French-Armenian Singer Charles Aznavour Dies at Age 94

Legendary French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour has died at age 94 in his home in Alpilles in southern France. Aznavour who had just returned from a concert tour of Japan last month, had to cancel several shows last year after breaking his arm in a fall.

Aznavour, once named “Entertainer of the Century”, by CNN because of his immense global popularity, was dubbed France’s Frank Sinatra. But unlike the American crooner, he wrote his own songs.

Born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian in Paris on May 22, 1924, to parents who had fled the genocide of ethnic Armenians, as the Ottoman Empire fell. Aznavour sold more than 180 million records in a career spanning eight decades and as many languages. Aznavour got his big break after World War II when he opened for the then rising French star Edith Piaf. She took him to America as her manager and songwriter while he worked on his voice, and urged him to get a nose job — advice he resisted.

The whole world extended sympathies on the sad occasion, including Pashinyan, Sarkisian, Serj Tankian, Bob Dylan, Emmanuel Macron, and many others. New York Times wrote a long biography and flowers were placed at his star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Pashinyan Visits New York, Spoke at UN at Met with Armenian Community Leaders

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attended the opening session of the United Nations, delivered his historic speech and on Sunday, September 23, met with members of the Armenian Community from the East and West Coast.

During the reception, he spoke at length about Armenia’s political issues and how his governments is trying to solve them. He added that on his return to Yerevan he will meet with representatives of major political forces to discuss time frames for the snap elections.

In New York, he met with the representatives of the Armenian political Parties – The ARF, the Hunchakian Party and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, the Rangavars represented by the West coast Chairman Dr, Raffi Balian. They discussed Diaspora and Armenian issues, and Dr. Raffi Balian stated that the ADL, believes in the new government and is ready to support it. Pashinyan thanked Balian, who was accompanied by Norayr Megerdichian, chairman of the ADL East Coast.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in New York on September 23, he was accompanied by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. While in New York Parshinyam met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the UN Headquarters on September 24.

Nikol Pashinyan also visited the “Armenia!” exhibition the Met together with Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II. The PM viewed the exhibitions encompassing the very best of Armenian arts and culture spanning from the 4th to 17th centuries. In his remarks, the PM noted 2018 is a symbolic year, a year when the Armenian-American cultural ties have significantly strengthened.

“This year, Armenian culture is presented in the United States of America in an unprecedented way, bringing Armenia’s cultural and civilization legacy closer to our American friends. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Armenian presence on American soil. In 1618, the first Armenian [in North America], named Martin, reached the shores of Virginia and settled in Jamestown. Since that day, the presence of our countrymen on this soil has not been disrupted, as well as their contribution in the culture of their new homeland. This year more earlier Armenian culture, customs, and traditions were displayed in Washington, D.C, in the heart of the U.S capital, in the National Mall, within the framework of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It enabled us the unprecedented chance to present the Armenian culture with its unique diversity to the American society, as well as thousands of tourists who arrived from different parts of the world. Few weeks ago our two peoples together celebrated the 110th anniversary [of birth] of Pulitzer-winning novelist William Saroyan’s legacy, which is valuable for our two peoples, the Saroyan museum was opened in the city of Fresno in Saroyan’s native California. As the culmination of this unprecedented eventful cultural year for Armenia in the United States, now I have the honor and personal privilege to witness the opening of this unique exhibition, in many ways an exclusive exhibition,” the PM said, adding that the exhibition presents the Armenian integrated culture, also as a representative of western culture and Christian civilization.

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President Trump and Nikol Pashinyan Meet

President Trump and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan met in New York for a short while and talked about Armenia.

Trump congratulated Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on his election to lead Armenia. “Congratulations on your recent election. I look forward to working with you on the many areas of mutual interest for our two countries, including strengthening trade ties, democratic institutions and regional security,” Trump said in his message to Pashinyan.

The White House on Tuesday released a letter, dated May 14, in which President Trump congratulated Pashinyan on his election to lead Armenia.

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Nikol Pashinyan and Emmanuel Macron in Paris Discussed Armenian-French Cooperation

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan paid a working visit to France, Friday September 14, and met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris. After the welcoming ceremony, handshake and protocol photo session, the leaders of the two countries held negotiations in the frame of a working lunch.

Welcoming Armenia’s Prime Minister to the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel Macron noted the importance of Nikol Pashinya’s visit and sincerely expressed confidence that they would continue to develop in all areas of mutual interest: political intercourse, inter-parliamentary cooperation, decentralized contacts, economic exchanges, culture, education, research, healthcare, and other spheres, including the legal-contractual field.

The Premier stressed the importance of the Francophone Summit due this fall in Armenia, adding that it is among the most important events held in Yerevan, since independence. The Head of Government reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to ensure the Summit’s success.

With reference to the Karabakh issue, the parties stressed the need for achieving a peaceful settlement in the OSCE Minks Group format. In this context, Nikol Pashinyan hailed the efforts made by the Co-Chairs, including France, with a view to securing peace and stability in the region. The Prime Minister underscored that Armenian remains committed to continued negotiations in a bid to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Emmanuel Macron and Nikol Pashinyan agreed to discuss the Armenian-French cooperation agenda in more detail during the French President’s forthcoming State visit to Armenia.

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Texas Republican Congressman Ted Poe Urges U.S to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

Republican Congressman Ted Poe from Texas has condemned in his September 13 speech, the Armenian Genocide and urged the U.S Government to recognize it. In his speech he said:

“More than a century ago, when the attention of the world was concentrated on the great war in Europe, one of the most horrible genocides took place. The Ottoman Empire and its successor, today’s Turkey, have always denied the violence they committed against the Armenian people. Our government has supported Turkey for a very long time. We allowed our politics to turn our eyes blind over the massacre of 1.5 million innocent Armenians committed by the Ottoman Turk, he said, adding that urging the U.S government to recognize it so as to prevent similar tragedies. This also means to exert pressure on the Turks so as they also recognize their crimes committed in the past,” he added.

Ted Poe also referred to Turkey’s behavior as a NATO member state, assessing it as inadmissible.

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ANC-Led Legislative Delegation Visits Armenia and Artsakh

YEREVAN — On September 11, the Armenian National Committee – Western Region’s California Legislative and Trade Trip Delegation met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

The delegation consisting of senators, assembly members, and representatives of IT companies expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to meet and explained the possibilities of future collaboration through educational institutions, IT companies, and trade through enhanced cooperation between California and Armenia, especially within the growing and vibrant IT sector.

During the meeting with Prime Minister Pashinyan, ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian expressed gratitude for the government’s willingness to embrace and include the Armenian Diaspora in the advancement of the New Armenia and voiced the organization’s intent to continue to allocate resources toward the advancement of Armenia by bringing American delegations of policy makers and business representatives to facilitate Pashinyan’s visit to France and expressed conviction that it would promote and reinvigorate the deeply-rooted friendly relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Pashinyan welcomed the ideas of the delegation and assured his willingness to work with the leaders of California through the state legislature, the Glendale City Council, and the ANCA-Western Region. Some of the matters discussed during the meeting included direct flights between Los Angeles and Yerevan, building partnerships between IT sectors between Armenia and California, and how to legislate tax incentives to encourage investment and start-ups in Armenia.

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Putin-Pashinyan Meeting: There Are No Problems in Our Relations in Any Direction

Russia President Vladimir Putin and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met at the Kremlin Saturday September 8th. Key issues of the development of the allied Armenian-Russian relations, as well s cooperation on the Eurasian space, including within the framework of the Eurasia Economic Union and the CSTO were discussed. President Putin stressed the special nature pf the Armenian-Russian relations. “Today the relations between Armenia and Russia are steadily developing in all directions. This refers to the field of political relations, military cooperation, security issues, economic cooperation,” Putin said. He noted that “Russia confidently ranks first among the economic partners of the Republic of Armenia. We are the largest investor in the Armenian economy, and here we can affirm that in this respect our relations are rather diversified. This refers to energy, particularly hydrocarbon energy, as well as gas supply,” he said, reminding that Gazprom sells gas to Armenia at the lowest prices – $150 per 100 cubic meters. It is particularly gratifying that the trade turnover grew by almost 30 percent last year, and the growth has made 22.2 percent in the first half of he current year.

PM Nikol Pashinyan said, in turn, he is glad for the third meeting over the past four months. “I think such regularity stresses the special character of relations between our countries,” he said. “I want to stress that despite some pessimism existing in the Armenian and Russian press and social media, our relations are developing very dynamically, very naturally, and I think that the main task is to unfold the whole potential of our relations,” he stated. “It doesn’t mean that there are no questions in our relations, because that would mean there are no relations at all. I can confirm that there are unsolvable questions in our relations,” he added. “I’m confident that these questions will be solved and we will rely on mutual respect for our allied relations, the interests of our countries, respect for the sovereignty of our countries and principle of non-interference in each other’s affairs,” Pashinyan said. “We really have brilliant relations, but I don’t think we should stop here. We have particularly bug potential both in political and economic relations, as well as in military-technical cooperation,” the Armenian Prime Minister stated. He noted that the parties are determined to reinforce relations not only in bilateral format, but also within the framework of the Eurasian Union and the collective Security Treaty Organization.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan says that Armenia and Russia have high level relations and expresses hope that this dynamic will continue.

Speaking to reporters, the Armenian PM emphasized that this doens’t mean that Armenia will not continue developing ties with its other partners. “We are conducting a rather broad policy. I am planning to depart to the French capital next week on a working visit where I will have a meeting with President Macron. Next week, I am planning to receive the Prime Minister of Georgia, recently the Chancellor of Germany visited Armenia. I am planning to participate in the US General Assembly’s works,” Pashinyan said.

He said that obviously these relations will not develop one at the expense of the other. “Moreover, our relations in any direction cannot develop at the expense of our relations with Russia. I believe that it is obvious for all of us that something like that cannot happen,” he said.

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Dr. Ara and Alice Apkarian Donate Another $100,000 for Armenian Studies Program at UC Irvine

Dr. Ara and Alice Apkarian of Orange County, California, established a $100,000 endowment fund to support graduate students research awards in the Armenian Studies Program at University of California at Irvine. Three years ago, the Apkarians had made another $100,000 donation to help establish the Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies at UCI.

Ara is a distinguished professor of chemistry at UCI where he started teaching in 1983, and was the chairman of the Department. He is the director of the Center of Chemistry at the Speace-Time Limit, Ara is a member of the Armenian Studies Advisory Committee at UCI. A graduate of Northwestern University, where Ara met his wife, they both went to Cornell University for post-doctoral training. Alice is a retired chemistry professor at Saddleback College.

Ara came from Beirut, Lebanon in 1973, when he was 17 years old and went on to study at USC.

The new award is named after their daughter Naneh, who received her doctorate in math education and now is engaged in post doctoral research at Western Michigan University. The Naneh Award will provide partial support of a graduate student who is starting in the Fall of 2018.

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21st ARPA International Film Festival November 2nd to 4th

The 21st Annual Arpa International Film Festival will take place on Friday, November 2nd until Sunday November 4th, 2018 at the Historic Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood California.

The Festival’s mission is to cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy by creating a dynamic forum for international cinema. Issues such as Multi-culturalism, inclusion, Exile, dual identity, LGBTQ, and Social Justice are important to the festival.

International films will be screened and awards will be given.

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William Saroyan House Museum Opened in Fresno August 31st

FRESNO, CA — The William Saroyan Museum officially opened Friday, August 31st, in Fresno, on the 110th birthday anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize winner, in the presence of the Mayor of City of Fresno Lee Brand, Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria (in whose district Saroyan’s house in located), benefactor of the Museum from Armenia Mr. and Mrs. Artur Janibekyan. Also present was Hon. Grigor Hovhannisyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States, as well as the honorary consuls Apkarian of Fresno and Hjiuajui of Las Vegas. Some guests from San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Los Angeles and other parts of California.

Because it is in an area where citizens live, the city permitted only 40 to 50 people at the opening, so that there would not congestion in the neighborhood.

The program started at 4:30 pm when Janibekyan, Mayor Brand and councilwoman Soria participated in the unveiling of the plaque on the front wall of the Museum and the ribbon cutting ceremony, emceed by Professor Barlow Der Mugerditchian, Chair of the Armenian studies Program at Fresno State University. Those present at the opening enjoyed the hologram of Saroyan, his working desk, artifacts, some of his watercolor paintings, covers of his paintings, covers of his books, and many historic pictures, including the burial of half of his ashes in Yerevan on May 29, 1982. The ashes were taken to Armenia by a delegation headed by Professor Osheen Keshishian, Allan Jendian, attorney Robert Demir, and Dr. Dikran Kouyoumjian. A reception was given in the backyard of the Museum.

Saroyan was born in Fresno in 1908 and died at the Veterans Hospital in 1981 of cancer. He purchased the home on Griffith Way seventeen years before his death and split his time there and abroad.

The Renaissance Cultural and Intellectual Foundation, based in Armenia, headed by Artur Janibekyan, purchased the home in 2015, and set out to renovate it to honor Saroyan and the Armenian community. Councilwoman Soria said Saroyan grew up in what is now downtown Fresno because of a city law that blocked immigrants from owning or living in certain areas. “Despite all of this Saroyan still felt and left his heart here in Fresno,” she said.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

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