Azeris were congratulating us on Spitak earthquake, refugee from Baku recalls

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 18 2020

“The Sumgait pogroms changed the atmosphere and everything not only in that town but also in Baku and elsewhere. We felt the change in attitude and relations with our neighbors, teachers,” Anne Turcotte-Astvatsaturyan, refugee from Baku, currently living in the US, told at a press conference on Friday. Astvatsaturyan’s family left Baku in September 1989.

“It hurts to remember what my family went through those days when we were forced to hide every time when attackers were passing by our house. A few times our neighbors saved us, one of them being an Azerbaijani. All our Armenian neighbors who didn’t flee the city in 1989 were killed, ” Anne Turcotte-Astvatsaturyan recalled.
She noted that in 1988 when Spitak earthquake hit Armenia, Azerbaijanis were congratulating the Armenians on the tragedy and the victims. “It was not only about physical pogroms but also phycological assaults occurred every single. It was impossible to attend school.”

She next said visiting Armenia twice or three times every year, she visits Artsakh every time. “For me, Artsakh is the symbol of what we went through and lived for. I do not want to see what took place in Baku and Sumgait ever happen in Artsakh,” said Turcotte-Astvatsaturyan.

Sports: Armenian athlete Spartak Voskanyan starts at Winter Youth Olympic Games

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 18 2020
Sport 14:08 18/01/2020 Armenia

The 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games are underway held in Swiss Lausanne. On January 19, the representative of Armenia 16-year-old Spartak Voskanyan will perform at the Cross Country Skiing event sprint 1.5km and on January 21 at 10km classic skiing.

To note, the Youth Olympics kick off on Thursday with more than 1,800 athletes from 79 countries taking part. The Games will feature 8 sports and 16 disciplines to be performed in 81 events.

The Olympic Games will conclude on January 22.

Music: The Iranian Armenian is the first to receive a star on the Walk of Fame

The Media HQ
Jan 18 2020
By James Mumaw

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – “Stand by me” in Farsi, with Bon Jovi?

This is just one of many creative collaborations in which Andy Madadian was able to share his culture with an American audience. Known for peace and determination, he is the first Iranian-Armenian American to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“I came to America when there was a revolution in Iran. I came here to become an American rock star. And fate brought millions of Iranians and Armenians to this beautiful country called America, and I had the opportunity to record in Armenian and Iranian. And thank God they were hits and I became an Iranian Armenian singer, ”he said.

Madadian’s energetic music sparked a collaboration with Latoya Jackson, where the artist sang in Persian in her hit “Tehran”. But Tehran itself didn’t exactly greet Madadian.

The religious regime found its content too liberal and prohibited sales in Iran.

“My music was banned in Iran, so the source of income and the source of the royalties were never there. We basically made music for love. And we never had financial support from Iran, the main source of our fans base,” said Madadian.

“But hey, I’m not complaining, I’ve always had music. I had a great family, a great life in America, so life was fantastic, it was difficult, but I’m here and I think this is just the beginning . “

The beginning of a new era. Madadian releases new English music, especially a new song called “The Good Fight”.

His hope is to continue to share a spirit of peace and unity through his art.

“I think all of these war talks are nonsense. The people of Iran and America love each other. Governments should ease off and hopefully nothing drastic will happen,” said Madadian. “My greatest wish is that Iran and America be friends so that we can all come and go and live in both countries.”

To this day, Madadian and the many Persians who live in LA continue to worry about their loved ones who are still in Iran.

“I have many, many good friends I grew up with. They are in Iran. And we are always worried about them. And we always pray that someday the situation will be peaceful for people, and hopefully, Iran and America will live in peace, “he said. “Because both cultures value each other and we should put our differences aside and continue with life.”

His Hollywood Walk of Fame star, who uses the power of music to keep his communities both joyful and connected, is just a step forward in a peaceful direction.

Food: ‘The centre of everything’: Lavash is an exploration of Armenian cooking as it exists right now

National Post, Canada
Jan 15 2020
In Armenia, lavash provides the basis of virtually every meal.John Lee
by Laura Brehaut

Our cookbook of the week is Lavash: The bread that launched 1,000 meals, plus salads, stews, and other recipes from Armenia by food writer Kate Leahy, photojournalist John Lee and chef Ara Zada. To try a recipe from the book, check out: Lavash, lavash-wrapped trout and panrkhash (lavash and cheese bake).

Providing the basis of virtually every meal, sitting on the shoulders of newlyweds in a rite of fertility and prosperity, and acting as a swaddling blanket of sorts, lavash extends far past staple-food status in Armenia.

Commonly crafted by a small group of women, the flatbread cannot merely be defined by its brief assemblage of ingredients — flour, water and salt — or subterranean baking method. Much more than a culinary cornerstone, lavash belongs to a special category of symbolic foods permeating all aspects of life.

Lavash: The bread that launched 1,000 meals, plus salads, stews, and other recipes from Armenia by Kate Leahy, John Lee and Ara Zada. Chronicle Books

“You dance around with it at weddings and wrap babies in lavash,” says Los Angeles-based chef Ara Zada. “It’s the centre of everything.”

The unleavened bread, popular throughout the South Caucasus and Western Asia, is recognized as being so essential to Armenian cuisine it earned a place on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list in 2014. Just one year later, the seed of a unique cookbook was sown.

Lavash (Chronicle Books, 2019) — written by Zada, food writer Kate Leahy and photojournalist John Lee — started with an encounter with “earth-shattering lavash” wrapped around locally foraged herbs and homemade cheese in the Armenian village of Zovk. While teaching a food photography workshop to teenagers in the capital city of Yerevan in 2015, Lee had the opportunity to watch his student Inessa Karapetyan’s grandmother making lavash the traditional way, in a tonir (underground clay oven). He was hooked.

“It was this magical process of the way that she spins the dough super thin, puts it on this pillow-like thing (batat) and then plops it into this oven buried in the ground,” recalls Lee. “What came out 30 to 50 seconds later was this chewy but blistery and crisp and salty, really wonderful, thin bread that was slightly reminiscent of Neapolitan-style pizza crust but it wasn’t. It was just really beautiful.”

Inspired by Lee’s tale of life-changing lavash, the authors ultimately united over their shared interest in Armenian cuisine and set out to research the dishes being made in the small South Caucasus country today. Offering an overview of its history, including how the differences between Eastern and Western Armenian cooking came to be, the book is an exploration of not just a wealth of flatbreads but whole-grain stews, hearty soups, salads, pickles, feasting dishes and sweets.

Lavash-wrapped trout. John Lee

Zada emphasizes that they didn’t aim to write a book of traditional Armenian cookery, but a collection of dishes they happened upon during their travels, which took them into homes, bakeries and restaurants countrywide. “We’re not staking claim that these are the ancient, old Armenian dishes,” he says. “It’s dishes that are being cooked within the geographical borders of Armenia itself. So we have dishes in there like salat vinaigrette, which you’ll find anywhere in Armenia but it’s a Russian dish.”

In addition to a culinary snapshot, the authors also present a portrait of a country in transition. Lee underscores the relatively recent influx of Syrian-Armenians, who have transformed the Yerevan restaurant scene with Middle Eastern flavours, and a burgeoning wine industry “that did not exist a decade ago.” On their final research trip for the book, which they planned for April and May in order to mark Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24, and partake in spring foraging, they unexpectedly witnessed political change as well.

Lee, who is a former Chicago Tribune staff photographer, was shooting a march in Yerevan when he was hit by the first flash grenade police tossed at a crowd of protestors. Navigating his leg injuries and “a lot of stitches” made shooting the cookbook more challenging, not that you would guess it from the resulting photography, which is a highlight of the collection. “John’s the only person that got hurt in a peaceful revolution,” laughs Zada, referring to what became known as the Velvet Revolution of 2018.

“This cookbook was so unusual in so many different ways. Not only was it three authors from different backgrounds — a photojournalist, an Armenian-Egyptian chef, a food writer — we (experienced) a political revolution, and we were going into a country and asking for recipes from people that we didn’t know until these trips,” says Leahy with a laugh. “It could have been a complete disaster but instead I feel like we formed a community behind this book. It’s not our personal story. It’s the story of a broader perspective — of the people who helped us, of a country at a really pivotal moment in history — and that makes it a pretty crazy story when we look back at it.”

Turkish Press: ‘Memory site’ captures heart, soul of slain Armenian-Turkish journalist

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
Jan 18 2020
'Memory site' captures heart, soul of slain Armenian-Turkish journalist

Murat Paksoy, Handan Kazanci   | 18.01.2020


Thirteen years since his assassination on the steps of an Istanbul-based newspaper he once ran, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's office has at long last been reopened to the public as a memorial.

Founder and editor of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, Dink was gunned down in broad daylight in front of his Istanbul office in 2007 on Jan. 19.

The final result of Dink's murder case has long been awaited, with his family and friends continuing on the quest for justice. A total of 76 suspects are on trial as part of the case.

Every year on Jan. 19, thousands gather in front of the building, where Dink was killed to commemorate the slain journalist.

Due to the "symbolic significance of the site and its place in the collective memory," the Hrant Dink Foundation — founded after his assassination — turned the building into the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory, named after an article penned by Dink in Agos on April 23, 1996.

Agos continues to circulate in Turkey in both languages, albeit from a different location where it moved in 2015.

"We gave this name [to the site] inspired by Hrant's article, in which he talked about April 23 and 24 and said: 'I wish we could combine these two days and promise a future encouraging hope at the end of these two days'," Sibel Asna, a board member at Hrant Dink Foundation, told Anadolu Agency.

"April 23 is a holiday for sovereignty and April 24 is a tragedy for us all," Asna said, adding: "The site was opened between these two days, and is called 23.5, which promises hope and kindness."

April 24 is the international day of mourning of the events of 1915.

The year 1915 saw mass relocations, which then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed condolences for in 2014.

An important figure in the Armenian community in Turkey, Dink had sought to kickstart public discussion on the issue and was an advocate of democratization and human rights.

He was repeatedly prosecuted for "denigrating Turkish-ness" over articles he wrote about Armenian identity and mass deportations of Armenians in 1915.

A plaque that reads: "Hrant Dink was murdered here, January 19, 2007, at 15:05" was embedded in the sidewalk in front of the building where Dink was killed, serving as a stark reminder for visitors and passers-by alike in Istanbul's teeming Sisli district. 

Hrant's story

Nayat Karakose, a program coordinator at the site, told Anadolu Agency that Hrant Dink himself was given voice to impart his story on to visitors at the memory site.

"Those who come here learn the whole story from his own peaceful and dialogue-based language," Karakose said, adding that guests could "explore all the rooms through his story." 

Noting that Dink's room was preserved as it was on the day of his murder, Karakose said: "In many museums, such rooms are protected by red cordons, we have not done so. We wanted the people coming here to feel good, and touch [the objects]," she added.

Among the venue's many parts, it features the tirttava room, which focuses on the discrimination Dink faced during his military service; the Atlantis civilization room, highlighting Dink's childhood years in Camp Armen Armenian orphanage in Istanbul; and the quest for justice room, which features videos, documents and first-hand accounts shedding light on the ongoing Hrant Dink murder trial.

There is also a piece of artwork titled, Establishing an Embassy Project, by German artists Horst Hoheisel and Andreas Knitz, which draws attention to the short-lived normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

There are also several screens running videos of Dink's past speeches. Karakose underlined that each video at the site began with a question and that the answers were given by Dink himself.

"We are not only shedding light on Hrant Dink's life. We are also trying to raise awareness on universal values such as democracy, peace, human rights, justice and equality that he was advocating," she added. 

Hrant's hope

The idea of a memorial to honor Dink emerged in 2008 and it "was not easy" to achieve it Asna said. She added: "We had to prepare a site hopeful for the future, not worrying […] over a murder that tears everyone's heart out.

The site was opened after long preparations, she added.

"We describe the trauma of the Republic of Turkey through the life of Hrant," Asna said.

"This place needed to reflect Hrant's view of hope, future — his discourse and his belief in justice, humanity and love."

People from all walks of life contributed to the funding of the site's preparation, Asna said, highlighting that designers, architects and researchers had voluntarily helped in setting the venue up.

Those who visit will see how this murder was conducted, the process experienced thus far and what Turkey has gone through over Hrant's life, she said.

It weighs heavily on the conscience to witness a murder through a memory site, some visitors leave in tears and others lost in thought, Asna added.

The venue is trilingual — Turkish, Armenian and English — and is open for visitors throughout every day of the week except Monday.

Asbarez: Ferrahian Students Learn About Importance of Census

Ferrahian alumnus Berj Chorlian discusses the importance of writing in “Armenian” on the census form


Census Bureau member Berj Chorlian, a Ferrahian alumnus, returned to his alma mater to discuss the importance of the upcoming nationwide census for Diasporan Armenians. His visit took place on Monday, On January 13.

Speaking to the entire high school student body, Mr. Chorlian, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master’s in Humanities from the University of Chicago, explained, “In order for our community to receive the proper funding, influence, and to fully attain our rights, it is crucial that we, Armenian Americans, get an accurate count in the upcoming Census.” He added, “Working for the census was a natural fit for me. Growing up at an Armenian school and church, the importance and privilege of serving my community were instilled in me early on.”

Mr. Chorlian also addressed the principal objectives of the Armenian American Complete Count Committee. According to its website, the AACCC strives to “raise awareness within the Armenian community of Los Angeles County about the upcoming 2020 US Census, encourage Armenian residents to designate themselves as ‘Armenian-American,’ and engender trust about the census process.” Mr. Chorlian emphasized the significance of having each Armenian American to write in “Armenian” on the census form rather than designating the “white” or “other” categories. Doing so not only provides a more accurate estimate of the number of American Armenians, but will demonstrate the potential strength in these numbers.

Berj Chorlian

Indeed, with a more defined and representative community, Armenian Americans will have a stronger voice in local and national affairs, and will facilitate broader representation in government. All this starts with a simple write-in: “Armenian.”

Sose Hovannisian is a sophomore at Ferrahian High School.

Asbarez: ARS Now Accepting Undergraduate, Lazarian Graduate Scholarship Applications

January  17, 2020

The ARS 2020 scholarship applications must be submitted by April 1

The Armenian Relief Society Eastern USA Board of Directors are pleased to announce that the organization’s annual Undergraduate and Lazarian Graduate Scholarships Application Process for 2020 is now open. The application deadline is April 1.

Scholarships are awarded based on a combination of financial need, merit, and involvement in the Armenian community. All three areas should be addressed in the application. Each application is only valid for one year, but students who have received a scholarship may apply for a second one. Applications are not automatically renewed and an individual may only be granted a maximum of two scholarships.

Requirements for eligibility require the applicant be of Armenian descent and must have already completed at least one college semester at an accredited institution in the United States. The application form must be accompanied by financial aid information, an official transcript, and letters of recommendation.

For complete details, please visit the “About” tab, and the “Scholarship” section of the website.

For further questions please email the Regional Office [email protected]

Asbarez: City Council Hopefuls Face Off at Capacity ANCA Glendale Candidate Forum

January  17, 2020

A capacity crowd attended the ANCA Glendale Candidate Forum

“Feedback from the community is extremely vital for ANCA Glendale because we want to ensure that our endorsed candidates are candidates that will be most responsive to the city’s residents,” said ANCA Glendale Chairperson Lucy Petrosian. “We were able to gain insight on which candidates will be truly committed to improving the lives of every Glendale resident.”

“This forum allowed me to have more clarity about all eight Glendale City Council candidates,” said Suzie Burushyan, an attendee. “It was truly useful because it will help me make informative choices on the ballot on Election Day.”

The forum was organized as the last stage of ANCA Glendale’s endorsement consideration process. The initial stages included an extensive questionnaire where interested candidates submitted detailed responses regarding issues that our community cares about. It also involved an in-person session, where each interested candidate met with the ANCA Glendale Board to discuss their campaign more comprehensively. The organization is currently working to release endorsements for the open seats in Glendale City Council in the coming days.

View the entire event.

ANCA Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.

Asbarez: AMAA Celebrates Christmas with Over 11,000 Children in Armenia, Artsakh

The Armenian Missionary Association of America’s Center on Baghramyan Street in Yerevan was crowded with children and their parents who gathered for special New Year’s and Christmas programs. The programs were held on January 14 and 15, and took place four times each day. They included visits from Santa Claus, cheerful songs, dances, Christmas presents, as well as a Christmas message, which was conveyed from the stage: Share God’s Love with One Another and Give Unselfish Joy to Others.

Through this year’s Christmas play “Three Baskets,” presented by AMAA-Armenia’s “Hayasa” theatrical group, the young actors successfully brought Divine Love to the audience. In the play, written by Director/Screenwriter Nune Abrahamyan, schoolchildren relayed their cherished dreams on Christmas Eve and emphasized that even material dreams can come true if there is a desire and willingness to help others with endless compassion. At the conclusion of the play, the children hugged one another and the most important Christmas message echoed: “Because I came that they might have life and have more.” (John 10:10)

Before each presentation, the Evangelical Church of Armenia’s Christian Education Director Rev. Avetik Khachatryan and AMAA Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian greeted the audience and welcomed them to the program.

AMAA Armenia and the Evangelical Church of Armenia jointly organized these festive Christmas and New Year’s events in 45 towns and villages in Armenia and Artsakh. Over 11,000 children received not only Christmas Joy Packages and visits from Santa, but heard about God’s Divine Love and giving unselfish joy to others.

Thank you to all who supported the children in Armenia and Artsakh by donating to the Christmas Joy Program.