A Reinvigorated ADL Emerges from the 81st Convention


Reinvention and Adaptation Of New Armenian Realities Are Necessary

By Taleen Babayan

Mirror-Spectator Staff

BOSTON — The Armenian Democratic Liberal Organization’s (ADL) District Committee of United States and Canada held its 81st Annual Convention on Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6 here.

The meeting produced a reinvigorated, ADL District Committee that is dedicated to carrying on the objectives of the party and making an effort to appeal to the youth, as they are the next generation to carry the torch. Throughout the meeting, the conversation often went back to seeking the most effective ways to engage the Armenian youth.

Eight out of the nine ADL chapterswere present, including 30 representatives from Michigan, Massachusetts and New York/New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Canada chapters of Toronto and Montreal.

Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, former chairman of the ADL Central Committee was elected as chairman of the convention and Dr. Haroutiun Arzumanian as secretary.

Gundjian acknowledged that unfortunately new conflicts developed 15 years ago that have handicapped the party, including irregularities within the government body. The party, however, is looking to reclaim its position. “The objective of this meeting is to go forward for the benefit of our organization and Armenia,” Gundjian said.

Considering that the 81st annual convention is the supreme legislative body of this district and the elected District Committee by legislative body is the administrative entity, the representatives unanimously resolved that all arbitrary actions coming from outside the district concerning the region are declared unacceptable, illegal and void.

A decision was made to restart the lobbying wing of ADL, the Armenian Rights Council of America (ARCA) in order to attract Armenian youth. Papken Megerian was elected to chair this committee. “We are going to go forward. We need to organize the youth,” said Megerian. “They are all ready to work.”

It was agreed that the organization has to reinvent itself in order to become relevant in face of the realities of the Armenian world. “We have to transform ourselves so that we can be of value to the Armenian community,” said Gundjian, who is going to head a committee exactly for this purpose. It was decided in particular that the ADL would initiate the creation of a worldwide Armenian Democratic Forum.

A significant portion of the meeting dealt with the current situation of the ADL’s newspaper, the Armenian Mirror-Spectator. The annual financial report and a comparative five-year report were presented to the delegates. Delegates thanked the 75th Anniversary Committee members and its chairwoman, Barbara Tellalian, for the superb celebration of the anniversary and the raising of funds. It is the intention of ADL to continue to expand the coverage of the newspaper. The addition of the New York/New Jersey section was met with enthusiasm. Although the Mirror has been touted as an ADL mouthpiece, in reality, in recent years, it has become an open news media. “Opposing views and ideas are reflected in the Mirror-Spectator,” said Edmond Azadian, “The Armenian Mirror-Spectator reflects the spirit of the Democratic concept.”

Aside from the objectives of making the ADL press stronger, there were talks to start a $3 million endowment fund to relieve the burden of fundraising year after year. Kevork Marashlian announced that the Armenian Mirror-Spectator’s website will be up and running immediately. Lastly, a press committee was formed, chaired by Hagop Vartivarian with Azadian, Arzoumanian and Nerses Babayan as members.

The nominating committee proposed that the new District Committee be co-chaired by Azadian and Megerian. The delegates voted unanimously and elected them for a term of two years. The other members are Maro Bedrosian, secretary; Dr. Armen Demirjian, treasurer; Hratch Torikian, assistant treasurer; Hagop Alexanian; Antoine Bazarbashian; Arsen Demirdjian; Hagop Deokmedjian; Krikor Salbashian and Kevork Tutundjian members.

Delegates also discussed the political situation in Armenia. For that purpose, Hagop Avedikian, editor of Azg daily newspaper in Armenia, joined the meeting by phone and updated the representatives about the political situation. Azgwas founded in Yerevan on February 16, 1991, after the independence of Armenia, through the efforts of the District Committee of Eastern USA and Canada.

The meeting concluded with lunch and a birthday cake to celebrate Verjin Mazmanian’s 100th birthday. Mazmanian is a lifelong member of the ADL from the Boston chapter.