Updated: Jul 26, 2021
(l-r): Vahe Stepanian, Aram Sethian, Mariam Khaloyan, Bryan Ardouny, Taleen Babayan
& Van Krikorian
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) hosted two in-person events in New York City and Glendale, California last week. The networking event on Friday, June 25 at City Winery - Rockefeller Center in New York City provided the opportunity for some 100 Armenian American professionals to come together in a social gathering and engage in conversation pertaining to key priorities for the betterment of the Armenian people. In addition, they were familiarized with the Assembly's current advocacy efforts. "It was great to reconnect with friends and also meet new people in a safe and social setting that allowed us to brainstorm ways to strengthen Armenia and Artsakh," said attendee Anoush Gulian. "Our community needed an occasion like this to start making plans for the coming months. Thank you to the Assembly for organizing a timely and enjoyable event." "We have a strong base of Armenian American activists in the New York metro area and we're happy to welcome new members who support our mission," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "The significant turnout made it clear the community is eager to participate in advocacy work for the benefit of the homeland and the diaspora."
(l-r): Mrs. Nora Yacoubian, Mr. George Saikali, Amb. Dr. Armen Baibourtian, His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Mrs. Louise Elder Lund, Dr. David Viar, Mrs. Talin Yacoubian
& Dr. Rouben Adalian
Assembly Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan, Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute (ANI), and YMCA of Glendale President and CEO George Saikali spearheaded a special event at the Glendale YMCA on Thursday, June 24, to honor YMCA volunteers John Elder and James O. Arroll, who were instrumental in relief work during the Armenian Genocide. Hosted by the YMCA of Glendale, in partnership with the Assembly, the ANI exhibit focused on Elder and Arroll's humanitarian initiatives that ultimately saved thousands of Armenian lives during the trying years of the first Republic of Armenia. The co-organizers were honored to have David Elder and Louise Elder Lund, who traveled from out of state, participate in the event in posthumous recognition of their father’s lifesaving work. Toumajan served as Master of Ceremonies and briefly reflected on the “unsung hero” status of Elder and Arroll in an era when the fledgling first Republic of Armenia faced existential threats, including drought, famine, epidemics, and continued genocidal actions by Turkish and Azerbaijani militias. His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, opened the program with an invocation and heartfelt remarks, while the Republic of Armenia’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Amb. Dr. Armen Baibourtian, followed suit with remarks and certificates of commendation to the Elder family on behalf of the Consulate General of Armenia. Dr. David Viar, President of Glendale Community College and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Glendale, conveyed welcoming remarks and recognized fellow Y Board Members in attendance. Reverend Berdj Djambazian, outgoing Minister to the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, delivered the benediction. In addition to Assembly Board Members Joyce Stein and Talin Yacoubian, many City of Glendale elected and appointed officials attended the event and viewed the exhibition, a number of whom took the floor to express their admiration of Elder and Arroll's legacy to the YMCA and the Armenian people. Officials included City of Glendale Mayor Paula Devine, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, and California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, each of whom bestowed the Elder siblings and Dr. Rouben Adalian with certificates of appreciation and gifts. The ANI exhibit first debuted on the West Coast of the United States in 2019 at the West Gallery on the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) campus and continued on to the YMCA of Glendale.