State Senate Budget Committee Approves $3 Million for the Armenian Museum

Portantino Makes Pitch for Glendale Museum Project

SACRAMENTO, CA — Senator Anthony J. Portantino invited representatives of the Armenian Museum Project in Glendale to Sacramento to make the case for additional state funding to support the Armenian Museum.

The museum project is proposed for the City of Glendale and includes Genocide education and multicultural exhibits. Plans for its creation are underway with broad support from within the Armenian community, including its ten largest organizations.

Portantino, with the support of Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth, arranged a presentation from Armenian Museum Executive Board Member Zaven Kazazian, Portantino joined the presentation in which a total $4 million request was made.

The State Senate Budget committee followed up on the request and approved the proposal. “There is a long history of California supporting laudable museum projects around the state and I wanted to make sure that the Armenian Museum garners equal and fair support. Zaven did an excellent job making the case for the museum and the committee was quite impressed. It’s a big step forward to have the State Senate Budget Committee insert an additional $3 million into the State Budget for this project,” commented Portantino.

Last year, Governor Brown agreed to fund a $1 million request for the museum. Portantino requested increasing the State’s commitment to the museum to an additional $3 million over the next three years. “I couldn’t be happier to see the Senate respond so well to our request, Senate staff, leadership, and members were very receptive and supportive of the museum,” concluded Portantino.

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Dr. Professor Ardem Patapoutian San Diego Researcher Elected to National Academy of Sciences

LA JOLLA, CA — A research scientist from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in San Diego, Ardem Patapoulian, has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences for his “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research,” the academy announced Ardem joins several other TSRI scientists as members of this exclusive group of scientific scholars.

“Ardem has made extraordinary contributions to science,” said TSRI President Peter G, Schulz, Ph.D “His work, and this well-deserved recognition, place him among an elite group of scientists, and we are incredibly proud to have him as a colleague. I wish him a hearty congratulations.”

Patapoutian, Ph.D, a TSRI professor and member of the Dorris Neuroscience Center at TSRI and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studies how cells “talk” to each other and send signals through the body. His lab works to uncover the basic mysteries of human sensory biology, such as proteins underlying our sense of touch, and contribute to the development of future treatments for disease.

“It is truly such an honor to be recognized by the NAS, especially as the need to advocate for strong science public policy is more urgent than ever,” said Patapoutian. “TSRI has truly enabled the cutting edge techniques that propelled our research forward.”

Patapoutian is among the academy’s 84 new members and 21 foreign associates.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and, along with other groups, provides science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

He is the son of Sarkis and Haigouhi Patapoutian. Sarkis is an author and writes under the name Sarkis Vahaken, and Haigouhi has be a respected educator for over 50 years.

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Audiovisual Analysis Points to Erdogan Ordering Washington, D.C Attack

WASHINGTON — Audio and video analysis of recorded footage of the May 16 attack on peaceful demonstrators in Washington, has found that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have ordered members of his security detail to carry out the violence.

Several groups and public figures have condemned the May 16 attack. On May 18, Senator John McCain (R-AZ)called for the removal of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States.

“We should throw [Turkey's] Ambassador the hell out of the United States of America. This isn’t Turkey or a third world country,” McCain said, speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “This kind of thing cannot go unresponded diplomatically,” he added.

The attack was also condemned by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who along with D.C Police Chief Peter Newham, has launched an investigation into the unprovoked beatings.

“What we saw yesterday— a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration—is an affront to D.C values and our rights as Americans,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “I strongly condemn these actions and have been briefed by Chief Newsham on our response. The Metropolitan Police Department will continue investigating the incident and will work with federal partners to ensure justice is served.”

On May 17, a day after the attack, the State Department announced it was “concerned by the violent incidents involving protesters and Turkish Security personnel on Tuesday evening,” stating that “violence is never an appropriate response to free speech.”

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Carolyn Rafaelian, the Richest Armenian Woman in the US

Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder of Alex and Ani, is on the cover of Forbes’ third annual American’s Richest Self Made Women issue.

She is the first Armenian American woman to make a Forbes list.

The issue which comes out June 13th, features the country’s most successful self-made women who have crashed ceilings through invention and innovations.

By turning what women wear on their wrists into affinity statements, Rafaelian, who is now America’s richest jeweler, has frown the Alex and Ani brand into a company worth more than $1 billion. The jeweler is working on world domination and possibly an IPO.

Carolyn started accessories brand Alex and Ani in 2004 and has since made it one of the fastest growing brands in the United States. Carolyn’s drive to succeed is fueled by her dedication to creating jobs and Made in America product – most notably in Providence, Rhode Island where the company is based—and her Charity by Design program which will give back an estimated $50 million in July of this year.

Alex and Ani creates meaningful, eco-conscious jewelry and accessories to positively empower and connect humanity.

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Dr. Armine Hacopian Unanimously Voted as Glendale Community Voted as Glendale Community College Board President

In April, Dr. Hacopian was re-elected to the Glendale Community College (GCC) Board of Trustees for a fifth term. During the May 16th televised board meeting, her colleagues unanimously voted to appoint her as president of the board for the fourth time.

In the absence of elected Armenian American women role models for a college board, she was a pioneer in 2001 when she first ran for office. She is one of the only Armenian American women serving in this capacity among the 72 California Community College governing boards.

A highly passionate and life-long educator, Dr. Hacopian has always focused on student access and success as her guiding principle. Her academic and professional achievements which include six credentials, two MA’s, and a doctorate in Organizational Management attest to her sincere commitment to education.

During her illustrious career, Dr. Hacopian has held numerous positions/titles in K-12, and has been a faculty member for graduate schools at various universities. She continues to serve on thesis and doctorate dissertation committees. A highly sought after consultant, she has been invited to present at many conferences and training-the-trainers’ seminars. In addition, she has participated in numerous college/university accreditation teams which has enabled her to bring the best practices in higher education to GCC.

She has been honored by LA County, CA Senate, CA Assembly, and Congressional elected officials for her outstanding contributions to the field of education. Many organizations have acknowledged her tremendous success by honoring her achievements as well.

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Armenian President Discusses Many Issues, Including Artsakh, with Emir of Qatar

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who is in the State of Qatar on an official visit, had a private meeting with Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani. Before that, the official ceremony of welcoming the President of Armenia took place at the Emiri Divan.

Serzh Sargsyan noted that Armenia is interested in the invigoration of the high level political dialogue with the State of Qatar and deepening of cooperation in all areas.

In the context of developing the bilateral cooperation, the parties stressed the importance of political contacts particularly with regard to the consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two counties.

Noting with satisfaction that the number of visitors from the countries of the Persian Gulf, including Qatar, to Armenia increases by year, which is promoted greatly by the flights operated by the Qatari airlines, the interlocutors discussed the opportunity of the liberalization of the visa regime between the two countries.

The Armenian side proposed for consideration a number of investments projects in different areas, among them the use of Armenia’s transit opportunities, especially access via Armenia to the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union.

The Emir of Qatar instructed the Ministry of Economy of Qatar to have a separate meeting with R.A Minister of Economy to discuss in detail the prospects of potential of the development of the bilateral economic ties. The representatives of the aviation agencies held similar meetings.

President Serzh Sargsyan and Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani spoke also about he NK peace process. In this context, the Emir stressed the importance of establishing peace and stability in the region and underscored that there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of the NK conflict and a dialogue.

With Qatar Airways Chief

During an official visit to the State of Qatar, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and the Executive Director of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Bakri, met.

Qatar Airways began operating regular flights to Armenia in May of 2016. According to President Sargsyan, direct flights between Yerevan and Doha contribute to the growth in the number of tourists from the Gulf countries, including Qatar, visiting Armenia, Sargsyan added that Armenia will welcome investments from Qatar in various sectors of the Armenian economy, including aviation.

Akbar Al Bakri, in his turn, informed the Armenian President that he had already received an instruction from His Highness, the Emir of Qatar, concerning development of interaction with Armenia in the field of aviation, assuring that he would do everything possible to implement the instruction.

Many airline companies from different countries started to fly to Armenia two years ago.

Qatar Airways is one of the largest airlines in the Middle East, which operates flights to 144 directions. Its fleet consists of about 340 modern aircraft.

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China Donates 200 More Ambulances to Armenia Worth $15 Million

China will donate 200 new ambulances to Armenia as soon as part of its continuing economic assistance to the country, the Armenian government said.

The government announced the impending donation as it approved a draft Chinese-Armenian agreement on “technical-economic cooperation” at a weekly session in Yerevan chaired by Prime Minister Karen Karapetian.

“After the delivery of these vehicles, the Armenian side will be able to fully satisfy domestic demand for ambulances,” read a government statement issued after the meeting.

The statement noted that the Chinese government already provided Armenia with 88 such vehicles several years ago.

Armenia has received Chinese economic aid on an annual basis since 1999.

In 2012, Beijing also donated 250 brand new Chinese manufactured buses to Yerevan’s public transportation system.

China’s President Xi Jinping and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian agreed to deepen ties between their nations when they met in Beijing in 2015. In a joint statement, they noted “mutual understanding on issues relating to pivotal interests and concerns of the two countries.”

A high ranking Chinese military official visited Yerevan last month, holding talks with Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan and the chief of the Armenian army staff, Lieutenant General Movses Hakobian. The Armenian Defense Ministry said they reached agreements on “expanding cooperation and implementing a number of mutually beneficial projects.”

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Russia, U.S Closely Cooperating on Karabakh Issue, says Hoagland

WASHINGTON — Russia and the United States are closely cooperating on the Karabakh issue despite the difference existing between the two countries, U.S Co-Chair of the OSCE Minks Group Richard Hoagland said in an interview with Voice of America.

“Sure, our national interests differ from those of Russia, because we have a different history of relations, different views in our approaches. However, having different interests does not mean we cannot work together on the issue,” he said.

According to the Ambassador, Moscow wants establishment of peace in the South Caucasus like Washington and Paris do. “For me it’s clear that Moscow does not want war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Moscow does not want war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It will destabilize the whole region and harm Russia’s interests,” Hoagland said. According to him, even under the conditions of worst deterioration of Russian-American relations, all three Co-Chairs have close cooperated towards peaceful settlement of the Karabakh issue.

“This is a sphere where we can say the relations between Washington and Moscow have no negative impact,” he added. Hoagland said “the mediators are trying to resume full-scale negotiations between the parties.”

Hoagland believes the U.S must get more actively involved in the peace process. “I agree that we need to be a little more active, we are in the earliest stage of a new U.S Administration. This new Administration is still developing its foreign policy, approaches. Therefore, let’s be more patient and see how things are developing in the coming months,” Hoagland said.

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Tillerson: Washington Will Carry on With Its Support for Armenia’s Security

U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian have exchanged letters in connection with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between their countries.

In his letter to Tillerson cited by the Armenian Foreign Ministry last Tuesday, Nalbandian said the United States and Armenia have had “many remarkable achievements” in their “friendly relationship based mutual trust and respect.” The Armenian government intends to deepen it, he wrote, according to a ministry statement.

“The Armenian foreign minister emphasized that the United States was the first country that opened an embassy in Yerevan [in 1992] and stood with our newly independent state, including through broad assistance programs that proved particularly vital during the first years of its independence,” said the statement.

Nalbandian said that the U.S and Armenia have also been “closely cooperating” within the framework of various international organizations. Yerevan also attaches “great importance” to U.S involvement in international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he was reported to add.

According to the statement, Tillerson told his Armenian counterpart that Washington will carry on with its contribution to Armenia’s security, democratization, and economic development. He also hailed recent years’ sizable increase in U.S investments in the Armenian economy.

The U.S ambassador in Yerevan, Richard Mills, spoke of “considerable progress” in U.S-Armenian economic ties in February. He pointed to multimillion dollar U.S investments in Armenia’s energy and mining sectors.

Tillerson and Nalbandian discussed the bilateral agenda and the Karabakh conflict in their first-ever phone call in early March. They have yet to meet in person.

The U.S Embassy in Yerevan gave a largely positive assessment of the conduct of the April 2nd parliamentary elections in Armenia. In an April 4th statement, it backed the preliminary findings of an OSCE-led monitoring team which said the vote was “well administered” but “tainted by credible information about vote-buying” and pressure on voters. But the embassy also said that electronic anti-fraud equipment installed in the Armenian polling stations helped prevent more serious irregularities.

The U.S government joined the European Union in financing the purchase of that equipment this year.

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Vartan Gharapetian Elected Mayor of Glendale City

GLENDALE – Vartan Gharapetian was unanimously elected Mayor of the City of Glendale. Gharapetian was elected to the Glendale City Council in April of 2015 and has been involved with the City of Glendale directly as the past Commissioner on the Design Review Board, Commissioner on the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission, and Chair of the Glendale Housing Authority.

Other positions held include, Civic Advisory Board member of the Glendale Adventist Medical Foundation, Board member of the Glendale Police Foundation, Member of the Glendale Historical Society, Member of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Board Vice President of the D&M Educational Foundation, and Member of the Glendale Association of Realtors. Mayor Gharapertian and his wife Dr. Armina Gharapetian have been married 21 years. They have three children, all of whom attend Glendale public schools.

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