AGBU Condemns Bombing of Nor Kyugh Quarter and Syrian-Armenian Communities

Emergency Humanitarian Aid Efforts Continue Across the Country

This week, Syria’s civil was continued to escalate in Aleppo’s Nor Kyugh quarter, and across the country, became the targets of mortar attacks shelling and bombings on an unprecedented scale. As this violence continues to unfold, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is calling on the international community to take immediate measures to safeguard civilians and to implement a ceasefire so that humanitarian aid may reach those in conflict zones.

The most recent wave of attacks claimed the lives of scores of innocent Syrian-Armenians and devastated whole districts. In Nor Kyugh, which is primarily populated by Armenians, as well as elsewhere in in Syria, Armenian schools, churches, residential buildings, factories and shops were completely destroyed. Hundreds of families have been forced to flee their homes, barely escaping death before finding refuge in relatively safe areas.

AGBU strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Syrian Armenians who, since the start of the war, have continuously advocated for peace and tranquility. The violence against residential areas of Syrian Armenians, which began in Kessab in March and continues today in the Nor Kyugh quarter and other Aleppo districts that are densely populated by Armenians, threaten the very existence of Armenians in the city, and their right to live safely and with dignity.

AGBU is calling for an immediate ceasefire, and is ready and able to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need. AGBU is also ready to partner with all organizations now organizing relief efforts on the ground in Syria, to help our brothers and sisters facing death and destruction in Nor Kyugh and throughout Aleppo.

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Vatican Plays Important Role in the International Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

VATICAN – His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia held a private on June 5, with Pope Francis I. Following the meeting, Pope Francis met with the Catholicos and his delegation.

Aram I spoke of the special relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholicosate of Cilicia both during the time of the Kingdom of Cilicia and after the Genocide when it settled in Antelias, Lebanon.

The focal point of Aram I’s address was highlighting the role the Vatican has played in the pursuit of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the Pope’s own statement reaffirming the Genocide and condemning Turkey for its dneial.

In discussing the 2015 Centennial of the Armenian Genocide and spoke of the 1.5 million Armenians who had lost their lives and of the churches, homes, sources of livelihood, spiritual and cultural heritage that had been lost as a result of the Genocide.

“Your solidarity with the Armenians during the 100th Anniversary Commemorations of the Genocide will be a valuable contribution to our just cause,” said Aram I, who also paid tribute to Pope Benedict XV who denounced the Armenian Genocide in a letter to Sultan Mehmet V in 1915.

Referring to the Armenian Genocide, the Pope said that “the Armenian people represent a part of the Christian world that is irrevocable marked by a history of trials and sufferings courageously accepted for the love of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church has had to become a pilgrim people; it has experience a singular way what it means to journey toward the Kingdom of God.”

“The history of emigration, persecutions and martyrdom experienced by so many of the faithful has inflicted deep wounds on the hearts of all Armenians. We must see and venerate these as wounds inflicted o the very body of Christ, and for this very reason a cause for unfailing hope and trust in the provident mercy of the father,” added Francis I.

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Roubik Golanian Appointed as Glendale’s Public Works Director

GLENDALE – The City of Glendale confirmed the appointment of Roubik Golanian as the Director of Public Works effective July 1st.

Mr. Golanian has provided dedicated service to the Glendale community for 14 years through the positions of Senior Civil Engineer, City Engineer, and most recently, Deputy Director of Public Works/City Engineer. Before Roubik’s career in Glendale, he served the City of Ceres as the Engineer Technician and the City of Fresno as a Project Engineer and Supervisor Engineer.

“Roubik has demonstrated strong leadership skills, implemented programs, and overseen projects that have been recognized by many local and state organization,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa. “His years of experience in the field have prepared him to take the Public Works Department into the future.”

Roubik will replace former Director Stephen Zurn who served in the dual capacity of Director of Public Works and General Manager of Glendale Water and Power since September 18, 2012. Mr. Zurn will continue to serve as the General Manager of Glendale Water and Power.

Golanian earned his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Civil Engineering from City University in London and his Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Woodbury University in Burbank. Roubik and his wife have three sons.

Glendale Public Works Department’s mission is to provide works and services to the public and to other City departments through their balanced efforts to maintain a cost effective operation. Their service encompasses 350 miles of street; 360 miles of sewers; 47,000 parkway trees; 3686 storm catch basins within the City of Glendale’s boundaries; 52 debris basins; 30 miles of alleys, 50 multi-space parking meters and 1,870 single space parking meters; 40,000 signs; 234 traffic signals; and 35 flashing beacons. Public Works also maintains the City’s 600 miles of curb, including street sweeping, curb making, and curb and gutter repair.

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President Has Invited Turkish Leaders to Armenia on the 100th Anniversary of the Genocide

YEREVAN — Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian called on the winner of Turkey’s upcoming Presidential election to visit Armenia next year and commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

Sarkisian announced his invitation at the meeting of the State Commission coordinating the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

He scoffed at the official Turkish line that the 1915 mass killings of Armenians should be addressed not by governments but historians having access tot he state archives of both countries. “If Turkey’s authorities want to know the truth they should come to Armenia and be with the Armenian people on April 24th, ” Sarkisian said in televised remarks.

“I don’t think that they will call for visits to the archives after that. using this opportunity, I am officially inviting the president of Turkey, whoever wins the forthcoming elections, to visit Armenians on April 24, 2015 and face up to telling testimonies of the history of the Armenian genocide,” he declared.

The invitation was clearly addressed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is widely expected to run in and win the presidential ballot slated fro August. On the eve of the most recent genocide commemoration, Erdogan extended first ever Turkish condolences to the descendants of the Armenians massacred in Ottoman Turkey.

“The recognition of the Armenian genocide is the only step which the Turkish leadership should take in order to rid itself of the burden of the past,” Sarkisian said. “It’s impossible to achieve a serious result with half measures.”

At the same time. the Armenian leader said that there is no animosity toward the Turkish people in Armenia. “Moreover, we try to create conditions in which the Armenian and Turkish people will be able to communicate with each other to find a way of reconciliation. It is with this purpose that we remain committed to normalizing relations with Turkey and opening the Armenian-Turkish border without preconditions,” Sarkisian said.

The President also informed that the had sent invitations to the heads of a number of states to visit Armenia in 2015.

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ANCA Six-Hour Telethon Raises Over $2 Million

Over $2 million was raised during the ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America) six hour telethon in support of the various activities of the organization.

This year’s telethon was accompanied by Social media support with Armenians from around the world turning to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other means.

Participants were from the United States, East Coast and West Coast, as well as Europe and some other countries. During the telethon, several noted Armenian singers and artists participated providing entertainment and enthusiasm to the viewers. Also, several short videos were aired about ANCA activities.

During the telethon several government officials, community leaders, individuals spoke in support of the ANCA and its activities.

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Dr. Harry Moordgian Donates $200,000 to Fresno State University Counseling Center

FRESNO–The Fresno Family Counseling Center at Fresno State, U.S received a gift of $200,000 from alumnus and retired dentist Dr. Harry Moordigian to help expand mental health service in the Central Valley.

The center, ran by Fresno State’s Kremen School of Education and human Development, will used the gift to expand metal health counseling programs that target the Hmong community in partnership with Fresno Community benefit organization Stone Soup.

Some of the money will also go toward reinstating the “Placticas” program, which provides mental health outreach at food distributions in rural Fresno and Madera counties.

Moordigian, 75, has been supporting Fresno State since the 1970s when he joined the Bulldog Foundation.

In 2007, for instance he honored the memory of his late parents Harry and Nevart Moordigian by establishing an endowment to support the Department of Viticulture and Enology. The scholarship now stands at nearly $250,000.

He also donated to the Armenian Studies Department and athletics program back in 1993.

His latest gift stems from a letter he discovered three years ago written by his mother, who had likely suffered from depression after escaping the Armenian Genocide that took his father’s life.

Private support like Moordigian’s is deemed critical for the Fresno Family Counseling Center, which relies on Fresno State faculty and graduate students to provide clinical help for those in need of marriage, family and child counseling.

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$405,000 Donated to USC for Armenian Genocide Digitizaton Program

LOS ANGELES — During the “Appreciation Evening” Banquet on April 10, a $405,000 check was handed to Shoah Foundation at USC to complete the Armenian Genocide Digitization program.

The dramatic zenith of the Banquet came when a $405,000 check was displayed on the screen as the grand benefactor, Mr. Gerald Turpanjian presented it to Dean Kay on behalf of donors and supporters for the balance needed to complete the Armenian Genocide Digitization Project by the Shoah Foundation Institute.

The evening banquet, attended by 300 people at California Club, was graciously hosted by the Chair of the Institute’s Leadership Council, Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Julia Ghalian, under the auspices of Dean Steve Kay and Dornslife College of Arts and Sciences.

Three Endowment Funds Established

Ghalian, took the podium to thank Dean Kay’s supportive leadership, as well as the generosity of Mr. Stepan Martirosyan and that of three families for establishing Endowment Funds — Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Tove Boyajian, Mr. and Mrs. Vahe and Veronique Karapetian, and Dr. and Mrs. Vatche and Shoushig Cabayan.

The Digitization Project, including the first 400 survivor testimonies of J. Michael Hagopian’s archives at the Armenian Film Foundation, will be ready in time for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in April 2015.

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Armenian Genocide Museum Acquired Unique Collection

YEREVAN — The Armenian Genocide Museum Institute has acquired a unique and rich collection of photos related to the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Highlighting the importance of memory preservation and transmission to future generations, the heirs of Khanikyan family from Greece donated around 450 original photos to the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute.

The collection contains original photos related to orphans’ life, the orphanages of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Greece and Syria, orphan care activities of “American Near East Relief” organization, as well as photographs related to the special episodes of the history of the Armenian Genocide. The majority of the photos have extremely important informative notes on the back sides.

The director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Hayk Demoyan noted that, “on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the acquisition on this collection is not only symbolic, but also an exclusive event for out museum, and these photographs will find their special place in the exhibition of the new museum to be open in 2015. Among the photos, the photo of Young Turk leader Ismail Hakki Bey arrested by British soldiers is of unique importance indeed.”

The Armenian Genocide Museum Institute extends its gratitude to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of RA to Greece, Gagik Ghalachyan for the acquisition of this unique collection.

In early September 1915, American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau appealed to the U.S State Department via telegraph, in which he considered it very necessary to set up a special committee in order to organize fundraising and finding resources to support those who survived the massacres. From October 1st, 1915, fundraising organizations were carried out by the Armenian Relief Committee. Two similar committees in the Middle East operating before that were then united with the Armenian Relief Committee and formed “American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief,” which on August 1919 was renamed the “Near East Relief” by the decision of Congress.

Initially established as a temporary committee, “Near East Relief” turned into a large organization. Originally it aimed at raising about $100,000 but during fifteen years of its activity the organization had more than 110 million dollars of investment in saving refugees and orphans. This humanitarian mission was carried out by American figures and missionaries in the Caucasus, the Middle East, and the Balkans.

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Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan Among the Top Nine

Forbes Russia has published nine important memorial museums worth visiting, and among them is the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan. Forbes reminds that the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute was opened in 1995, on the 80th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Built on the slop of the hill, where Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex is situated, the two story building is almost complete underground.

The exposition of the museum is mostly comprised of photos and documents proving the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Set high on a hill, the complex occupies 4500 square meters of territory and consists of three main buildings: the Memorial Wall, the Sanctuary of Eternity (Memorial Hall and Eternal Flame) and the Memorial Column “The Reborn Armenia.”

Forbes classified the museum in this manner: The 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, the Water Disaster Museum in Crimea, the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev, the Gulag Museum in Moscow, the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan, the Titanic Belfast Museum in Northern Ireland and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

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Rep. Schiff Presses Erdogan, Gul and Officials on the Armenian Genocide at Ankara Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C — As part of a Congressional Delegation to the Middle Wast and Asia focused on terrorism, homeland security and the war in Syria, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) had separate meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and other Turkish high government officials.

In this meeting with the Prime Minister, Schiff challenged the notion expressed by Erdogan in a recent interview that because there are Armenian survivors still living in Turkey, there could have been no genocide. This is the equivalent, Schiff argued, of saying that because some Jews in Europe escaped death, there was no Holocaust. Schiff also questioned whether it was possible to have the open discourse in Turkey about the events of 1915-1923 that Erdogan called for in his statement of April 23rd, if Turkish professor, historians, journalists and ordinary citizens still face demotion, intimidation, potential prosecution or violence for expressing the conviction that the Armenian Genocide is a historic fact.

In his meeting with President Gul, Schiff said that he wanted to speak for the many tens of thousands of his constituents of Armenian descent who may never get the chance to address the President directly.

“You will not find on of my 80,000 Armenian constituents untouched by the Genocide,” he said. “Each of them has lost a parent or grandparent, their cousins, brothers or sisters, of their entire family. Their pain is real, their wounds are open, this is not distant relic of the past. To say, as you and the Prime Minister have, the yes, Armenians suffered but so too did Turks during World War I, is akin to saying that the Germans also suffered during World War II. It is true that many German civilians died, many noncombatants, but that does not negate the Holocaust any more than the fact that many Turks died could negate the Genocide. To propose, as you have, that a historic commission be established to ascertain the facts of the Genocide is not unlike suggesting that a commission needs to be established to determine whether the Holocaust took place.”

Schiff also raised the issue of Kessab, and his concern over the forced evacuation of the historic Armenian community there and the well being of those residents who are now refugees -in Turkey. He also urged Turkey too decouple the blockade of Armenia from resolution of the issues concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, so that we can bring about an end to Armenia’s economic isolation and a normalization of trade relations.

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