LONDON — Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II bestowed upon a member of the Armenian Church in the UK, Vartan Ouzounian, the St. Nerses Shnorhali medal with an encyclical for his many years of service to the Armenian Church and Armenian people, both in the Motherland and the diaspora.
This is the first time that someone in the UK has received the St. Nerses Shnorhali medal.
Born in Syria, Ouzounian was brought up and educated with the Armenian spirit. At an early age he realized the importance of preserving the national identity and since his student years, Ouzounian has been actively involved in the national and spiritual life of Armenian communities.
Ouzounian was active in the Lebanese-Armenian community. While at the AGBU Hovagimian Manougian Secondary School in Beirut, he set up an annual intercollegiate cultural festival which continued for more than two decades. Over the years it brought together Armenian students from all political factions under a cultural umbrella and established a level of friendship and co-operation between them not seen in the past.
Ouzounian continued his efforts in favor of the prosperity of the Armenian community in Ethiopia and Great Britain, organizing cultural, social and sporting events. He made great contributions to the activities of the AGBU, the Tekeyan Cultural Association in London, the ADL and other national institutions.
Ouzounian is one of the founders and the secretary of the Tekeyan Trust in London (TTL), which supports Diaspora-Armenia cooperation by bringing theatrical groups, dancers, musicians and other artists from Armenia to the UK for performances as well as by organizing various exhibitions and lectures. The TTL included the Institute of Armenian Music, Arax Folk Dance group, which continued to perform for seven years, and Erebouni, the biweekly and then monthly paper in London, which was printed for more than 15 years.