Hagop Piandarian Is Honored at AGBU Mid-Lenten Event


A luncheon program organized by the Women’s Committee of the AGBU Alex Manoogian Center in Pasadena in observance of Mid-Lent was held in the center’s gymnasium on Sunday, March 15, 2009. On the occasion, Hagop Piandarian was presented with AGBU Honorary Membership in recognition of his longtime service to the organization and devotion to the Armenian community.
Ladies from the Women’s Committee cheerfully greeted local members and friends of AGBU, who, along with their children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law and grandchildren, had arrived to celebrate the daytime event.
Berj Shahbazian, the newly appointed chairman of the AGBU Southern California District Committee (SCDC), and his wife, as well as the other SCDC committee members, had come to this now-traditional Mid-Lent luncheon of the Women’s Committee, to honor Hagop Piandarian for his many years of devoted service. Also present were Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Yardemian; Bedros Piandarian of New York, the honoree’s brother and longtime director of the accounting department of the AGBU Central Board of Directors, as well as other, honored invited guests and friends of the honoree, including Ara Najarian, Glendale Mayor, and his wife, as well as Rafi Manoukian, former mayor and member of Glendale City Council.
Angele Karayan, the diligent chairlady of the Women’s Committee, opened the luncheon program with her brief and meaningful welcoming remarks and then invited Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Yardemian, Vicar General of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, to explain the meaning of Mid-Lent in religious terms. In his brief yet informative message, the Very Rev. Father shed light on the importance of Mid-Lent in the days coinciding with the Easter fast, and then blessed the dinner tables.
The artistic portion of the program ensued, with the playing of Tchaikovsky’s "Scheherazade," Spendiarian’s "Hijaz" and Komitas’s "Gakavig" by the well-known flutist Salpi Kerkonian, accompanied by her mother, Sossi, on the harp and piano. With their sensitive and faithful renditions, mother and daughter warmed the hearts and souls of the attendees, engendering lengthy applause.
The suitable honoring of Hagop Piandarian, one of the dedicated and longtime members of AGBU, was the main occasion for the gathering. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, he was educated at the Boghosian National School and then attended Lycée Française, graduating with high honors as an agricultural engineer. Haig Messerlian, Vice Chairman of the Southern California District Committee, gave a detailed presentation of the services and devotion of the honoree to AGBU and the Armenian Apostolic Church over these many years, starting from his birthplace and continuing to the present in California. Messerlian noted, "AGBU is well known for being a first-class, trustworthy organization with great assets, but its real wealth is derived from its members and leaders, among whose ranks is today’s honoree." He went on to cite the pure, noble and inculpable qualities of the honoree’s character and then, in an atmosphere of  overall excitement, invited Hagop Piandarian to the stage to be presented with the "Honorary Member" plaque of the Central Board of Directors of AGBU by Karnig Karayan, one of the senior honorary members of AGBU, and Berj Shahbazian. Also invited to the stage were former District Committee chairmen Yenovk Balikian, Hovig Melidonian and Vahe Imasdounian, during whose terms of office the honoree served as member, then secretary, treasurer of the building committee of the Alex Manoogian Center, and longtime chairman of the executive committee of the Pasadena-Glendale Chapter.
Hagop Piandarian, visibly moved, thanked the AGBU Central Board of Directors for bestowing this honor on him. Likewise, he expressed his appreciation to SCDC chairman Berj Shahbazian, Chairman of the Pasadena-Glendale Chapter Shahe Seuylemezian, and the Women’s Committee for organizing such a wonderful program. "On the occasion of this ceremony, I share the honor bestowed upon me with all my co-workers in the organization, who, along with me, assisted in the initial efforts to form the Pasadena Chapter of Southern California AGBU, with uncompromising dedication," he said. Then he briefly touched on his lifetime of dedicated service to AGBU.
This article is based mainly on the report filed by Samuel Ilanjian.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually serving some 400,000 Armenians on five continents.


AGBU Newsletter #38 – AGBU Europe Partners With Spanish Armenian Organization

Always reaching for new heights, AGBU has expanded its presence to one of the fastest growing Armenian diasporan communities in the world: Spain.
As a major country in the European Union and a host to approx. 50,000 Armenians, Spain is a natural home for AGBU’s mission to promote the Armenian heritage.
In other news, the celebrities came out to support the Generation Next Mentorship Program in Los Angeles during their impressive 10th-anniversary gala, which raised $40,000. Meanwhile, the AGBU-sponsored Interschool Chess Championship in Armenia has completed its second round, with the finals slated to take place in May.
Also, did you know AGBU has a full roster of programs for SUMMER 2009? To learn more about youth programs in Armenia and the diaspora, visit: agbu.org/summer2009.


Blog Highlights

Subscribe to the AGBU Blog via email, feed, or visit agbu.org/blog.
>> Interschool Chess Championship in Armenia Completes Round 2 (3/22)
>> Saroyan Centennial Marked in Beirut by AYA Antranik Cultural Assoc. (3/21)
>> AGBU Greece Gifts 18th C. Printed Book to Madenataran (3/19)
>> Yerevan Intern Program Alumna Writes About Her Karabakh Experience (3/18)
>> Armenia’s Minister of Diaspora Visits Toronto (3/14)
>> AYA "Winter Get-together" in Kessab (3/13)
>> Karabakh Deputy Foreign Minister Thanks AGBU (3/10)
>> YP Dubai Kicks Things Off (3/9)
>> Two YPGNY Events Help Local YPs Focus on Their Finances (3/8)
>> Sneak Peak at the NEW Armenian Virtual College (video) (3/3)

Banner photo: AGBU Sofia Chamber Orchestra’s first spring concert featuring conductor Angel Stankov and soloist Atanass Krustev.

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AGBU Europe Partners With Spanish Armenian Organization

On January 17, 2009, Spanish Armenians and their supporters from across Europe, 150 people in total, attended an AGBU-ACAB (Armenian Cultural Association of Barcelona) partnership event followed by a gala dinner on the magnificent premises of NH Podium Hotel in downtown Barcelona.
The evening featured the presentation of AGBU and ACAB goals, activities and projects, as well as an Armenian music concert and an Armenian cuisine tasting. ACAB had also organized an exhibition of photographs depicting their activities …>>


This Week in Photos (Complete Slideshow)


Skiers, ages 10-16, are poised and ready for the slopes during the 2009 Annual "Colonie de Vacances" ski trip from February 21-28, 2009.

A scene from the Papazian Theatre Group’s presentation of Jirair Ananian’s "Der Mi Toghour Mez Ander" (God, Don’t Forsake Us) gala performance on March 1, 2009 in Beirut, Lebanon.

Guests at the AGBU Young Professionals of Dubai kickoff party on February 27, 2009.




Generation Next Mentorship Program Raises $40,000 during its 10th- Anniversary Gala
On Friday, February 27, 2009, the Castaway Starlight Ballroom shined as over 200 mentors, supporters and community leaders gathered to celebrate the 10th … >>

High School-Pasadena’s Second Annual Dinner Dance Scores a Major Success
On February 28, 2009, the AGBU High School-Pasadena held its second annual dinner dance, which was attended by 225 administrators … >>

YPGNY Kicks off New Year with Record Attendance at Silent Auction in Manhattan, Raises $15,000 for AGBU Childrenls Centers in Armenia
On January 24, 2009, 250 Armenian Americans from New York to San Francisco gathered in a private .. >>

April Calendar of Activities


Pasadena, USA. Wednesday, April 1
Generation Next – Estonia vs Armenia Soccer Game Event
Washington, D.C., USA. Thursday, April 2
YPDC Mixer at Gazuza
Toronto, Canada. Saturday, April 4
Toronto Sports and Youth Committee ‘All Star Madness’
Watertown, USA. Sunday, April 5
New England District Chapter presents ‘My Wife’s Name Is Maurice,’ a comedy by French Armenian Author Raffy Shart
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tuesday, April 7
Armenian Cooking Classes organzied by the Buenos Aires Ladies Committee
Los Angeles, USA. Saturday, April 18
Hye Geen’s "The Status of Armenian Communities Living in the United States" conference at California State University
Silicon Valley, USA. Sunday, April 19
"Hantiboum" a concert presented by AGBU Silicon Valley and Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society

Complete calendar listings

Featured Bookstore Item


Treasured Armenian Recipes
AGBU Detroit Women’s Chapter
Arranged according to categories, from appetizers to desserts, these recipes will conjure up memories to many and awaken others to the pleasures of Armenian cooking. 126 pages, A popular classic.

To visit the AGBU online bookstore click here


From the Archives


A ward in the Altounyan Hospital, Aleppo, Syria

AGBU’s Photo Archive on Flickr

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AGBU High School-Pasadena’s Second Annual Dinner Dance Scores a Major Success

SONY DSC On February 28, 2009, the AGBU High School-Pasadena held its second
annual dinner dance, which was attended by 225 administrators, parents,
students and guests. The event, which was organized by the school’s
Parent Support Group (PSG) and Father’s Club, took place at the Anoosh
Ojakh Restaurant in North Hollywood, California.
"I am pleased to announce this evening that AGBU High School of Pasadena
received full and independent accreditation from the Western Association
of Schools and Colleges," said Vice Principal Talin Kargodorian in her
remarks at the event. She added that the WASC report stated, "Students
seem to thrive academically in this environment, which features small
class sizes and a caring relationship between adults and students on
The announcement was received with elation by all those in attendance.
The news set the exceptionally celebratory mood of the evening and
proved what many had already known, that the school had achieved many
great things in its short three years of existence.
In his remarks, School Principal Hagop Hagopian expressed his joy for
the accomplishments of the school, thanking the parents for their trust
and continued support, and the faculty and staff for their dedication
and commitment to the school’s mission. He acknowledged the presence of
scores of students in attendance, calling them our "AGBU High
School-Pasadena Scholars." He added, "Our school was founded through the
foresight of the AGBU leadership, which had the clear vision that this
school would become a unique educational institution within the Armenian
school system of Southern California to meet the needs of high
school-age students by imparting them a college preparatory and quality
education in a safe and caring environment and instilling in them an
enduring sense of their national identity, good citizenship and moral
values in order to be well prepared for the many challenges of the
The evening was emceed by the school’s Director of Operations Levon
Keshishian, who announced that the two support groups have embarked on
establishing a "Tuition Scholarship Program" to assist deserving and
needy students to register and remain at AGBU High School-Pasadena. This
gesture was received with loud applause and many individuals came
forward during the evening to make donations towards the fund.
Mayda Altounian, PSG Chairlady, and Nazaret Moukhtarian, Chairman of the
Fathers’ Club, made brief remarks which reiterated their committees’
continued support towards the improvement of the school in the academic
and extra-curricular fields.
In addition to many members of the school’s administration, several
members of the AGBU leadership were on hand for the event. The Central
Board was represented by Chairman of the School Board Sinan Sinanian;
the Southern California District Committee by Berj Shahbazian, Chairman,
and Tony Keusseyan, an Advisor to the District Committee. Also on hand
were Silva Karayan, Chair of the school’s Education Committee, and
members Berjouhi Koukeyan and Taline Boyajian. AGBU veterans who played
a major role in the founding of the school were also present, namely
Yenovk Balikian, Karnig Karayan, Samuel Ilanjian and Besilios Besos.
The official part of the evening ended with Sinan Sinanian’s
congratulatory remarks directed to the school administration and faculty
for the school’s many achievements to date. Regarding AGBU High
School-Pasadena earning WASC Accreditation, he said, "While other
schools take more than ten years to reach such a milestone, thanks to
the persistence and professionalism of the administration and the high
caliber of the faculty, our school received independent accreditation in
such a short period of time." He reiterated the fact that although AGBU
High School-Pasadena was originally founded as a satellite campus of
AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park and enjoyed its umbrella
in curricular and administrative matters, as an independently accredited
campus it now has its unique identity and purposes to meet the needs of
high school-age students in the San Gabriel Valley.
Upon the conclusion of the formal part of the program, parents, guests
and students were invited to socialize and celebrate their achievements
through music and dance.
Founded in 2006, AGBU High School-Pasadena (www.agbuphs.org) is a grade
9-12 co-educational facility which serves the Armenian community of the
San Gabriel Valley. The school is AGBU’s second day school in Southern
California, and its mission is to cultivate the potential of every
student in a safe and nurturing environment, maintaining high
expectations and promoting academic excellence for all students.
For more information on AGBU and it schools around the world, please
visit www.agbu.org.

AGBU E-Newsletter No.33

AGBU E-Newsletter No.33


AGBU Virtual College Presented To Armenian Public

Virtual_College_01 (Small) On Sunday, September 28, 2008, hundreds of individuals gathered in
Yerevan, Armenia’s Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall to watch the
presentation of AGBU’s highly anticipated educational resource, the AGBU
Armenian Virtual College (AVC), which is slated to launch in January 2009.
The AVC presentation was attended by various high-ranking members of the
Armenian government, including Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Education
and Science Minister Spartak Seyranian, Culture Minister Hasmik
Poghossian, AGBU President Berge Setrakian, and various AGBU donors,
including London-based Armenian benefactor Vatche Manoukian,
American-Armenian philanthropist Albert Boyadjian, and members of the
AGBU Central Board Vasken Yacoubian and Ruben Keshishian. The event was
also attended by a host of local Armenian intellectuals and academics
with a particular interest in scientific and educational innovation.
The AVC presentation was jointly organized by AGBU and Public Television
of Armenia and the event was hosted by commentator and spokesman Artak
Alexanian. During various breaks in the evening’s presentation, audience
members were treated to performances by various renowned Armenian pop
stars, including Lilit Pipoyan, Arsen Grikorian, Hayko, Shushan
Petrossian and the Empiray rock group.
AVC Coordinator and AGBU Silicon Valley Chairman Yervant Zorian was on
hand to make an extensive presentation about the online program about
its significance for AGBU’s educational mission.
AVC is an Internet-based accredited distance learning program that aims
to facilitate Armenian studies through new technologies. AVC provides
Armenian courses in history, language and culture (architecture,
geography, fine arts and music) and allows participating students to
choose from six languages of instruction: Western and Eastern Armenian,
English, Russian, French and Spanish. AVC will tailor lessons to suit
each student’s needs, thus ensuring that Armenians from around the
world, regardless of their age, country of residence or knowledge level,
will benefit from the resource.
During the presentation, the audience was treated to live online chats
with potential AVC students in Moscow, San Francisco and Damascus, which
demonstrated the program’s remarkable potential to serve the global
Armenian community.
In addition to AGBU’s extensive support of AVC, the program was also
made possible through the involvement of computer programmers and
Internet specialists from Yerevan State University and the National
Academy of Sciences of Armenia. For more information about AVC, please
visit www.agbu.org/armenianvirtualcollege.

Camp Nubar Celebrates 45 Years of Memories and Friendship

Camp_Nubar_45_Anniv_03 (Small) October 2008–On September 13, over 200 guests from several generations
gathered in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood to celebrate Camp Nubar’s
45th anniversary. The affair was held at the trendy downtown
Mediterranean restaurant, Thalassa, where guests enjoyed time with camp
friends while they sampled an array of Greek delicacies and European wines.
Pictures from 1963 down to the present were scattered about the room in
displays specially prepared for the event. A wide array of silent
auction prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, designer
couture, a flat-screen television, a diamond ring and sports tickets,
were available for bidding by guests. Various camp alumni even created
artwork in honor of the event to be raffled as prizes. For many, it is
said, once the Camp Nubar spirit is part of you it never leaves.
For most guests, the highlight of the evening was time spent with
friends both old and new, while reliving memories from summers at camp.
“The 45th-anniversary event was a great success! It gave me a chance to
reconnect with my ‘Camp Nubar family,'” said former camper and counselor
Rob Eden. “There were many people I hadn’t seen in over 10 years, and we
had a chance to relive memories which I’ve never forgotten.”
Campers and counselors, both young and old, told stories, remembered the
past and talked with excitement about the camp’s future. Some families
were represented at the event with three generations of Camp Nubar
“The event spanned generations–grandparents, baby-boomers and the
younger set—all came together to celebrate our beautiful camp,” said
Andrea Halejian, whose mother, mother-in-law, husband and children all
attended the anniversary celebration. “Many memories were recalled
because for so many of us, our early camp days established friendships
we still enjoy today.”
As friends gathered, the evening proved to be a great success and the
money raised from the silent auction and commemorative booklet will go
towards purchasing a new motor boat and making repairs on several cabins
in time for the 2009 season.
“For many people, their closest and dearest friendships began at Camp
Nubar and have lasted four decades,” said committee chairman Mardi
Merjian. “It is a pleasure for all of us to give back to the same place
where it started and we take pride knowing that it is still going strong
and constantly improving.”
The next Camp Nubar event will be a winter reunion (details to follow).
Pictures from Thalassa are available for viewing online at

Cairo Hosts "Armenia – Arab World: Past and Present" Forum

Armenian_Arab_Forum_01 (Small) An unprecedented international forum “Armenia – Arab World: Past and
Present” took place at the Faculty of Arts of the Cairo University on
Tuesday, April 29, 2008. The forum was held under the auspices of
Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr. Hani
Hilal, and it was sponsored by the Center for Armenian Studies at Cairo
University, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Egypt, as well as
various Egyptian-Armenian civic and cultural organizations, including
AGBU. AGBU Cairo contributed to the event by inviting three lecturers
from Syria.
The forum gathered approximately 20 prominent lecturers from Egypt,
Armenia, Syria and Lebanon, who specialize in various domains of
Armeno-Arab relations, including politics, history, culture and
literature. It was a distinctive gathering of the Arab world’s top
historians, researchers and experts of Armeno-Arab relations and
The event, which can be described as unique in the Arab world, included
various presentations that demonstrated the breadth and prominence of
Armenians through the centuries. The history of the Armenian communities
in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon was presented respectively by Drs. Mohamed
Refaat Al Imam, Nora Arisian and Arda Arsenian.
Other notable presentations were by Egyptian academic Dr. Gamal Mohamed,
who spoke about “The Armenians during the Ottoman Period,” the Lebanese
academic Dr. Hana El Haj who discussed “The Armenians and Islam,” Dr.
Nezar Khalili of Syria who addressed “Armenians & Arabs through
Translation,” Dr. Adonis El Ekra of Lebanon who presented on “The
Position of Arabs in Welcoming Armenian Refugees in Various Arab
Countries (1915-1923),” Dr. Saad El Din Kolayeb of Syria who delved into
a little-known topic, “The Role of Armenian Intellectuals in the Arab
Renaissance,” and Dr. Nicolai Hohanessian of Armenia who spoke about
“Armenia as Center of Arab Studies.”
The following academics also participated in the event: Dr. Shawkat
Youssef (Syria), Dr. Varoujan Kazandjian, Fayez Iskandar, Mohamed El
Beyaly, Abou El Yosr Farah and Fouad Raslan (Egypt), Venera Markarian &
Hayk Kotcharian (Armenia), Fouad El Marei, Shawkat Youssef & Samir
Arbash (Syria).
An exhibition of books on Armenian Studies was also held on this