For Immediate Release
November 21, 2007
ARMENIA FUND USA HOSTS NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH BAKO SAHAKYAN
PRE-TELETHON THREE-CITY INAUGURAL VISIT - NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY, DETROIT AND BOSTON
NEW YORK, New York — Armenia Fund USA hosted the newly elected President of Nagorno-Karabakh Bako Sahakyan during his three-city inaugural visit to the United States where he met with the Armenian American communities and called for support for the 10th International Armenia Fund Telethon set to air on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007. As part of the traditional pre-telethon rally, the President paid visits to the Armenian Diocese and Armenian Prelacy, the New York offices of Armenian General Benevolent Union, as well as the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations.
In collaboration with the Armenian Jewelers’ Association, a presidential welcoming reception was held on November 10, 2007 at the Hovnanian School in New Jersey. After numerous visits and meetings with communities in New York, the President was hosted for dinner by the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States Tatoul Markarian. President Sahakyan shared his vision of prosperous Karabakh and answered questions posed by guests eager for news of progress. He touched upon strengthened democratic institutions in Karabakh as a prerequisite toward building a sound market economy. At the dinner, a Gratitude Medal was handed to the Acopian family by the Nagorno-Karabakh delegation. Sarkis Acopian, a staunch supporter of Armenia and Karabakh and a friend of Armenia Fund USA, passed away this year. The Gratitude Medal is granted to individuals who have made significant contributions to the economy, cultural development and defense of Artsakh.
Gratitude Medal was handed to the Acopian family by the President of Nagorno-Karabakh Bako Sahakyan
On November 12, 2007 the Presidential delegation visited Detroit where they were hosted by Sarah and Edgar Hagopian and Shakeh Basmajian, a member of the Executive Board of the Armenian Relief Society Central Committee, and her husband George Basmajian. Edgar Hagopian, national Co-Chair of ARMENPAC, the Armenian Political Action Committee and Chair of Great Lakes Regional Council, greeted the entourage upon their morning arrival. The first stop in Detroit was St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church where a luncheon with the Parish Council was hosted by Der Daron Stepanian.
In Detroit the Presidential Delegation was hosted by Sarah and Edgar Hagopian and Shakeh Basmajian
The next stop was the Alex and Marie Manoogian School, where the delegation was entertained with a touching performance by the K-12 students who, dressed in uniforms and full of enthusiasm, sang Mer Hyrenig. The President then visited St. John Armenian Apostolic Church where he was given a guided tour by Der Diran Papazian.
A highlight of the visit was President Sahakyan’s meeting with Congressman Joe Knollenberg, Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. He thanked the Congressman for his unfailing support and for the six million dollars in aid allocated in the 2008 budget by the House of Representatives for Nagorno-Karabakh. Congressman Knollenberg questioned the President extensively on the state of affairs, as well as needs of Nagorno-Karabakh. President Sahakyan indicated that several of the opposition parties had pooled their support for him which guaranteed his election. Asked to tell his secret, the President replied, “everyone understands that the needs of the country surpass partisan politics and we are united in our objectives.”
The President was hosted for dinner at the elegant Basmajian residence where many supporters, including Professor Hayg Oshagan, Chairman of the Central Committee of the ARF, greeted the delegation. The President took a few moments to acknowledge and honor John Kchikian, a great benefactor of Nagorno-Karabakh, particularly during the war and after. John passed away this past year; the President personally awarded the Gratitude Medal to his widow, Sima and son, Eric who were present at the event.
After dinner, Raffi Festekjian, Chairman of Armenia Fund Board of Directors, showed a brief video “Water Works” which called for fulfilling the “Armenian Dream” — accomplishing an economically stable and competitive nation where dreams and ambitions are realized. He also talked about the achievements of Armenia Fund, the pressing needs of the rural communities and how the funds raised through the Thanksgiving Telethon will be directed toward revitalizing some of the most underserved rural areas in Armenia and Karabakh.
On November 13, 2007, the tri-city visit was concluded in Boston where Armenia Fund USA, in collaboration with the Armenian Assembly and the Armenian National Committee, organized a presidential reception at the National Heritage Museum where Armenian students led by Armen Yerevanian and George Barmakian, as well as such prominent representatives of Boston Armenian-American community as Sharistan Melkonian, Anthony Barsamian, Carolyn Mugar and Jirair Haroutounian welcomed the President. Meetings were also held with representatives of Knights of Vartan, as well as State House Representatives Peter Koutoujian and Rachel Kaprielian. After a warm welcome, President Sahakyan discussed a number of issues referring to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the need to be united with the Armenian Diaspora in reaching that objective.
President Sahakyan and his delegation left for Los Angeles on November 14 to be part of the Thanksgiving Telethon to be aired throughout the world on November 22, 2007.
Armenia Fund USA would like to acknowledge and thank all participants and contributors to this event for their hospitality, generosity and support.
ABOUT ARMENIA FUND USA: founded in 1992, was
one of the first of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 19 international affiliates and serves constituents in all states east of the Mississippi.
As a non-profit, non-governmental, nonsectarian organization,
the Fund represents all Armenian constituents. Armenia Fund USA
is the largest contributor among the 19 international affiliates
– supporting strategic infrastructure projects in Armenia and
Karabakh. The Fund has adopted a policy to go “Beyond Bricks and
Mortar” to provide sustainability for projects it sponsors.
To learn more about Armenia Fund USA, please visit
our website at
or call us at 212-689-5307.
Armenia Fund USA
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 301
New York, NY 10038