Armenian Assembly of America Holds Annual Members Weekend in South Florida on Eve of Genocide Centennial

AAA FL Board

Last month, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) held its annual Members Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida on March 13-14, 2015. Organized by the Assembly’s South Florida Regional Council (SFRC) Chair Carol Norigian, and Assembly Board of Trustees member Lu Ann Ohanian, the annual members weekend included a two-day program of meetings, receptions, events, and a unique academic symposium on the Armenian Genocide.

The success of the Assembly’s annual members weekend was ensured thanks to the generosity of Gold sponsors Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation, Edele Hovnanian, Harry and Edna Keleshian, Carolyn Mugar, Lu Ann and Bruce Ohanian, Gail and Richard O’Reilly, George Pagoumian, Toros Sahakian, Joyce and Joe Stein, Peter and Irene Vosbikian, Silver sponsors Michael and Marie Haratunian, Mrs. Michael Ohanian, Takouhi and Arshag Tarpinian, and Bronze sponsors George M. Jamgochian, James Kalustian, Oscar Tatosian, and Thomas G. Varbedian, M.D.

The weekend kicked off with a welcome reception on Friday night featuring BEDROS author Irene Vosbikian. Newly elected Assembly Board of Trustees Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian welcomed Assembly members and guests to the annual event. Assembly board member Lu Ann Ohanian introduced Irene Vosbikian and read passages from her book, which details the life of her father-in-law, who survived the Armenian Genocide and made a new life in America. Vosbikian signed copies for guests who purchased the book with all proceeds benefitting the Armenian Assembly of America.


“The Assembly is thankful to Irene and Peter Vosbikian for their contribution and support,” stated Assembly Board Member Lu Ann Ohanian. “We were moved by the resilience of Bedros Vosbikian in his escape from the Armenian Genocide and his journey to America, and we especially enjoyed hearing Peter and Irene’s story of love, sacrifice, and triumph,” stated Assembly Board Member Lu Ann Ohanian.

On Saturday, Assembly members gathered for the Annual Members and Board of Trustees Meeting. The meeting featured reports from Board of Trustees Co-Chairmen Van Krikorian and Anthony Barsamian, and other board members and staff. During his report, Barsamian discussed the make-up of the newly elected Board of Trustees as well as the program direction the board is setting. Krikorian discussed the Assembly budget and motioned for the passage of a resolution recognizing Hirair and Anna Hovnanian’s decades of dedication and contribution to Armenian Americans and Armenians around the world, which was passed with unanimous consent. Mr. Hovnanian will assume the title of Assembly Chairman Emeritus on May 1, 2015.

“We are honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the Armenian Assembly in this historic year,” stated Assembly Board of Trustees Chairmen Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “Everyone in our organization is working with heightened commitment to ensuring that the centennial events mark a significant step toward US and international affirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” Barsamian and Krikorian said.

Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny discussed a wide range of Assembly events and activities that have already taken place and are currently planned around the United States. Ardouny illustrated the leadership role of the Assembly on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. He highlighted key individuals involved in centennial activities, such as Assembly Trustee Taleen Yacoubian, a Co-Chair of the West Coast Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, Assembly Board Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian and Assembly Trustee James Kalustian, who serve as Co-Chairs of the Massachusetts Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, Assembly Communications Director Taniel Koushakjian, who serves on the executive committee of the South Florida Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, and Assembly staff in Washington, DC that are involved in the National Armenian Genocide Centennial planning for May 7-9, 2015 in our nation’s capital.

Ardouny also discussed the Assembly’s legislative efforts on Capitol Hill, specifically the introduction of H. Res. 154, the Armenian Truth and Justice Resolution, letters to President Obama from House and Senate legislators, and Assembly testimony before the House Appropriations Committee outlining the Assembly’s nine policy priorities on behalf of the Armenian American community.

Assembly Board of Trustees Treasurer Bianka Kadian-Dodov presented an expanded Assembly operations budget for 2015-2016 which the trustees unanimously approved. Assembly Board of Trustees President Carolyn Mugar briefed members on the activities and role of the Armenia Tree Project. Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute (ANI), also updated Assembly members, specifically discussing the four digital exhibits produced by ANI that are now available free of charge for the purpose of Armenian Genocide education. Adalian noted that the four exhibits had been downloaded almost 200,000 times, with over three million hits registered annually to the ANI website since the launch of the first exhibit in 2013.

AAA FL AG Symp Group

After lunch, members and guests reconvened for the Assembly’s Armenian Genocide Symposium, entitled “A Century of Genocide: The 1915 Armenian Genocide and Its Lasting Impact.” The symposium featured ANI Director Dr. Rouben Adalian, Dr. Rosanna Gatens, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and Hannibal Travis, Professor of Law at Florida International University College of Law in Miami, Florida. Dr. Adalian presented the topic “The Armenian Genocide as a Prototype of 20th Century Mass Killings.” Dr. Gatens discussed “The Impact of the Armenian Genocide on Holocaust Education,” and Professor Travis presented “The Armenian Genocide as a Political Act and International Crime.” Assembly Board President Carolyn Mugar opened the panel and introduced Assembly Trustee Marta Batmasian who moderated the discussion.

On Saturday night, Assembly members and friends gathered for a delightful cocktail reception where guests discussed their impressions of the Assembly activities from the weekend. Following the reception, attendees enjoyed a wonderful dinner and dancing with live music by Dick Barsamian, Leon Janikian, Mike Gregian, and John Arzigian who performed traditional and contemporary Armenian songs.

“We are grateful to all of our organizers, participants, attendees, and sponsors for making this year’s annual members meeting a resounding success,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

Photographs from the Assembly’s Annual Members Weekend in South Florida are available on the Assembly’s Facebook page here.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


NR: # 2015-017

Photo Caption 1: (L-R) Standing: Assembly Board Members Toros Sahakian, Oscar Torosian, Board Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Board Co-Chair Van Krikorian; Seated: Board President Carolyn Mugar, Board Treasurer Bianka Kadian-Dodov, Board Member Lu Ann Ohanian, and author Irene Vosbikian.

Photo Caption 2: Guests at the Assembly’s Annual Members Weekend Welcome Reception.

Photo Caption 3: Guests at the Assembly’s Annual Members Weekend Welcome Reception.

Photo Caption 4: (L-R) Dr. Rouben Adalian, Marta Batmasian, Hannibal Travis, Dr. Rosanna Gatens.

(Photographs by Bedo Der-Bedrosian on behalf of the Armenian Assembly of America)


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Posted on April 4, 2015, in Armenian Genocide, Arts & Culture, Events, General Update, News and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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