The official opening of the 17th General Assembly of the Western USA Region of Hamazkayin took place on the evening of Friday, March 18, 2011 at the Youth Center in Glendale.
Among the audience were Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, the Prelate of the Western U.S. Diocese, Father Vazken Atmajian, Dr. Vicken Hovsepian, member of the ARF Bureau, Varoujan Ourfalian, member of the Gars Central Committee of ARF, Dr. Vicken Yakoubian and Vahe Jamakordzian, members of the Central Committee of Hamazkayin, Vahe Bozoyian, the representative of the Aharon Committee of ARF, representatives of the Regional Committee of ARS, committees from the chapters and units of Hamazkayin in Western USA, as well as members and friends of the larger Hamazkayin family.
Dzovinar Melkonian, member of the Regional Committee and host of the event, welcomed the audience and thanked everyone who had accepted the invitation of the Regional Committee. Those who came to support Hamazkayin she said assure that with collaboration, harmony, and mutual understanding we all serve our nation. She said they give vigor to the Armenian national life in the community, which has the most powerful Armenian capacity in the diaspora.
Afterwards, Ohan Ohanian, the chairperson of the Regional Committee who just completed his term, briefly presented the account of the past two years’ activities in the Western US region. He emphasized that the Regional Committee’s biggest effort has been to correspond to the contemporary challenges and at the same time remain faithful to the 80-year-old association’s mission.
“With its continuous efforts, the Regional Committee extended the activities of Hamazkayin, did not restrain itself with traditional actions, but had the courage to create new initiatives and make them a success,” Mr. Ohanian said. “The result of that work could be seen in the inclusion of more and more young people in our activities.”
In his speech, Dr. Vicken Yakoubian, member of the Central Committee of Hamazkayin, focused on the contemporary challenges that Hamazkayin faces. He said now is the time to find the common denominator between Hamazkayin’s traditional efforts and the preservation of the national identity in the present.
“Hamazkayin is the guardian of our past, but also the leader and the designer of our future,” Dr. Yakoubian said, expressing the hope that the 17th General Assembly of the Western USA Region of Hamazkayin will draw the path to make Hamazkayin just such an organization.
Afterwards, Dr. Vicken Hovsepian, member of the ARF Bureau was invited to the stage. After greeting the Assembly and congratulating the members of Hamazkayin for their collective achievements in the past two years, Dr. Hovsepian said: “Hamazkayin is the reservoir of Armenian intellectuals and with its harmonization with the demands of the present times, with its new prospects it attempts to open new roads for novel Armenian writers, intellectuals and artists.”
In his words, the Prelate once again thanked the family of Hamazkayin. He highlighted the fact that Hamazkayin came to life from our national needs and became the de facto Ministry of Culture for the Armenians in the diaspora. Today it also contributes to the cultural life of our fatherland, as the guardian and the distributor of our culture. “Hamazkayin is one of the torchbearers of our culture, especially outside the borders of Armenia,” the Prelate said. “The reason behind its founding and that of its decades of existence has been and continues to be the preservation of the Armenian identity in its broadest sense: Servitude to Armenian literature and art, and to the spreading of Armenian values. In this sense, Hamazkayin shares its yoke with our church, which has carried out the same mission for centuries, when we were deprived of our state institutions.” In the end, the Prelate expressed hope that in the year of the Armenian child, Hamazkayin will work to transmit our cultural values and achievements especially to the younger generation.
The official section of the event was concluded with the Prelate’s prayer and was followed by a dinner.
On the next day, March 19, at 10:00 AM the 17th General Assembly of the Western USA region of Hamazkayin commenced. Guests and delegates from the Barouir Sevag Chapter of Hamazkayin from the Valley, Shahan Shahnour chapter of Pasadena, Siamanto Chapter of Orange County, Hovhannes Toumanian Chapter of Glendale, Taniel Varoujan Chapter of Fresno, Nigol Aghpalian Chapter of San Francisco, as well as delegates representing the music and dance units all participated in the Assembly.
The Assembly discussed activities from the past two years in detail. They also focused on the achievements, successes and failures, particularly the necessity of arming Hamazkayin with a modern methodology to include the youth in the ranks of the Association and to correspond with modern times, while at the same time remaining true to our mission.
In the end, a new Regional Committee of the Western USA region of Hamazkayin was elected. The committee has the following members:
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Vicken Yakoubian, member of the Central Committee of Hamazkayin wished all the best to the newly elected Regional Committee and expressed the hope that it will face challenges in the most efficient way, and during their term will lead Hamazkayin to make it an even more powerful organization.