Armenian Genocide Centennial Volunteers Applauded in Nation’s Capital
By Florence Avakian
WASHINGTON — It was both an appreciative occasion and one filled with reflection for the more than 2,500 Armenians and non-Armenians from all parts of America who selflessly brought their efforts to the three-day monumental activities of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Washington D.C. last May.
The Dinner of Appreciation, dedicated to the volunteers of Greater Washington and organized by the Genocide Centennial Steering Committee, took place on September 3 at Maggiano’s Restaurant in Chevy Chase, Md. Many members of the Steering Committee were present, including Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy , Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, Dr. Noubar Afeyan (chairman) and Jean-Jacques Hajjar (operating leader, Boston). Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese (CA) and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, were absent due to health reasons.
Also attending and instrumental in the Centennial preparations were the First Secretary of the Embassy of Armenia Karen Israyelian, the Armenian National Committee Executive Director Aram Hamparian, and the Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.
“This is a testament to your dedication and to your drive for making this event a memorable one. You rose up to the challenge to make this event unique,” said Master of Ceremonies J.J. Hajjar, in his welcoming remarks. “Your hardship has been rewarded by a world class event that was enjoyed and relished by thousands of participants.” A volunteer himself from Boston, Hajjar revealed that he had been motivated by his family’s wise teachings, and a slogan from the Peace Corps: “This is the toughest job you will ever love.” He then voiced the hopes of many asking, “Can it be done again next year?”