Caroline Cox and Richard Hovannisian honored by ANCA

Caroline Cox and Richard Hovannisian honored by ANCA

Published: Wednesday December 12, 2012

>From left: Hovannisian, Pallone, Cox. Diran Jebejian

WATERTOWN, MASS. – More than 300 gathered for an evening of
celebration, recognition and reflection at the Armenian National
Committee of America Eastern Region’s (ANCA-ER) 6th annual banquet,
where Armenian studies luminary Dr. Richard Hovannisian and Artsakh
rights champion, her Ladyship Baroness Caroline Cox were bestowed the
organization’s highest honors.

After successful events held annually in New York, Rhode Island and
Massachusetts, New Jersey was the site of the December 1st banquet
with the festivities held at the beautiful Sheraton Crossroads in

Rep. Pallone praises ANCA-ER
Among the special guests of the evening was New Jersey Congressman
Frank Pallone, who praised the grassroots efforts of the ANCA and paid
tribute to Dr. Hovannisian and Baroness Cox with Community Service

“One of the best things about the ANCA is the different programs they
have and how they educate and get young people involved,” said Rep.
Pallone. “As the founder and co-chair of the Armenian Caucus in the
House (of Representatives) for so many years, I will tell you that
without the ANCA, grassroots activities of the Armenian community
would really be very minimal.”

Dr. Richard Hovannisian: A titan of Armenian scholarship
National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Director
of Academic Affairs Dr. Marc Mamigonian gave a moving introduction
about Professor Richard Hovannisian, the Vahan Cardashian Award

“He (Hovannisian) is among the first generation of scholars who shaped
the field that was in its infancy when he began teaching at UCLA a
half century ago. In 1969, he became the first professor of modern
Armenian studies in the United States. … You may have heard that
professor Hovannisian is retired. Friends, don’t believe him,”
Mamigonian joked.

Dr. Hovannisian, a professor of Armenian and Near Eastern Studies at
UCLA, is a pioneer of Armenian studies in the United States. He has
authored many books and edited and contributed to at least a dozen
other works. In 1987, he was appointed the first holder of the
Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian
History at UCLA.

“I’m deeply honored and thankful to the ANCA for considering me worthy
of receiving this award. Vahan Cardashian remains a champion and a
symbol for the Armenian people. I feel very satisfied after my long
career, and I feel rewarded that I’ve had more than a half century of
wonderful experiences in the classroom teaching generations regarding
Armenian history and identity,” Hovannisian said.

Baroness Caroline Cox: A matron saint of Artsakh’s quest for freedom
Ms. Virginia Davies, a longtime friend and supporter of the ANCA,
introduced Baroness Caroline Cox before presenting her with the ANCA
Freedom Award.

“Karabakh has known no more committed and no more constant friend than
Baroness Cox. From a position of great influence in the British House
of Lords, Baroness Cox has spent 25 years educating, advocating and
leading humanitarian efforts on the ground in Karabakh,” said Davies.

Baroness Cox came to the podium to a standing ovation, like
Hovannisian, and warmly greeted those in attendance. She presented a
brief slideshow as well, showing photos from her travels to Karabakh
and offering inspiring thoughts for the future.

“Speaking in the British parliament is a place to give voice to the
voiceless, to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. … I
would like to say thank you to the Armenian people, who in that holy
land of Artsakh have formed that front line of faith and freedom for
the rest of the world. We who live in freedom, we who call ourselves
Christian, owe you a debt of gratitude for holding that front line for
us. With all my heart, I thank you,” the Baroness said.

Baroness Cox has visited Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh 78 times to
date, many of them during the war with Azerbaijan in the early 1990s,
and is planning on at least two more visits in 2013. Working with the
Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), she helped establish the Lady
Cox Rehabilitation Centre in Stepanakert in 1998, which has become a
leader in providing care and rehabilitation for those with physical or
mental disabilities. It looks after babies, children and adults who
have been disabled from birth as well as patients suffering from war
injuries, accidents and illnesses such as strokes.

The Center is internationally recognized as a “Center of Excellence,”
disseminating its wide-ranging therapeutic repertoire far beyond
Karabakh to other countries throughout the South Caucasus.

Baroness Cox was awarded the ANCA Freedom Award for her undying
support of the Armenian people and for her dedication to human rights
for all. She has traveled to many other countries, particularly those
affected by severe human rights violations, to provide aid to those in

As part of her trip to the U.S., Baroness Cox was accompanied by ANCA
Eastern Region Executive Director Michelle Hagopian, HART-US Executive
Director Donna Mundy, ANC of United Kingdom member Vahan Krikorian and
ANCA Eastern Region Board Member Ani Tchaghlasian, at a series of
meetings with human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and
Human Rights Foundation.

ANCA and community leaders spotlight the power of grassroots advocacy
A consistent theme in remarks offered throughout the evening was
expansion of the ANCA’s dedicated network of grassroots supporter
throughout the Eastern United States.

ANCA ER Banquet Committee co-chairperson Karine Shnorhokian was
eloquent in her welcoming message, thanking her fellow banquet
committee volunteers and the collective effort of all present to
ensure not only the success of the banquet – but of the broader goals
of the organization.

“Together, we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and our
success could not happen without each and every one of you. … As the
list of Freedom and Vahan Cardashian Award winners grows, those in
this room tonight are witness to a special moment in history,” she

Speaking on behalf of the ANCA-ER, George Aghjayan discussed the
importance of Hai Tahd and the ANCA’s work to rally the youth in
support of our common cause.

“As we work on these things over the years, any cause like ours, which
is so strongly activist-based, is going to take risks and have
successes and failures over the years. We accept those failures and
embrace the successes. … You’re going to see how many young people
are involved in our cause and embrace the cause. This is something
we’ve done exceptionally well,” Aghjayan commented.

ARF Eastern Region Central Committee Chairman Dr. Ara Chalian
addressed the crowd, saying, “I’m excited with the work the ANCA does
every day and what will come in the future. This is a grassroots
organization. It’s everyone in the room; it’s those who have lifted
their phones, asked questions, educated, hit the button on the
computer. This is a celebration of a year’s work and a lifetime of
work. Now, we can go out and engage others in this work.”

In the evening’s concluding remarks, ANCA Executive Director Aram
Hamparian offered his many thanks to supporters. “Ours is an ethic of
quiet service. Ours is a tradition of humble sacrifice. We’re not
supposed to say thank you because we’re all doing our duty, our
responsibility to our cause and our community. I think each of you in
this room holds a special love and respect for everyone else here
because you are brothers and sisters in common cause. We’re soldiers
and that binds us very close together, and that’s a great treasure,”
he commented.

Mistress of Ceremonies Nora Kzirian navigated the evening with skill
and eloquence from the beginning, inviting Alyne Corrigan to sing the
American and Armenian national anthems followed by a moving invocation
by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the
Armenian Apostolic Church of America.

“We commend this organization’s dedication to truth and justice for
the Armenian nation and for all peoples of the world,” said Archbishop
Choloyan, who has worked with the ANCA national, regional and local
affiliates in support of justice for the Armenian Genocide, including
efforts to secure the return of stolen Christian churches and
properties from Turkey.

Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Garabedian of the Armenian Catholic Exarchate of
America later offered the evening’s benediction.

Among the dignitaries in attendance were His Excellency Ambassador
Garen Nazarian, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United
Nations; ARF Bureau member, Mr. Hagop Der Khatchadourian; ANCA
Chairman, Mr. Ken Hachikian; Vice Chairman of the Diocesan Council,
Dr. Raffy Hovanessian; Prelacy Executive Council member, Mr. Sarkis
Ohanessian; Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association
of America, Mr. Levon Filian; Armenia Fund USA Chairman, Mr. Khoren
Bandazian; ARS Eastern Region Board members, Mrs. Suzy Azarian and Ms.
Sevan Kolejian; AYF Eastern Region Central Executive member, Mr.
Yervant Kachichian; Hairenik Weekly Editor Mr. Zaven Torigian;
Armenian Weekly Assistant Editor Ms. Nanore Barsoumian, and many
prominent community benefactors.

The Armenian a cappella folk trio Zulal performed a variety of songs,
entertaining the crowd with their smooth voices and unique sound. They
journeyed back in time to historic Armenia and weaved a story through
their music, captivating attendees and providing a break in the

Attendees also watched a seven-minute video of ANCA Eastern Region
highlights from the past year, which was directed by ANCA activist
Justin Kaladjian.

The night began with an elegant cocktail reception and silent auction
at 6:30 p.m. With more than 50 auction items, attendees were able to
bid on a variety of gifts, from cruise tickets to autographed sports
gear to authentic Armenian paintings.

Joining Shnorhokian in organizing the Eastern Region Banquet was
co-chairwoman Nicole Alashaian, Taline Chalian, Sarine Adishian, Aram
Afarian, Talin Apkarian, Gassia Asadourian, Isabel Kubikian, Alice
Movsesian, Tamar Nahabedian, James Sahagian, Maral Sahagian, Talar
Sarafian and Meline Toufayan. The silent auction committee was chaired
by Bea Movsesian with help from Talin Daghlian, Maral Kaprielian, Lynn
Mahlebjian, Lisa Movsesian-Ramos, Mary Ohanessian, Silva Takvorian and
Stephanie Torossian.

Alex & Ani creator Carolyn Rafaelian also made a special charm
necklace for Baroness Cox.

More than 100 banquet guests and ANCA activists from the New York and
New Jersey area enjoyed a casual evening of celebration on November
30th at 48 Lounge in New York City, organized by Ms. Tamar Nahabedian.

Pictures from the ANCA Eastern Region Banquet, taken by Diran Jebejian
of Jebejian Images, are available on the ANCA Facebook page at:

Video from the ANCA-ER Banquet will be posted to the ANCA YouTube page
in the upcoming days: