AGBU Western District Hosts Former Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanian

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AGBUOskanian-AGBU-Pasadena

PASADENA, Calif. — On Friday, October 10, 2014, AGBU Pasadena welcomed Vartan Oskanian, the former foreign minister of the Republic of Armenia and a current member of the Armenian Parliament for a talk entitled, “Armenia’s Hopes and Challenges, Foreign and Domestic.”

The evening was organized by the AGBU Asbeds, under the auspices of the AGBU Western District Committee, and hosted by Dr. Guiragos Minassian. The Asbeds’ mission is to create a platform for forward-thinking Armenians to gather and discuss current issues concerning Armenian Americans and to participate in various cultural, social and philanthropic activities aimed at enriching the larger Armenian community.

The event, the first of three events planned by the Western District to commemorate the hundreth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, took place at the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Cultural Center Theater in Pasadena, California. Among the topics Oskanian discussed was the role of the diaspora in helping Armenia grow as a democratic nation. His talk concluded with a question-and-answer session and the distribution of his 2009 book, Speaking to Be Heard: A Decade of Speeches, a collection of speeches delivered during his tenure as foreign minister of the Republic of Armenia from 1998 to 2008.

Krekor Karaguezian, chairman of the AGBU Western District Committee, praised the speaker as a prominent statesman, saying: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Mr. Oskanian to his AGBU home and listen to his wise and engaging analysis of the Armenian diaspora and many other issues. Mr. Oskanian’s ability to observe, examine, and evaluate the times in which we live through the prism of the upcoming genocide anniversary makes him a fascinating union of fatherland, government and diaspora.”

Oskanian was born in Aleppo, Syria and graduated from the city’s AGBU Lazar Najarian-Calouste Gulbenkian School. He earned his bachelor’s in structural engineering from Yerevan Polytechnic Institute and went on to pursue advanced degrees at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Harvard University’s Government Studies Department and Tufts University’s Graduate School of Engineering. In 1990, Oskanian and a group of friends founded AIM (Armenian International Magazine), an independent news publication and the first of its kind in the diaspora.

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Oskanian entered Armenia’s Foreign Ministry immediately after independence and was appointed foreign minister by President Robert Kocharian in 1998. For most of his 10-year term, Oskanian headed the Nagorno-Karabagh negotiations. In 2008, he formed the Civilitas Foundation to strengthen Armenian civil society, specifically in the field of policy analysis and media. He is a member of Armenia’s National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Armenian delegation to the OSCE and NATO parliamentary assemblies.

The AGBU Asbeds is holding two more programs commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: a private reception at the Getty House honoring Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, entitled “Celebrating 100 Years of Armenian Americans in Los Angeles” on November 6, 2014 and an exhibition on the front pages of 75 newspapers from 1915 at the Skirball Center in February 2015.

The AGBU Asbeds’ mission is to create a platform for forward-thinking Armenians to gather and discuss current issues concerning Armenian Americans and to participate in various cultural, social and philanthropic activities aimed at enriching the larger Armenian community.

 

To learn more about the AGBU Western District, email westerndistrict@agbuca.org

 

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