AYF Hosts Town Hall Meeting with Vahan Hovannesian
Los Angeles- The Armenian Youth Federation of the Western United States was pleased to welcome 2008 Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian to Ferrahian High School on Sunday to meet with Armenian-American youth and answer questions they had regarding current issues affecting Armenia as well as the Diaspora.
In his opening remarks Mr. Hovannesian emphasized that meeting with the youth was the most valuable meeting he had during his weeklong visit to the United States, simply because the youth are the future of our nation. Hovannesian, who is currently the Vice Chairman of the Armenian National Assembly, as well as an ARF Bureau member, addresses a crowd of over 150 youth in an unprecedented discussion session.
“For the first time, we have an Armenian presidential candidate who has recognized the importance of the Diaspora, especially the youth, and who has taken the time to talk to them” noted attendee Talar Boyajian.
During the 2 hour gathering AYF Central Executive member Tro Krikorian posed questions to Mr. Hovannesian, submitted by AYF members in advance. Audience members were also given an opportunity to submit additional questions on the spot. The topics addressed were on a broad range of issues, from the new laws pertaining to dual citizenship, to corruption in Armenian government, to the Karabagh peace process.
“Continually engaging our youth and our student community to learn more, ask more and demand more from our leadership in Armenia is one way we can secure a brighter future for our homeland” asserted AYF Central Executive Chairman Caspar Jivalagian. “We appreciate the foresight shown by Mr. Hovannesian in addressing concerns of the youth. Even though we will not be able to directly participate in the upcoming presidential elections, we will certainly continue to concern ourselves with the issues that affect Armenians and the platforms of all potential leadership candidates” continued Jivalagian.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has grown to become the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization; with chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world. Inspired by our past and motivated by the needs of the future, the AYF actively strives to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of all Armenian youth.
BEVERYLY HILLS, CA — In response to an event hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in Beverly Hills, the Armenian Youth Federation-Western Region (AYF-WR) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Shant Student Association joined Jewcy Media in protesting ADL National Director Abraham Foxman for his continued Armenian Genocide denial. For many years, the ADL, working on behalf of the Turkish government, has refused to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and even lobbied on behalf of the Government of Turkey to prevent American governmental legislation affirming the Armenian Genocide.
Protesters held signs calling out Foxman and in statements read to the public, urged the ADL to return to its core humanitarian values in which the organization professes. Those attending the ADL event saw the protesters and signs as they entered the hotel. Several passersby asked about the protest and voiced their disagreement with Foxman.
Braving the bitter cold evening to join the protesters was Ghazaros Kademian, a 100 year old survivor of the Armenian Genocide. In a statement read by his family, he spoke about his family’s loss during the genocide and called on the US Government to swiftly adopt H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide resolution.
Joey Kurtzman, Executive Editor of Jewcy Media, highlighted the growing awareness among the Jewish community regarding the ADL’s hypocritical stance on the Armenian Genocide and the dismay Foxman’s genocide denial is causing within the community. Jewcy Media is an online, progressive Jewish community magazine and forum.
Speaking on behalf of the AYF-WR, Arek Santikian pointed to a history of the ADL posted on its website in which the ADL professes to have learned in the 1920s that “the welfare of any one minority was intertwined with the welfare of all,” and urged today’s ADL leaders to reacquaint themselves with this lesson from their own past.
This year, under pressure from the New England community, the ADL issued a highly ambiguous statement regarding the Armenian genocide. It stated that the “consequences” of events in Turkey were “tantamount to genocide.” This duplicitous statement sidestepped the legal definition of genocide by avoiding any language that would imply intent, a critical part of the 1948 UN Genocide treaty.
In the same statement, the ADL reiterated its opposition to H.Res.106, calling it “a counterproductive diversion.” The ADL then apologized to the Prime Minister of Turkey for having put his government “in a difficult position,” expressing its “sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey.” No apology has been offered to date to Armenian Genocide survivors and their heirs.
Summarizing the ironic danger posed by Foxman’s Armenian Genocide denial, Santikian noted, “his denial is a betrayal not only of the Jewish community, but is counterproductive to the ADL’s mission as his denial is empowering the next generation of Holocaust deniers who now see Foxman as a role model.”