ASBAREZ Online [03-19-2004]


1) ARS West Celebrates 20th
2) `Cultural Genocide: Turkey’ Exhibit Slated for Late April
3) Kocharian Pushes for Increased Local Management
4) EU Parliament Presses Turkey on Human Rights
5) 20th Annual KAHAM Games Closing Ceremonies at Glendale College Stadium
6) ANCA Capitol Hill Genocide Observance Gathers Great Congressional Support

1) ARS West Celebrates 20th

GLENDALE–Hundreds gathered at the Glendale Hilton on March 13 to celebrate
20th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Western
Region. The event’s sponsor was Dr. Alber Karamanoukian, president of St.
Mary’s Adult Day Health Care center in Glendale.
A large circle of ARS members, friends, and supporters were present to honor
and celebrate the ARS Western Region’s two decades long contribution to the
community and the homeland. Honored guests included Armenia’s Consul
General in
Los Angeles Gagik Kirakossian, representatives of the ARF West Central
Committee, The ARS Central Executive (CE), sister organizations, as well as
elected officials.
Soprano Anahid Nersisian, along with pianist Armen Aharonian, performed the
national anthems of the United States and the Republic of Armenia, followed by
the ARS anthem.
Opening remarks were presented by the chairwoman of the Twentieth Anniversary
committee Sonia Peltekian, who also served as the evening’s emcee.
Blessings were offered by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
The Armenian Women’s Traditional Instrument Ensemble, conducted by Roupen
Haroutunian, presented a sampling of beautiful Armenian melodies.
The Regional Executive’s remarks were delivered in English by chairwoman Nova
Hindoyan, who introduced the philanthropic activities undertaken by the region
throughout the years, and outlined current and future programs. Presenting the
ARS CE’s message, Anahid Meymarian briefly presented ARS International’s
activities both in the homeland and the Diaspora. The ARF CC’s message was
delivered by Vahe Bozoian.
Glendale Mayor offered warm remarks and presented Glendale City Council’s
Certificate of Achievement to the ARS Western Region for its community
Chairman of the Armenian National Committee-Western Region Board of Directors
Raffi Hamparian conveyed the ARS certificates of accomplishment from
Assemblymember Dario Frommer, State Senator Jack Scott, and Los Angeles
Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
US Congressman Adam Schiff personally delivered a Congressional
Certificate of
Appreciation to the ARS, and presented heartfelt remarks.
Keynote speaker from Canada ARS member Professor Chake Der
recounted the days of establishing and structuring the ARS Western Region.
Numerous guests and ARS members participated in the candle lighting ceremony,
followed by the symbolic cutting of the cake by the day’s sponsor and
consistent ARS benefactor Dr. Alber Karamounkian, a cherished member of the
Armenian community who has always stood ready to provide financial support to
organizations and projects, specifically assisting the schools and
hospitals of
Closing remarks and blessing were given by Archbishop Mardirossian who
applauded the ARS, and explained the symbolism behind its emblem.
The celebrations ended with the announcement of a unique donation by the Der
Hovanesian and Hindoyan families, the children of longtime Pasadena ARS member
Nvart Der Hovhanesian and husband Goriun. An ARS regional office will be
dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Der Hovhanesian.

2) `Cultural Genocide: Turkey’ Exhibit Slated for Late April

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–A photo exhibit of destroyed Armenian cultural and
architectural monuments in the territory of modern Turkey will open in Yerevan
in late April, to coincide with the 89th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
The exhibit, Cultural Genocide: Turkey, will display photos depicting the
current condition of monuments, alongside those of the monuments intact and in
their original condition. Hundreds of Armenian monuments in Western Armenia
(now eastern Turkey), have been photographed for the exhibit.
Samvel Karapetian, chairman of a non-governmental organization studying
Armenian architectural monuments, said the exhibit serves to expose Turkey’s
destructive policy towards cultural values, as it strives to join civilized
countries of the European Union.

3) Kocharian Pushes for Increased Local Management

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian visited Yerevan’s Kentron
community to review implementation of legislative amendments that call for
local governments to take on a greater role in managing regional affairs. The
Kentron community, he explained, is better prepared to handle the reforms and
effectively implement the undertaken commitments because the community’s
doubled in 2003, and is expected to double again in 2004.
Kocharian explained that the country must go in the direction of
decentralization so that the government is not burdened with common
problems of
the population. `We must attract grants to solve water supply, local heating,
and other similar issues, but the implementation of the programs must be
transferred to local self-governing bodies.’
Among problems revealed during his visit to the Kentron municipality was the
unwillingness of various departments to transfer regulatory powers to local
self-governing bodies. Kocharian said that he will take up the issue soon with
department leaders. `If there is a public service problem somewhere, people
must not think about the president, the prime minister, or the government,’
Kocharian said. `There can be no stability in such a country.’
The president is expected to visit other Yerevan communities, as well as
villages to review the reform process.

4) EU Parliament Presses Turkey on Human Rights

BRUSSELS (Reuters)–Turkey must improve its record on human rights and the
of law before European Union member states start talks with Ankara on adopting
EU laws, the European Parliament said on Wednesday.
Turkey has been trying to join the EU for decades, and has faced consistent
calls to remedy human rights abuses. The bloc is due to decide by the end of
this year whether to set a date when accession negotiations may begin.
The entry of any new member state requires the approval of the parliament,
the assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee made clear Ankara had a long way to
goeven though the Union is committed to its eventual membership.
Deputies “criticized the continuing influence of the army in politics,
business, culture, and education, continuing torture practices and
mistreatment, the intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, the
discrimination of religious minorities, and the fact that trade union freedom
is not fully secured,” they said in a statement.
Deputies noted Turkey had made many important reforms since last year to meet
the membership criteria, and praised the government’s political will to
conditions, while saying reforms could only be judged by how they were
Members of the parliament called on the EU’s executive Commission to press
Ankara on these issues.
“The Commission should, as part of the pre-accession strategy, systematically
address the shortcomings in the rule of law and the democratic deficit,” the
statement said.
The Foreign Affairs Committee insisted that settlement of the Cyprus conflict
was “an essential condition for progress” in Turkey’s membership bid, and also
urged Ankara to open its borders with Armenia.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when troops from Turkey occupied the
of the island in response to a coup in Nicosia engineered by the junta then
ruling Greece.
The United Nations is brokering reunification talks bringing together Greece,
Turkey, and Greek and Turkish Cypriots, to try to unite the island before it
joins the EU on May 1.
Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia, independent since the break
up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

5) 20th Annual KAHAM Games Closing Ceremonies at Glendale College Stadium

After two months of exciting competitions, Homenetmen’s Western Regional
Executive Committee hosted the 20th Annual California Armenian Student
Games (KAHAM) closing ceremonies on March 14 at Glendale College Stadium.
parents, children, principals, athletic directors, and faculty from eleven
Southern California Armenian schools assembled to close another memorable
Homenetmen TV broadcaster Nora Chaparian, was the event’s master of
for. She welcomed the dignitaries present, who included Homenetmen Central
Executive Committee members Mher Tavitian and Manuel Marselian, Prelate
Moushegh Mardirossian’s representative rev. Ashod Kambourian, Glendale City
Council member Dave Weever, Chair of the Glendale College Board of Directors
Dr. Armine Hagopian, Glendale School District Board member Greg Krikorian, and
all of the principals present from the respective participating schools.
Chaparian also welcomed all who were present, stating that the spectators on
hand represented the spirit and support that drives the Armenian student.
Following the welcoming, the color guard represented by Homenetmen’s Cresenta
Valley “Shant” Chapter’s scouts, entered the stadium followed by the
Western Region Marching Band. Once in place, the marching band played the
American, Armenian, and Homenetmen anthems.
Immediately following the anthems, the ten schools represented in this year’s
KAHAM games paraded into the stadium. Fervor arose in the crowd as each school
was introduced. The athletes and faculty from each school, proudly wearing
their school athletic uniforms, and lead by their school flags and banners,
marched into and around the stadium. Students waved to the crowd,
especially to
their parents, in their spotlight victory lap.
The schools represented at this year’s KAHAM games were Alex Pilibos, Ari
Giragos Minassian, Armenian Sisters Academy, Mesrobian, Merdinian,
Hovsepian, Chamlian, Sahag Mesrob, and Ferrahian.
Homenetmen Western Regional Executive Committee member Shake Zohrabian
conveyed the Executive Committee’s message to all present, thanking especially
the parents and volunteers who helped make this event successful for the
Southern California Armenian community.
She stated that without the parents and their tireless efforts to bring their
children to competitions over the past eight weeks, the KAHAM games could not
have been a success. “Over 500 athletes between the ages of 6-12 years old
competed in these games over the past eight weeks. Homenetmen is very proud to
help facilitate these games which included competitions in basketball,
volleyball, soccer, track and field, and table tennis.”
Representing all of the participating schools and their principals, Mesrobian
principal, Hilda Saliba, thanked and praised Homenetmen for its efforts not
only in putting together this year’s KAHAM games, but also in the perpetual
work it performs to maintain and protect the Armenian identity within our
school children.
“Today you see an excellent example of what KAHAM is all about. I would like
to thank all those individuals who participated in these games.” Saliba
continued, “The mission for all our schools is to help foster the Armenian
youth in today’s society. To actually teach our students whit it means to be
Armenian, along with the community’s involvement to help maintain that
spirit within our youth. Through the KAHAM games, it is evident that
Homenetmen’s mission is also the same.” She also thanked the parents, the
teachers, as well as her fellow principals that commit their school’s
to these games as the benefits are evident to all those that were present.
Again with enthusiasm, this time not only within the spectators, but also
the assembled students, Western Regional Executive Committee Chairman Viggen
Davidian, along with Regional Executive Committee Athletic Director Vicken
Apelian, as well as the ten school principals met to announce and distribute
trophies and medals to this year’s KAHAM champions. As each event and division
winner was announced, the pride and spirit in each of the winning team’s
members became evident as the hurried to the main platform to accept their
After the athletic trophies and medals were all given out, the Homenetmen
Western Regional Committee awarded each of the school principals a plaque of
appreciation for their involvement and participation in this year’s KAHAM
Speaking on behalf of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Rev. Ashod Kambourian
stated that since its inception, Homenetmen has always been the venue that
allows the Armenian youth to come together and grow spiritually, mentally, and
“We also know that Homenetmen’s ideals and teaching are not only an internal
mechanism, but also a means to assist the community with its needs with the
Armenian Youth, as we have seen here through Homenetmen’s duty to the local
Armenian Schools. Of course, there are winners here; however, there are no
losers. All of the athletes take back with them the memories of their
competitions, as well as the new friends they have made. Homenetmen’s
spirit is
now embedded in the hearts of all of these athletes,” stated Rev. Kambourian.
Commenting on the successful tournament after the ceremony, Regional Athletic
Director Vicken Apelian, stated that, “It is through the Regional Athletic
Committee, the teachers, parents, as well as the other volunteers that make
this tournament the success that the community has come to expect it being
the past 20 years.”
The following is a list of the competitions and the associated overall

6) ANCA Capitol Hill Genocide Observance Gathers Great Congressional Support

WASHINGTON, DC–A growing bipartisan list of over 65 Senate and House
members–including several key Committee leaders–have joined the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA) in co-hosting the tenth annual Armenian
Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill, at the historic Cannon Caucus room on
Wednesday, April 28, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
The Senate co-hosts include Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley
(R-IA), Government Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-ME),
Agriculture Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS), Veterans Affairs Committee
Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA), Armed Services Committee Ranking Democrat Carl
Levin (D-MI), as well as Senators George Allen (R-VA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA),
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), John Ensign (R-NV), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Barbara
(D-MD), and Jack Reed (D-RI).
In the House, co-hosts include Congressional Genocide Resolution lead
cosponsors George Radanovich (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Congressional
Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) as
well as House Financial Services Committee Ranking Democrat Barney Frank
and Representatives Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Shelley
Berkley (D-NV), Howard Berman (D-CA), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Benjamin
(D-MD), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY),
Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chaka Fattah
(D-PA), Mike Ferguson (R-NJ), Bob Filner (D-CA), Mark Foley (R-FL), Raul
Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Michael Honda
(D-CA), Steve Israel (D-NY), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Gerald Kleczka (D-WI),
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), William Lipinski (D-IL), Zoe
Lofgren (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA),
James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Richard Neal (D-MA), Devin
Nunes (R-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Loretta Sanchez
(D-CA), H. James Saxton (R-NJ), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Mark Souder (R-IN),
John Sweeney (R-NY), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), John Tierney (D-MA), Christopher
Van Hollen (D-MD), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Joe Wilson
(R-SC), Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
`We are pleased to see so many legislators from across the nation joining
together with the Armenian American community in this solemn remembrance,’
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. `Armenian Americans value their
principled support and appreciate their commitment to ensuring that the
of the Armenian Genocide are used to prevent future crimes against humanity.’
The ANCA’s Annual Capitol Hill Observance provides Members of Congress the
opportunity to commemorate the Armenian Genocide with members of the Armenian
American community. This year, the ANCA will be honoring New York Times Best
Selling Author Peter Balakian, who, over the past decade, has emerged as an
exceptionally powerful, eloquent, and effective voice against Armenian
denial, most recently through the publication of `The Burning Tigris,’ his
landmark study of the US humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide.
Joining Armenian Americans and elected officials at the observance will be
survivors of the Armenian Genocide, members of the diplomatic community, and
leaders of civil and human rights organizations.
The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region, Western Region and
Washington headquarters cordially invite community members from across the US
to participate in the Capitol Hill Genocide Observance.
For further information, contact the Armenian National Committee of America
Washington office at (202) 775-1918 or the Eastern or Western Region
headquarters at (617) 923-1918 and (818) 500-1918 respectively.

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