CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Knights and Daughters of Vartan held their 77th Grand Convocation August 8 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, hosted by Ararat Lodge and Arpie Otyag (lodge). There was a full program of events and festivities attended by member Knights and Daughters from around the country, culminating in the election of its 99th Grand Council.
The events began Wednesday morning with a bus tour of some of the Armenian cultural institutions in the Boston area, including the Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF) in Arlington, the Armenian Museum of America (ALMA) in Watertown, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) in Belmont, and the Armenian Heritage Park in downtown Boston. The tour was led by former Commander Jack Medzorian and historian Aram Arkun. Talks were given by staff or leaders of each institution at each site, including Heritage Park architect Donald Tellalian, ACF Board of Trustees President Robert Mirak, ALMA Executive Director Berj Chekijian and Curator Gary Lind-Sinanian, and NAASR Director of Academic Affairs Marc Mamigonian and Library Curator Ani Babaian. A reception was held that evening in the Hyatt hosted by the Grand Commander and Grand Matron.
A display about some of the activities of the Knights, including programs in Armenia, was set up in the hotel, and paintings by various Armenian artists were available for sale.
On August 10, workshops were held in various rooms of the hotel. Speakers included Hirant Gulian on Turkish Armenian issues, and Dr. Nora Nercessian, speaking on Armenian orphans and the enormous Near East Relief orphanage of Gyumri. In addition, former Grand Matron Lisa Kradjian spoke on the role of fedayin women. In the evening, a dinner with Armenian music was held at Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cambridge.
On August 11, meetings for the Grand Convocation took place. The Daughters of Vartan organized a luncheon with remarks from Grand Matron Sona Manuelian, a presentation by playwright Joyce Van Dyke, and Best Newsletter of the Year awards to Betty Orsi (Worcester chapter), Susan Nemet (San Francisco chapter) and Hasmik Daghlyan (Bayside NY chapter, with Sylvia Sanossian accepting on her behalf).
The day concluded with a banquet at the hotel with close to 350 guests. The Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston presented a special performance, and Sheriff Peter Koutoujian made some rousing remarks. More guests came after 9 pm to dance to the Armenian music of Elie Berberian, from Montreal, Canada. Proceeds from the dance will be allocated to support the construction of the new Hye Point Church in Haverhill, Mass.