Edmond Y. Azadian

Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro LA Presents Tekeyan Poetry Book, Marks 75th Anniversary of Organization

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ALTADENA, Calif. — The Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro Los Angeles Chapter marked the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Tekeyan Cultural Association with a book presentation and cultural event celebrating the writings of the eponymous poet Vahan Tekeyan on Friday, March 11.

Mihran Toumajan

Master of ceremonies Mihran Toumajan introduced the special guests in attendance including Glendale City Councilmember Ardashes Kassakhian, whose grandfather was friends with Tekeyan in Jerusalem; Edmond Y. Azadian, president of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada; and Aram Arkun, Executive Director of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada and managing editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator.

Glendale Councilmember Ardashes Kassakhian

Kassakhian made congratulatory remarks on the anniversary, noting that TCA currently was the only Armenian cultural organization with a member whose son became a Nobel Laureate (Ardem Patapoutian).

Among the other guests were relatives of three of the original TCA founders: Haygashen Ouzounian’s daughter Ani Ouzounian; Zaven Gostanian’s son Bared Gostanian; and Sarkis Menak’s nephews Dr. Zaven Arslanian and Haig Arslanian.

Barlow Der Mugrdechian

Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Berberian Director of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State gave an overview of the life and achievement of Vahan Tekeyan.

“Tekeyan was a significant figure in Armenian literature having experienced the significant events in the life of his people,” said Prof. Der Mugrdechian. “He was uniquely positioned to be an eyewitness and participant in the major events of his time, as he lived in Constantinople, traveled to Armenia, lived in Europe, and finally settled in Cairo.”

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Der Mugrdechian then presented the book Vahan Tekeyan: Selected Poems, which was published as part of the Armenian Series of the Press at California State University, Fresno. Translated by John Papasian and Gerald Papasian and co-edited by Edmond Y. Azadian and Gerald Papasian, Vahan Tekeyan: Selected Poems includes twenty-three of Tekeyan’s poems, in Armenian and English. The poems in the book are organized by themes such as “Love,” “Songs of Armenia,” and “Universal.”

Alexis Halejian

Nora Ipekian Azadian, the late wife of Edmond Azadian, and whose grandfather, Mihran Damadian, was a close friend of Tekeyan, added to the richness of this volume with her piece “Vahan Tekeyan as I Remember Him.” Alexis Halejian, grand-niece of the late Armenian Mirror-Spectator columnist Armine Dikijian, read excerpts from Ipekian Azadian’s piece.

Edmond Azadian, speaking in Armenian, gave an overview of his involvement in the publication of the bilingual anthology. Azadian’s comments focused on the significant contribution that Tekeyan made to Armenian and world poetry.

The cultural part of the program included a recitation of the poem “Poshee – Azk” [Nation into Dust] from the volume by Alique Artinian, a 12th-grade student from the Armenian Mesrobian School; a recitation of Tekeyan’s “Yegeghetzeen Haygagan” [The Armenian Church] by TCA Pasadena-Glendale Chapter Vice Chair Khachig Nahabedian; and a recitation of the poem “Papak” [Yearning] by Alique Bardakian, a 6th-grade student at the Hovsepian Armenian School.

Alique Artinian

Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Yardemian, representing the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, gave concluding remarks and a benediction. All of the special guests were invited to bless the publication Vahan Tekeyan: Selected Poems by pouring wine on the volume.

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