The Armenian Relief Society Javakhk Fund Committee continues to raise awareness and educate the community about the history and current socioeconomic needs of the Javakhk region. On Thursday, March 31, 2016, the committee organized a public forum, “Javakhk: Past and Present,” at St. Gregory Armenian Catholic Church Hall in Glendale.
Committee member, Christine Hovnanian, presented welcoming remarks and thanked attendees for providing their moral and financial support for Armenians in Javakhk.
Thereafter, Committee Chairperson Lena Bozoyan discussed the difficulties and challenges faced by Javakhk Armenians. She stated, “Within the best of its capabilities and through the support of its sponsors and volunteers, the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee has succeeded in instilling hope in our compatriots in Javakhk by ensuring them that the Armenian communities in the Diaspora are standing in solidarity with them and are working to help meet their needs.” Bozoyan also shared that despite political, cultural, and economic discrimination inflicted upon the Armenians by the Georgian government, the ARS Javakhk Fund has provided assistance in the health, youth, educational, social and cultural spheres through various programs.
After the biography of the evening’s speaker was presented, John Kossakian, Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School and Marie Cabayan Elementary School Principal and community activist, was welcomed to deliver his lecture.
Kossakian’s lecture incorporated a visual presentation with 300 slides, covering the history, demographics, and present day situation of Javakhk. He explained that Javakhk is of great strategic importance in the South Caucasus region, since it borders the countries of Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey. He emphasized that there is a danger that one day Javakhk can be depleted of its ethnic Armenian population because of unemployment enticed emigration. Kossakian stated, “In addition to the Republic of Armenia, there are two Armenian historic regions, Artsakh and Javakhk, which still have an indigenous Armenian population.” In his concluding remarks, Kossakian encouraged all Armenians to prioritize Javakhk as a region worthy of their moral and financial assistance. One suggested means of assistance is to establish employment opportunities in the region in an effort to deter youth in the region from emigrating.
Following the presentation, a question and answer session was held.
The program concluded with Nune Avedissian, television host and artist, reciting works by famous Armenian poet Vahan Derian, native son of Javakhk, invoking a sense of patriotism among the audience.
The evening ended with encouragement to attendees to visit Javakhk and a reminder of the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee’s 16th Annual Gala, which will be held on Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. aboard the Eternity Yacht in Newport Beach, Calif. The ARS Regional Headquarters can be contacted at (818) 500-1343 for additional information regarding this upcoming event.
The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 26 chapters and more than 1,200 members in four western states. The ARS operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For further information or to make a donation, please visit www.arswestusa.org or mail your check to: ARS Javakhk Fund, 517 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, CA 91202-2812.