PASADENA — Over 600 athletes from seven countries are taking part in the 2012, 16th AGBU-AYA World Games under the auspices of Armenian General Benevolent Union Central Board of Directors and the Grand Patronage of the Turpanjian Family and Platinum Sponsorship of the Munushian Fund.
Opening Ceremonies were held last Sunday,m July 29 at the Pasadena City Colleges Robinson Stadium in the presence of a large enthusiastic crowd.
At 6pm, the opening ceremonies stated with the singing of the United sate National Anthem and Armenia’s National Anthem by renowned singer Anahit Nercessian.
U.S Armenian and AGBU flags adorned the field as the spectators were awaiting for the opening parade of this spectacular event.
The AGBU-AYA Boy Scouts made the tours oft he field under beautiful music and then the parade started following the Opening Signal given by His eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese.
Thirteen AGBU chapters took part from seven countries, the largest group from South America (Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil) – Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Sao Paolo, from Canada – Toronto, Montreal, from Egypt – Cairo and Alexandria, from Australia – Sydney, from California – San Diego, San Fernando Valley, and Glendale / Pasadena chapter. Also participating were Organization of Istanbul Armenians, Armenian Society of Los Angeles (Iranhye Motion) and Iraqi Armenians, as well as the AGBU Arafat Theater group.
It was noticeable that there were many youngsters 9boy scouts, girl scouts, and cub scouts).
A beautiful program was presented by the renowned Vartan and Siranoush Gevorkian Folk Dance Ensemble to the delight of the audience receiving wild applause.
The John Muir High School Band’s Drum Section played several numbers amazing the spectators with their professional caliber.
Archbishop Hovnan Derderian spoke about AGBU and the youth movement and advised others to join the ranks to keep up the Armenian heritage. He then read the Encyclical issued by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of Armenians, praising the more than one century of the AGBU benevolence and congratulated the AGBU central board member, the organizers, the athletes and all those who have taken part in these international games.
Central Board Vice Chairman Sinan Sinanian relayed the message of the President of the organization, Mr. Berj Setrakian, and praised the organizers for such an international beautiful event.
Chairman of the organizing Committee Shahe Seuylemezian took the podium under thunderous applause. Everyone knew how hard he had worked for months day and night, to organize the events. In his remarks he thanked all the committee member and the AGBU chapters and local participating organizations for accepting the invitation to be part of this historic event, an event which stated in 1955 and continues to bring together thousands of youth from around the world to engage in sporting competitions. He also thanks the sponsors.
Before closing, one of AGBU’s well known sportsman Hratch Manoukian, pronounced the oath of the athlete to pursue the games in sportsmanship.
There were several local government officials, mayors and councilmen, as well as sports personalities.
The last part of the evening was a concert organized by renowned David Foster featuring Nita Whitaker, Fernando Varela, and Hovhanness Shahbazian, Athletes and guests enjoyed the program and the sparks.