1. Consul General Armen Baibourtian, far left, and Anna Hakobyan, sixth from left, with Founding Friends of the Consulate General, including Parsegh Kartalian of Tekeyan, third from left

Armenia’s Consulate General Celebrated 25th Anniversary with Anna Hakobyan

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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.

Judge Armenui Ashvanian, left, and Anna Hakobyan

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.”

Anna Hakobyan

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Together with Baibourtian, Hakobyan participated in honoring those who helped establish the consulate general and made it flourish. This included the members of the Founding Friends of the Consulate General, Elizabeth Agbabian, Flora Dunaians, Hermine Janoyan, Greg Kahwajian, Parsegh Kartalian (chairman of the Tekeyan Cultural Association Los Angeles Chapter), Khachatur Khudikyan, Rafi Ourfalian and Savey Tufenkian, who were invited up to the stage. Vahan and Anoush Chamlian, also members of this group, were not able to be present. In addition, the members of the Board of Directors of the House of Armenia, which helped purchase the consulate general’s building, were honored, including Sinan Sinanian, Vahe Yacoubian, Charles Ghailian, Gerald Turpanjian and Joseph Kanimian, and trustees Vatche Manoukian, Sinan Sinanian and Gerald Turpanjian.

The chapters of the Tekeyan Cultural Association in Southern California were represented by twelve leaders at the banquet.

Hakobyan had come to the United States as part of a tour to support her City of Smile and My Step foundations. During her Los Angeles visit, she met with Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles on April 9, at which occasion City Council member Paul Krikorian and Deputy Mayor of International Affairs Nina Hachigian were also present. That same day Hakobyan was honored by a reception at the Los Angeles City Council. She met with the public on April 8 at the Alex Theater in Glendale which was organized by the Consulate General with the participation of the Glendale City Council, and on April 6 participated in the Armenian American Medical Society’s fundraising banquet for the City of Smile Foundation at the Sheraton Universal Hotel (Universal City).

Dr.

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