Tekeyan Cultural Association of Greater New York Marks Platinum Anniversary with Gala

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By Florence Avakian

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

PARAMUS, N.J. — More than 250 friends and supporters of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) on Saturday, November 18, celebrated its 70th anniversary in grand style. The event was held under the auspices of Eastern Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian at the Terrace at Biagio’s.

 

Standing, from left, Khoren Kalinian, Mr. and Mrs. Kassardjian, Ambassador and Mrs. Mnatskanian, Vartan Nazerian, Berta Baghjajian, Nar Khachatourian and Hagop Vartivarain; seated from left, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Edmond and Nora Azadian, and Dr. Arshavir and Nadia Gundjian

Guests included Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zohrab Mnatsakanian and his wife Irina Igitkhanyan, philanthropists and sponsors of this anniversary, Nazar and Artemis Nazarian, and TCA leaders Edmond Azadian and Hagop Kassardjian. Representatives of several organizations were present, including the Armenian Diocese, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenia Fund, the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Armenian National Committee of America.

Following a reception and the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems by Jeny Sarian, the Very Rev. Oshagan Gulgulian of Sts. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Wynnewood, Penn., offered the invocation, adding, “I am also a Tekeyan member and a graduate of the Vahan Tekeyan School in Beirut.”

From left, Kevork Marashlian, Edmond Azadian and Daniel Youssefian

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Jerry Misk, a TCA Greater NY member, was master of ceremonies, offering insight and a unique style.

In warm remarks, Hilda Hartounian, chairperson of the TCA Greater NY, welcomed all present and stated that members and friends had traveled from Armenia, Lebanon, Egypt, France, Argentina, Canada and throughout the US for this event. She stated that the TCA’s “goal and mission has been and always will be to proudly promote

cultural and educational activities in all communities around the globe, as well as our motherland, Armenia.”

 

From left, Seta Nazarian, Artemis and Nazar Nazarian, and Claudia Nazarian

Honorary Chair of the TCA Greater New York Committee Hagop Vartivarian, and Hartounian participated in presenting the evening’s honorees Nazar and Artemis Nazarian with the Lifetime Benefactor Award, an etched crystal plaque, for their generosity, which has included schools, hospitals, churches, camps and buildings built by them from Armenia to the farthest corners of the Armenian world.

To thunderous applause and a standing ovation, the couple graciously accepted the honor. Daughter Seta, speaking for the family, stated in a short and eloquent phrase, “Our parents have taught us how to live and give,” which brought on lengthy applause.

Hagop Kassardjian, chairman of the TCA Founders Committee of Lebanon, as well as a leader in the AGBU and the Armenian Democratic Liberal party, and elected twice to the Lebanese Parliament, spoke in Armenian about the TCA’s beginnings, history and exalted leaders. He said that in the last few years in Lebanon, the Yervant Odian theatrical group had been formed, and emphasized that the TCA is an important institution for the diaspora, and for the future.

Aram Arkun, TCA Executive Director of the US and Canada, and assistant editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, announced that the Tekeyan building in Armenia has been completed. A video detailing the history and founders of the TCA showing the many personalities involved, was shown.

From left, Edmond Azadian, Dr. Arshavir and Nadia Gundjian, Hagop Vartivarian, Very Rev. Oshagan Gulgulian, Ani and Hagop Kassardjian and Nora Azadian

To the delight of the audience, artist Nora Azadian, who had been a student of the legendary poet Vahan Tekeyan, a close friend of her grandfather, recited with powerful emotion and passion, Tekeyan’s soulful and heartfelt poem “Hayou Hokeen.” It was rewarded with a lengthy standing ovation.

Noted author and editor, founding member and Chairman of the TCA Central Board of the US and Canada Edmond Azadian, in an eloquent keynote address in English and Armenian, spoke about the main components of the organization. “Words have power and poetic words have torrential power which can inspire and move masses of human beings. That is why the words of the poet Vahan Tekeyan reverberated in space and time, motivating multitudes and guiding them by means of the ideals which had molded his persona and his heritage.”

It was two years after Tekeyan’s death that the TCA was founded in 1947, he related, and detailed the many missions of the organization, including education, the publication of several literary magazines, daily and weekly newspapers, literary and scholarly books, and the promotion of literature, the arts, music, dance, theater, and the bringing of that culture to the diaspora.

“Today, the poet’s voice resonates louder than ever, even far beyond the boundaries of our people, to touch mankind,” Azadian declared. On behalf of his people and mankind, Tekeyan passionately implored: “Tear down all fortresses and impregnable walls. And lance your    wrath against the barricades of armored ignorance. Divide the world’s wealth evenly. Let crowds through the entrance to your pastures stampede at the last fall of the last tower – But, O lord, let them break no trees, nor crush a single flower.”

Before the benediction, closing remarks were delivered by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. “It is our encounter with writers like Vahan Tekeyan, as well as the artists, musicians and cultural forces of our heritage that led us into a deeper appreciation of the Armenian identity, as well as a deep desire of our younger generation to know their identity as Armenians. This is the great influence the Tekeyan Cultural Association has had on our community. This enduring mission must continue and expand well beyond the 70th anniversary.”

During the evening a silent auction featuring valuable prizes had been held. At the conclusion of the memorable event, the lucky winners were announced, and then the crowd enthusiastically took to the floor dancing to the catchy beats of Elie Berberian and Ensemble, joyously concluding a momentous and historic event that will long be remembered.

Honorary Chair of the TCA Greater New York Committee Hagop Vartivarian, and Hartounian participated in presenting the evening’s honorees Nazar and Artemis Nazarian with the Lifetime Benefactor Award, an etched crystal plaque, for their generosity, which has included schools, hospitals, churches, camps and buildings built by them from Armenia to the farthest corners of the Armenian world.

To thunderous applause and a standing ovation, the couple graciously accepted the honor. Daughter Seta, speaking for the family, stated in a short and eloquent phrase, “Our parents have taught us how to live and give,” which brought on lengthy applause.

Hagop Kassardjian, chairman of the TCA Founders Committee of Lebanon, as well as a leader in the AGBU and the Armenian Democratic Liberal party, and elected twice to the Lebanese Parliament, spoke in Armenian about the TCA’s beginnings, history and leaders. He said that in the last few years in Lebanon, the Yervant Odian theatrical group had been formed, and emphasized that the TCA is an important institution for the diaspora, and for the future.

Aram Arkun, TCA executive director of the US and Canada, and assistant editor of the

Carmen and Ed Gulbenkian

, spoke about the legacy and bequest to the TCA of ADL leader and intellectual Dr. Nubar Berberian, on the first anniversary of his death. A video detailing the history and founders of the TCA showing the many personalities involved, was shown.

To the delight of the audience, artist Nora Azadian, who had been a student of the legendary poet Vahan Tekeyan, a close friend of her grandfather, recited with powerful emotion and passion, Tekeyan’s soulful and heartfelt poem “Hayou Hokeen.” It was rewarded with a lengthy standing ovation.

Noted author and editor, founding member and Chairman of the TCA Central Board of the US and Canada Edmond Azadian, in an eloquent keynote address in English and Armenian, spoke about the main components of the organization. “Words have power and poetic words have torrential power which can inspire and move masses of human beings. That is why the words of the poet Vahan Tekeyan reverberated in space and time, motivating multitudes and guiding them by means of the ideals which had molded his persona and his heritage.”

It was two years after Tekeyan’s death that the TCA was founded in 1947, he related, and detailed the many missions of the organization, including education, the publication of several literary magazines, daily and weekly newspapers, literary and scholarly books, and the promotion of literature, the arts, music, dance, theater, and the bringing of that culture to the diaspora.

“Today, the poet’s voice resonates louder than ever, even far beyond the boundaries of our people, to touch mankind,” Azadian declared. On behalf of his people and mankind, Tekeyan passionately implored: “Tear down all fortresses and impregnable walls. And lance your    wrath against the barricades of armored ignorance. Divide the world’s wealth evenly. Let crowds through the entrance to your pastures stampede at the last fall of the last tower – But, O lord, let them break no trees, nor crush a single flower.”

Before the benediction, closing remarks were delivered by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. “It is our encounter with writers like Vahan Tekeyan, as well as the artists, musicians and cultural forces of our heritage that led us into a deeper appreciation of the Armenian identity, as well as a deep desire of our younger generation to know their identity as Armenians. This is the great influence the Tekeyan Cultural Association has had on our community. This enduring mission must continue and expand well beyond the 70th anniversary.”

During the evening a silent auction featuring valuable prizes had been held. At the conclusion of the memorable event, the lucky winners were announced, and then the crowd enthusiastically took to the floor dancing to the catchy beats of Elie Berberian and Ensemble, joyously concluding a momentous and historic event that will long be remembered.