In a momentous celebration of compassion, resilience, and unwavering dedication to the Armenian people, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Western U.S.A. marked its 40th anniversary with an inspiring event held at the Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat” Chapter’s Main Center in Glendale, California. The commemorative occasion, held with great reverence and enthusiasm, brought together members, supporters, and distinguished guests to honor the organization’s remarkable contributions and chart a path forward for continued service and advocacy.
The Mistress of Ceremonies, Preny Alaverdian, gracefully guided attendees through the evening’s program, setting the tone for a night of reflection, gratitude, and celebration.
The event commenced with the stirring rendition of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems by the ARS One-Day Schools Choir, a poignant reminder of the organization’s deep-rooted connection to both its heritage and its adopted homeland. Berj Karazian added to this moment by performing the anthems of the Republic of Artsakh and the Armenian Relief Society, symbolizing the unity and resilience of the Armenian people.
His Grace Bishop Torkom Tonoyan, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, delivered a heartfelt invocation and offered remarks, invoking blessings upon the ARS and its noble mission of service and solidarity.
The ARS Western U.S.A. Regional Executive Board was represented by Chairperson Vicky Marashlian, who shared insightful remarks reflecting on the society’s achievements and the challenges ahead. Marashlian’s words underscored the unwavering commitment of the ARS to uphold its founding principles and advance its humanitarian mandate in the face of evolving global realities.
A highlight of the evening was the keynote address delivered by Arousyak Melkonian, Chairperson of the Armenian Relief Society Central Executive Board. Melkonian’s impassioned speech underscored the significance of the ARS’s 40-year journey and its enduring impact on communities worldwide. She emphasized the organization’s commitment to fostering resilience, promoting social justice, and building a brighter future for generations to come.
Entertainment was provided by the Lernansang Ensemble, which captivated the audience with their vibrant performances of Armenian folk songs and dances, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Armenian people. Additionally, singer Razmik Baghdasaryan’s soulful renditions added to the evening’s atmosphere of celebration and unity.
Throughout the event, attendees were treated to moving testimonials, multimedia presentations, and interactive exhibits showcasing the ARS’s multifaceted humanitarian efforts. The event showcased the ARS’s work in Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk, and the communities in Syria and Lebanon devastated by local disasters and war. Particularly poignant was the discussion of Artsakh, where the native Armenian population endured ethnic cleansing and displacement. The ARS responded to their urgent needs, providing vital humanitarian assistance, shelter, and support to those affected by the conflict.
Amidst the festivities, the ARS reaffirmed its commitment to collaboration, innovation, and advocacy, recognizing the importance of collective action in addressing pressing humanitarian challenges. Attendees were encouraged to join hands with the ARS in advancing its mission of compassion, solidarity, and social change.
As the anniversary celebration drew to a close, attendees departed with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, inspired by the ARS’s enduring legacy and empowered to make a difference in the lives of those in need. The event served as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of compassion, unity, and collective action in creating a more just and equitable world for all.
In commemorating its 40th anniversary, the Armenian Relief Society of Western U.S.A. not only celebrated its past achievements but also reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to shaping a brighter future for generations to come. As the world continues to grapple with complex humanitarian crises, the ARS stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, inspiring change and transforming lives with each act of compassion and solidarity.