DEVON, Pa.—On March 11, the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of Eastern United States organized a gathering at the residence of Mark and Ani Semerjian in the Philadelphia area. Community members were familiarized with the current work of the Hamazkayin Eastern Region. The evening concluded with a fundraiser to support the work of the organization.
Hamazkayin Central Executive member Hrair Baronian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee members Hovsep Avakian and Ara Chalian, and members of the Hamazkayin Eastern Regional Executive Arevik Caprielian (chair), Anny Aghajanian (secretary), Kari Ghezarian (treasurer), and Hasmig Aprahamian (vice chair) were present at the event. Father Nerses Manoogian of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia was also present.
Caprielian, together with Aprahamian, gave a presentation on the significance of Hamazkayin in the development of Armenian cultural and educational life. Caprielian focused on the organization’s historical importance, purpose and achievements. Hamazkayin was founded in the Diaspora by forward-looking patriots and intellectuals with the aim of preserving the Armenian identity through its rich culture in the communities of Armenian Genocide survivors that had been dispersed, noted Caprielian. For nearly 90 years the organization continues its work taking into account the current needs of Armenian communities.
Caprielian and Aprahamian spoke about initiatives such as the Hamazkayin Summer Forum held in Armenia and Artsakh, and the annual four-day ArtLinks arts retreat in North America. ArtLinks is a tri-regional initiative, organized and sponsored by the Hamazkayin executives of the Eastern and Western U.S., and Canada regions. This is the third consecutive year ArtLinks is being held. The program was initiated by the Eastern regional executive. The inaugural event was held on the East coast in 2015. The following year, the program was held in Canada. This year it will take place in California. (For more information, visit http://www.hamazkayin.com/en/artlinks-2017)
Before delving into a discussion of the work of Hamazkayin, Caprielian had invited notable guests to take the floor and share their remarks. Among the speakers were ARF Eastern Region Central Committee representative Unger Hovsep Avakian, who emphasized the importance of keeping language, culture, and identity alive. He said it is of utmost importance to support and develop all means of perpetuating Armenian culture and education, and noted the pivotal role Hamazkayin plays in this sphere.
Unger Ara Chalian, member of the ARF Central committee who is also an active member of the Philadelphia Armenian community, said the education of the youth is of paramount importance, a massive endeavor that requires dedication and financial resources. He underscored that Armenian education remains a necessity.
Hairenik Weekly Editor Zaven Torikian delivered the closing remarks. He echoed the words of Levon Shant and Nigol Aghpalian, and reminded the guests of the current challenges facing the Armenian nation.
The evening also included a reception, dinner, as well as a musical program. Karine Andonian sang Armenian songs, while members of the Philadelphia Hamazkayin “Meghry” dance group performed Armenian dances.
The Hamazkayin Eastern Region is comprised of eight chapters: New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Providence, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Detroit.