By Alin Gregorian
LOS ANGELES — The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 12th annual Telethon, broadcast live from Los Angeles on November 26, raised $15.8 million.
Telethon 2009’s theme was “Our Shushi,” reflecting the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s strategic objective of helping rebuild the historic Armenian city, in Artsakh. The telethon was equally dedicated to the fund’s ongoing Rural Development Program, which revitalizes scores of towns and villages throughout Armenia and Artsakh, with particular emphasis on border communities.
Telethon 2009 featured many performances, as well as short films on Shushi and the Rural Development Program, and appearances by a legion of special guests, including Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund; Ara Harutunian, prime minister of Nagorno Karabagh; Archbishop Pargev Mardirossian, primate of the Diocese of Artsakh; David Babayan, press secretary of the president of Nagorno Karabagh; Robert Avetisyan, the republic’s permanent representative to the United States, and several Armenian-American community leaders and benefactors.
The donations will finance a slew of infrastructure and community-development projects in Shushi. Plans include the construction or renovation of roads, schools, water networks, residential complexes, and various cultural and community institutions. Funds raised in the course of 2009 will also continue to benefit the Rural Development Program, with initiatives ranging from new gas and water pipelines to new or restored schools and farming-assistance programs.
“This telethon is yet another testament to the unity of the Armenian people,” said Vardanyan in his address during the event. “Today, as with previous telethons, we announce the results of fundraising activities organized by various Hayastan All-Armenian Fund affiliates throughout the year. The raised funds will help us address issues of national importance.”
“I would like to express my gratitude to all of our benefactors,” Vardanyan continued. “Without your invaluable support, the fund’s work will simply be impossible. It is your trust that enables us to move forward, rebuild our homeland stone by stone, and help shape a better future for our children.”