Updated: Oct 25, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the first time in the Armenian American New York City community since the COVID-19 pandemic, a live in-person event that featured thought-provoking panelists and topics took place, sponsored by the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
The event, held on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at The Cooper Union's Rose Auditorium, featured ten panelists from a range of backgrounds, who addressed topics related to the loss of Armenian cultural heritage, the role of media during the war on Artsakh, and the diaspora's impact in Armenia and Artsakh.
During the cultural heritage panel, Dr. Rachel Goshgarian, Associate Professor of History at Lafayette College, Hrag Vartanian, editor-in-chief and co-founder of the arts online magazine, Hyperallergic, and Dr. Tamar Boyadjian, Assistant Professor of Medieval Studies at Michigan State University and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, discussed the past and present-day state-sponsored erasure of Armenian culture and religious heritage sites by Turkey and Azerbaijan through the lens of history, literature, and art.
Harout Ekmanian, Esq., a public international law attorney and former journalist, and Arsen Kharatyan, editor-in-chief of Tbilisi-based Aliq Media, shared their thoughts on the gaps in media coverage during last Fall's war on Artsakh, and tangible steps that can be taken in the future to help shape the narrative from the Armenian perspective and build networks with media platforms.
In the final panel of the afternoon, diasporan young professionals, including Alecko Eskandarian, Director of Player Development at Major League Soccer; Alexandra Kaprielian, manager of U.S. distribution of Artskh-based Takri Wine; Aram Spendjian, president at Lorens NYC and Hoops for Hayastan team member; attorneys and Armenian Bar Association members Taline Sahakian, Esq. and Karén Tonoyan, Esq., discussed their involvement in the community in a variety of ways, from charitable giving to investing in businesses in Armenia and Artsakh, to implementing and applying professional knowledge and expertise, including filing reports with the relevant United Nations rapporteurs.
A networking happy hour event followed the panel discussions, as panelists and participants connected with one another to enhance dialogue and plan future collaborations.
"Panel events like these are so important to have conversations in person and learn about the good work that everyone is doing," said Alexandra Kaprielian, whose family owned vineyards in Hadrut, Artsakh which were plundered by Azerbaijan during the war. Her family will continue to produce Takri Wine in other recently acquired vineyards. "Thank you to the Assembly for having the vision to sponsor an event like this that brings together many people who are determined to help strengthen Armenia and Artsakh."
"I'm truly honored to have participated in this special event," said Aram Spendjian, whose company manufactures garments in Armenia and who serves as a member of the non-profit Hoops for Hayastan. "The lineup of impressive individuals all had the same collective goal in mind, which is the betterment of Armenia that we can all achieve through our unity."
"We appreciate all of the rich insights our panelists shared and the active participation of our attendees," said Assembly Communications Director Taleen Babayan. "It is through endeavors such as this that we as an organization and as a community further elevate our efforts for the Armenian people."
Upcoming in-person Assembly events include an Armenian Wine Tasting in Boston on Thursday, October 21, 2021 evening, October 21, 2021, and an Advocacy Update and Reception in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, October 26, 2021.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.