At NY Diocesan Center Community Bids Farewell to UN Amb Martirossian

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Karine Abalyan
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

August 7, 2009



On Tuesday, August 4, a farewell reception was held at the Diocesan Center
in honor of His Excellency Armen Martirossian, the Permanent Representative
of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, who will soon become
Armenia’s ambassador to Germany.

Organized by the Eastern Diocese and the Fund for Armenian Relief, the
evening was attended by some 100 people, who gathered to thank Ambassador
Martirossian for his six years of service at the United Nations, and to wish
him success in his new position.

Opening the evening’s program, Diocesan Vicar the Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun
Najarian spoke about Ambassador Martirossian’s deep faith and close
connection to the Armenian Church.

Fr. Najarian said that Ambassador Martirossian will be remembered in New
York’s Armenian community, just as the ambassador will cherish the memories
of his time here.

Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York,
discussed Armenia’s uncertain situation on the international stage, tracing
the problems posed by the closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Given
this scenario, he said, it is critical for Armenia to have diplomats who can
articulate its needs and represent its interests.

"I’m glad he’s going to be our ambassador to Germany," he said of Ambassador
Martirossian. "It will be helpful to Armenia."

Drawing a distinction between short-term aid and long-term investment, Dr.
Gregorian said that Germany and other European Union states should aim to
support such efforts as educating Armenia’s young and developing the
country’s computer, banking, medical, and other industries.

Dr. Gregorian also stressed that the initiative must begin with the Armenian
community in Germany, saying that "charity begins at home."

"I’m amazed at how few Christians support Armenia," he said, adding that
Ambassador Martirossian will need to harness "talent, investment, and
cooperation from the European Union and from Germany."

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church
of America (Eastern), recalled the day in 1992 when the Armenian flag was
hoisted alongside the flags of other countries at the United Nations, and
how Armenia’s UN Mission first opened its office at the Diocesan Center.

"It was a great privilege, and it will always be a mark of honor, for the
Diocesan Center to have played such a role in our country’s history," the
Primate said.

Members of Armenia’s delegation to the UN have likewise been closely
involved with the Armenian Church and the larger Armenian community in New

"To our own people, Armen has been the kind of ambassador who goes far
beyond his formal diplomatic mandate, to be helpful to Armenians in whatever
way possible," the Primate said. "The Armenian-American community has been
blessed to enjoy Armen’s attention, his activity, his brotherly advice and

"From his earliest days in America, he has felt at home here at St. Vartan
Cathedral, and Armen, Anahit, and their family were always in attendance at
events here and in churches around our Diocese."

But above all, Archbishop Barsamian said, Ambassador Martirossian "has shown
himself to be a master of working within the UN, and with his colleagues, to
advance intelligent and just solutions to the issues of the day."

"Time and again, on a variety of concerns-genocide acknowledgement, the
status of Nagorno-Karabagh, and others-Ambassador Martirossian’s constant
attention, his firm convictions, and his efforts in public and in the
background, were the keys to a positive and beneficial result."

Guarantors of Armenia’s Future

Nagorno-Karabagh, in particular, has been a priority for Ambassador
Martirossian and his delegation.

"Karabakh won on the battlefields, and we now have to secure our military
victory on diplomatic fields as well," the ambassador said.

He explained that the issue was especially challenging because the UN
charter is designed to deal with international conflicts more so than with
internal disputes. In guaranteeing both the right to self-determination and
the territorial integrity of states, the UN charter makes it difficult to
conduct talks surrounding a question that falls under both categories.

Most UN member states no longer support Azerbaijan’s claims to
Nagorno-Karabagh, Ambassador Martirossian said, though he acknowledged that
the issue needs continued attention.

"We ourselves are the only guarantor of a decent future for Armenia," he

Ambassador Martirossian also spoke about the important role played by the
Armenian diaspora, and thanked New York’s Armenian community for acting as
"a reliable partner" in his ambassadorship.

Recalling the many thought-provoking conversations he shared with clergy and
other leaders of the Armenian-American community, Ambassador Martirossian
said he learned a great deal during his time at the United Nations.

"It is believed that in order to preserve the national identity, it is the
diaspora that needs Armenia. Although that judgment is correct, it is not
comprehensive," he said. "From my personal experience, I claim that it was
the diaspora that enriched and strengthened my Armenian identity."

"I give my thanks to you and to the people of Armenia, for the times I have
succeeded," he said, adding with characteristic humility, "and my apologies
for the times I have fallen short."

Ambassador Martirossian will begin serving as Armenia’s ambassador to
Germany starting next week.


Photos attached.

Photo 1: Diocesan Vicar the Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Najarian, Ambassador
Armen Martirossian, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Council member
Papken Megerian, and St. Vartan Cathedral Dean Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian.

Photo 2: Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New
York, speaks at the farewell reception for Ambassador Armen Martirossian.