Nazar and Artemis Nazarian

Greater New York TCA Banquet to Be Celebrated in Grand Style


By Florence Avakian

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

PARAMUS, N.J. — The anniversary of any exemplary organization is one to be remembered, but when it is one named after a legendary cultural icon, and dedicated to preserving and enhancing the culture of a people, it is one to be honored and celebrated in grand style.

The 70th anniversary banquet of the Tekeyan Cultural Associate (TCA) will take place on Saturday evening November 18, at the Terrace at Biagio’s, 299 Paramus Road, under the auspices of the Eastern Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian

For this 70th Platinum Anniversary, a number of notable features will take place, including 6 P.M. cocktails and a silent auction with valuable prizes – tickets to special events, rugs, jewelry, electronics, as well as a sumptuous dinner and live entertainment and dancing by Elie Berberian and Ensemble. Several personalities who have been associated with the organization for decades will be featured at this gala event.

Honorees will be grand benefactors of the banquet, and lifelong Tekeyan members and supporters Artemis and Nazar Nazarian, whose TCA ties have been nurtured by their families since childhood. Artemis who was born in Aleppo, Syria, and came with her family to Boston at the age of 2, learned to read and write Armenian in the Ramgavar (ADL) building. In a conversation, she related her pride in having five clergymen in her family, the most distinguished of whom was former Jerusalem Patriarch and Diocesan Primate Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan. Her uncle, Garabed Sulahian, was head of the ADL, she related.

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Nazar Nazarian, born in Beirut also has had life-long ties and service with the ADL and its cultural arm, the Tekeyan Cultural Association. The Nazarians have been long time benefactors for dozens of causes, including the Tekeyan Cultural Association, ADL, the Armenian General Benevolent Uion (AGBU), where Nazar served on the Board of Directors for many years, Armenian schools in California and Beirut, Camp Noubar, the Eastern Diocese, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, Javakhk Armenians, Echmiadzin’s Chancellary Building and Drtad Madour Chapel, Yerevan’s Radiology Center, among many others.

The banquet’s keynote speakers will be two Tekeyan and ADL leaders, Edmond Y. Azadian and Hagop Kassardjian.

A noted writer, and author of many books in Armenian and English, Azadian has been advisor from the diaspora to Armenia’s Ministry of Culture, a member of Armenia’s Academy of Sciences, and advisor to the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum in Detroit.

Frequently published in newspapers and literary magazines, he has been associated with the Armenian Mirror-Spectator for the last 50 years. He has been editor-in-chief of the daily Arev newspaper in Cairo, Egypt, assistant editor of the daily Zartonk, as well as editor of more than 21 books, and publisher of 1500 articles, reviews and essays. One of his latest publications is dedicated to Vahan Tekeyan.

Hagop Kassardjian has been a decades-long Tekeyan, ADL and AGBU leader in the Middle East and Europe. He played an important role in restarting the Zartonk daily in Beirut, as well as its Arabic language supplement. He was elected to the Lebanese Parliament twice, and led the Lebanese-Armenian friendship coalition in Parliament. In 1992, he became a member of the Tekeyan’s Founders Body, and its chairman in 2011.

The role of Master of Ceremonies will be in the capable hands of Jerry Misk, son of Tekeyan Executive Committee member Helen (nee Khourshidian) Misk. He a New York trial lawyer who has been a member of AGBU Camp Noubar for 41 uninterrupted years, as a camper, counselor and committee chairman. He recently joined TCA “to help further enrich the Armenian youth with poetry, music, art and literature.”

The Tekeyan Cultural Association was established in 1947 with the laudable goal of preserving Armenian culture and literature in the diaspora, as well as promoting cultural and educational ties with the Armenian homeland, irrespective of political and ideological differences.

It was named after one of Western Armenia’s greatest and celebrated poets Vahan Tekeyan who survived the Armenian Genocide. His acclaimed works are learned and recited by countless Armenian schoolchildren and adults worldwide.

Today, the Tekeyan Cultural Association chapters are active in sixteen countries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Republic of Armenia.

Before the TCA’s creation, there were several independent cultural associations, but Armenians were still trying to get on their feet following the Genocide. After economic and social conditions improved, the concern of the new generations turned to preserving their Armenian heritage and culture.

This tax-exempt and non-profit organization was formally established with the support of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) in 1947, and TCA chapters were founded in several countries.

In 1969, the Tekeyan Cultural Association was established in North America — the United States and Canada , with its headquarters in Watertown, Massachusetts. Today, in the U.S., TCA chapters are active in New York, Boston, Detroit, Glendale, Pasadena and Los Angeles, with groups also in Philadelphia, Chicago and Fresno. The Canadian chapters are in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

The North American groups support several activities, including theatrical, newspapers, book publications, lectures, art exhibitions, conferences, radio shows, youth groups, and also have a number of building centers. In Armenia, the chapters support five schools through the Sponsor A Teacher program, and endorse a number of cultural awards.

The TCA Greater New York Committee includes Honorary Chairman Hagop Vartivarian, Chairperson Hilda Hartounian, Vice Chairperson Diana Mkhitarian, Secretary Taleen Babayan, Treasurer Barkev Kalayjian, and members Harout Chatmajian, Carmen Gulbenkian, Ani Hovanessian, Vartan Ilanjian, Helen Misk, Jerry Misk and Marie Zokian.

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