Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan Resigned

There were rumors that the Mayor of Yerevan wanted to resign and on Monday, July 9th, Mayor Taron Margaryan resigned. During the past week, protests were being held outside of Yerevan City Hall demanding Mayor Taron Margaryan resignation. Taron Margaryan was serving as Mayor of Yerevan since 2011.

The snap elections of the Mayor are being held within a timeframe set by the City Council, but no later than within a month.

During the snap elections, the right to nominate candidates for the Mayor belongs to the City Council’s factions.

The City Council members are voting at the snap elections. Each member of the Council has a right to one vote. If one candidate is nominated, he/she is elected Mayor if the number of votes in favor is more than the number of votes against.

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Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s Executive Director Ara Vardanyan Submits His Resignation

Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s executive director Ara Vardanyan has submitted his resignation application to President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian.

The Armenian National Security Services arrested him and the released him two days later. He confessed to misappropriating the organization’s funds. He testified that he had personal cash infusion into the Fund to cover up the missing money.

Ara Vardanyan gas submitted his resignation application in connection with the charges against him. According to the procedure, the application will be submitted to the members of the Board of Trustees for approval, after which a special commission will be set up which will elect the new executive director of the Fund based on the competition.

In connection with the current situation linked with the Fund, President Sarkissian believes that since the birth of the third Republic the Fund has implemented important and useful programs by uniting national and spiritual structures, philanthropists, and hundreds of thousands of individuals. Therefore, the Fund has still a mission to conduct in the life of Armenia, Artsakh, and Diaspora. Therefore, President Armen Sarkissian hopes that the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund will overcome this experience and will get out of it as a new one, worthy of aspirations challenges of new Armenia.

The Armenia Fund issued a statement on this happening on July 5th, 2018 stating”:

“All of us are deeply saddened by the arrest by the arrest of Ara Vardanyan, the Executive Director of Yerevan based Hayastan All Armenian Fund, on allegations of abuse of authority by misusing the organization’s credit card for personal purposes. However, as it appears now, no donor Funds have been affected and the misused funds have been fully recovered.”

On this sad occasion, the Hunchakian, Social Democratic Party resigned from the Board of Directors of the Armenia Fund.

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Arrest Warrant Issued for Levon Sargsyan, Brother of Serzh Sarksyan

Armenia’s Special Investigative Service issued an arrest warrant for Levon Sargsyan, brother of former Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, on charges of “illegal enrichment” and other financial irregularities.

Levon Sargsyan sits on board of the Pyunik Charitable Foundation, which owes 40% of JLJ Proyect Company LLC, the firm changed with cooking its financial books.

Also implicated in the “illegal enrichment” case are Levon Sargsyan’s son Narek and daughter Ani. The Sargsyan family has been under investigation after law-enforcement discovered $6.8 million held by them in an unnamed Armenian bank and they have not filed income tax.

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Armenian President Sarkissian Expressed Readiness to Strengthen Ties with U.S

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian met with U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his working visit to Washington, D.C.

During the meeting, President Sarkissian said Armenia attaches importance to the consistent development of the Armenian-American partnership and presented to the Secretary of State “new Armenia’s” readiness to continue strengthening the relations with the United States.

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NASA Awards its Highest Honor to Yervant Terzian

By Linda B. Glaser

NASA has announced it will award the Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest honor, to astronomer Yervant Terzian, the Tisch Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

The medal will be presented by NASA Adminsitration Jim Bridenstine at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston on August 2nd. The ceremony will be broadcast live at noon EDT on NASA TV.

“Dr. Yervant Terzian has dedicated his life to education, public service, and scientific research,” according to NASA in its award citation. “He has used his enthusiasm for space exploration and education to bring inspirational experiences to students and the general public across the country.”

NASA continued: “Dr. Yervant Terzian has made an indelible impact on education and inspiring young minds…He has evoked comprehension and wonder in his students and in his public audience. These accomplishments and his eminent humanity prove Dr. Terzian worthy of this Distinguished Public Service Medal.”

Terry Herter, chair and professor of astronomy, agrees. “Dr. Terzian has been a relentless, eloquent ambassador for the sciences over his entire career, reaching and influencing undergraduates, graduate students, colleagues and the general public. This is a very well-deserved award.”

Terzian has served on eight NASA committees, including the Hubble Space Telescope Fellowship Committee, NASA’s Diversity in Science Education and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Radio Astronomy Evaluation Committee. For 20 years, Terzian directed the NASA New York Space Grant Consortium, comprising 19 universities and five industries and science centers. In 2012, the 52 state NASA Space Grant directors elected Terzian Chairman.

“The Space Grant has been very successful in implementing space programs for the brightest students across New York State to provide them with opportunities to develop their interest in space,” Terzian said. “This what will keep the United States as the leader.”

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Joseph Kanimian Re-Elected to the Red Cross LA Region Board

Diocesan Council Chairman and member of the Supreme Spiritual Council, Joseph Kanimian, Esq. was re-elected for a three year term to continue serving on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region.

At Red Cross’s 102nd Annual membership meeting held on June 21, 2018 at USC’s Town and Gown, Mr. Kanimian was unanimously nominated by the Board and re-elected by the membership to a three year term.

Joseph Kanimian has been serving on the board for the last twelve years. Following his re-election, Mr. Kanimian thanked the board and the membership for their confidence and expressed his commitment to the humanitarian missions of the organization. “The American Red Cross provides an exemplary and extraordinary service worldwide to all those who are subjected to disasters and are in need of assistance. Any assistance to this great organization through blood donations, financial contributions or volunteer services is greatly appreciated and encouraged,” stated Mr. Kanimian.

The ARCLA Regions serves nearly 10 million people in 88 cities within LA County. The Red Cross is a tax exempt organization under 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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$1.22 Million Raised at AGBU 110 Anniversary in New England

With an overarching theme of Excellence in Action, an inspiring celebration of the 110th anniversary of the AGU New England District was held in Greater Boston from June 1st to the 2nd.

The weekend brought together over 300 guests, including the AGBU leadership, a considerable number of young professionals, clergy, representatives of local, Armenian organizations, friends, and supporters.

The event also served as a fundraiser helping to collect $1.22 million for local and global AGBU youth programs. This anniversary gave the perfect pretext for the ABU New England District Committee to reflect on the past and mark the beginning of a new era. “This started the momentum for the AGBU New England District to focus on progressive and meaningful programs, especially those geared toward students and young professionals,” explains Ara Balikian, chair of the AGBU New England District.

The celebration began with a meaningful dialogue between the AGBU global leadership and members of the community. Close to 50 young professionals from across New England, met with members of the AGBU Central Board at Boston’s District Hall for a town hall forum which allowed for a candid and direct conversation about a broad range of issues, including the Velvet Revolution in Armenia, opportunities for engagement and the needs and challenges of our global nation.

Arda Haratunian, a member of the AGBU Central Board, began the discussion with a brief presentation on AGBU’s longstanding efforts in the areas of education, culture and identity, humanitarian and human rights work as well as the socio-economic development of Armenia, She went on explaining the concept of global Armenian nation which defines AGBU’s vision for the future of Armenia and the diaspora. Haratunian also emphasized that AGBU keeps building on its trusted reputation as, throughout the years, it continued adapting new strategies to serve the emerging needs of Armenians.

Over the past several years, AGBU has particularly expanded its approach to programming to create stronger ties between the diaspora and Armenia. AGBU President Berge Setrakian, underscored this prevailing theme as he addressed the young professionals. He drew their attention to the significance of the development of Armenia, conveying one of the fundamental beliefs of the AGBU leadership that there is no future for the diaspora without Armenia. The discourse continued with an open forum discussion with member of the AGBU Central Board Noubar Afeyan, Ani Manoukian, and Vasken Yacoubian, who took the stage with Haratunian to address the pressing questions of the crowd. “It is unique opportunity to have the AGBU Board members convene in one location from across the globe and be willing to have an open discussion with young professionals from New England,” said Vrej Pilavdjian, YP Boston chair. “The AGBU leadership wanted to hear from us and connect with us. This was a chance for our YP community to engage directly with our leaders and learn about the past of AGBU, ask about their vision for future and become motivated for the present.

The Weekend Culminated in a Gala

The weekend’s celebration culminated in the gala which took place at the Samberg Conference Center at MIT. Gala Co-chairs Lindsey Hagopian and Houry Youssoufian welcome guests after a video showcasing the early start of New England Armenians was screened. With professional touches they set the tone for a series of speeches and presentations.

Master of ceremonies Lia Oganesyan kept the crowd engaged by also sharing her family’s historic involvement with AGBU. Keeping the mood light and inspiring, Balikian took the stage to announce the launch of the AGBU Boston Summer Internship Program which will start serving students in 2019. He also motivated the crowd promising a series of new programs – including an entrepreneurship incubator – to accommodate the needs of New England youth and help them succeed in their fields.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the AGBU New England District’s Global Excellence Awards. Prominent entrepreneur Dr. Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, and renown heart surgeon Dr. Kristine J. Guleserian, senior director of the Heart Failure and Transplantation Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, were honored for their achievements and their significant support for their communities.

Dr. Afeyan spoke of his journey connecting to his roots and took the opportunity to encourage the crowd to activate their “Armenianess”. “I urge you to stop thinking in terms of Armenians by blood, but rather be Armenians by choice. To choose to be Armenian and serve the nation is an active notion. In making this choice, we welcome others to our community to truly engage and increase and increase our overall potential.”

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Ergogan Re-elected President

Markar Esayan and Garo Paylan Re-elected Parliament Members

ISTANBUL — Two Turkish-Armenian Members of Parliament have been re-elected to Turkey’s parliament in the June 24 general elections.

Garo Paylan from Diyarbakir (HDP) and Markar Esayan from Istanbul (AKP) have been re-elected to the 600 seat parliament of Turkey. The numbers of seats has been increased from 550 to 600 following the constitutional referendum. Garo Paylan is known for his struggle for achieving the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey itself. He even introduced a motion in the parliament to acknowledge the 1915, but understandably it was denied as the country’s leadership is vehemently denying the historical the historical fact. Paylan is also known for his active engagement in the affairs of the local Armenian community of Istanbul, most notably in the Armenian Patriarchate matters.

He was even sanctioned for speaking about the Armenian Genocide from the Parliament floor. But unlike Paylan, the other Turkish-Armenian parliamentarian, Markar Esayan, is staunch supporter of the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of the AKP. Two other ethnic Armenian candidates for parliament — Ludmilla Buyum from the HDP and Elmas Giragos from the IYI party — have failed to be elected.

Erdogan Re-elected

Turkey’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been re-elected has been re-elected, as 99% of ballots have been counted so far in the general elections, Turkey held both presidential and parliamentary election June 24.

After this election, Erdogan will have a lot more powers as the constitution has beefed-up the president’s authorities. These include: Directly appointing top public officials, including ministers and vice-presidents, the power to intervene in the country’s legal system, the power to impose a state of emergency.

In addition to those changes, the job of prime minister will be scrapped.

Congratulations were by many political leaders from around the world. In Turkey, congratulations came from Archbishop Aram Ateshian, the patriarchal vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, Archbishop Levon Zekiyan, Primate of the Armenian Catholic Community of Istanbul. Bedros Sirioglu – chairman of the board of trustees of the Holy Savior Armenian Hospital of Istanbul.

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Landmark Turkish Divestment Bill Clears First Senate Hearing 4-0

SACRAMENTO – Monday, June 25, AB 1597, the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act, passed the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention, continuing a historic movement to hold Turkey accountable for their continued denial of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.

“I am grateful for my colleagues for joining with me to fight for justice for the 1.5 million Armenian souls who perished in the Genocide,” stated Assembly member Adrin Nazarian. “If Turkey continues to fund Armenian Genocide deniers they must be financially punished.”

AB 1597 prohibits the boards of the California Public Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’s Retirement System (CalSTRS) from making additional or new investments, or renewing existing investments described above within six months of the passage of federal sanctions on Turkey.

The bill also requires the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS to submit reports to the Legislature and the Governor, within a year of when the federal government issues sanctions against Turkey. The report will detail a list of investments that they have already liquidated and a list of investments that potentially can be liquidated.

AB 1597 will now be debated and voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Foreing Ministers of Armenia and Russia Discuss International Issues and NKR Conflict Settlement

On June 7th Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Foreign Minister of Armenia, who is in Moscow on a working visit, met with Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia,

Welcoming Minister Mnatsakanyan, Rusian Foreign Minister Lavrov said: “I am glad Minister Lavrov said: “I am glad for this chance to personally congratulate you upon assuming high office of Minister of Foreign Affairs and I hope that today, in continuation of the recently held high level meeting we will have an opportunity to discuss issues related to the development of our alliance and strategic partnership both in bilateral format, and within the framework of our involvement in various international structures.”

Minister Mnatsakanyan thanked for warm reception and stressed that this is his first foreign visit in his capacity as Foreign Minister and it is natural that he pays a visit to Moscow. “It is a pleasure for me to be here in this city, taking into account the warm feelings I personally have towards Russia and Moscow. Being a MGIMO alumni, I must say that those were among the most wonderful years of my life. I’m grateful for the professional education I received in that institution.

Indeed, our relationship has a solid foundation. The commitment of the Government of Armenia to deepen and strengthen our allied cooperation, our mutual collaboration based on mutual understanding and mutual respect has been and remains the basis of our priorities. It is also expressed in the program of our Government, which, by the way, is being presented for the Parliament’s approval today. And I am visiting Moscow with that spirit, with that very mindset,” the Foreign Ministers of Armenia said.

Ministers emphasized the willingness of both sides not only to ensure the consistency of allied relations, but also to conduct daily activities in different formats to give them new impetus. In that context, the sides touched upon the process of implementation of agreements reached during the meeting between Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, and Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, on May 14, as well as discussed the schedule of upcoming high-level visits.

The interlocutors exchanged views on the issues of cooperation and coordination of activities within the framework of the UN, the OSCE, CIS, Council of Europe, BSEC and other multilateral platforms, in this regard highlighting the important role of the Foreign Ministries of two countries. A particular emphasis was made on the importance of close cooperation within the framework of the EAEU and CSTO.

The agenda of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenian and Russia also included a number of issues related to the citizens of Armenia working in Russia, as well as the way of solving existing problems. Both sides highlighted the importance of uninterrupted communication between Armenia and Russia.

During the meeting a number of international and regional issues were discussed, views were exchanged on the recent developments around Iran’s nuclear program and the situation in Syria.

The sides thoroughly discussed the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the recent developments.

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