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St. David Armenian Church to Host 2013 Diocesan Assembly

Last month, the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, and Michael Guglielmo, the Diocese’s Executive Director, traveled to St. David Church in Boca Raton, Florida where they met with members of the 111th Diocesan Assembly Committee to discuss plans for next year’s gathering of Diocesan clergy and delegates. The entire Florida Armenian-American community is excited to play host to the 2013 Diocesan Assembly.

Along with a very full and exciting schedule of activities for the 2013 season, St. David Armenian Church has the honor of having been selected to host the 111th Annual Diocesan Assembly taking place from April 29 through May 5, 2013.  The Assembly proceedings will be held at the newly renovated Boca Center Marriott Hotel on Military Trail in Boca Raton.  “This undertaking is being ably chaired by Carol Norigian, Chairman of the Parish Council, and a very enthusiastic committee,” stated Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian, Pastor of St. David Armenian Church.

The Assembly will be preceded by the Annual Clergy Conference beginning Monday, April 29, 2013 at Our Lady of Florida Conference Center in Palm Beach, and ending Thursday, May 2, 2013.

The Women’s Guild will hold its 27th Annual Assembly concurrent with the Diocesan Assembly from Thursday, May 2, 2013 through Saturday, May 5, 2013.  On Saturday, the Women’s Guild Central Council will sponsor the 4th Annual “WOW” (Woman of Wonder) Luncheon at the Marriott Hotel.  This year’s Women’s Guild Assembly will include a new session with clergy present, exciting mini-workshops and dynamic speakers.

Parishioners and friends are invited to join the Assembly participants at the gala Banquet and program on Friday evening, May 3 in the Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel where the presentation of the “Friend of the Armenians” and “Armenian of the Year” will be announced.

The Assembly sessions will culminate on Saturday evening with a dance also held at the Marriott Hotel.  On Sunday, May 6, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at St. David Armenian Church followed by a Farewell Brunch.

This undertaking is being ably chaired by Carol Norigian, Chairman of the Parish Council and an enthusiastic committee; however, with so many categories to cover, we will be depending on your kind assistance and cooperation to make this a very successful Assembly.  We are anxious to share our “southern hospitality” with our friends from all over the Eastern Diocese with warm hearts, welcoming smiles and a friendly hand.

To contribute and/or volunteer please contact St. David Armenian Church at (561) 994-2335.

Compiled from multiple sources.

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Campaign 2012: A Review of Armenian-American Advocacy Organizations in Presidential Elections

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Political Contributor

Armenian-Americans have what few ethnic groups enjoy: knowledgeable, skilled, and effective leadership in Washington, DC. The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) are organized, principled and steadfast in protecting the rights of Armenian-Americans, developing a strong US-Armenia relationship, helping the people in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh achieve freedom and democracy, and overall successfully representing the community in the nations capital for over 40 years. When it comes to ethnic political organizations, the Assembly and the ANCA are models for other minorities in America.

Looking at the relationship of Armenian-American advocacy organizations with US Presidential campaigns, one must rely on the record of the ANCA, as the Assembly is an independent, non-profit organization that is not involved in electioneering or endorsing of political candidates at any level. Full disclosure: the author is a former employee of the Assembly.

On Monday, October 15, 2012 the ANCA, the largest partisan Armenian-American advocacy organization, reported that they would not be endorsing either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for President of the United States. “While we remain open to constructive engagement with both campaigns, we have no plans at this time to issue an ANCA endorsement this Presidential election cycle,” stated Chairman Ken Hachikian. The statement goes on to read, “the ANCA holds that neither Presidential candidate has earned the formal support of the Armenian American community.”

Why would the ANCA announce withholding a US presidential endorsement 22 days away from such an important election? A review of the ANCA’s statements over the last four years and their track record in US presidential contests over the last 20 years sheds light.

As rightfully noted in their 2012 announcement, the ANCA whole-heartedly endorsed Senator Barack Obama in 2008. After President Obama failed to live up to his campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide as President, his nomination and subsequent recess appointment of Matthew Bryza to serve as US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, and the fact that neither President Obama nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have met with Armenian-American community leaders, the ANCA had very little political room to maneuver in this regard. Further boxing themselves into a corner, the ANCA publicly slammed President Obama for the aforementioned policies, publicly lambasted then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010 for failing to bring the Armenian Genocide Resolution to the floor for a vote (to be fair, this response was more warranted in 2007), then privately blasted House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in front of a crowd assembled to commemorate the Armenian Genocide on Capitol Hill. Out of natural self-interest and after having their endorsement of President Obama thrown by the wayside, it was politically impossible for the ANCA to endorse President Obama for re-election.

In addition, it was interesting to read in the same ANCA press release that they are withholding an endorsement of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. An historical review of ANCA presidential endorsements over the last 20 years reveal that, when it comes to the race for the White House, only Democrats are worthy. Further analysis of the success rate of the ANCA’s presidential endorsements over the last 20 years, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired for the Armenian-American community; specifically, the two-time endorsement of Bill Clinton, who single-handedly blocked passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in his final year in office; John Kerry, who lost his challenge to Republican President George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, who pandered to the Armenian-American community above and beyond any of his predecessors. The ANCA withheld an endorsement in the 2000 presidential election as well.

However, what is most interesting is an omission from this years ANCA press release regarding Mitt Romney’s statements as Governor of Massachusetts. According to a February 2008 ANCA press release, Mitt Romney shared with them copies of his four Armenian Genocide proclamations during his time as Governor of Massachusetts. “While the first three statements during his four years in office properly described the Armenian Genocide as genocide, his fourth and final statement refrained from using the accurate terminology,” read the 2008 ANCA press release. Yet the October 15, 2012 press release goes on to state, “Mitt Romney…has no evident public record on Armenian issues from his four-year tenure as Governor or his two campaigns for the White House.” While it is true that Governor Romney has not issued a statement on Armenian-American issues in either of his campaigns for President, the ANCA’s 2012 statement withholding endorsement appears to be at odds with their own record.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the ANCA could not endorse President Obama for re-election and that the ANCA would not endorse Governor Romney for President of the United States.

Taniel Koushakjian is an independent political commentator for Florida Armenians. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and is currently enrolled at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management in Washington, D.C. 

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