ACAA Announces Honorees For Annual Banquet In Support Of ANCA Easter


acaa-announces-honorees-for-annual-banquet-in-supp ort-of-anca-eastern-region/
August 28, 2009

Bandazian and Kerneklian Named Vahan Cardashian Awardees

NEW YORK-The Armenian Cultural Association of America (ACAA) announced
the honorees for the Third Annual Banquet and Awards Program in
support of the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region
and its tradition of service to the Armenian American community. The
ACAA will host the event, which will take place on Saturday, October
3 at Espace in New York City.

As a key part of the banquet’s awards program, the Vahan Cardashian
Award will be presented to the brother-sister pair of Bedros Bandazian
and Melanie Kerneklian, both from Richmond, Va., who have dedicated a
lifetime of steadfast activism to the ANCA at both local and leadership
levels. Influential figures in their state’s political and community
life, having served volunteer appointments to a number of state-wide
projects and commissions, Bandazian and Kerneklian are among the
founders of the Richmond ANC and have led countless grassroots
educational campaigns in support of Armenian issues.

Both awardees were instrumental in a campaign aimed at introducing
the teaching of the Armenian Genocide into the Virginia standards of
learning, an effort that was featured in the PBS documentary series
Frontline in March 2002. Both played critical roles in spearheading
the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Armenian Affairs under different
governors. Alongside many leadership accomplishments within the ACAA,
ANCA and ANCA Endowment, Bandazian established a longstanding record of
Virginia gubernatorial proclamations related to the Armenian Genocide
and has been pivotal in founding the acclaimed Armenian Heritage
Cruise, an event that has become a prominent cultural tradition in the
Armenian-American community over the last decade. During her tenure
as a lead staff member to then Virginia State Delegate Eric Cantor
(currently minority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives),
Kerneklian was a driving force in educating the Virginia legislature
on the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government, supported by it

s lobby and Virginia’s tobacco and defense corporations, responded
to these grassroots educational efforts with heavy-handed political
maneuvers. Ultimately, these educational efforts resulted in the
legislature’s passage of an Armenian Genocide resolution in 2000.

"We are pleased to honor Bedros Bandazian and Melanie Kerneklian with
the Vahan Cardashian Award," said ACAA spokesperson George Aghjayan
"These are two individuals who have repeatedly demonstrated the power
of grassroots education and activism-especially in a small Armenian
community. Their contributions to the ANC and the Armenian community
are an inspiration."

The Vahan Cardashian Award is given annually to an ANCA supporter who
demonstrates longstanding dedication and active involvement in the
Armenian American community and its issues. The award is named for
Yale-educated lawyer Vahan Cardashian who set aside his successful
New York practice to dedicate himself to the establishment of the
American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA), predecessor
organization to the Armenian National Committee, and to advocate for
the plight of the Armenian nation.

Plans are currently being finalized for the banquet. The evening
will begin with a silent auction and cocktail reception, followed
by dinner and awards program. For more information and reservations,
call 312-615-7698.

Established in 1969, ACAA is a 501©3 charitable organization that
assists and supports impoverished people of Armenian origin; welfare
institutions that aid those of Armenian origin; and educational and
charitable organizations that encourage and develop the Armenian
cultural heritage. The ACAA also aids students, authors, artists and
researchers who are pursuing intellectual efforts in Armenian culture
and education, and publishes educational, scientific and literary
books that raise the educational, cultural and intellectual standards
of the community. The ACAA sponsors projects both in the Republic of
Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. It also serves as a repository of
historic Armenian national documents and archives.

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