By Katy Simonian
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-Western Region) will host its annual Awards Gala on Sunday, November 12 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in California. This year’s Awards Banquet/Gala will shine a spotlight on individuals who continue to contribute to the Armenian American community’s exceptional legacy of public service, from activism and human rights advocacy to journalism, diplomacy and education.
As the Armenian community witnesses the ongoing illegal blockade of Artsakh which has left 120,000 Armenians on the brink of genocide, along with growing threats against the Republic of Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, it is fitting to honor those who have dedicated their lives to preventing crimes against humanity and raising awareness about the plight of the Armenian people.
Luis Moreno Ocampo will receive the Champion of International Justice Award for his trailblazing work at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and for standing as a prominent voice against Azerbaijan’s genocidal blockade of Artsakh.
Paul Krekorian will receive the Advocate for Justice Award for his years of committed service to the Armenian people and the City of Los Angeles, currently in his position as President of the LA City Council, where he commands bipartisan support and respect from his colleagues.
Michael Mahdesian will be honored with the prestigious Vahan Cardashian Award, which salutes his decades of global humanitarian activism and the instrumental role he has played in establishing the ANCA as an effective advocacy organization both in the Western Region and in Washington D.C.
Ellina Abovian will be honored with the Excellence in Media Award for her continued efforts to raise awareness through her platform on KTLA 5 about Armenia, Artsakh and the many contributions of the Armenian community, locally and across the United States.
Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of diplomatic service across three presidential administrations from Reagan to Bush to Clinton, which included impactful positions as US Ambassador to Syria and US Ambassador to Israel. He continues to provide his expertise for the benefit of the Armenian homeland and Artsakh.
Richard G. Hovannisian will be posthumously honored with the Legacy Award for his meaningful and transformational contributions as a scholar of Armenian Studies who continues to inspire generations of people across the Armenian community and beyond.
A highlight of the evening will be the announcement of a tribute named for a beloved ANCA-WR former Board member and one of our community’s most respected and fierce activists, Steve Artinian, who we tragically lost this year. The Steve Artinian Visionary Activist Award will annually honor an ANCA-WR local chapter and leader whose efforts have had the most impact with a spirit of grace, kindness and dedication in line with Steve Artinian’s selfless and generous service to the Armenian Cause. The program will feature a special presentation to celebrate this new prestigious award. The inaugural recipient of this award will be the ANCA-Nevada Chapter led by Lenna Hovanessian for significant accomplishments at the state level in Nevada to advance Armenian Genocide education and all aspects of the Armenian Cause.
The ANCA-WR’s Annual Awards Gala offers the Armenian community an opportunity to take inspiration from the work of these most admirable honorees, and raise our collective voices in support of the Armenian Cause and the ongoing work of the organization. Additional details about each of the honorees will be published in the coming weeks.
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The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
Katy Simonian is a member of the 2023 ANCA-Western Region Awards Banquet/Gala Committee.