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Category Archives: News

Orlando Students Receive ‘Back-to-School’ Blessing

Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church of Orlando, FL, held a ‘Back-to-School’ celebration on Sunday, August 5, where parish youth from pre-K through college received a special blessing from the visiting pastor, Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian.

Following the Divine Liturgy parish families gathered for a cookout, where students were able to pick out school supplies for the coming year, and were entered into a raffle to win a backpack and other prizes.

“We hold this event to remind our students that God loves them—and so does their church family,” explained parishioner Aram Nazarian. “We hope an event like this can be an inspiration to our sister parishes, too.”

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Alabamans Learn ‘All About Armenians’

Educators in Montgomery, Alabama learned ‘All About Armenians’ at a conference this summer, when Audrey Pilafian, Sunday School Superintendent at St. Mary Armenian Church of Hollywood, Florida presented a workshop under that title.

The 50 participating teachers — members of the Alpha Delta Kappa society for women educators – entered the auditorium to the sounds of Gomidas melodies played by Pilafian on the cello.

Aided by multimedia resources provided by Gildak Kupelian, director of the Eastern Diocese’s Armenian Studies department, the educators viewed presentations on ancient Armenia and its geography, its role as the world’s first Christian nation, the Armenian alphabet, the battle of Avarayr, the Armenian Genocide, and prominent Armenians in the arts and various professions.

The day closed with educators joining in a line dance and enjoying a reception of Armenian pastries. “Many teachers commented that the session inspired a new interest in Armenia,” said Audrey Pilafian,“ and several intend to include Armenia in their cultural studies classes in the coming year.”

48 Members of Congress Urge President Trump to Meet with Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for the first time at the NATO Summit in Belgium on July 11, 2018.

Florida Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Ted Deutch Sign Armenian Caucus Letter to White House

WASHINGTON, DC – The Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues leadership spearheaded a letter signed by 48 Members of Congress sent to President Donald Trump urging him to meet with newly-appointed Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, during the annual United Nations General Assembly held in New York in September. Two members of Florida’s Congressional delegation, Armenian Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), signed the letter to President Trump.

The letter states: “The peaceful transition of power after the revolution is a clear indication of the will of the Armenian people, strongly demonstrating their commitment to a fairer and more democratic state. As Armenia seeks to bolster government transparency, strengthen democratic institutions, and empower civil society, it is critical for the United States to deepen its ties with this regional partner at every level of government.”

“I commend the people of Armenia for exercising their political rights and bringing about change in peaceful, democratic way,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) told FLARMENIANS. “The Velvet Revolution can serve as a model for the non-violent transfer of power. I am hopeful that the new government will serve the interests of the people and continue to bring democracy, transparency, and prosperity to Armenia,” Deutch said.

In addition to Armenian Caucus leaders Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Dave Trott (R-MI), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA), the letter was signed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA).

The letter to President Trump also requests “a series of high-level conversations between [the President’s] Cabinet Secretaries and their counterparts in Armenia – many of whom have recently been appointed as members of the newly formed government.”

First Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan with Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) in Washington, D.C.

In that regard, the Embassy of Armenia in Washington, DC has been very active telling the story of the Armenian people’s embrace of democracy to U.S. policy makers. Last month, Armenia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Ararat Mirzoyan traveled to Washington, DC and met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell; Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Dave Trott (R-MI), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and David Valadao (R-CA); House Democracy Partnership President Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Vice President Rep. David Price (D-NC); and Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL). He also spoke before an audience of academics, diplomats, and government officials at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

While Armenia’s Velvet Revolution can be felt by Armenian men and women, old and young, in every corner of the Diaspora, it is especially inspiring for Armenian Americans who wish to see U.S.-Armenia bilateral relationship reach the next level.