The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) held its 73rd International Convention from October 16-20, 2023, in Yerevan, Armenia.
The convention was attended by 41 delegates from the organization’s 12 regions; 10 delegates from 16 at-large chapters; the former 11 members of the ARS Central Executive Board (CEB); 11 guests from Artsakh and various regions; advisor Raffi Donabedian; and representatives of Hamazkayin Artashes Shahpazian and Tigran Papikian, plus 66 observers and five staff members.
The convention examined the ARS CEB’s 2019-2023 quadrennial activities and found them more than satisfactory, given the fact that they were achieved during one of the most catastrophic periods of our nation’s recent history.
The convention evaluated the organization’s communications, internal relations, financial challenges and educational, health, social and global assistance programs, focusing on challenges and issues and proposing appropriate actions to ensure the continuity and efficiency of the programs.
ARS 73rd International Convention, Yerevan, Armenia
The discussions and motions were focused on Artsakh and the forceful eviction of its native Armenian population from its millennial homeland. Attendees comprehensively discussed the enormity of the need and the urgency to stand with our brothers and sisters facing this unprecedented catastrophe by providing assistance through various support programs. Following a briefing on the ongoing emergency relief efforts during the current crisis, a fundraiser dedicated to Artsakh Armenians was held on the spot, during which approximately $500,000 USD was raised from ARS entities and members.
The convention continued with testimonies from ARS Artsakh members, shedding light on the fate and the difficulties of the Artsakh Armenians as refugees in various provinces of Armenia. The delegates also learned about the achievements of the ARS Akhourian “Mother & Child” Health Center, the different health services it provides to area residents and its present challenges, such as the expansion of the center’s facilities. This led to another fundraiser, during which $60,000 was raised to help the center continue its mission.
The convention agreed on the necessity of continuing and expanding the already adopted programs, particularly considering the economic crisis in the Middle East and the situation of our Syrian and Lebanese Armenian communities, concerns that also were brought to the attention of the attendees. The delegates listened to the difficulties and the needs of our nation’s two historic communities and discussed options to minimize the ongoing crises.
The convention concluded with the election of the new ARS Central Executive Board for the upcoming 2023-2027 period.
Arousyak Melkonian (Western USA) – Chairperson
Talin Daghlian (Eastern USA) – Vice-Chairperson
Nayiri Balanian (Eastern USA) – Secretary
Annie Kechichian (Western USA) – Treasurer
Irma Kassabian (Eastern USA) – Accountant
Siran Ambarjian (Middle East) – Advisor
Arminee Karabetian (Canada) – Advisor
Zoya Kocharyan (Armenia) – Advisor
Zharmen Mirzakhanyan (Western USA) – Advisor
Nora Sevagian (Australia) – Advisor
Liza Tchalikian Gillibert (Europe, France) – Advisor