Category Archives: News

Trump, Biden Issue Dueling Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Statements

By Taniel Koushakjian

On April 24, 2020 President Donald J. Trump issued the official White House statement on Armenian Genocide remembrance day “memorializing the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.  Beginning in 1915, 1 and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.  On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world,” the White House statement read.

Hours after President Trump’s statement, former Vice President Joe Biden issued his April 24 statement. Like Trump, and Obama before him, Biden invoked the phrase Meds Yeghern which what Armenians call the Armenian Genocide. However, Biden’s statement went all the way, using the Armenian and English versions.

“Today we remember the atrocities faced by the Armenian people in the Metz Yeghern — the Armenian Genocide,” Biden said. “From 1915 to 1923, almost 2 million Armenians were deported en mass, and 1.5 million men, women, and children were killed. Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians were also targeted. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination. And we will forever respect the perseverance of the Armenian people in the wake of such tragedy,” the former Vice President said.

Biden served as Vice President to President Barack Obama from 2008-2016. Biden and Obama pledged to recognize the Armenian Genocide as President once they reached the White House in 2008. However, the Obama-Biden Administration broke it’s promise to the Armenian American community and stopped short of using the “g” word.

Biden’s statement today seems to be the only step left for the Democratic Party to win over Armenian American voters, in terms of a campaign pledge and an actual policy correction in the Executive Brach of the U.S. government.

Campaigning for President in 2016, Donald Trump did not issue a campaign statement to the Armenian American community. Since taking office, the Trump White House has continued to refer to the Ottoman Turkish murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as “mass atrocities” but has stoped short of applying the proper legal name for what historians overwhelming acknowledge as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Boca Raton Businessman Meets with First Lady of Armenia Anna Hakobyan

George Pagoumian of Boca Raton, FL meets with First Lady of the Republic of Armenia Anna Hakobyan in Yerevan, Armenia.

Late last year, the wife of the Prime Minister of Armenia and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for My Step Foundation, Anna Hakobyan, met with Armenian American businessman, founder of PMA Venture Capital and friend of the foundation, George Pagoumian of Boca Raton, FL.

Mrs. Hakobyan expressed her gratitude to Mr. Pagoumian for his support to the foundation, particularly for support to the foundation’s project “Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Center” which was made possible through his contributions. Mrs. Hakobyan offered to accompany Mr. Pagoumian to the Center so that he could witness all of the progress and impact his contributions have made.

Mr. Pagoumian stressed that he has faith in Armenia prospering and growing, but it is going to take time. “You’ve made your step, and now Armenians from all over the world who are successful in different fields must unite in order to succeed,” he says.

One of the projects of My Step Foundation is to support soldiers who have been injured during military service and the support is provided through Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Center. In addition to addressing health concerns that the soldiers have, they also work to provide resources for their integration into a working society through education and skills training.

Over $406,000 has been allocated to Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Center by My Step Foundation.

U.S. Allocates $1.1 Million to Armenia to Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 27, the U.S. Department of State announced an assistance package to the Republic of Armenia to combat the novel Coronavirus COVID-19. According to the State Department, Armenia will receive $1.1 million in health assistance to help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. The United States has invested nearly $106 million in health assistance and $1.57 billion total for Armenia over the past 20 years.

Armenia declared a 30-day ‘State of Emergency’ on Monday, March 16 that is slated to last until April 14 as the virus spreads throughout the region.

Comparatively, the two other South Caucus nations, Azerbaijan and Georgia, will also receive U.S. federal assistance at similar levels. Azerbaijan is slated to receive $1.7 million in health assistance to help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested nearly $41 million in health alone in Azerbaijan, and more than $890 million in total assistance, the State Department noted.

Georgia is slated to receive $1.1 million in health funding will help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. The United States has provided nearly $139 million in health assistance and more than $3.6 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years.