Category Archives: Press Release

FL Armenians Press Release

Nagorno Karabakh Representative Visits Florida International University

MIAMI, FL – On his first official visit to South Florida, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan gave a lecture at Florida International University (FIU) earlier this month. Students and professors of the FIU International Relations and Political Science Departments attended the event. Several FIU Armenian students were also on hand.

“It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Avetisyan in South Florida and welcome him to Florida International University (FIU) to discuss further development of Artsakh’s recognition and raising awareness of investment opportunities in Artsakh Republic,” stated FIU graduate student and FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan. “I believe that at FIU, and other universities across North America, it is essential to educate the public about Artsakh’s democratic progress and self-determination,” Shahbazyan said.

[READ: Florida Armenians Host Economic Roundtable Discussion on Nagorno Karabakh in Miami]

During the lecture, Mr. Avetisyan briefed guests on the history of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, the current situation in the settlement process, as well as regional developments.

FIU International Relations students with Mr. Avetisyan

At the end of the meeting, the Artsakh Representative answered numerous questions of the lecturers and students related to the peaceful settlement of the conflict, the international recognition of Artsakh, and the state-building process.

FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, Artsakh Representative Robert Avetisyan, FIU Professor Alex Barder, FLArmenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian beneath the Artsakh Republic flag.

During his time at FIU, Mr. Avetisyan visited the flags of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia, which are prominently displayed at the FIU Graham Center on campus.

[READ: Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh Flags Raised at Florida International University]

FIU Professor Misak Sargsian, Artsakh Representative Robert Avetisyan, FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, and FLArmenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian on the campus of FIU.


Return to Asbury Kef Organizers Deliver Armenian Musical Instruments to Hovnanian School Children


 (L-R) David Norian, Steve Vosbikian, Shakeh Tashjian, Alan Minoyan.

NEW MILFORD, NJ – Members of the Return to Asbury Kef Weekend organizing committee were invited to participate in a ceremony at the Hovnanian School where they delivered Armenian musical instruments to school children. Funds to dedicate these hand-made-in-Armenia instruments were raised at the 2016 Return to Asbury Kef Weekend – an independent, non-profit event that takes place annually in Asbury Park, New Jersey. This year, the organizers decided to use the proceeds specifically for Armenian musical instruments to perpetuate Armenian music in America, and to carry forward the Armenian Kef culture for the next generation of Armenian American youth.

The 5th Annual Return to Asbury Kef weekend took place on August 5-6, 2016 at the city’s beautiful new hotel, The Asbury. Arsine Kaloustian, Taniel Koushakjian, Alan Minoyan, David Norian, and Steve Vosbikian organized the event, with the support of Florida Armenians.

“As the Chair of Return to Asbury for the last two years, it was my pleasure to be involved in the planning of this event for a third year, alongside such a dynamic group of Armenians who are all so dedicated to giving back to the community,” stated Kaloustian. “We tried to focus this year’s event, not only on the kef music that we all love to listen to on the beach, but also on looking forward to the future. It is vitally important that we pass our music and traditions down to the next generation if we want to avoid events like Return to Asbury from fading away into silence. This music and this event truly belongs to all of us,” Kaloustian said.

As part of the dedication ceremony held on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, renowned Armenian American musician Steve Vosbikian gave a musical demonstration, playing a variety of instruments to help inspire the students to become future musicians.

“The purpose of this event was to perpetuate Armenian music for our treasured Armenian youth, and I want to thank everyone who attended and supported this event,” stated Vosbikian. “This is only the beginning. Our hope for next year is to expand on this concept and bring the gift of music to even more of our youth,” Vosbikian said.


All of the proceeds were used to purchase 35 new Shvis for the music education program at the Hovnanian School. The Shvi is a simple Armenian woodwind instrument that is a stepping-stone to learning more advanced Armenian instruments such as the Duduk or Zurna. These professional Shivs were handmade in Armenia by Master “MKS.” Each instrument is professional grade and has been specially crafted with a two-piece design to ensure accurate tuning.

“Happiness through musical education was the motive and I couldn’t have felt that more by seeing how happy all the children were in the auditorium,” Alan Minoyan said. “Super inspiring to see the music of Return to Asbury Kef weekend leading to more music. A kef broke out at the assembly today!” stated David Norian.


The aim of the Return to Asbury Kef Weekend is to continue the tradition of Armenian music and culture in a city that has been an iconic historical gathering place for Armenian Americans dating back to the 1940s. For about three decades, Asbury Park was an annual summer gathering spot for Armenian American families from New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Mid-West communities, but faded in the late 1970s. It wasn’t until 2012 that Armenians made their return official.

“This day took lots of planning and determination. I’m not surprised, but I am definitely grateful. Thank you Steve Vosbikian, Taniel Koushakjian, Arsine Kaloustian, David Norian, Alan Minoyan, and everyone else who made sure we would bring the gift of music to our children,” Hovnanian School Principal Shakeh Tashjian wrote in a Facebook post following the ceremony. Founded in 1976, the Hovnanian School is a private, non-profit, multi-lingual Early Learning Center through Eighth Grade day school in New Milford, New Jersey.

Arsine Kaloustian Named Acting-Managing Editor of Florida Armenians

BOCA RATON, FL – Florida Armenians is pleased to announce the promotion of Arsine Kaloustian to Acting-Managing Editor of Florida Armenians, effective immediately. Kaloustian has served as Florida Armenians Public Affairs Director since the very beginning and has been instrumental in the media outlets’ launch and success over the years.

Arsine Kaloustian

“Florida Armenians started as an idea – the idea that an Armenian community should be tied together, move as one, and be united, regardless of politics or affiliations,” Kaloustian said. “Florida Armenians built upon that foundation, and as a result we have extended our reach to every Armenian community in the state. Today, we have more followers on Facebook than any other Armenian organization in Florida, and that is something we are so very proud of because it means we are actively achieving our goal of bridging our community in a meaningful way. I am honored to be stepping into this role, and am excited to discover what the future holds for Armenians in Florida,” she said.

Kaloustian has been active in various Armenian American organizations for almost a decade. She previously served as the Chairperson of the Return to Asbury Armenian Kef in 2014 and 2015, and currently serves as the Chairperson of South Florida’s Armenian Genocide Commemoration (AGC, Inc.) and Florida Chairperson of the Armenian Assembly of America.

Kaloustian will take over for out-going Editor Taniel Koushakjian, who launched Florida Armenians in 2011 to meet the needs of a growing non-partisan Armenian American readership. Florida Armenians is the only independent Armenian news media outlet in America, and serves the 30,000 and growing Armenian American community members in Florida, now the third largest state in the Union.

“Arsine’s role in the launch and growth of Florida Armenians has been invaluable and she has elevated our publication to the top of the class in terms of accurate reporting and effective dissemination of Armenian American news,” Koushakjian said. “No doubt, Kaloustian will continue to raise our own editorial standing with our growing list of contributors and readers across the country and I’m confident that she will do a great job in this new capacity,” he said.