ASBAREZ Online [03-12-2004]


1) Armenia ‘Ideal Partner’ For Georgia, Says Saakashvili
2) Ferrahian School’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations
3) ANC West Honors Its Own
4) [email protected]
5) Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry Finds Match for First Armenia Patient

1) Armenia ‘Ideal Partner’ For Georgia, Says Saakashvili

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili praised Armenia and
its President Robert Kocharian on Friday during an official visit to Yerevan.
Meeting for the first time, the two leaders stressed the high level of
relations between their nations, vowing to strengthen friendly bilateral ties,
promote regional cooperation, and continue to seek integration into European
Saakashvili described Armenia as an ideal partner, saying that his country
a lot to learn from its neighbor’s nation-building experience.
“The president of Armenia left an extremely positive impression on me,”
Saakashvili told a joint news conference after the talks. “I think that he
is a
very energetic and able leader who is well aware of the region’s problems and
international relations in general. And I think Armenia is lucky to have
such a
“I remember telling my ministers that there are many things they can learn
from Armenia,” the 36-year-old leader said, mentioning its armed forces in the
first instance.
“We are going to develop, get stronger, and promote peace and stability. In
this sense, we have an excellent, an ideal partner in Yerevan.”
Kocharian was more reserved in his comments. “I am happy with the sincere
character of today’s exchange of opinions,” he said, adding that
Armenian-Georgian summits will now be more frequent than in the past.
Kocharian also noted an “amazing convergence” of the two governments’
positions on the situation in Javakhk, an economically strapped
Armenian-majority region in southern Georgia which is home to a Russian
military base. He said they both believe that the only way to ease simmering
tensions in the impoverished region is to address its socioeconomic problems
and promote its residents’ “deep integration” into Georgian society.
The joint declaration implies that Armenia will not seek a status of autonomy
for Javakhk demanded last month by a junior member of its governing coalition,
the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. “The Parties reiterated once again
commitment to the principle of non-interference with each other’s internal
affairs, mutual respect for self-rule, territorial integrity and inviolability
of borders,” it reads. In a joint declaration issued by them, Yerevan again
disavowed recent calls for self-rule in Georgia’s Armenian-populated areas.
Saakashvili was quick to publicly welcome Kocharian’s “principled stance” on
what he stressed is his country’s internal affair.
Touching on the uneasy Russian-Georgian relationship, Saakashvili suggested
that Yerevan, which maintains close ties with Moscow, might “greatly
assist” in
their improvement. Tbilisi, for its part, is ready to help defuse tensions
between Armenia and its regional arch-foes: Azerbaijan and Turkey, he said .
Economic issues were also high on the agenda of the talks, with the two
presidents agreeing to step up activities of a Georgian-Armenian
intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation. It will now be
by Prime Minister Andranig Markarian and Georgian State Minister Zurab

Saakashvili effectively reaffirmed his pledge to lower transit fees levied
from goods imported to and exported from Armenia through Georgian railway and
Black Sea ports. The latter handle 90 percent of Armenia’s external trade. The
Georgian tariffs for Azerbaijani cargoes have until now been considerably
“Armenia must have the most favorable regional tariffs, no less favorable
any of our neighbors has,” Saakashvili declared.
But it was not clear if any bilateral agreements to that effect will be
by the two governments soon.
Later in the day Saakashvili visited the genocide memorial on Yerevan’s
Dzitdzernagapert Hill and met with leaders of the Armenian parliament and its
pro-Kocharian majority.

2) Ferrahian School’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations

ENCINO–The 2003-2004 academic year marks the 40th anniversary of the
establishment of Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary & Ferrahian High School. To
celebrate this historic event, two formal events have been organized by the
school administration.
The anniversary celebrations will begin with a special program on May 2, at
6:00 pm, at the school’s Avedissian Hall, where alumni will take part
recognizing faculty members throughout the years for their exceptional
contributions. The celebrations will continue with a banquet organized by the
Finance Committee dedicated to the 40th anniversary on May 8, at 8:00 pm, at
the Regents Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Both events will be held under the
of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
The administration looks forward to seeing the more than 1500 alumni, their
families, parents and teachers, the representatives of community
devoted supporters and benefactors, and all others who have unconditionally
supported the school throughout the years.

3) ANC West Honors Its Own


GLENDALE–The hard work of over a dozen ANC chapters from across the Western
United States was recognized at the first annual ANCA-WR Grassroots Awards
Event on February 29 in Glendale, California. On the same night that
was honoring its best across town at the Oscars, ANC leaders and supporters
from throughout the Western Region gathered in Glendale to acknowledge each
other’s hard work, and celebrate individual and collective dedication and
commitment to the Armenian Cause. Activists from Sacramento, Los Angeles, San
Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, and many others, came together for this
unique event.
“The 2004 ANCA-WR Grassroots Awards event acknowledged chapters and activists
who comprise the core of the ANC, making it the largest, most effective, and
efficient Armenian-American grassroots public affairs organization,” said
ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian.
Not only was one Grassroots Activist from each ANC chapter given special
recognition, but awards were also handed to chapters for best website, most
innovative project, media outreach, voter outreach, up-and-coming chapter, as
well as others.
“The dedication and strength of our ANC chapters is a tribute to the
democratic principles of America’s founding fathers and the pioneers of the
Armenian Cause,” commented ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian after the event.
“On a daily basis, ANC members encourage Armenian Americans to vote and to
participate in the political life of our nation. I am very proud of each and
every ANC chapter and activist who was honored at our Awards Event.”
The Master of Ceremonies at the ANC Awards Event was longtime community
activist and former Burbank ANC Chair Stepan Boyadjian. With a good dose of
humor, Boyadjian kept the audience laughing as he moved the program along.
Assisting Boyadjian was ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian who
thanked everyone in attendance for their dedication and support.
“What makes the Armenian National Committee such a unique organization is the
simple fact that this organization doesn’t function with merely the work of
or two individual staffers, but through the constant effort of thousands and
thousands of individuals who do their part every day of ever week of every
year,” said Kassakhian. “We owe our supporters a big thank you.”
The highlight of the evening came with an awards presentation in a variety of
categories, including individual honors.
In order to recognize the impact the dedication of certain individuals has
had, each chapter nominated one member who had made an exceptional
to their respective chapter.
Presenting ANC Chapter Awards were ANCA-WR Board Members Aida Dimejian and
Garo Ispendjian. In a creative display of solidarity, the Burbank ANC
nominated the Burbank ANC Chapter Activist as their individual honoree. The
selfless nomination served as the closing theme for the evening as Burbank
received the 2004 ANCA-WR Grassroots Activist of the Year award for the entire
Western Region of the United States.

Other individual chapter awards:
Crescenta Valley
Saro Senekerinian

Fresno Central California
Ara Kachadourian and Rich Sanikian

Hovannes Boghossian

Milene Apanian

Susan Berberian

San Diego
Dr. Robert Deranian

San Francisco
Raffi Momjian

Montebello San Gabriel Valley
Serge Samoniantz

East San Fernando Valley
Vahe Shahinian

West San Fernando Valley
Nichan Kulukian

Chapters were also recognized for their outstanding work throughout 2003 in
the following categories:

2004 ANCA-WR Rising Star–Crescenta Valley ANC for outstanding work in
establishing a relationship with the local community and involving a wide
section of the community in ANC activities

2004 Best ANCA-WR Local Website–Central California/Fresno ANC for their
<; website

2004 ANCA-WR Best Local Voter Outreach Campaign–San Francisco /Bay Area ANC
for regularly emailing and updating Bay Area Armenians on local, state, and
federal elections in 2002-2003 with special recognition for the ANC San
Francisco Mayoral Debate

2004 ANCA-WR Best Local Voter Outreach Campaign–Montebello/San Gabriel
ANC for their voter outreach and registration drive and being the deciding
factor in their local municipal election with special recognition for the
“Honoring the Montebello City Council” event

2004 ANCA-WR Most Outstanding Initiative by a Local Chapter–San
Area ANC for their Genocide Education Campaign with special recognition for

2004 ANCA-WR Best Media Outreach Campaign–Pasadena ANC for press coverage in
the Pasadena Star News on the Policeman’s Appreciation Luncheon and the Person
of the Year Event.

ANCA-WR Chair Raffi Hamparian thanked each chapter and the ANCA-WR office
staff for their hard work, and encouraged all to strive for greatness in the
coming year in pursuit of ANC’s goals.
Among officials present at the event were Congressman Adam Schiff, California
State Senator Jack Scott, California State Assemblyman Paul Koretz, former ANC
Chairmen Jack Messerlian, Armand Keosian, Dr. Sahag Baghdasarian and Steven
Dadaian. Glendale School Board Member Greg Krikorian, Burbank School Board
Member Paul Krekorian and Glendale Community College Board Member Ara Najarian
were also in attendance.

4) [email protected]


Last year, in April, some friends and I organized a viewing of the BBC
documentary on the Armenian Genocide here in Yerevan, and during the
after the film, an Armenian friend stood up and complained that when
speak about denial and the importance of remembering the Armenian Genocide,
they never consider the fact that denial is a non-issue in Armenia. At the
I was offended by my friend’s disposition, but then I thought about it and
figured that she was probably right, because who, after all denies the
Genocide in Armenia.

This week, I had a reminder.

As reported by Harout Sassounian of the California Courier last week, the
British Ambassador to Armenia, in an interview in January, had called into
question the veracity of the Genocide as an actual genocide, claiming that the
Armenian Genocide does not fit the UN’s definition of the term. Below, I am
providing my response to the British Ambassador, sent this week, without the
attachments, of course.

The one thing I forgot was to thank her for answering my friend’s question.

Thanks for your indulgence.

March 11, 2004

HM Ambassador Thorda Abbott-Watt
British Embassy
34 Baghramyan Street
Yerevan 375019

Dear Madam Ambassador:

As an American working in the aid community in the Republic of Armenia over
the last 23 months, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with you on several
occasions, and I’ve been delighted with many of the projects sponsored by the
British Embassy and the British Council under your auspices.

It was therefore an unpleasant surprise to read words attributed to you
regarding the Armenian Genocide and the applicability of international
conventions to this–the first genocide of the 20th Century. I am certain that
you have already received numerous letters in this regard. I also understand
that as the highest ranking representative of Great Britain in Armenia, your
words reflect the political stance of your government on the issue of the
Armenian Genocide, and hopefully not yours personally.

In the interest of promoting human rights and civil discussion, however, I
would like to respectfully disagree with your statement, and while aside from
my limited exposure to other scholars’ works, I am not professionally
to argue historical facts of World War I and/or the Armenian Genocide, I would
like to ask you to consider the attached list of literature on the Armenian
Genocide and the history of the era, as well as the international response,
including that of Great Britain’s, to this crime against humanity.

In addition to a news clipping on recent events related to the recognition of
the Armenian Genocide in Europe, I’m attaching a copy of a recent article by
international law scholar and former UN human rights expert Dr. Alfred De
entitled “The Genocide against the Armenians 1915-1923 and the application of
the 1948 Genocide Convention.” I trust you will find this report enlightening
and perhaps will share it with your colleagues at the Foreign Office for their

Madam Ambassador, I am well aware of the political sensitivities surrounding
the issue of the Armenian Genocide and its recognition, and I understand that
in the strategic paradigm, Armenia and its history may not be a priority for
your government. At the same time, however, I would hope and would like to
respectfully ask that in keeping with the great diplomatic history of your
nation, your next statement on the Armenian Genocide–albeit a statement of
denial of historical facts–be done with at least the same amount of
consideration and regard as your government has for its relations with Turkey,
when dealing with the latter’s past crimes and present human rights

The Armenian Genocide may be a distant and historical, abstract concept for
governments, but it is a living and breathing reality for Armenians and all
peoples of good conscience. American Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt, in
conjunction with numerous other scholars wrote in a 1996 statement against
denial of the Armenian Genocide, “Denial of genocide strives to reshape
in order to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators. Denial of
genocide is the final stage of genocide; it is what Elie Wiesel has called a
‘double killing.’ Denial murders the dignity of the survivors and seeks to
destroy the remembrance of the crime.”

Your statement has reinforced your government’s stance on the issue, but it
has also caused much pain for the survivors of this great calamity. I hope you
will take an example from the pages of your country’s diplomatic tradition,
clarify the record for Armenia and Armenians–your hosts.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue further.

In anticipation,
Alex Sardar
Yerevan, Armenia

5) Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry Finds Match for First Armenia Patient



YEREVAN–A few Individuals can make a difference in the world, and this time,
they may just have found a way to save a young boy’s life.
When 10-year-old Aram was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago, his doctors
hopeful that a series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments would help
him. They also contacted the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) to
see if there was a bone marrow donor match just in case the therapies didn’t
work and he needed a transplant in the future. An identical donor match was
found, but it wasn’t until this December that the doctors determined that a
transplant was his only hope for survival.
But it would take more than the generous heart of a donor and the dedication
of his doctors and the ABMDR staff to save Aram’s life. Aram and his family
faced other challenges: raising money to pay for the transplant and finding a
transplant center, since Armenia has no such facility.
Through the passionate commitment and direct initiative of the ABMDR’s
honorary chairperson, First Lady of Armenia Dr. Bella Kocharian, funds have
been raised for Aram’s transplant and arrangements have been coordinated with
the ABMDR for his transplant in Poland. When the First Lady of Poland visited
Yerevan two years ago, First Lady Kocharian showed her the ABMDR facilities
told her that Armenia has no transplant center. Moved and impressed by the
ABMDR’s efforts, First Lady Kwashniewska offered to make Poland’s facility
available to Armenian patients at minimal cost.
While the ABMDR does not provide funds for transplantation costs, it can
provide connections and visibility, as was the case with Aram and his family.
Publicity surrounding the ABMDR’s recent anniversary gala in Yerevan
coordinated through First Lady Kocharian’s office catalyzed special efforts to
raise funds for Aram’s transplantation costs, resulting in over $30,000
collected from the Armenian community.
Support for Aram and his family came from other sources as well. ABMDR
Executive Director Sevak Avagyan relayed the young boy’s circumstances to
Catholicos Garegin II, who gave his blessing to Aram before he left for
Now, with the help of a few committed individuals, Aram is in Poland armed
the fight of his life. The first bone marrow transplant resulting from the
ABMDR’s identification of a marrow match occurred at City of Hope in Los
Angeles in 2003. Aram’s will be the second transplantation, with many more
likely to be scheduled among Armenian patients and their potential donors in
the months ahead.
The ABMDR is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that every
ethnic Armenian struck with a life-threatening blood-related illness is
able to
find hope for long-term survival through the identification of a genetically
suitable bone marrow match. It is a member of the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide
association, which helps the ABMDR to identify more patients in need and find
bone marrow matches. Since December 2000, over 6,500 Armenians in Armenia and
the United States have registered with the ABMDR, 209 patients have been
identified who need transplants, and 70 potential bone marrow matches have
Those who wish to further assist the Registry in helping patients like Aram
may write ABMDR President Dr. Frieda Jordan at 347 W. Stocker St., Suite 208,
Glendale, California, e-mail her at [email protected], or call her at

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