Tekeyan Centre Fund Armenia Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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YEREVAN — On September 10, Tekeyan Centre solemnly celebrated the 20th anniversary of its foundation. The Centre welcomed more than 200 guests, amongst who prominent officials, art and science workers, benefactors, friends and supporters from Armenia, Karabagh and the diaspora.

Tekeyan Centre was the dream of Armenians all over the world, and today it is a reality. But the path to success was thorny. In 1991, Armenia was struggling for its independence and it was forced to be at war. Most of the country was an area of a disastrous earthquake. Art and literature, education and science were striving to survive. Just at this very moment London Tekeyan Trust (LTT) made a decision to establish a cultural centre in the Motherland and to contribute to the preservation of the national identity. To overcome the obstacles and to succeed, LTT initiated an unprecedented fundraising campaign involving Tekeyan Cultural Association of United States and Canada, Tekeyan devotees, Garo Krikorian, Haigashen Ouzounian, Vartan Ouzounian, Angele

Tovmassian, Edmond Azadian and many others significantly contributed to this patriotic initiative both morally and financially. In 1997 the official opening of Tekeyan Centre took place. In 2001 Tekeyan Centre LLC was renamed the Tekeyan Centre Fund.

On the occasion of its 20th anniversary Tekeyan Centre hosted Armenians from various corners of the world. It was heartening to see the assemblage of Tekeyan devotees gathered at Tekeyan Centre in the Motherland to share the common happiness and to pay tribute to the individuals whose great efforts, today, in the heart of Yerevan, made it possible for Tekeyan members to enjoy the hospitality of the cultural centre.

The guests were greeted at Tekeyan Centre with classical music of Arno Babajanian performed by the Estrada-Symphony Orchestra of the Public Radio of Armenia conducted by composer Yervand Yerznkatsyan. The event was opened by Bishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, the head of Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin Publishing Centre who offered the invocation and congratulatory message.

Vartan Ouzounian, the chair of Tekeyan Centre Fund and the Honorary Secretary of London Tekeyan Trust, continued the official ceremony. In his speech, Ouzounian warmly congratulated all those present on the great occasion and expressed his deepest gratitude to all the benefactors and supporters both from Armenia and the diaspora who had contributed to the establishment of the fund. The chair described the history of the fund and its great achievements along with the difficulties. Now the fund successfully accomplishes purposes set forth in its statute. For two years it has been patronizing five Vahan Tekeyan Schools in Armenia and Artsakh making strong Tekeyan family ties. Due to its educational, cultural, sports and various other projects, the Fund turns the dull routine of students into inspiration and excitement and provokes them to achieve better results at school. Ouzounian also spoke about the further projects of the Fund amongst which are “The Diaspora Archives Library” in cooperation with the Ministry of Diaspora of and “Tekeyan Park,” with the help of Yerevan Municipality.

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Then Edmond Azadian, vice president of Central Board of USA/Canada, was invited to the podium to present his congratulatory remarks. Azadian characterized Tekeyan Centre as the symbol of unity and preservation of national heritage. Azadian retraced the early actions of TCA USA/Canada for the benefits of Tekeyan Centre and praised Vartan Ouzounian’s services to the Fund.

Among the people who spoke at the official ceremony of the 20th anniversary were also government officials, Gegham Gharibjanyan and Vazgen Manukyan, as well as Papken Megerian, member of Tekeyan USA and Canada, the Director of Tekeyan Centre Fund Armen Tsulikyan and Sylva Krikorian, the chairperson of London Tekeyan Trust, member of Board of Trustees of TCF and the daughter of Sevan and Garo Krikorian. Sylva Krikorian detailed the idea of Tekeyan Centre, which was too hard to realize. And it became possible due to the efforts of one person — Vartan Ouzounian, who took the responsibility for the construction of Tekeyan Centre. He sacrificed his health, his time and family to complete the project successfully. For many years acting as the fund’s chairman, Ouzounian has been keeping the activity of the fund under his everyday control and serving for its prosperity. On behalf of LTT and TCA, Sylva Krikorian thanked the fund’s chairman and other supporters for their kind deeds.

In appreciation for their long services and commitments to the Armenian Community and for strengthening ties between the Motherland and the diaspora, Gegham Gharibjanyan, the head of staff of Republic of Armenia National Assembly, Vazgen Manukyan, the head of the Public Committee of Republic of Armenia, Vartan Ouzounian, the Chairman of Tekeyan Centre Fund and Azadian received letters of commendation and medals of Tekeyan Centre Fund.

The official part of the event was followed by a cultural program. The entertainment portion of the program was provided by Leyla Saribekian and Arsen Grigorian. The Karin folk group and Arevner youth ensemble as well as talented Tekeyan schoolchildren from Karbi, Yerevan, Stepanavan and Berdzor made a great impression on the audience. Sargis Najaryan recited some poetry by Vahan Tekeyan, Avetik Isahakian, Hamo Sahian and Panos Terlemezyin.

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of Tekeyan Centre continued on the following day, September 11. A group of Diaspora Armenians including the Trustees of Tekeyan Centre Fund left for Yeghegnadzor to take part in the consecration of the Holy Cross Church. Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and Bishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, the head of Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin Publishing Center, received the Tekeyan delegation. At the meeting they underlined the importance of Tekeyan Centre and Tekeyan members in preserving and promoting the Armenian culture, education and science. They also highly appreciated the efforts of Tekeyan devotees aimed at strengthening the Armenia- Diaspora bridge. On the same evening an official banquet was held at Tekeyan Centre; it completed the series of events taking place on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Tekeyan Centre.