ABA’s 20th Annual Meeting With Governor George Deukmejian

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Several hundred legal heavyweights and dignitaries, along friends and
family, celebrated the Armenian Bar Association’s (ArmenBar) 20th
Anniversary at a gala on May 9, 2009 at the Glendale, Hilton. The banquet
culminated a spectacular weekend complete with legal seminars, a pro bono
community workshop, a star studded luncheon, and receptions.

"This was a fabulous meeting," said Armen Hovannisian, past Chairman of
ArmenBar, and the meeting organizer. "After 20 years, we reaffirmed our wide
relevance, special community role, and dynamic vibrancy. Our report card
shows that we continue to make a positive difference for Armenian
communities throughout the world," said Hovannisian.

Governor George Deukmejian, one of an elite group of ArmenBar Honorary
Members, was the keynote speaker at the gala dinner banquet . He wowed the
crowd with the delivery of a true statesman and also with his comical
anecdotes from the annuls of Nasreddin Hodja. Four hundred enthusiastic
supporters were on-hand to witness the recognition and awarding of
distinguished ArmenBar members.

Raffi K. Hovannisian received the highly coveted Hrant Dink Freedom Award
for his principled stand on Genocide recognition throughout the world. He is
the founder of ArmenBar, the First Foreign Minister of the Republic of
Armenia, and the first Armenian from the Diaspora to become a member of the
Armenian Parliament.

Professor Ann Lousin, the only three term Chair of ArmenBar, and a professor
at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago received a Lifetime Achievement
Award for her extensive service and mentoring to lawyers and law students.
Vicken Simonian, the longest-serving Board member of ArmenBar, received a
Public Service Award for years of pro bono service to the Armenian community
and for his sustained volunteerism in the Los Angeles County court system as
a judge pro tem, mediator, arbitrator and settlement officer.

California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin was the main luncheon speaker,
and was introduced by fellow California Supreme Court Justice Marvin
Baxter, a founding and Honorary Member of the Armenian Bar Association.
After drawing parallels between his own family’s immigrant past and the
experiences of the Armenian community, Chin praised the outreach efforts of
ArmenBar and encouraged the group to promote and help preserve impartiality
in the judiciary.

A panel on human and civil rights in Armenia, and the role of the courts in
protecting such rights , was an important part of the legal seminars.
Renowned Armenian civil rights attorney and Member of Parliament Zaruhi
Postanjyan was the guest speaker. She was joined by Raffi K. Hovannisian on
the panel.

Nicholas Koumjian, a prosecutor in several international criminal tribunals
and currently working at the Hague, was a special guest speaker in a panel
focusing on the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Koumjian is the chief prosecutor in the highly publicized, current trial of
Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia. The trial is taking place
in The Hague, and Taylor is the first former African head of state to appear
before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity.

Phillip Lynch, an Assistant U.S. Attorney who was appointed by the U.S.
Department of Justice to be the Rule of Law Coordinator in Baghdad, Iraq in
2007, joined Koumjian on the panel. Lynch has had the unique experience of
helping to establish Iraq’s legal system following the fall of the Saddam
Hussein regime, and shared some of those experiences. He discussed his
first-hand involvement relating to the trial of Saddam Hussein, which
resulted in a death sentence and execution. The panel was moderated by John
Lulejian, an Assistant United States Attorney who prosecutes violent and
organized crime, and is a Board Member of ArmenBar.

Garo Ghazarian, Dean of the People’s College of Law, lead a panel discussion
on "Crime and Justice in the Armenian Community." The panel included Steven
Lubell a Commissioner in the City of Burbank, Thomas Lorenz and Tigran
Topadzhikyan, both Seargents with the Glendale Police Department and Fred
Mesropi, a Deputy District Attorney with the County of Los Angeles. The
topics included the perception of Armenians within the local communities,
helping the community with rulings from the bench and certain types of
crimes including those related to traffic, alcohol, identity theft and
health and welfare fraud.

During the celebratory weekend, ArmenBar held a pro bono workshop for the
community at the St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale. The
workshop featured a number of outstanding local attorneys giving practical,
and where possible, one-on-one, advice to community members on issues of
interest such as immigration, domestic violence, landlord/tenant disputes
and criminal matters. The panelists included Alice Yardum Hunter, Lucy
Avedissian, Hagop Tashjian, Betty Jamgotchian, Victor Hairapetian, Raymond
Hovsepian, Raymond Zakari, Vicken Simonian, Varoujan Agemian, Sarkis
Babachanian, Theresa Gibbons, Azniv Ksachikian, Nigol Manoukian, Garo
Ghazarian and Dorine Martirossian.

The meeting was presided over by Armenbar Chair Sonya Nersessian from
Boston, Massachusetts.
All of the Officers of the organization were installed to a second term,
including Nersessian as Chair, Edvin Minassian from Glendale as Vice-Chair,
Sara Bedirian from Beverly Hills as Treasurer and Christine Engustian from
Providence, Rhode Island as Secretary.

"The strength and vitality of the Armenian Bar Association during this
celebratory weekend is a springboard for the future growth and continued
success of this organization," said Nersessian.

The group will next meet in Toronto in early October for its mid-year
meeting. More information can be obtained by visiting the ArmenBar website