milk, kerosene heaters, sewing and weaving equipment, baby layette sets, prosthetics for the handicapped, medical equipment, medication and funding for the Leninakan (currently, Gyumri) nurse and physician training project. During the Artsakh Liberation Movement, Manoogian traveled to Artsakh, often under siege, to deliver food and visit hospitals, bringing comfort to the maimed and consoling survivors. She also served as the fundraising chairperson for the renovation of the Soseh Kindergarten in Stepanakert.

Throughout the years, she has been formally recognized with awards and commendation for her lifetime work in helping the Armenian community. In 1996, Manoogian was decorated with the Maternal Gratitude Medal for special services in the struggle for the freedom of Artsakh. In 2001, she received an award in recognition of the United Nations “International Year of Volunteers” and in 2010 the “Agnouni” Award from the ARS of Eastern USA. In 2010, she received an award on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Armenian Community Center in Detroit. In 2014, Manoogian received a prestigious medal from the Artsakh Freedom Fighters Organization in tribute for her services rendered during the Artsakh conflict while providing ARS aid in that battle-scarred region during the 1990s.

In her free time, Manoogian enjoys spending time with her family. She gives her utmost love and care to her children Ara, Vrej and Armen, daughters-in-law Carolyn and Lilit, and tries to instill the love for our nation and lessons in serving the community to her grandchildren—Garen, Karina, Keri, Dveen, Varak, Alik and Vahakn.

The 2021 ARS of Eastern USA Anniversary Banquet will be held on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling Heather Krafian at (781) 856-7375.

ARS of Eastern USA Awards 46 Students with Scholarships

WATERTOWN, MA. – On July 7, 2021, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA announced that it is providing 46 graduate and undergraduate students with scholarships totalling $48,500 hailing from 41 universities and colleges from 9 US States (California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia), the Nation’s Capital, Washington DC, and Canada. The applicants prevailed in a highly competitive application process that looked at the student’s academic achievements, involvement in the Armenian community, and financial need. 

“We are pleased to award these scholarships to Armenian scholars across the United States,” said Annie Attar, Chairperson of the ARS of Eastern USA. “We are paying it forward – so that one day these students turn into professionals and give their skills, talents, and knowledge back to their communities and homeland,” she continued. 

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 established by the Lazarian couple to award scholarships to those pursuing their graduate education. 

Here are the recipients of the Scholarships:

ARS Lazarian Graduate Scholarship Recipients:

Aftandilian. Lia – Innovation & Management and Bioengineering (Tufts University, MA)

Anoushian, Sara – Physical Therapy (Quinnipiac University)

Avaneszadeh, Alex – Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)

Avedessian, Nanar – Public Relations (Emerson College)

Babikian, Victoria – Rehab Sciences & Global Health (University of Toronto)

Hakobyan, Manana – Data Science & Social  Science (Harvard University)

Hardy, Natalie – Health Care Ethics (Saint Louis University)

Hovsepian, Talar – Marketing (St. John University)

Jivalagian, Patelle – Public Health (Yale University)

Khatchatourian, Ani – Communication and Disorders (Emerson College)

Keshgegian, Antranig – Marketing (Drexel University)

Khachatryan, Tatevik – Public Diplomacy and Global Communications (Syracuse University)

Keossian, Victoria – Social Work (University of Michigan)

Kazandjian, Alexandria – Counseling/Psychology (Delaware Valley University)

Khorenyan, Mariam – Global Affairs (New York University) 

Kozakjian, Razmik – Security Studies (Georgetown University)

Krikorian, Sosse – Engaged and Public Humanities (Georgetown University)

Mehrabyan, Anush – Accounting (University of Rochester)

Minassian, Rachael Anahid – Law (Boston College Law School)

Cachoian-Schanz, Deanna -Comparative Literature (University of Pennsylvania)

Surenian, Aleena – Public Health (Boston University)

Tutunjian, Meghry – Counseling/Higher Ed (Montclair State University)

Yeremyan, Tereza – Sustainable Business (Georgetown University)

ARS Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients:

Abrahamian, Emin – Bioengineering (Northeastern University)

Asadurian, Shant – Business/Finance (Rutger University)

Bardakjian, Lena – Communications and Sociology (Boston University)

Ashekian, Meghri – Speech and language Pathologist (California State University Northridge)

Arouch, Serj – Engineering (Fordham University)

Baronian, Tvene – Environmental Studies (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

Baronian, Lori – Biology (Mount Holyoke College)

Cormier, Gregory – Economics and Finance (Bentley University)

Chaghlasian, Ani – Psychology (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Chaghlasian, Christina – Psychology (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Chiranian, Christina – Accounting (University of California, Irvine) 

Daduryan, Narek – Computer Science (University of California, Los Angeles) 

Dechoian, Karni – Biochemistry (Drew University)

Hovsepian, Tamar – Finance (Fordham University) 

Jerikian, Anahid – Pre-Occupational Therapy (Carthage College)

Mardanyan, Hayk – Economics (University of Minnesota)

Ebrimian, Arev – Advertising Communication (St. John’s University)

Elmayan, Aram – Computer Engineering (University of Rhode Island)

Orangian, Nataleen – Biology (University of Virginia) 

Minassian, Garabed – Chemical Engineering (Rensselaer)

Mesrobian, Kalina – International Studies (American University)

Sazian, Simon – Civil Engineering (College of Lake County)

Tatewosian, Victoria – Business/Finance (University of Connecticut)

ARS Contest Winners – 2020

ARS Contest Winners - 2020

Theme: Family Roots

One-Day Schools

Greetings. Today I will tell you about the history of my family, from my father’s side. Our family goes centuries back, as far as I know, and I am going to tell you how life was in each of my family member’s times, as well as what I know about them. And with that said, I hope you enjoy listening to my essay. My whole family lived in Artsakh and Armenia, up until my generation. My Great-grandfather Arsen, escaped from Kars during the Genocide when he was 23 years old, and miraculously escaped from the Turks, losing his brother and sister there and went to Artsakh, where he joined Zoravar Antraniq Pasha’s Army. He was a great fighter and he was very brave, strong, and very witty. He settled in Artsakh, in the Hadrut region, and got married.

He still was fighting for his land and his people even in Soviet/Bolshevik time, having established a Ghachagh/ Fidayi group to fight against bolsheviks. My great-grandfather Arsen joined World War ll in 1941. My grandfather Mikayel, his oldest son, was born a few months after his father went to fight against the Germans. I am very proud to be a great-grandson of Arsen, who was one of the armenian soldiers of the Armenian battalion who danced the Armenian Kochari victory dance in Reichstag. ln spite of his hard life, my Great-Grandfather Arsen lived a long life and died when he was g0 years old. My grandfather, Mikayel, got married, and he had two children, but by that time, in 1988, the fight for independence of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan had broken out between the Azeris and Armenians. Sadly, my grandfather was brutally murdered by the Azeris in 1988, at that time my father, David, was serving in the Soviet Union Army. When that happened, my father immediately came back and joined the Artsakh army fighted against Azeris. ln a few years, by the request of my Grandmother Jasmine, my dad, David, moved to America with his mother and sister. Life wasn’t easy in the U.S. for my dad, his mom and sister but he worked hard and became very successful always helping people in Artsakh. Soon, my grandmother died, and even though my father had seen terrible things, he carried on and he married my mother and had Jasmine and l. I can conclude that my family has a very interesting history. I hope you enjoyed learning about the history of the Ambartsumian Family, and that’s all for now.

Կը վերյիշեմ թէ մանկութեանս որքան լսած եմ Ցեղասպանութեան արհաւիրքին մասին, բայց չէի ըմբռներ ինչո՞ւ այսքան մեծ թիւով Հայեր մեռած էին, ինչո՞ւ թուրքը մեզ ոչնչացնել ուզելու աստիճան ատած է։
Մեծ մայրս միշտ կը պատմէր, իր մեծ մօր տարագրութենէն ազատելու պատմութիւնը։ Դէպքը սկսած էր 23 Ապրիլ 1915-ին գիշերը, երբ ան տասը տարեկան էր, ունէր հինգ տարեկան քոյր մը, չէր հասկնար պատահածը, ի՞նչ պատճառներով տունէն դուրս ելած էին։ Պատահածները մանրամասն չէր յիշեր, արցունքը կը խեղդէր բառերը։
Խումբ մը զինուորներ էին իրենց տարագրողները, տարագիրները կը շարունակէին իրենց ճամբան դէպի Տէր Զօր։ Շատ մարդիկ մահացած էին անօթութենէն, յոգնութենէն ու ծառաւէն։ Տասը տարեկան երեխան քրոջը հետ միասին շարունակեցին քալել մինչեւ Հալէպ։ Երբ Հալէպ հասան՝ ոչ ոք կը ճանչնային եւ ոչ ալ լեզու գիտէին, ինքը եւ քոյրը օրերով փողոցները անօթի եւ անտուն մնացին։ Օր մը արաբ անցորդ մը մօտաեցաւ անունց եւ իմացաւ անոնց գաղթական ըլլալը՝ որբանոց յանձնեց զանոնք։ Պատահածները անջնջելի մնաց իրենց յիշողութեան մէջ։
Այսօր կը յիշեմ մեր անցեալը եւ հիմա արար աշխարհին դէմ պատրաստ եմ ըսելու որ թէեւ մեր պապիկներն ու մամիկները նահատակուեցան, բայց մենք շարունակեցինք կանքուն մնալ եւ պիտի շարունակենք մեր երթը մինչեւ հասնինք մեր արդար հատուցումին եւ կը հաւատանք՝ ուշ կամ կանուխ Հայ Դատը իր արդարութիւնը պիտի գտնէ։
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. It was raining… I especially love to read when it rains. I opened the book I had purchased recently at my Armenian School’s book fair. The title of the book was “From Hell to Heaven” by Armenag Antranigian. The story was about his experience and survival of the Armenian Genocide. The story was witty and entertaining, yet tragic at the same time. It got some gears turning in my head, and I decided to ask my mom about her family, knowing that her grandparents experienced similar events that the main character of the book did. My mom’s parents met in Armenia. My grandmother was born in Russia and both of her parents were Genocide survivors. My grandfather’s parents were both orphans and miraculously survived the Genocide fleeing from Van. They settled in Yerevan. Life was hard back then in Armenia. The country was nearly destroyed, weakened. In 1920, Armenia became a part of the Soviet Union in hopes to become a stronger country. Years passed, the tragedy of the Genocide wasn’t forgotten, but the Soviet government wasn’t supportive of its remembrance. My grandparents met in the early 60’s. They were both students of the University and Art Schools. They had two children, my uncle and my mom. My mom grew up in Yerevan and her childhood was a happy one! She had a great relationship with her family whom she learned a lot about history and art from. She later studied music and became a musician. At a certain point in her life, my moved to America. A year after being here, she met my dad!
My dad is from Pennsylvania. His family lived there since the American Revolutionary War. They were immigrants from Europe. My grandparents met in Pennsylvania as well. They had a big, beautiful family with six daughters and a son, my wonderful Dad! His family traveled the country and lived in many states. My dad moved to New York where he went to school, studied film, while working in construction. My parents met in 2005. They fell in love and got married. I was born a year later to my loving parents.
I really enjoy being so culturally diverse. I feel like both sides of my family have an incredible impact on me and I have a sense of responsibility to keep that history alive and pass it on… The stories of my relatives I have met or even just heard of affected my thinking, morales, and views on various events in my life and in the world. Learning about my heritage helps me interpret present day issues. I am realizing that my life is quite different from the life my parents had. They, specifically my mom, lived with some sort of limitations in the Soviet Union, dealing with the inability to reach her potential. I have heard a lot of stories from my grandparents about how confined they were in their actions and ability to “dream big”. I look around and I understand that America gives me all the opportunities and so much more to succeed. I grow to appreciate how great our lives are here and now where I have rights and freedoms.

«Մի մութ, ամպոտ օր թուրքերը սկսեցին բոլոր Հայերին իրենց տներից հանել խաբելով որ ավելի լավ տեղ են տանում։ Բայց, իհարկե, նրանք խաբած էին։ Թուրքերը հայերին քշեցին դեպի անապատ, որտեղ ոչ ոք չկար, եւ սկսեցին նրանց սպանել։ Եւ սա միակ դեպքը չէր։ Թուրքերը համատարած տարահանում էին հայերին, զրկանքների ու խոշտանգումների ենթարկում, ապա սպանում։ Վերջապէս լուրը հասաւ բոլորին, եւ իմ տատիկիս պապիկը հաւաքեց իր ընտանիքը, գիշերով նստեցրեց սայլի մէջ; Ան Կարսի շրջանի մեծ փարկիթ գյուղից ուղեւորվեց դեպի Գյումրի։ Սայլի մէջ նստած էին ինքը, իր կինը, եւ նրանց հինգ երեխաները։ Բայց հինգերորդը դեռ չէր ծնվել։ Այսպես շարժվում էին նրանք առաջ՝ մեծ դժվարություններով ու զրկանքներով շրջապատված։ Այդ ընտանիքին կերակրել էր պետք, ցրտից պաշտպանել, թշնամուդ պատսպարել։ Ճանապարհի կեսին ծնվեց իմ տատիկի հայրը։ Տատիկիս պապիկը նրա անունը դրեց Համբարցում, որովհետեւ այդ անունը նշանակում է մահից խուսափել, նոր կյանք ստանալ։ Այսպես նրանք տեղափոխվեցին Գյումրի։ Ճիշտ է, նրանք կորցրել էին իրենց տանն ու ողջ ունեցվածքը, բայց պահպանել էին իրենց ինքնությունն ու ընտանիքը։ Ես հպարտ եմ որ համարվում եմ այս աննկուն ընտաիքի հետնորդը»։

Day School

Իմ մեծ մամայիս մաման Հայկական ջարդէն ապրեցաւ։ Ինքը ապրեցաւ որովհետեւ իր մամային մեծ եւ երկար փէշի տակը իր 4 քոյրերուն հետ փախան։ Տէր Զօրի ճամբով հասան Յունաստանի որբանոցը, ուր կային ուրիշ Հայ որբեր եւ պէտք էին ամէն որ կարել կերակուրի համար։
10 տարի վերջ, մեծ մամայիս մամային ամէնա մեծ քոյրիկը ամուսնացաւ եւ 4 քոյրերուն հետ միասին գացին Եգիպտոս։ Այն ատէն Հայերը իրենց ազգակականները կը փնտռէին, մեծ մամայիս մաման հօր եղբօր զաւակը իրենց գտաւ եւ սիրեց մեծ մամայիս մամային։ 17 տարեկան էր երբ ամուսնացաւ։ Ունեցան 3 զաւակ, երրորդը մեծ մամաս էր։ Մեծ մամաս մինչեւ 13 տարեկան ապրեցաւ Ալեքսանտրիա Եգիպտոս։ Ան Հայկական դպրոց չկրցաւ երթալ որորվհետեւ Հայկական դպրոցները գոցուած էին։ Ան Հայկական լեզուն սորվեցաւ իր Հայրիկին հետ մինչեւ 11 տարեկան։ 11 տարեկանին մեծ մայրիկս կորսնցուց իր Հայրիկը։
13 տարեկանին մեծ մայրիկս փոխադրուեցաւ Նիւ Եորք Նահանգը Մամային հետ որովհետեւ իր մեծ քոյրիկը հարս եկած էր Ամերիկա եւ ունէր 2 զաւակներ։ Եղբայր մըն ալ ունէր որ դպրոց կ՚երթայ Նիւ Եորքի մէջ։ Մեծ մայրիկս լաւ Անգլերեէն, Ֆրանսերէն, Արապերէն, Թրգերէն, եւ անշուշտ Հայերէն կը խօսէր։
Անգլիական քոյրերու դպրոց գացած էր մինչեւ 13 տարեկան։ Մեծ մայրիկիս կեանքը դժուար եղած էր։ Երբ եկան, տուն չունէին եւ հայրիկ չունէին։ Մեծ մամաս մնաց իր մօրքոյրին տունը եւ իմ մեծմամայիս մաման մնաց իր աղջիկին տունը։ Մեծմամայիս եղբայրը Համալսարան կ՚ապրէր։
Իբր վերջաւորութիւն, իմ մեծմամաս միշտ Նիւ Եորք ապրած էր։ Իր փոփոխութիւնը դժուար էր առաջ, յետոյ աւելի դիւրին էր։ Իր ճամբորդութիւնը ինծի կեանք տուաւ։ Ես ուրախ եւ շնորհակալ եմ որ իր զոհողութիւնները ինծի կեանք եւ առիթ տուին։ Իմ կարծիքովսս Թուրքը ձախողեցաւ իր ծրագիրին մէջ։ Իմ մեծ մամայիս ընտանիքը 6 հոգի ապրողներէն այսոր ունինք 104 հոգի եւ դեռ աւելի պիտի շատնանք։ Թուրքը ձախողած է։
I have a lot of family history between my grandparents and parents. On my mom’s side, my grandma was born in Iran and my grandpa was born in Syria. My mom was born in New York City. On my dad’s side, my grandpa and my grandma were both born in Lebanon. My dad was also born in Lebanon.
Life at home for my mom growing up was simple. My grandparents, my grandma was a teacher and my grandpa was a technician. My grandma spoke mostly English and my grandpa spoke Armenian. My grandma came to the United States in 1955 and my grandpa came in 1977. They had 2 daughters born in the United States. My mom had a good life growing up. She went to college and works at a college. Life at home for my dad growing up was difficult. Sadly, my grandpa passed away at the age of 39, my dad was 8 years old. My dad had a brother and a sister. To help raise my dad and his siblings, their 2 aunties helped out. My grandparents, my dad and his siblings came to the United States in 1977. My dad was 2 years old. They came to the United States for a better life. They both spoke Armenian and English. My dad went to college and became a police officer.
My parents knew each other most of their lives. Their families knew each other since they came to the United States. They got married in 2008. In 2010 they had me and in 2016 they had my sister Alisa. All my grandparents live in New York and I am happy I get to see them often. I am lucky they took the journey to America so we can have a great life and lots of opportunity.
Իմ մեծ մամաս, Զապել Պուտաքեանն է եւ Հալէպ Սուրիա ծնած է։ Յետոյ Պէյրութ Լիբանան երեք տարի ապրած էր։ Ամերիկա եկաւ իր մամային եւ իր եղբայրներուն հետ ըլլալու։
Մեծ մամայիս տուն երկու սենեակներ ունէր եւ մէկ խոհանոց։ Ան հայկական դպրոց գնաց։ Շատ լաւ անգլերէն չէր գիտեր։ Զապելը Ֆրանսերէն, Արաբերէն եւ Հայերէն գիտեր։ Իր կեանքը շատ հաճելի էր։ Յետոյ Ամերիկա գնաց մամային հետ ըլլալու 1969-ին։ Ան ըսաւ դժուարութիւն չունեցաւ, Հալէպ Սուրիային մէջ բայց երբ Ամերիկա եկաւ դժուարութիւն ունեցաւ որովհետեւ ան շատ քիչ անգլերէն գիտէր եւ ատոր համար օգնութիւն պէտք ունէր։ Միայն այդ էր դժուարութիւնը յետոյ ուսուցչուհի եղաւ։
Ան երկու տարի համալսարան գնաց։ Յետոյ ամուսնացաւ, վերջը աղջիկ մը ունեցաւ եւ աւելի վերջ տղայ ունեցաւ։ Վերջապէս երկու աւելի տարի համալսարան գնաց։ Յետոյ տասնըհինգ տարի ուսուցչուհի եղաւ։ Հիմա «101 2nd Ave» կ՚ապրի։ Ան դպրուհի է եւ շափաթօրեայ վարժարանին մէջ ուսուչուհի է։
Հիմա յաճախ, մեծ մամայիս տունը կ՚երթամ։ Ան շատ մօտ կ՚ապրի մեզի, ան միշտ կ՚ըսէ ինծի որ դասերս լաւ սորվիմ։ Ան շատ կը սիրէ Հայերէնը։ Ան Հայերէն սորվեցուցած է Հայ պզտիկներու երեսուն տարի։
I come from a loving Armenian family. I am proud to go to Armenian school where I learn my culture, tradition and language, while always remembering my ancestors.
My great, great grandmother’s Family lived in Van, Armenia. The family were well known editors of Armenian newspapers. When the genocide started, their house was raided by the Turks and everyone except her father who was very young and his mother was killed. They escaped, looking for a safe life where they could raise an Armenian family. They got on a boat, not knowing where they were going. They landed in Bulgaria. My great grandmother was raised in an Armenian family that valued Armenian life.
My great grandfather was born in Bulgaria as the fifth child of the Tavitian family. Their family originated from the city of Ani.
He did not remember his father because he died when he was 2 years old. He was very poor with very little to eat. He loved to learn but he had to leave school in fourth grade because he couldn’t pay. His love for Armenian culture and language always stayed alive.
My great grandfather and grandmother got married and had three children to keep the Armenian alive. They had no money so my great grandfather became a jeweler. It was very important that they keep their Armenian language. They immigrated to the United States of America with my grandfather. They were rich but they had to go to America for freedom even though they’ll give up every thing to keep their identity.
My grandfather made sure to send my mama to Armenian school. So we can study Armenian, Today my Mama sends me to the same Armenian school so I am also Armenian. I’m proud to be Armenian and continue the next generations.
Էրզուրում, Ճինիս քաղաքէն մեծ մայրիկս, Հայրը Հայկ Քելոեանը իր հինգ եղբայրներով եւ մէկ քոյրով։ 1915-ին աքսորուեցան դէպի Տէր Զօրի անապատները չարչարանքով հասան Սուրիա Հալէպ։
1915-ին Թուրքերը հարցակեցան Հայ Քրիստոնեայ ընտանիքներու վրայ։ Իրենց ծեծեցին գոտիներով ու բոլոր ունեցած դրամնկերը, ոսկիները առին ու դուրս վռնտեցին եւ իրենց տուները այրեցին։ Բոլոր երիտասարդ տղաները, Հայերը, ծերերը զինուոր տարին սպանեցին քարով, կացինով, դանակեցին նաեւ կախեցին պարաններով գլուխնին վար կախուած։ Բոլոր աղջիկները մերկացուցին գէշութիւններ ըրին ու կրակը նետեցին եւ ողջ ողջ այրեցին չարչարելով։ Ամէն կողմ լաց ու կոց կար։ Իրարու կորսնցուցին ոչ մայր, ոչ հայր, ու եղբայրներ կար իրենց պաշտպանելու։ Բոպիկ, անօթի ծարաւ, քալելով ծեծի տակ քշուեցան դէպի Սուրիոյ Տէր Զօրի անապատը։ Տխրութեամբ շատեր մեռան։ Մեծ հայր Երիկը կը պատմէր լալով որ միայն իր քոյրը ու ինքը կրցած էին հասնիլ Հալէպի որբանոցը։ Կը պատմէր որ իր եղբայր մէկը թուրքերը գլուխը իր գիրկը կը կտրեն եւ կու տան իրեն ձեռքը եւ անոր արիւնը կը թափի իր վրայ։ Որբանոց հասնելէն վերջ իրենց կու տան ջուր եւ ուտելիք եւ հոն կ՚ապրի ապահով միայն քոյրիկին հետ։ Այդ շրջանին օտարներ տեսնելով Հայերով չարչարանքը օգնութեան կու գան միսոնարները։ Անոնք կը սորվին Հայերեէն, արաբերէն, եւ Ֆրանսերէն առաւել Հայոց Պատմութիւն, կրօնք եւ Հայ գրականութիւն։ Որբանոցին մէջ մէկ ընտանիքի պէս կ՚ապրէին։ Ֆրանսացիները Ֆրանսական հպատակութիւն տուին ըրեն։ Տարիներ յետոյ երբ մեծցած էր կրցաւ երթալ աշխատիլ սորվեցաւ շոգեկառք նորոգել անոր համար գործով իրեն ղրկեցին Պարսկաստան իր քրոջը հետ։ Սուրբ Գեւորգի տօնին հրաւիրուած էր բարեկամի տունը ուր կը հանդիպի Սիրանուշին եւ կ՚ամուսնանան 1932-ին։ Անոնք շատ ուրախ ընտանիք կը կազմեն։ Կ՚ունենան երկու աղջիկներ որ պզտիկը իմ մեծ մայրիկս է որ կ՚ամուսնանայ Սարգիս Ղատիմեանին հետ։
Գիտնալով իմ մեծ Հայրիկիս պատմութիւնը եւ տառապած կեանքը պիտի չմոռնամ մեր մեծ եղեռնը։ Պիտի շարունակեմ պահել իմ Հայ ինքնութիւնս ըլլալով քաջ, աշխատասէր որպէսզի ունենանք մեր մեծ ազատ, անկախ Հայաստան։
Ես ձեզի պիտի գրեմ պապայիս մասին։ Պապայիս անունը Գէորգ է։ Ունի 3 եղբայրներ։ Իմ պապաս Լիբանան կ՚ապրէր եւ Նիւ Եորք եկաւ օդանաւով երբ քսան տարեկան էր։ Պապաս եկաւ որովհետեւ աւելի լաւ կեանք ունենայ։ Պապաս շատ չէր գիտեր Ամերիկայի նահանգները։ Ան եղաւ ոսկերիչ Թիֆանի եւ Քօին մէջ։
Պապաս եղաւ ոսկերիչ մը եւ սիրեց գործը։ Ինքը նոր ընկերներ շինեց ինքը եւ իր ընկերները յաճախ ճաշարան կ՚երթան։ Ինքը հարկաժին գնեց Էլ Մհերստին մէջ։ Մեծ չէր բայց սիրեց։ Պապաս քիչ Անգլերէն գիտէր եւ աւելի լաւ Հայերէն եւ Արափերէն գիտէր։Եկան աւելի լաւ կեանք ունենալ։ Հիմա շատ կը սիրէ Ամերիկան։ Եկաւ Մամային եւ պապային հետ եւ շատ սիրեց։ Պապաս միայն մէկ դժուարութիւն ունէր, գործը գտնել բայց ես ըսի արդեն շատ դժուար չէր, ան շուտով գտաւ գործ մը։ Իմ պապաս հիմա նոյն տեղը կ՚ապրի մամայիս, քոյրիկիս եւ ինծի հետ Էլմհերստին մէջ։ Պապաս հին Հայ ընկերներուն հետ կապ կը պահէ եւ իրենց կը տեսնուի։ Շատ գոհ եմ որ իմ պապաս Ամերիկա եկաւ։
I feel so blessed for having to meet my paternal great grandmother. She lived with us until the age 112 years old. My great-grandmother lived in Ordamish, Turkey in 1907, May 1. She had 4 sisters, and a mom and a dad! When the Armenian Genocide happened she got split up with her whole family. She went to school in Leninakan, Armenia. She had only one daughter at age 27 and got married at age 26. Her husband was born in Armenia. He died because of a car accident at age 30. He never came to America, but my great-grandmother was blessed she could go, at age 76. My grandmother had my dad and his sister (my aunt). When the earthquake happened in 1989 my grandfather saved a 14 year old boy, he had blood everywhere so he (my grandfather) drove the boy to the hospital, in his van. My grandmother went to America to find a job and get money. While my grandfather had a job, watching two kids, and on the top of that watch his dad who had polio. When my grandma came back they moved to America New York, Queens. My dad was 17 and my aunt was 16 years old. My great-grandmother came too. They came to America because they didn’t want my dad to be in the army and not to be able to see him was hard so they moved before he got dragged to the military.
In 1983 my mom was born. She was the middle child. With 2 sisters, grandparents, and a mom it was hard to live in the tiny house. In 1988, my mom was about 6 years old when her dad died because of the earthquake in Armenia. My mom’s dad was going back inside the building because he forgot his boots. He died at a young age of 36. My grandmother from my mom side had cancer. She went to Germany to get treatment. He doctor was in Turkey. She died at the age of 56.
In 1939 my grandfather was born. He had two siblings. He was the oldest. My grandfather wanted to become a lawyer just like me but he couldn’t because his father had polio. He was a train conductor.
Even though my great-grandmother died in November 2, 2018 before my grandma’s birthday (November 3) we still remember her , and when we can we visit her. In conclusion, my family was very blessed to have been in the same household for 4 generations.
On August 10, 1925, Ohannes Hoshas (my grandfather) was born in Ankara, Turkey. He had 2 older brothers Hacatur and Sarkis. He also had a younger sister; Hermine. This is the story of my family.
Only about a year after his birth, Ohannes and his family moved to Istanbul. However, Ohannes’s father was imprisoned when his children were still young. Therefore, Ohannes and his siblings worked very hard to keep the family alive. Sadly, Ohannes lost his father when he was still in the teenages. Once he was old enough, Ohannes was a surgeon for the Turkish Army. However, the darkest period in the Earth struck: World War II. During this war, Ohannes was doing surgeries on fallen soldiers. He prayed every night for the war to end. On August 9, 1945, fatman (an atomic bomb) completely destroyed 33% of Nagasaki, Japan.  It won the war for the Allies. On September 2, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender. War was finally over. A little later, Ohannes met Nezi, a woman from Istanbul. The two of them married and had two children: Selma and Kevork. Ohannes realized that he and his family needed to live a better life, so they moved to America. Ohannes bought the houses for his family and brought them over to the Philadelphia area. There, my mother, Shoushan was born. Ohannes bought multiple apartments and owned two dry-cleaning stores. As he was much older, Ohannes’ final wish before death was putting a cross on the dome of the Holy Cross Church of Aghtamar in Lake Van. When Ohannes was very sick, Der Hakop visited him before he died. Suddenly, Ohannes woke up and in 2015, his wish came true. He went to Aghtamar and bought the two crosses for the two domes. He payed for the work to be done. The Armenian community worldwide didn’t recognize him for it, but our family knows it was his achievement.
Although Ohannes passed away at 94 years old on February 3, 2020, he is forever in our hearts and he touched the hearts of many others. His last words to me remain in my own heart: «Աստուած հետդ ըլլայ».

Իմ ընտանիքիս պատմութիւնը շատ հետաքրքրական է։ Իմ ընտանիքս ապրեցաւ տարբեր կեանք մը։ Իմ մեծ հօրս մեծ հայրը եւ մեծ մայրը Կարապետ եւ Էլսան, ծնողքիս Խորեն Սալխանեանն է։ Խորեն Սալխանեան ամուսնացած է Օսանա, Տէր Հայրապետեանին։ Խորեն երկու տարի երբ Խորեն մեռաւ, Սալխանեան մականունը չէ այլեւս։ Ան փոխած է Արապեան, Հայրապետ Արապեան։ Մարդը ըսած էր որ Խորեն շատ երիտասարդ է որ նաւի վրայ առանձին երթայ։ Խորենը ըսած է իմ զաւակս է։ Խորեն ծնած է Ուրֆա 1907-ին։ Ան մեռաւ ինքնաշարժի արկածով 1954-ին Պուէնոս Այրես։ Ան կ՚աշխատէր գործարանի մը մէջ, որ կը պատրաստէր հագուստներ, կրծքալ, եւայլն։ Օսանա Ղաղլետճեան միակ անձն էր որ ողջ մնացած էր։
Ան փրկուեցաւ որովհետեւ որբանոց գացած էր։ Ան ծնած է Եթեսիա 1908-ին, ան մեռած է 1970’s Պուէնոս Այրէս։ Խորեն ճամբորդած է Հայաստանէն Պէյրութ եւ Արժանդինա, Ոսաննան ճամբորդած է Հայաստանէն Ֆրանսա եւ Արժանդին։ Իմ մեծ հայրս Վարդան Պագրճեանը եւ իր կինը Ալիսիա Հարպօեան, որ ծնած են Անդապ, հասան Արժանդինա Պոնըս Այրէս Յուլիս 2, 1929։ Նաւուն անունը España-ն է։ Հետաքրքրական բանը այդ է որ նաւուն վրայ կ՚ըսէ որ Ալիս Պագրճեան ծնած է Մարաշ Անդապի տեղ եւ անունը բոլորովին տարբեր է։ Ուրիշ հետաքրքրական մասը իրենց կեանքէն որ մեծ հայրս Խորենը օգնած է որ շինեն առաջին Հայկական եկեղեցին Արժանդինի մէջ։
Այս տակաւին մէկ մասն է ընտանիքիս պատմութենէն։

My paternal grandfather was in Yalova, Turkey on April 3, 1933. His father died when he was only 14 years old. During the Korean War, he played the trumpet. After serving in the Turkish Army during the Korean War, he worked as a photo engraver. The chemicals from the photo engraving made him very sick, he had to change jobs. He started a jewelry business and had his own shop in Turkey. He tried to obtain a visa to come to the United States, he was able to get in 1962 after 3 attempts. He came to America because he promised his dad before he died that he would leave Turkey and come to America. He was sponsored by Rot Gill and Landie. Rot Gill and Landie is a jewelry company. He taught himself English. He worked as a jeweler here in America. He met my grandmother. Then he married my grandmother and had three kids in 1980. In 1980 he made a chalice that is in the American museum of natural history. I feel proud to have a grandfather who came from a foreign country and managed to overcome many challenges. He also made a lot of crosses. I am very happy I know my grandfather and what he did.

Lifting Our Communities: ARS Eastern Region Responds to Pandemic

The Armenian Relief Society Eastern Region (ARS of Eastern USA) has always been at the forefront of relief efforts and humanitarian aid during times of crisis for the Armenian people, both in the homeland and in the diaspora. When the novel coronavirus crisis began, the ARS of Eastern USA sprang into action, both in the local communities through their chapters and internationally. The Armenian Weekly recently spoke with ARS of Eastern USA Board Chairwoman Ani Attar regarding the efforts related to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Armenian Weekly: What was the ARS Eastern Region’s initial response to the coronavirus crisis in terms of a plan of action?

ARS Eastern Region Board Chairwoman Ani Attar

ARS of Eastern USA Board Chair Ani Attar: Our board had been closely monitoring the coronavirus situation. When it was deemed a global pandemic, we wanted to make sure that all our members had access to information to stay safe. Therefore, we asked our chapter executives to reach out to their members to ensure that they were up to date with current information and to see if anyone needed anything. Next, our chapter executives reached out to their community members to see if they needed anything. For many, ARS is like a second family. We wanted to make sure that our people knew their family was thinking of them and was there if and when they needed help. 

A.W.: Were there specific areas of concern on which the Regional Board focused?

A.A.: Yes, our primary concern was with our elderly. Fortunately, this was not a major concern because we know that our elderly receive good care from their family members. In the event of need, however, our chapters were ready to assist with any kind of request. Another concern was that so many of our chapters had planned spring fundraisers that had to be cancelled. These fundraisers generate the monies needed to keep our many projects and programs running. This too will pass; we will get through it together and meet again stronger than ever.

A.W.: What prompted the Regional Board’s decision to decide on Feed America for its fundraising effort entitled “Feeding Families, Providing Hope?”

A.A.: As members of this society, the United States has given us so many opportunities. The ongoing crisis has resulted in increasing numbers of people struggling to get by because of unemployment and rising costs of living. So, we wanted to help our hungry neighbors by providing meals to our non-Armenian community. We chose to donate to Feeding America because of their reputation as the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. All donations made by our ARS chapters, members and supporters will also be matched by the Tony Robbins Foundation allowing us to double our impact.

A.W.: How has the Regional Board maintained contact with the chapters?

A.A.: We are in constant contact with our chapters. I called for a Zoom meeting with all our chapter chairwomen on April 28. I reviewed with them the programs that were initiated due to the pandemic, including Lebanon Emergency Aid, Global Emergency Relief Fund and Feeding America. This meeting gave the chairwomen the opportunity to ask questions. I also asked each chapter to share what they have been doing in their communities. The Zoom meeting received a positive response with the chairwomen requesting that we do it again in the near future.

A.W.: We know that the Eastern Region Convention, which was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the convention, has been postponed to next year. Can you please elaborate on those changes and what is being planned by way of annual regional communications for this year in place of the convention?

A.A.: We will continue working as we have into the next fiscal year. Our programs will continue with the assistance of our chapters and supporters. So many of our chapters’ fundraisers had to be cancelled due to this pandemic. We have confidence that as soon as it is possible, our chapters will be back to work. Like so many other major events in our communities, our 100th convention had to be postponed to 2021. Our plan for replacing the convention this year is to hold a Zoom general membership meeting on July 25, 2020. It will be open to all ARS members. We will present our annual report as well as our financial report. A copy of the report will be emailed to all members at the beginning of July. We will ask our members to email their questions to the board so we may address them during the Zoom meeting. In the morning session, the annual report will be presented as a PowerPoint, and questions that were emailed will be answered at that time. The afternoon session will include the financial report followed by more questions and answers and comments by chapters. More details regarding this first-of-its-kind event will follow.

A.W.: Finally what would you like to tell our readers about the work of the ARS Eastern Region during times of crisis, and in particular, during this pandemic?

A.A.: Without a doubt, the Armenian Relief Society is no stranger to disasters and crises. Since its founding in 1910 the ARS has helped the most vulnerable in this world, especially during tragic times and in every corner of this world. That has been largely due to the humanitarian characters of our members who have continued to devote themselves to the ARS mission and always step up to help those around them. It’s because of their determination and commitment that I know we will continue to serve our communities, our homeland and our world, while continuing to celebrate different milestones and centennials with our supporters.

As a final note, the ARS of Eastern USA board, its chapters and members would like to thank all the nurses, doctors and front-line workers for risking their lives to keep us safe.

We ask anyone in the eastern region who is aware of someone in need of our assistance to please contact the ARS of Eastern USA office at 


In response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the ARS chapters of the eastern region have offered and provided assistance wherever needed, often collaborating with sister organizations to deliver basic needs to those most vulnerable. In addition, special efforts have been made to express appreciation to those putting themselves at risk every day to keep their communities safe and healthy.

New Jersey chapters’ offerings for community members

The New Jersey chapters (Agnouni, Armenouhi and Shakeh), along with their local sister organizations delivered food to the elderly in their communities and sent baskets to the Armenian healthcare professionals for their ongoing heroic work during the pandemic. In addition, the Armenouhi chapter of Bergen County donated hand sanitizer and masks to the Armenian Nursing Home and provided lunch to local hospitals. 

Cambridge/Watertown chapters surprise local women with treats for Mother’s Day

Under the initiative and guidance of the Greater Boston ARS Social Services Program, the Cambridge Shushi and the Watertown Leola Sassouni chapters helped organize and deliver care packages to 35 women in the Watertown area for Mother’s Day. They brightened up their day by providing them with an ARS reusable shopping bag packed with choreg, chocolates, face masks, an Armenian poem and a friendly note.

Groceries from Chicago Zabelle chapter ready for delivery while member Hermineh Kholamian makes masks

The Chicago Zabelle chapter has been working with local sister organizations to help needy families in their community. They also provided grocery boxes for 50 healthcare workers at a Rehab & Senior Center. One of their own members, Hermineh Kholamian, has also been spending her time at home by sewing masks for healthcare workers.

Philadelphia Ani chapter members spring into action

The Philadelphia Ani chapter has continued to express the hearts, mission and devotion of the organization and its members during the pandemic. As member Dori Keshgegian noted, “In the blink of an eye our lives, our community and our world has changed.” One of the selfless members who has risen to the occasion and helped so many is Shnorhik Karakelian, an active member for more than 65 years, serving as president of the chapter for over 20 years and as a delegate to the regional convention 13 times. Karakelian has used her talent as a gifted seamstress to make hundreds of masks for the healthcare workers in the tri-state area and across the country. 

Silva Santerian, another active member for over 10 years and Karakelian’s daughter, proudly follows in her mother’s footsteps. In collaboration with two close friends, she formed FLAG 2020 SEPA (Front Line Appreciation Group of Southeastern Pennsylvania) whose mission is to provide food to healthcare workers in the area, including in hospitals and nursing homes, while partnering with local restaurants to help sustain their businesses. So far FLAG 2020 SEPA has served over 1,000 meals with efforts ongoing. Facilities served thus far include hospitals in Riddle, Paoli, Chester County, Crozer-Keystone, as well as Fair Acres, Bellingham, Sterling and Capella Nursing Care facilities. In recognition of Santerian’s humanitarian efforts, the chapter made a monetary donation to the group. 

Member for more than eight years Verjin Kazanjian and her husband Aram have owned and operated Soprano’s, a restaurant and catering business in Broomall, PA since 2000. In their usual manner of supporting the community, during the pandemic they have prepared lunches and dinners for the first responders, churches, hospitals and schools in the area. Soprano’s also generously donated gift cards and 10% of all proceeds back to the hospitals and to those in need. 

Also in Philadelphia, the Artemis chapter donated to the St. Gregory Charity Fund to help parishioners in need and to the Philabundance, a local food bank.

Detroit chapters’ soup and lahmejun ready for delivery to Armenian seniors

In the Detroit area, the five chapters (Sybille, Maro, Zabel, Shakeh and Tzolig) provided hot lentil soup and lahmejun to the residents of the Armenian Senior Citizens Tower.

New York Mayr chapter delivers groceries to those in need

The Mayr chapter of New York delivered groceries to the needy families of New York. Along with their local sister organizations, they also sent thank you gifts to healthcare workers for their ongoing fight on the frontlines.

Florida chapter members delivering Mother’s Day baskets to everyone’s delight

The Florida Sosseh chapter sent Mother’s Day baskets to community members to make them feel appreciated and loved!

The Lousintak chapter of Lowell donated to the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica Plain, MA to assist with the purchase of N95 masks and to benefit the employee meal fund.

The Providence Ani and Arax chapters have joined local sister organizations to assist community members in need of groceries, medical supplies, and items like masks and cleaning supplies through Sts. Vartanantz Church’s “Aid to Parishioners in Need” program.

As the crisis continues, the ARS of Eastern USA board, chapters and members will continue to work for the good of their Armenian communities locally and internationally. Efforts are ongoing not only in the United States, but also in Armenia, Artsakh and Lebanon as the needs rise exponentially, both medically and economically.

ARS Eastern US Chapters, Supporters Donate $25,000 to Lebanon Emergency Relief

WATERTOWN, Mass. – The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of the Eastern US has announced that it is donating $25,000 to the ARS Central Executive Board in response to the Lebanon Emergency Appeal for three ARS relief programs—the Hope Package, the Care Support and the Hot Meal.

Earlier in the year, as the ongoing political, economic and regional crises continued to affect the Armenian community of Lebanon, the ARS issued a statement calling on the diaspora to help their compatriots who were incapable of securing their livelihood. The Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon (ARS Lebanon) had initiated three programs (the Hot Meal Program, Hope Packages and Care Support) which would help provide meals, groceries, medication and other basic necessities to the community members.

In the months following that call to action, as the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the country’s financial crisis, the families struggling to cope with the long term impact of the outbreak and political situation exponentially grew. Although several ARS chapters in the Eastern US had to cancel their fundraising events with the stay-at-home orders in place, they were still able to collect donations from their supporters and members to help their compatriots in Lebanon.

“Lebanon has been a pillar in our diaspora and we are proud that our chapters and supporters once again responded to our call to action,” said Ani Attar, Chairperson of the ARS Eastern US Regional Executive Board. “It is the generosity of our members and supporters that powers our work to continue the humanitarian mission of the ARS,” she added.

The ARS Eastern US will continue to collect donations to help the Armenian community of Lebanon and ask that supporters continue to join the relief efforts by donating online and selecting Lebanon Emergency Appeal.

University Students Converge for ARS Norian Youth Connect

Photography by Knar Bedian

NEW YORK, NY—The ARS Norian Youth Connect Program’s latest installment on February 29 galvanized university students from all over North America. More than 100 students converged on Columbia University for a day of lectures and discussions from leading scientists, artists, journalists and scholars.

The program featured journalist Raffi Khatchadourian (The New Yorker), historian Houri Berberian (University of California, Irvine), filmmaker Stephanie Ayanian (“What Will Become of Us”), historian and program director Dr. Khatchig Mouradian (Columbia University) and Mariam Avagyan (Columbia University), who works on Mathematical Deep Learning with applications in Computer Vision and Signal Processing.

Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Eastern USA board member Sandra Vartanian opened the program with welcoming remarks and briefly discussed the work of the ARS.

ARS Eastern Region Board Vice Chairperson Sandra Vartanian outlines some of the region’s activities

The success of the program has prompted the ARS to hold what was an annual program twice every year. Over the past four years, Youth Connect has been held at MIT, Yale or Columbia University.

“The ARS Norian Youth Connect Program has emerged as a leading educational program in the Armenian world, bringing together artists, intellectuals, fostering an environment of discussion, debate and community engagement for hundreds of university students,” said Mouradian, who was directing his tenth consecutive Youth Connect. 

“Much of the credit for the program’s success goes to the students, whose feedback and suggestions have helped us rework or tweak different aspects of Youth Connect over the years, and whose willingness to engage in discussion has generated tremendous enthusiasm,” he added.

Registered students hailed from Columbia University, Stetson University, University of Central Florida, Fordham University, UMass Lowell, Concordia University, University of Montreal, Temple University, George Washington University, New York University, Duke University, UCLA, University of California, Riverside, Cornell University, SUNY Maritime College, Yale University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Boston University, Point Park University, Carthage College, Tufts University, University of Vermont, Mt. Holyoke College, Boston Architectural College, Colgate University, UMass Boston, MIT, Fashion Institute of Technology, Durham College, Ramapo College of New Jersey, California Lutheran University, Berklee College of Music, UMass Amherst, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Harvard University, Northeastern University, University of Maryland, UCSD, University of Delaware, among others.

Filmmaker Stephanie Ayanian

The day began with Ayanian who showed a seven-minute extended trailer of her film What Will Become of Us which focuses on Armenian Americans today. The short clip was followed by a discussion about the process of making the film. Ayanian teaches documentary film production at Drexel University, and she co-owns Storyshop, an independent production house for creative media. She previously produced Kinderwald, an Official Selection of Munich International, Seattle International, Napa Valley and Slamdance film festivals.

Mariam Avagyan, Columbia University

Changing gears to a completely different subject, Avagyan’s talk centered on machine learning and neural networks discussing the cutting edge research that is being conducted in the field as well as her own work. Avagyan is a PhD student in electrical engineering at Columbia University, and her research focuses on mathematical deep learning with applications in computer vision and signal processing. Avagyan also is the director and founder of ZeRoRo robotics camp in Armenia, which was driven by her passion for robotics and children’s education, with plans to make it an international camp this year.

Journalist Raffi Khatchadourian

Following a lunch break, Khatchadourian moved the discussion to journalism and the challenges facing long form journalism today. A discussion ensued with the participants on the role of journalists and the public-at-large in fighting against the ubiquity of fake news. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 2008, Khatchadourian covers a wide range of topics, including science, art, politics, foreign affairs and national security. On two occasions, his work was nominated for National Magazine Awards—once for his profile of an Al Qaeda propagandist, titled “Azzam the American,” and a second time, in collaboration with a New Yorker multimedia team, for “Secrets of Edgewood,” an investigation into Cold War psychochemical experiments. 

Author and UC Irvine history professor Dr. Houri Berberian

Professor of history, Meghrouni Family Presidential chair in Armenian Studies and director of the Armenian Studies Program at UC Irvine, Berberian discussed her new book, Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds. She focused on the role played by the Armenian revolutionary Rosdom, among others, from 1904-1911 when the Russian, Iranian, and Young Turk revolutions took place. Her presentation focused on the movements and participation of these revolutionaries within and across frontiers that tell us a great deal about the global transformations that were taking shape at that time. 

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian presenting “A Tale of Two Midwives”

Concluding the day was Mouradian’s discussion about the life and legacy of two Armenian midwives who practiced midwifery in Aintab and then in Aleppo from the 1890s into the 1940s. Besides being the director of the Youth Connect program, Mouradian is a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University, where he also heads the Armenian studies program. His book The Resistance Network: The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarianism in Ottoman Syria is forthcoming in 2020.

ARS Norian Youth Connect Program Speakers Announced

WATERTOWN, Mass.—Journalist Raffi Khatchadourian (The New Yorker), historian Houri Berberian (UC Irvine), filmmaker Stephanie Ayanian (“What Will Become of Us”), and a panel of science and tech experts will be headlining the Spring 2020 installment of ARS Norian Youth Connect Program. 

Raffi Khatchadourian has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2008. He covers a wide range of topics, including science, art, politics, foreign affairs, and national security. His articles have been anthologized in “Best American Sports Writing” and in “Best American Nonrequired Reading.” On two occasions, Khatchadourian’s work was nominated for National Magazine Awards—once for his profile of an Al Qaeda propagandist, titled “Azzam the American,” and a second time, in collaboration with a New Yorker multimedia team, for “Secrets of Edgewood,” an investigation into Cold War psychochemical experiments. His work has also been short-listed for Overseas Press Club and James Beard Foundation awards and for the Livingston Award.

Houri Berberian is Professor of History, Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies, and Director of the Armenian Studies Program at UC Irvine. Her talk will be based on her new book, Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds. The talk explores three of the formative revolutions that shook the early twentieth-century world occurred almost simultaneously in regions bordering each other. Though the Russian, Iranian and Young Turk Revolutions all exploded between 1904 and 1911, they have never been studied through their linkages until now. Roving Revolutionaries probes the interconnected aspects of these three revolutions through the involvement of the Armenian revolutionaries—minorities in all of these empires—whose movements and participation within and across frontiers tell us a great deal about the global transformations that were taking shape. Exploring the geographical and ideological boundary crossings that occurred, Berberian’s archivally grounded analysis of the circulation of revolutionaries, ideas, and print tells the story of peoples and ideologies in upheaval and collaborating with each other, and in so doing it illuminates our understanding of revolutions and movements.

Stephanie Ayanian is a film producer, director and educator. She will be screening a seven-minute version of her feature documentary, What Will Become of Us, a project focusing on Armenian Americans today, followed by discussion. She previously produced Kinderwald, an Official Selection of Munich International, Seattle International, Napa Valley and Slamdance film festivals. Ayanian co-owns Storyshop, an independent production house for creative media. Before starting Storyshop, Ayanian worked as a senior producer/director for Penn State Public Broadcasting where she was the producer and co-director of Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure, for which she received the American Association of Engineering Societies Award for Journalism. She holds an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and a BA in Film and Video from the Pennsylvania State University. She teaches documentary film production at Drexel University.

The program will be held on Feb. 29, at Columbia University in New York.

Armenian university students age 18-27 are encouraged to register for this weekend of workshops, discussion, and networking that is capped at 100 participants. 

The registration fee of $50 covers participation in the program on Saturday, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the evening social. Overnight accommodations will be provided to out-of-town students only.

More details are available on YCP’s Facebook page.

ARS Announces its Spring 2020 Norian Youth Connect Program

WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of the Eastern United States is proud to announce its spring 2020 installment of the ARS Norian Youth Connect Program (YCP) will be held on Feb. 29, at Columbia University in New York.

Armenian university students ages 18 to 27 are encouraged to register for this weekend of workshops, discussion and networking. The event is capped at 100 participants. 

The registration fee of $50 covers participation in the program on Saturday, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and the evening social. Overnight accommodations will be provided to out-of-town students only.

The program features lectures and discussions led by notable science and technology experts, scholars and artists. Former Weekly editor and Columbia University professor Dr. Khatchig Mouradian serves as program director. 

The names of speakers are announced on YCP’s Facebook page.