GLENDALE — On the weekend of May 18-20, the Armenian Bar Association (ABA) hosted its 23rd Annual Meeting at the Glendale Hilton. The weekend was highlighted by the presentation of the coveted Hrant Dink Freedom of Speech Award to Edik Baghdasaryan, editor-in- chief of Hetq.am, a forum for investigative reporting of issues dealing with democracy and justice in Armenia.
The weekend also included the election and swearing in ceremony of the association’s Board of Governors. Criminal defense attorney Garo B. Ghazarian of Glendale was selected by unanimous vote by the entire board as the association’s new chairman. In addition to his federal and state litigation-based law practice, Ghazarian also serves as dean of the People’s College of Law in Los Angeles and as a civil service commissioner for the City of Glendale. Among numerous television and radio appearances as an expert legal commentator, Ghazarian has been interviewed on “Larry King Live” and shared his expertise with Jane Vellez-Mitchell on her program concerning current legal issues.
“I am humbled and very honored for the opportunity to serve as chair of the Armenian Bar Association and I pledge to continue to ful- fill the vision of Raffi K. Hovannisian, the founder of our organization, in assisting those in need, of helping to establish the rule of law in Armenia and protecting the legal rights of Armenians everywhere,” said Ghazarian at a sold-out gala banquet held on May 19, at the Armenian Society of Los Angeles Banquet Hall.
Ghazarian expressed further gratitude when he stated, “I wish to thank immediate Past Chair Edvin Minassian for his exemplary and tireless service of the last two years, with whom I was honored to serve as vice chair of the bar the last two terms and whose insight and wisdom I will continue to seek and employ.” Ghazarian also noted the continued service on the Board of Governors of Minassian’s prede- cessor, Sonya Nersessian, and vowed to build upon the legacy of these two exceptional past chairs and their service to the bar and the Armenian communities of the world and to Armenia these past four years. Ghazarian con- cluded his remarks by stating that, “each of the 17 board members is capable of leading the Armenian Bar, and though I may be the face of the bar during my tenure as chair, the leaders of the bar remain, as they always have been, each one of my fellow colleagues and friends on the Board of Governors.”
Joining Ghazarian on the Executive Committee of the board are: Vice Chair (West Coast) Armen K. Hovannisian of Los Angeles, Vice Chair (East Coast) Harry Dickranian of Montreal, Canada, Treasurer Sara Bedirian of Beverly Hills and Secretary Hovanes Margarian of Sherman Oaks. Minassian will continue to serve the Executive Committee of the board as its chair ex-officio.
The general membership in attendance at the conference also filled five vacancies on the board by voting in favor of the following long- standing members: Judge Amy Hoogasian (US Immigration Judge, San Francisco), Assistant United States Attorney John Lulejian (Los Angeles), Margarian (Sherman Oaks), Sonya