Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian welcomes new US citizens.

Welcome Reception for New Citizens at Armenian Heritage Park


BOSTON — The welcome reception for new citizens, their families and friends at Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, Boston was held under sunny skies, during an otherwise rain soaked week, on Thursday, September 21.

The Anna and Noubar Afeyan Endowed Fund of Armenian Heritage Park supports the annual Welcome Reception for New Citizens at the Park following the Naturalization Ceremony at Faneuil Hall.

“The welcome reception contributes decisively to Heritage Park’s intent to celebrate the immigrant experience and its core mission of inclusion to come together on common ground,” said Armine Afeyan, founding chair of the 2015 welcome reception.

Following the Naturalization Ceremony, the Dixieland jazz band, Riverboat Stompers, led the new citizens, their families and friends through Faneuil Hall Marketplace to Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway.

At the park, American flags, flying in the warm breeze, dotted the perimeter of the Park. Bouquets of red, white and blue balloons tied to each bench surrounding the labyrinth added to the celebratory festivities. The spirited and energetic music of Black Sea Salsa, the 12-piece band led by Dan Teager, filled the air with many of his original compositions.

As each new citizen arrived, the fourth grade students and their teachers from the Boston Public School’s Eliot Innovation School in the North End joined the Friends of Heritage Park to warmly welcome the newly naturalized citizens with rousing applause and cheers of congratulations. Each New Citizen received a flashing light star. Friends of Christopher Columbus Park and residents from the North End and Rowes Wharf were among the Friends extending congratulations.

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Soon all were meeting, greeting and enjoying dessert while the leadership of several partnering organizations presented each new citizen with a gift bag. Among the gifts were a one-year family membership to the Museum of Fine Arts, free admission to programs at the Old State House from the Bostonian Society.

A notable guest at the program was Robert Love, who was a guest of Dr. Nathaniel Sheidley, executive director of The Bostonian Society / Old State House. Love is a Revolutionary figure who between 1760 and 1770, served the Town of Boston by documenting individuals newly arrived from abroad.  Robert Love was played by Graeme Marsden, who is himself an immigrant to the United States.

Judge Indira Talwani, the presiding judge during the Naturalization Ceremony at Faneuil Hall, offered a thoughtful and heartfelt welcome during the brief program. Talwani was introduced by Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, who during his welcome commented that, “America’s story is an unfinished book. We are constantly adding chapters – not by one author, but by a chorus of them…Today remind us that America is still the sum of all her parts.”

Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Foundation of New York, offered the welcome during the inaugural Welcome Reception in 2015. Judge Rya Zobel presided over the Naturalization Ceremony at Faneuil Hall and offered the welcome in 2016. Since its inception, Zobel continues to be very much a part in the planning of the day of welcome and celebration.

Upcoming events at the park include two HUBweek programs in October. On Tuesday, October 10, Reducing & Managing Stress: Walking the Labyrinth and Wednesday, October 11 Geometry as Public Art: Celebrating the Immigrant Experience. For details on both and to RSVP, visit HUBweek.org.

For further information about the Park, visit ArmenianHeritagePark.org or email hello@ArmenianHeritagePark.org

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