Presentation of Hagop Vartivarian’s Fourth Book of “Meetings”


From left, Parsegh Kartalian, Dr. Zareh Vartivarian, Khatchig Janoyan, Dr. Kevork Keshishian, Maral Voskian, Yervant Agishian, Very Rev. Bared Yeretzian, Hagop Vartivarian, Vatche Semerjian, Rev. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian, Dr. Marzbed Margossian, Krikor Shenian (editor of Nor Gyank), Panos Titizian, Sarkis Minassian, Prof. Osheen Keshishian (editor of Armenian Observer)

By Kevork Keushkerian

GLENDALE, Calif. — Tekeyan Cultural Association’s New York Chapter Chairman Hagop Vartivarian has published a series of books on his “meetings” with the diasporan religious, political and community leaders, whom he had interviewed during his travels all over the world, in the last 20 years.
The presentation of his fourth book of Meetings, published in 2009, was organized by the  Los Angeles Chapter of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA). It took place on Friday, January 29, at 8 p.m., at the Glendale Central Library. An audience composed of newspaper editors, writers, clergy, educators and friends of Vartivarian filled the library.

Parsegh Kartalian offered the opening remarks with his usual wit, and then introduced the mistress of ceremonies, Maral Voskian, who took to the podium, amid enthusiastic applause.

The first presenter was Dr. Marzbed Margossian, a well-known scholar, educator and writer. He has a PhD in microbiology and has conducted many scientific researches on applied cardiology. He briefly discussed Vartivarian’s first three books, which included 40 interviews each, with prominent figures in Armenian communities worldwide. An emerging view from these interviews, he noted, was the fact that Armenians are optimistic, which prevents us from foreseeing future calamities, such as the civil war in Lebanon, among others.

Margossian reiterated a thought expressed by Dr. Toros Toranian of Aleppo, Syria, in the first book of Meetings, who had said: Have we been a part of history already? How soon has the time passed…

From left, Dr. Marzbed Margosian, Dickran Ekizian, Vartan Nazirian, Hagop Vartivarian, Panig Keshishian and Berdj Der Sahagian

He then pointed out that the 80 interviews conducted in the 19 newly-established communities worldwide in his fourth book of Meetings, condensed in 500 pages, paints a panoramic picture of the Armenian Diaspora. This will help, he added, the next generation of Armenians better comprehend the dilemma of the diasporans.

As far as I recall, no book presentation has been conducted before with due criticism. Margossian’s presentation was an exception in that regard; he mentioned that throughout his interviews, Vartivarian has failed to include political and community leaders of the opposite faction, namely the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which he concluded, had to be reckoned with. This was later acknowledged by Vartivarian himself, in his closing remarks.

The second presenter was Vatche Semerdjian, educator, editor and chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter of the TCA. He is also a member of the TCA Board of Directors.
Semerdjian pointed out that the book encompasses interviews with religious leaders, including two patriarchs and many Primates, about the church division, community activists, including 10 newspaper editors, about the fading of the usage of the Armenian language in today’s diaspora, and political leaders, including eight ambassadors or consul generals of the Republic of Armenia, about the role of the government in the struggle for Armenian rights.

Semerdjian noted that this book is a true representation of today’s diaspora, as it includes newly-established Armenian communities around the world. Among these are places never heard of before like Uppsala in Sweden, Abidjan in the Ivory Coast (Africa), Almati in Kazakhstan, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He also talked about the simple language the author uses to convey his thoughts and make them comprehensible to every reader.

At the conclusion of the presentations, Very Rev. Baret Yeretzian dwelled upon Vartivarian’s pivotal role in establishing the Tekeyan Cultural Association’s New York Chapter and its Mher Mgrditchian Theatre Company and his devotion to support the Armenian Church in the East Coast of the United States of America.

Finally, Vartivarian took to the podium to thank the presenters, Salpi Kerkounian, who had rendered several musical selections from Gomidas on the clarinet, and the audience at Large, for their attendance. A light reception followed the ceremony of pouring wine over the book, then the author autographed the books bought by the public.