By Florence Avakian
NEW YORK — Mark Friday, May 20 on your calendars. The date marks an event sponsored by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) that celebrates both the 20th anniversary of Armenia’s independence, as well as one of the world’s greatest singers, showmen, songwriters and philanthropists, Charles Aznavour. He is also Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland, Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations in Geneva and French ambassador-at large to Armenia.
The gala tribute will take place at New York’s elegant Cipriani Wall Street venue, with a reception starting at 7 p.m., and dinner with a special program at 8 p.m. Introducing Aznavour will be singer Liza Minnelli, and master of ceremonies will be actor Eric Bogosian, both of whom are on the “Honorary Committee of Tribute to Aznavour.” Other known personalities on the committee include Sir Elton John, Celine Dion, Atom Egoyan and the ambassadors of France and Armenia to the United States and the United Nations.
The evening’s proceeds will benefit the disadvantaged elderly people of Armenia, including the Vanadzor Old Age Home in Armenia, a loving, nurturing refuge for older Armenians who have no other means of support. The Vanadzor home was started by Aznavour, who personally requested FAR to assume responsibility for its upkeep and operation.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the collaboration between Aznavour Pour L’Armenie fund and FAR. “FAR and Aznavour share the same mission of working to have Armenia become a prosperous, democratic country insuring a comfortable life for its people,” said FAR Executive Director Garnik Nanagoulian.
“I have the guts to do anything,” Aznavour said in one of this writer’s several exclusive interviews with him. And that has been the motto of his extraordinarily successful life and career. He has sold 100 million albums, composed about 1,000 songs and acted in 60 films. In addition, his philanthropic work has been prolific in helping the people of Armenia since the tragic 1988 earthquake.