YEREVAN — On November 2, members and leaders of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) from several countries assembled at the entrance of Building No. 47 of Yerevan’s Republic Street (formerly known as Alaverdian Street) to attend the dedication of the ADL premises.
The building, which houses the offices of the ADL-Armenia, the editorial offices of Azg newspaper, the library, and the meeting halls, has been fully renovated and refurbished by ADL friend and well-known philanthropist from New Jersey, Nazar Nazarian. The center is named the Nazar and Artemis Nazarian Center.
First to address the assembled group was ADL US and Canada Eastern District Chairman Edmond Azadian, who presented a comprehensive list of the beneficence of the Nazarians in Armenia, including in Echmiadzin, and in other communities in the world. Azadian underscored the patriotism of Artemis Nazarian, a descendent of a devoted ADL family in Boston.
Hagop Vartivarian, chairman of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of Greater New York, spoke next, expressing gratitude to the philanthropic couple, and praised this most recent achievement. He said the new center will significantly promote the political activities of the organization which is now established in a quarter of Yerevan where the Prosperous Armenia Party, the Social Democrat Hnchagian Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the ruling Republican Party headquarters are located, as well as the Armenian General Benevolent Union Center which has also been sponsored by the Nazarian benefactors.
Visit to Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II
On November 7, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II received Azadian and Vartivarian, accompanied by Baydzig Kalaydjian from Lebanon. Even though the Catholicos was presiding over the sessions of the Supreme Spiritual Council, he still managed to meet with the ADL delegation. The visitors congratulated him on the occasion of his 16th anniversary of enthronement, and offered the allegiance of the ADL membership to the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and to the Catholicos.
On the subject of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, the delegation commended the initiatives of the Armenian Church: the sanctification of the million and a half martyrs of the Genocide, the historic declarations by the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, the participation of the Church of Armenia and Christian churches throughout the world to commemorative events, and finally the blessing of the Holy Muron.
The Catholicos spoke about propositions related to the internal organizational issues of both patriarchal chairs, on the efforts toward the eventual reestablishment of the unity of the Armenian Church, on the mission of the spiritual colleges and on the internal reorganization of some of diasporan dioceses.
Karekin II appreciated the role of the ADL in the Diaspora and emphasized the importance and the necessity of the unconditional cooperation between the Mother See and the ADL.
ADL/TCA Delegation Meets Prime Minister
On November 3 a delegation of leaders of the ADL and TCA paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Hovik Aprahamian at the headquarters of the Republican Party of Armenia. The delegation consisted of Azadian; the chairman of the Central Committee of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Armenia, Prof. Rouben Mirzakhanian; Vartivarian; and ADL Western District former Chairman Vartan Nazirian.
Discussions centered on the proposed changes in Armenia’s constitution and their connotations. As part of the continuing evolution of the country’s independence, the prime minister considered it a major step forward in the perfection of the governing process of the country. The changes proposed in the constitution, based on the experience of a quarter century in the third Armenian Republic, were brought forward to assure further progress in democratization. The ADL delegation expressed its satisfaction in view of the proposed adoption by the government of the parliamentary system and its support of the choice of a referendum as the means to achieve this goal.
Also discussed during the meeting were issues related to the Diaspora, more specifically, the concerns of security in Syria and more generally in the Middle East, as well the importance of consolidating our resources in facing issues related to Armenian rights. To assure a more balanced national political life in the Diaspora, it was considered essential to create a rearrangement of forces for the future based on more earnest and unselfish relations.
A wide range of imperative issues related to Armenian culture and the preservation of the Armenian identity were discussed in depth. The Tekeyan Cultural Association’s high-quality programs for expanding the scope of culture in almost all communities worldwide were revealed and were commended by the prime minister.
Azadian offered details on specific future projects of the ADL and praised the achievements by the ADL of Armenia. Vartivarian reported on the role conducted by the ADL press in the last 90 years, especially in spreading the news of progress of Armenia in the Diaspora.
Meeting Diasporan Minister Hranoush Hakobian
On November 3, Minister of the Diaspora Hranoush Hakobian received a delegation of American leaders of the ADL and the TCA, including Azadian,; Dr. Haroutiun Arzoumanian, chairman of the TCA of the US and Canada; Sima Arzoumanian; Vartivarian; and former editor of the ADL newspaper of Beirut Zartonk, Kalaydjian.
During the course of the frank conversation, the delegation informed the minister that the restoration of ADL unity throughout the world and the election of a united world ADL Central Committee was examined at the ADL Armenia Assembly of Delegates.
Hakobian appreciated the decisions of the ADL Assembly, and stressed the importance of the reunification of the ADL in the diaspora as a necessity for preserving Armenian identity and facing multiple challenges. She also suggested a more expanded particpation from the diaspora in the summer youth programs of the ministry, the goals of which are preservation of Armenian identity for the new generations and the strengthening of their ties with the homeland.
ADL of Armenia Assembly
On October 31, the ADL held its 23rd Delegates’ Assembly (the second after the reform of the party) at the premises of the Tekeyan Center in Yerevan. The Assembly received the report of the previous three years and deliberated on a series of important issues. The Assembly dealt with party-related and internal political challenges. The stance of the party regarding proposed changes in the country’s constitution was clarified in a formal resolution. The Assembly also discussed the situation of the Syrian-Armenian refugees in great detail.
The Assembly appreciated the activities of the past three years, and specified and clarified future plans and stances. The presence of 97 elected delegates out of the total of 105 delegates was appreciated.
A large number of ADL members, intellectuals and leaders from the Diaspora took part in the Assembly as observers. Also present at the Assembly was former president of the party Rouben Mirzakhanian. Veteran member of the ADL Varaztad Avoyan was elected as chairman of the Assembly. Edmond Azadian from the USA spoke on behalf of the diasporan guests.
At the end of the meeting the Nomination Committee proposed to reelect Hagop Avedikian as chairman; the proposition was adopted unanimously. The chairmen then presented the 21-member board of directors.
Gayane Muradyan presented the resolution that had been clearly formulated after a deliberate discussion of the proposed changes in the constitution of the country. It was clearly evident that the party was in favor of the proposed changes. Hagop Avedikian reminded the members about the formal meeting and discussion he had with the president of the Republic regarding the proposed changes of the constitution and declared, “Our chief concern has been that any law, especially a fundamental law, has to be formulated and realized without loop holes, because to have a good law is still not sufficient if it does not pertain to all situations.”
Dedication of Memorial in Vanadzor
On November 1, the formal inauguration of a memorial dedicated to the Armenian Genocide was held in front of the ADL Center at 44 Dikran Medz St. of Vanadzor, Lori Province, while inside the building the artistic creations of painter Samuel Gharipian were exhibited. Taking part in the program were ADL leaders and members from Lebanon, the East and West Coasts of the US, Canada, Great Britain, France, Egypt, Iraq and Greece, as well as local writers, artists, intellectuals, soldiers, and others from Armenia.
TV producer Ivan Andonian served as the master of ceremonies. Encouraging words were addressed by the Primate of the Diocese of Gugark, Archbishop Sepuh Chulchian, who highly appreciated the initiative of the president of the ADL Lori Province Seyran Gharipian.
The actual inauguration was performed by Gharipian and the vice governor of Lori Province, Tigran Badoyan. The master of ceremonies then presented the meaning of various parts of the monument according to explanations provided by the sculptor, most significantly the sword that symbolizes the continuation of our struggle of liberation.
The formal allocution was presented by the editor of Azg newspaper Hagop Avedikian. He said, “This memorial is a witness of our commitment to the memory of our victims and to our obligation and will to persist in our demands and our national rights. This memorial is intentionally built low, so that the passerby will have to bow in respect of our martyrs.”
Also addressing the gathering was the chairman of ADL Eastern US and Canada District, Edmond Azadian. He stressed the importance of the symbolism of the memorial, which indicates that the only the sword and the arm, i.e. labor, can build a free and independent Armenia.
Brief addresses were presented by playwright and distinguished artist of the Armenian Republic Samuel Khalatian, President of the Lori Province of the Armenian Writers Union Manuel Mikoyan and President of the Lori Province of the Armenian Painters Union Papaz Aloyan.
Following the official program, the gathering moved into the hall to enjoy an impressive exhibit of 33 paintings by Samuel Gharipian and to be hosted to a mouthwatering reception. President of the Armenian Painters Center Khachik Aprahamian offered explanations and personal memories of the late artist. Seyran Gharipian offered one of his brother’s oil paintings, “Haghardzin,” to Chulchian. Also addressing the gathering was the chairman of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of US and Canada Dr. Haroutiun Arzoumanian from Montreal.
Seminar Devoted to the 130th Anniversary of the Armenagan Party
On November 3, a seminar was held in the Armenian National Academy of Sciences in Yerevan on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the Armenagan political party. The opening session of the seminar was attended by the president of the Academy, Radik Martirosian. In his opening remarks, the erudite academician Suren Sargisian congratulated the full house for this jubilee and reiterated that the Armenagan party was the first in the liberation movement that had erupted in the Armenian world. He remarked that it was born from conditions that developed following the Treaty of Berlin and sponsored by the three Mgrdichs of the revolutionary era: Khrimian Hayrig, Portukalian and Avedisian.
The senior member of the Academy Prof. Nikolay Hovhannisian and its diasporan member, Edmond Azadian, welcomed the scholars. Six papers were presented on the Armenagan organization and evaluated their role in the Armenian national liberation struggle.
The historians who contributed by their dissertations were: Prof. Levon Shirinian, Doctor of Political Sciences, who spoke on the theme of “the ideal of political liberty and the Armenagan Ideology”; Knarik Avagian, doctoral aspirant in history sciences, discussed the subject of “the activities of Armenagans in the United States”; Prof. Hamlet Kevorkian, Doctor of Historical Sciences, presented “Episodes of Relations between the Armenagan and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Parties”; Ruben Sahakian, Doctor of Historical Sciences, discussed “Panos Terlemezian, the Activist of the Liberation Struggle”; Prof. Ashot Nersisian, Doctor of Historical Sciences, discussed “An Evaluation of the Armenagan’s Liberation Strategies for Western Armenia”; and Armen Karapetian , Aspirant of Historical Sciences concluded the presentations discussing “Mgrdich Avetisian, Collaborator of [the newspaper] Armenia.”
This seminar was organized jointly by the National Academy of Sciences and the Ramgavar Azadagan (Democratic Liberal) Party.
Edmond Azadian’s Opening Remarks at the Seminar
This is the appropriate time to reevaluate and reappraise the Armenagan party based on objective historical evidence, and it was appropriate for Armenia’s Democratic Liberal Party, the worthy heir of the Armenagans, to be the initiator of this venture.
The Armenagan party had the singular characteristic of being formed on native Armenian territory, and now when we look back on the past history of 130 years, we affirm that as policy and ideology it had adopted the most realistic and achievable political direction. The party that was born on historic Armenian lands today is returning back to the Armenian lands.
After six centuries, when we have returned to being a people with a state, that characteristic obliges us, to reexamine and reappraise objectively, just like the history of the Armenagans, the history of all political parties dedicated to the liberty of our people. A people with a state does not have the right to hold back the legacy for the coming generations (and especially the legacy of struggle for liberty) at an amateur level.
Today, placing the past of all Armenian political parties on a historical basis, it seems to belong to the entire Armenian people. Their victories are the victory of the entire people; similarly, their omissions and shortcomings belong to the entire Armenian population and emanate from six centuries of the lack of the experience of statehood.
The history of the Armenagan party is a poorly studied area in our historiography, despite the fact that twice this party has been subjected to the harsh test of reality and has proven its authenticity on the battlefield. The first was the 1896 self-defense of Van, terminated by the martyrdom of more than 800 of its armed forces. Nevertheless it preserved its vitality to carry out the second self-defense in 1915.
The party’s itinerary emanated from one of the most essential requirements for men, that of self-defense, and to that end it prepared itself secretly, to raise its fist at the most crucial time. For any revolutionary person or group the temptation of following the international ideologies widely accepted in Russia and European countries would have remained incompatible with the fortune and destiny of peoples being crushed under the heavy Turkish cylinder.
The histories of our political parties in general have been written by party members or their affiliates who have not been always concerned by the concept of impartiality and have overestimated their party’s merits and underestimated those of other parties or worse, have dismissed their existence altogether.
But today, when situations are being reevaluated, besides commendable achievements, the examination of the mistakes of the parties can be turned into a learning process. Therefore, each party itself as well as our historiography in general will benefit by analyzing the past objectively.
On the occasion of the centennial of the Genocide we published Yervant Odian’s volume called The Cursed Years, to bring out the story of an entire nation’s holocaust. In order to keep a straight view we should have simultaneously published also another of Odian’s books, Parasites of the Revolution, to recognize the tremendous sacrileges committed on the holy fields of liberty. And to rightfully balance our insight we should have read Arpiar Arpiaryan’s Garmir Jamuts book. The authors of these books have been persecuted or even murdered in their days, but they still send us from eternity their lessons of realism.
The arches of this National Academy of Sciences suggest us prudence as we immerse ourselves into the chaos of 130 years of history. A serious seminar has been prepared which does not allow us any partisan conceit. Our honorable scholars will open for us the veil of history so that we shall see both victory and mistakes as well as an impartial evaluation.
I wish all scholars to leave this hall by taking with them only the truth of historic facts, because we shall build our new statehood on that truthfulness. I salute all participants and our ardent listeners.
Tekeyan Delegation Visits Yerevan, Stepanavan and Garpi’s Vahan Tekeyan Schools
There are five schools named after Vahan Tekeyan functioning in Armenia and Artsakh. In the last 15 years the Tekeyan Cultural Association has been overseeing the needs and problems of these schools located in Yerevan, Stepanavan, Garpi, Gumri and Berdzor, and motivates the staff in their educational mission. TCA Boston central offices’ former director Kevork Marashlian said in an interview with the Yerevan newspaper Azg, “When we started this program the social status of the teachers was pitiful. For the last 15 years we have established a humanitarian program to aid teachers and non-teaching staff in the Vahan Tekeyan schools of Yerevan and Artsakh.”
Since its inception, this program has been directed by Maro Bedrosian, the treasurer of the Central Board of Directors of TCA. The monetary funds necessary are solicited from the community in US and Canada. After distribution of the allocations, the name of each recipient is submitted to the corresponding donor. For 15 years this distribution has been performed by Gayane Muradyan.
The TCA was established in 1947 in Beirut, and in 1969 in the US in Boston. Later branches in Canada, others cities in the US, and in various European and Middle Eastern countries followed.
The Sponsor a Teacher program that started in year 2000 is still quite timely. As in previous years, leaders and members of the TCA recently visited the schools named after Vahan Tekeyan in Yerevan, Stepanavan and Garpi (in Arakadzodn District). Thanks to this annual program, teachers and non-teaching staff of the schools receive a donation. “This act of benevolence is a small bit of aid in these difficult times. The importance is the feeling of being appreciated. This has taught us not just to expect donations, but the obligation of benevolence on our part,” said the Garpi school’s principal Arsen Ohanian.
Presentation of New Vartivarian Book on ADL History at National Academy of Sciences
On November 3, after a seminar dedicated to the 130th anniversary of the Armenagan political party, a book presentation of The Travelers of the Big Dream and Comprehensive History of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, written by ADL activist of New Jersey Hagop Vartivarian, took place in the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. The first of a projected series of six volumes, this publication is devoted to the history of the Armenagan party and the Popular Party.
Secretary of Armenia’s ADL Republican Committee Suren Sargisian talked about the significance of this volume in the context of the period’s national liberation movement, and appraised its value and significance.
Vartivarian expressed gratitude to the National Academy of Sciences for honoring his book through the presentation in the presidential hall and for the traditional “kinetson” (wine dedication) ceremony.
In his remarks, Avedikian, who knew the author since his childhood in Beirut, praised the latter’s political party and general Armenian archives, as well as his collections of publications. He highly valued the recently published volume. He then invited the dean of Armenia’s Khachatur Abovyan Pedagogical University, Mirzakhanian, to conduct the actual ceremony. Vartivarian expressed his gratitude and signed copies of his book at the end of the event.