Grand Matron Diana Tookmanian

Knights and Daughters of Vartan Program on Armenian Heritage Cruise 2019


By Barbara Haroutunian

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — This year the Armenian Heritage Cruise (AHC) took place January 20 to January 27, 2019 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. The AHC Committee honored the Knights and Daughters of Vartan by providing time to present a program during the cruise.

Members of the Knights and Daughters leadership in attendance were Grand Commander Dr. Gary Zamanigian, Grand Matron Diana Tookmanian, Past Grand Commander Bob Barsam and Past Grand Matron Sona Manuelian. Special guests included Archbishop Khoren Toghramadjian, Prelate of Cypus, and Prof. Taner Akçam, author of The Killing Orders – Talaat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide.

Dr. Gary Zamanigian

AHC Cruise Committee Member Past Matron Barbara Haroutunian introduced Barsam, who served as master of ceremonies (MC) in his usual grand style. The program began with a prayer offered by Toghramadjian. Barsam first introduced Akçam, who thanked the Knights of Vartan by stating, “My book which provides undeniable proof that the intent of the Young Turks was to exterminate the Armenian people could not have been published without the financial support of the Knights of Vartan.”

Next to speak was Zamanigian, who began by reminding the audience of the principles and values of the Knights of Vartan and he articulated the three major periods over its 103 years of existence. Zamanigian proceeded to give an animated Power Point Presentation about the Knights of Vartan “Mission III Veratarts Hayrenik Trip to Armenia” September 16 to September 23, 2018, which was prepared by the Knights of Vartan Communications Office Liaison in Armenia Gohar Palyan.

Bob Barsam

Zamanigian concluded his remarks by saying, “With the past as our teacher, we Armenians learned quickly that we have to defend ourselves, our land, our cherished Christian Faith and our treasured traditions.”

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Following the Grand Commander, Barsam asked Grand Matron Diana Tookmanian to say a few words. She presented a detailed history of the Daughters of Vartan and informed everyone about all the projects supported by Otyags (chapters) throughout the United States and Armenia. Members of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan were then invited to introduce themselves and talk about their chapters’ projects.

Immediately following the program, the AHC Committee invited everyone to a private elegant ocean view luncheon which ended of course with the group singing Armenian songs.

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