New Armenagan-ADL Chapter Opens in Vanadzor

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By Inga Petrosyan

VANADZOR, Armenia — The number of Armenagan-Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) chapters has increased by one. On Monday, November 8, a new Armenagan- ADL chapter, named for Parounag Tomassian, one of the party’s pioneers, was founded here.

Gayane Muradyan, a member of the Armenagan-ADL Executive Committee and ADLWorld Council, explained, “Our chapters are usually named after the party’s highly merited individuals. Parounag Tomassian was one of the great ADL leaders.”

Also present at the opening and the swearing-in ceremony of the recruits was benefactor Papken Megerian, co-chairman of the ADL District Committee of USA and Canada and vice chairman of the Philadelphia chapter of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA), who had come to Armenia.

“I’m glad I’m here to attend the founding of this chapter,” said Megerian, who likewise was present at the recent opening of the Armenagan-ADL chapter in the city of Martuni and accepted the oath sworn to by the recruits.

Papken Megerian, seated, center, with the new members

Prior to the chapter’s opening, Muradyan, Megerian and Seyran Gharibyan, member of the ADL Executive Committee, and chairman of the Vanadzor chapter, which has already been in operation for over a year, met with supporters. Muradyan gave a brief presentation on the party’s history and acquainted the attendees with the Armenagan-ADL programs and activity. “We have programs, which are aimed at the reestablishment of ties between Armenia and the diaspora. We also have long-term plans for economic development,” she said. “We are supporters of reforms, and we have reform programs pertaining to different spheres,” Muradyan noted.

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The attendees addressed questions of interest to the members of the party and decided to join the party’s ranks only after receiving answers to their questions. It was interesting that conservative individuals, who had never been inclined toward joining any political party, had come to the meeting; however, after conversing with the Armenagan-ADL members, they changed their minds and joined the party. The Parounag Tomassian Chapter was thus formed. Fifteen of the attendees were accepted into the party’s ranks immediately, and they became full members of the newly opened chapter. A physicist named Armine Vanyan was elected chairman of the chapter. Megerian congratulated the members, who, in turn, congratulated him on receiving Armenian citizenship and his passport a few days earlier.

“I’m glad that I had the honor of receiving the oath sworn to by 15 newly signed-up members. We are ready to assist so that this chapter may prosper. This time, I’ve come to Armenia with my wife Anahid. We visit Armenia a few times a year, and I’m certain that we will be more helpful to the Mother See, the party and the authorities of our homeland in the future,” added Megerian.

The Parounag Tomassian Chapter is the third Armenagan-ADL chapter in Vanadzor. The party has four chapters in the region of Lori, three of which are in Vanadzor, while the fourth is in Stepanavan. Muradyan informed that the four chapters in the Lori region will be developed into a district framework at the end of November.

On Monday, Megerian and the other Armenagan-ADL members were also in the areas envisaged for the offices of the regional executive committee of the Lori region and the three Vanadzor chapters. Two offices are to be situated in Vanadzor, albeit in different places, where the number of Armenagan-ADL members is successively increasing. With the transfer of Seyran Gharibyan, the Vanadzor chapter alone has 50 members.

Meeting Governor of Lori Region

The same day, the Armenagan-ADL representatives met Aram Kocharian, the governor of Lori region, in the regional administrative building. They discussed various issues. Megerian was particularly concerned about the following matter. In 2001, he purchased an office in Building #8 on Tigran Mets Boulevard in Vanadzor and donated it to the Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia. This year, he received alarming news that ADL of Armenia Chairman Harutiun Arakelyan was preparing to sell the office purchased with his donation. The benefactor wrote a letter to the governor of Lori region, stating his concern and requesting that such a transaction not be allowed. Apparently, the letter didn’t reach its destination. By means of a series of telephone calls, Kocharian attempted to ascertain what had happened. “To whom have they sold it? Harut did it. Well, in fact, they’ve committed an impropriety. How have they taken charge of the party’s common property by themselves?”

Papken Megerian, left, with the governor of Lori Province, who was making phone calls to find out about the ADL property in Vanadzor.

After phoning a few individuals, the governor said to Papken Megerian, “Yes, they have sold it.” The regional governor promised to make recommendations in order to rectify the situation: “If I can do anything, I’ll assist you. I’m a defender of the truth. If Mr. Megerian has donated the office to the party, individuals don’t have the right to dispose of or sell it. That is the party’s common property.”

Megerian and the governor also spoke about other issues. Kocharian provided concise information about the region’s economic situation and long-range plans for its development. Megerian was to present the plans for the economic development of the Lori region at the TCA convention in Montreal. The spheres, in which the diasporan Armenian businessmen will possibly make investments, may perhaps be delineated at that very time. During this conversation, the governor noted, “Long-term investments must be made, so that new workplaces can be opened; furthermore, the economy can’t be developed through charitable programs.” Following the governor’s statement, Megerian made a fitting observation: “First, I have to be sure for my work and have guarantees.” Indeed, if we want the homeland-Diaspora bridge to be sturdy, then the native Armenians must be reliable partners. The governor also noted: “We have instructions from the president of the republic to create a trustworthy and secure environment for our compatriots, so that one who comes from the Diaspora understands that his investments are not jeopardized. My job is precisely that; I must be the guarantor of that trustworthy environment.”

(Translated by Aris G. Sevag)