LONDON — On May 23, at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, an official dinner reception was held to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Tekeyan Trust London (TTL) and the 40th anniversary of the London Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA).
More than 150 guests, amongst who representatives of the Armenian Church in the United Kingdom, representatives of the Armenian Embassy in London, community leaders, Tekeyan devotees from the UK, the USA, France, Switzerland, Lebanon, Cyprus, Armenia and other corners of the world, gathered to share common happiness, to enjoy a memorable evening of Armenian culture and to pay tribute to the great individuals and the founders of the TCA and the TTL.
Master of Ceremonies Tamar Minassian opened the function with congratulatory remarks and invited Rev. Shenork Baghdassarian to offer the invocation.
Vartan Ouzounian, Honorary Secretary of the Tekeyan Trust London and Chairman of the Tekeyan Centre Fund Armenia (TCF), continued the official ceremony. He extended heartfelt congratulations to all present on the two great occasions and underscored the importance of the TTL in community life. He stated that its main mission was to preserve Armenian national identity, religion, language and culture through various projects and community life activities. Ouzounian recalled vividly a few of the major cultural events organized by the TCA and the TTL: in 1985, 5 performances of the Armenian State Folk Song & Dance Ensemble at the world renowned Royal Albert Hall in London, at the Dome in Brighton and at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester; in 1989, on the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Armenia, under the auspices of the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to help children in Armenia, 21 performances of the Armenian State Dance Company all across the UK and Ireland with more than 45,000 attendees; performances of the Armenian State Choir; and staging sundry art exhibitions and concerts.
Ouzounian outlined the achievements of the TTL, mainly the Institute of Armenian Music, Arax Folk Dance Group, Erebouni biweekly, Komitas Choir and the Tekeyan Centre in Armenia and expressed his appreciation to several long-term volunteers: Dr. Antranig Zoulikian, editor for many years of Erebouni weekly, and Yertchanik Martikian, teacher and supervisor of the Arax Dance group. He dwelled upon the activity of the Tekeyan Centre Fund which sponsors five Tekeyan Schools in Armenia and Karabagh. Ouzounian concluded his speech by expressing the deepest gratitude to all Tekeyan benefactors and supporters who greatly contributed to the establishment and further development of the TCA, TTL and TCF.
Sylva Krikorian-Aharonian, Chair of the London Tekeyan Trust, was the next speaker. She briefly reviewed the history of the two London Tekeyan establishments that were founded to prevent the assimilation of Armenians. In 1975, when the London TCA was founded, the first committee members were Davit Messerlian, Manuel Keoshgerian, Norayr Kherlopian, Jirair Kevorkian, Alan Kutchukian and Sylva Krikorian. A bit later Maida Gudenian, Annie Bardakjian, Shake Chakmakdjian, Silva Shamassian,Vartan Ouzounian and Garo Arevian joined the committee. In 1979, the Tekeyan Trust was founded by Garo Krikorian, Vartan Ouzounian, Garabed Arevian, Takvor Barzankian. For four decades the London Tekeyan organizations have been supporting each other and going side by side realizing numerous projects to promote Armenian cultural heritage.