Children in traditional Armenian costumes at the State Capitol

Salpi Ghazarian Speaks at Genocide Commemoration in Connecticut


HARTFORD, Conn. — The historic Connecticut House of Representative Chambers was filled to overflow as the 104th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide took place on Saturday April 27.

John Geragosian, Connecticut auditor, served as Master of Ceremonies and Susan Shabazian led the audience in the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems.

Warm welcoming remarks were given by Rep. Edwin Vargas Jr., state representative from the sixth District who has long served as the Committee’s sponsor and who enjoys wide support from the Armenian community.

Keynote speaker Salpi Ghazarian, director of the University of Southern California Institute of Armenian Studies was introduced by Professor Armen Marsoobian, chairperson of the Philosophy Department of Southern Connecticut State University. Ghazarian gave a first-hand account of the recent changes in the Republic of Armenian which has been hailed worldwide as a “velvet revolution.” She Identified challenges facing the three million residents of Armenia and six million throughout the diaspora. She structured a scenario of hope and future continued progress for the Republic by synergistic efforts by those in Armenia and throughout the world.

The solemn commemoration took on colorful and meaningful overtones as young children in traditional Armenian garb distributed program booklets to the attendees and a skillful group of dancers, including Emma Lopez, Angel Zohrabian, Veronica Sardaryan and Hasmik Ohanyan from St George Armenian Church in Hartford presented a thoughtful and stirring memorial Dance to music by Komitas selected and choreographed by Sarkis Kaltakhtchian.

Salpi Ghazarian

The committee honored the late Nancy A. Humphreys former Dean of the UConn school of social work for her groundbreaking work in establishing social work as a profession in Armenia and a legislative citation and recognition was presented to her family. Kristin Asadourian gave a poignant presentation on her interactions with Dean Humphreys and what she learned about herself, her background and her profession from being one of Dean Humphery’s students.

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Committee chair Melanie Kevorkian Brown recognized the committee and gave warm appreciation to retiring committee chair Jack Krikorian who was also honored with a legislative citation. Brown also recognized Rita Soovajian, committee secretary, and Diana Dagavarian Colpitts, treasurer, for their tireless efforts. Other committee members acknowledged were : Rev. Untzag Nalbandian, Rev. Archpriest Aram Stepanian Rev. Kapriel Mouradjian, Rev. Dr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, Rev. Arman Galstyan, John Abrahamian, Richard Arzoomanian, John Avedesian, Dr; Svetlana Babajanyan, Evelyn Mukjian Daly, Prof. Mari Firkatian, John Geragosian, Sonia Gulbank, Kit Kaolian, Richard Hamasian, Professor Armen Marsoobian, Attorney Harry Mazadoorian, Attorney Gregory Norsigian, David Paparian and Christopher Wright.

Also in attendance and offering prayers were the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, S.T.D., Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hartford and Rev Pouls Namrood of St Thomas Assyrian Church of New Britain.

Committee member Attorney Harry Mazadoorian read a number of legislative citations introduced by Representatives Richard Lopes and Edwin Vargas Jr. which were presented to the Keynote Speaker and honored guests and Committee member Attorney Gregory Norsigian led the audience in a solemn moment of silence with Diana Dagavarian Colpitts.

The Commemoration was followed by a reception featuring sumptuous Armenian foods.

The flag of the Republic of Armenia flew over the Connecticut State Capitol from April 21 through April 27.

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