Union of Iranian Armenians a center of Armenians in LA

Noyan Tapan News Agency
Sept 23 2005

UNION OF IRANIAN ARMENIANS A CENTER OF ARMENIANS IN LOS ANGELES

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 23, NOYAN TAPAN – ARMENIANS TODAY. The Union of
Iranian Armenians of Los Angeles created in 1956 has been carrying
out its main mission of preservation of the Armenian nation since
1978 when after the Islamic Revolution of Iran 150 thousand Iranian
Armenians moved to the two American continents and European
countries. Those who moved to West America mainly settled in
Glendale. According to unofficial data, nearly 100 thousand Armenians
live there today, and only 50 thousand out of them migrated from
Iran. As Tomik Alexanian, Chairman of the recent 7 years of the Union
of Iranian Armenians of West Coast of America, informed Noyan Tapan’s
correspondent in his interview, the most of Armenian newspapers
published in the US are printed in this city. The city has 6 Armenian
TV channels, 3 completely Armenian schools and 1 Sunday school.
Glendale Mayors are periodically Armenians. Today also Glendale Mayor
is Armenian by nationality, he is Iranian Armenian Raffi Manukian.

Now Mr Alexanian is in Armenia, he has brought the regular aid to
Artsakh, Gyumri and Yerevan parentless children. The Union of Iranian
Armenians started implementing its benevolent programs in the
homeland after the 1988 earthquake. The union has several
departments, from which it’s worth mentioning the 200-person Sunday
school, the Armenian library having 10 thousand books, where various
events are organized on 3 days of the week, including presentations,
concerts, performances. T.Alexanian also mentioned the orchestra
headed by conductor Mikael Avetisian, which performed with a
180-person staff at its last symphonic concert, including the
orchestra and the chorus. A musical school and school of national
dances operate under the Union’s patronage.

Tomik Alexanian mentioned that this activity is benevolent and is
done free of charge. And the Union’s sums are gained from donations
and membership fees.

The Union’s Chairman also told about the programs of Union’s
Department of Iranian Armenian Women operating for already 25 years.
Since 1988 the department has been implementing two programs in
Armenia. One of them is connected with parentless children and the
other is an educational benevolent program. Tbe first program started
its activity on the days of the earthquake including aid to 100
children and now it renders assistance to 600 children. This activity
is carried out in Armenia by 3 members of the Union of Iranian
Armenian Women, Janet and Hermine Shahumian sisters and Janet
Tsaturian. The latter has moved to Yerevan for good and is engaged in
problems of needy children. 78 thousand USD per year is given for
these programs, 54 thousand out of which is for parentless children
and 24 thousand for stipends. 100 USD per year is given to each
parentless child.

According to T.Alexanian, the number of parentless children reduces
and that of getting stipends increases year by year. Besides, the
Union also renders assistance to the Military Institute after Vazgen
Manukian and different universities in Artsakh and Yerevan. Yerevan
school after Raffi has been fundamentally repaired recently with the
Union’s assistance.

3 complete Armenian colleges – Shamlian Armenian college, School of
Armenian Sisters and Mkhitarian college, operate in Glendale. Nearly
1800 Armenian children attend them. Children that migrated from
Armenia to the US don’t attend the above-mentioned paid schools as
these schools aren’t affordable for them. These children attend
special American schools intended for them. And so that the Armenian
children attending these special schools can also learn Armenian, the
Davtian-Mariamian educational institution was founded 10 years ago,
the chairman of which three years running has been Tomik Alexanian
himself. Today 1200 pupils learning in different classes of American
schools attend this school.

According to Tomik Alexanian, the most important mission of the Union
is to rally and unite the Armenians living far from the homeland, to
assist them in getting education in accordance with the Armenian
spirit, as far as possible to create an Armenian atmosphere where
they speak and think Armenian.

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