Honoring our friends

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

May 12, 2004


By Jake Goshert

Saturday night, May 1, 2004, a gala banquet capped off the successful
Diocesan Assembly, which was skillfully hosted by the St. Gregory the
Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY. Guests at the banquet enjoyed
the food and fellowship and were treated to a performance by the Shushi
Dance Ensemble of St. Vartan Cathedral — which was recently highlighted
in a photo in National Geographic magazine.

During the banquet the Diocese honored two men for efforts to continue
and foster the Armenian culture.


Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience
Foundation — an international organization dedicated to freedom of
religion and human rights issues — was presented with the “Friend of
the Armenians” award. “The Armenian of the Year” award was presented to
Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation and former
president of Brown University and the New York Library.

“Both of our honorees are men of deep faith, which has inspired them to
action,” said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. “Neither has lost their faith
in the better angels of human nature. Their sense of hope has helped
them not only endure but excel in life.”

Both men came from humble backgrounds and overcame obstacles to rise to
prominence. Rabbi Schneier was a survivor of the Holocaust and Dr.
Gregorian came to America from Iran and built himself up through the
academic world.

“And both have dedicated their efforts to the greater good,” the Primate
said. “This weekend we talked about stewardship: the giving of your
time, talent, and treasure. Each of these men exemplifies that virtue at
the highest level.”

In his remarks, Dr. Gregorian urged the banquet guests to do what they
can to bolster the Republic of Armenia.

“We have to take care of not only our local communities, but also that
one land, small as it is, which has been entrusted to us,” he said.
“Armenia needs you and you need Armenia. We have to learn to become
great ancestors: not to live for the moment but live for the future.”

Rabbi Schneier spoke of his efforts to build interfaith bridges to face
international terrorism, which he called the great scourge of the

“We value life. We believe in co-existence, in dialogue,” he said.
“We’re going to strengthen those leaders who believe in dialogue and
peaceful coexistence. And we hope by doing this we will send a message
and awaken a silent majority.”

— 5/12/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable on the Eastern
Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Dr. Vartan Gregorian, who was honored as the
“Armenian of the Year” during the 2004 Diocesan Assembly, autographed
copies of his memoir, “The Road to Home”, and welcomed fans before the
banquet on Saturday, May 1, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (2): Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presents Rabbi Arthur
Schneier, founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation,
with the “Friend of the Armenians” award during the 2004 Diocesan

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Members of the Shushi Dance Ensemble perform during
the Diocesan Assembly’s closing banquet on Saturday, May 1, 2004, in
Rye, NY.

PHOTO CAPTION (4): Dancers with the Shushi Dance Ensemble prepare to
take the stage during the Diocesan Assembly banquet on Saturday, May 1,
2004, in Rye. NY.

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