GLENDALE, Calif. – On April 7, the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia marked its 25th anniversary in Los Angeles with a banquet held at the Glendale Hilton, at which Anna Hakobyan, wife of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, was the keynote speaker. Other guests from Armenia included Vahagn Melikyan, the Secretary-General of the Armenian Foreign Ministry and Ambassador to the US Varuzhan Nersesyan. Many local politicians, both of Armenian and non-Armenian descent, were present, as well as Armenian religious leaders. The Armenian community came out in force to support the event, with approximately 600 estimated attendees.
The master of ceremonies was Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Armenui (“Amy”) Ashvanian. After the opening prayers, Consul General Dr. Armen Baibourtian reflected on the history of the founding of the consulate and its present activities, and read a congratulatory message from Prime Minister Pashinyan. Ambassador Nersesyan noted the many years of cooperation and sister city relationship between the cities of Los Angeles and Yerevan. Melikyan read a special message of Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan about the special role of the Los Angeles consulate.
Anna Hakobyan began her speech by noting that the Consulate General was established in the early years of the independent Republic of Armenia, not long after the independence of Artsakh, and said: “This underscored the importance that Armenia has always attached to its relations with California – a state that has provided you all, my dear compatriots, with a safe haven and with limitless opportunities to live in and create. This was also a testament to the importance that Armenia has always attached to each of you individually, and to the large, thriving Armenian community of California.” She praised the California Armenian community for its assistance during the April War of 2016 and its solidarity with the Velvet Revolution.
Hakobyan praised Baibourtian’s principled stance as an Armenian diplomat under the prior regimes, declaring: “You chose to stand with justice and expressed solidarity with your people, paying a heavy price for your decision. But sooner or later, justice always prevails. And now, you are here, at the helm of one of our most important diplomatic missions.” She noted that the consulate strengthened the relationship between California and Armenia in many spheres.
After speaking briefly about the successes of the Velvet Revolution, she described the two foundations which she leads and asked the community to support them. She said, “The goal of the My Step Foundation is to support the creation of a society and civic infrastructure in Armenia that promote the human development of all individuals, and equip them with the necessary tools to contribute to their families’ and communities’ prosperity… As for the City of Smiles Foundation, its mission is to help children and youth suffering from cancer and from blood disorders.”
She concluded by inviting all to visit Armenia, exclaiming: “The new Armenia is experiencing its renaissance. Anchored on the love of land and water and the bonds of kinship among all Armenians, she awaits each one of you with love and excitement.”