Artsakh is focus of Vartanants Day event in Washington

Published: Monday March 05, 2012

NKR Rep. in U.S. Robert Avetisyan addresses event participants.

Washington - On February 12, the Knights of Vartan Ani Lodge held a successful Vartanantz Day Celebration in Keshishian Hall at Soorp Khatch Armenian Church.

Over 75 people attended the honorarium of Saint Vartan Mamigonian, who died in the battle of Avaryar in 451 A.D.

This year's event focused on the housing conditions, transportation, and water and sanitation infrastructure in Artsakh. The event featured Robert Avetisyan, Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to the United States of America. Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian presided and gave the opening invocation. Ani Lodge Secretary Taniel Koushakjian served as Master of Ceremonies. The Daughters of Vartan Dikranouhi Otyag, led by Matron Marge Satian, provided the hors d'oeuvre and refreshments to support the event.

Ani Lodge Commander Jacob Bournazian welcomed the audience and spoke eloquently about the Knights of Vartan mission, the perseverance of the Armenian spirit and the challenges facing the Diaspora and the homeland today. "Vartanantz Day is a time to commemorate the heroic efforts of our ancestors who fought to preserve and maintain our identity," stated Bournazian. He continued, "It serves as a reminder of the power we have when we maintain our faith in ourselves as Armenians and work together as one community." Mr. Bournazian also spoke about the founding of the Ani Lodge in 1942, marking the 70 years of service to the Armenian American community in Washington, DC.

Mr. Robert Avetisyan's presentation was entitled, the freedom struggle of the Artsakh people, their current reality and challenges. He described the growth and development of Nagorno Karabakh since the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan, highlighting the installation of new roads, schools, health care and housing facilities. "The first 20 years of Artsakh's independence have shown that the tri-unity of Artsakh, Armenia and the Diaspora can bring unbelievable results," stated Avetisyan. He continued, "Today, Artsakhtsis are convinced that together 20 years later we will witness many more new achievements and victories." Mr. Avetisyan also discussed the demining efforts of HALO Trust, one of many organizations that the Ani Lodge has supported in recent years. Following the presentation, members of the audience were able to engage in a question and answer discussion on topics ranging from Azerbaijan's military provocations to water irrigation and other social welfare projects.

The Ani Lodge raised over $1,500 for the Ministry of Social Security to benefit the social welfare of the citizens of Nagorno Karabakh. In 2011, the Knights of Vartan Ani Lodge contributed funds to Mer Doon, a charity supporting young women in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, the Armenian-American Medical Association of Greater Washington, the Armenian Wellness Center in Yerevan, a humanitarian project of the Armenian-American Cultural Association, and the HALO Trust's project for removing cluster bombs and land mines on agricultural land in Artsakh.

Special thanks were given to the Soorp Khatch Parish Council and Ladies Guild members for hosting and assisting in Vartanantz Day.

Established in 1916, the Knights of Vartan (Vartanantz Asbedner) is an Armenian fraternal service organization that encourages its members to assume leadership roles in cultural, educational, religious, and charitable organizations and activities on the local, national and international level for the betterment of the Armenian nation worldwide. It is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.

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