LOS ANGELES—Public officials from Congressman to Council Members, community members from longtime supporters to young professional activists, joined local ANCA chapter and regional leaders on Sunday, October 24, 2010 at the Universal Sheraton in Studio City, CA. Over 700 people, including representatives from Armenian religious, community, educational, cultural, sporting, and professional organizations were in attendance for the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s (ANCA-WR) 2010 Annual Banquet.
Elizabeth Boyadjian, Chairwoman of the 2010 Annual Banquet Committee welcomed those gathered and referencing Oliver Holmes she noted, “To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor. I am honored to be standing here amongst individuals who have demonstrated their unwavering support for the Armenian National Committee of America, year after year. Although we may face challenges during our sail, it is through your commitment, that today we stand stronger than ever before.”
Congressman Howard Berman (CA-28-North Hollywood), California State Assembly Member and Majority Leader, Charles Calderon (AD-58-Montebello), Dr. Richard Hovanissian, and Charles Ghailian were each honored by the ANCA-WR that evening.
Congressman Berman was presented with the organization’s “Man of the Year” award for his steadfast commitment to Armenian American issues, including Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. He was introduced by ANCA national Chairman Ken Hachikian and fellow Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-27-Sherman Oaks) who noted his leadership in driving the adoption of H.Res.252, the current Armenian Genocide resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
ANCA San Gabriel Valley Chapter Board Members Murad Minassian and Jack Hadjinian introduced Majority Leader Calderon who was honored with the ANCA-WR’s “Legislator of the Year” award. Earlier this year, Majority Leader Calderon authored legislation to secure public signage on Route 60 directing travelers to the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial in Montebello.
Dr. Richard Hovanissian, who is a Professor Emeritus and Chair of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of California, Los Angeles received the ANCA-WR’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Dr. Hovanissian was introduced by Ani Mgrdichian, Esq. and was honored for his pioneering role in establishing the area studies field of Armenian Studies as well as genocide studies, particularly the Armenian Genocide.
“Longtime community leader, philanthropist, and supporter Charles Ghailian was presented with the ANCA-WR’s “Legacy Award”. Ghailian was honored because of his longtime and steadfast commitment and leadership with a variety of Armenian American organizations from the ANCA-WR to Homenetmen to the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. He was introduced by federal judge Dickran Tevrizian who commended him for his years of service to the Armenian American community.”
The evening’s theme emphasized the importance of grassroots civic engagement and the ANCA-WR’s commitment to growing both locally and regionally. In doing so, the ANCA-WR is building its infrastructure to more broadly engage the Armenian American community in the American political process.
This commitment was reflected in the welcoming remarks by ANCA-WR Board of Directors Chairwoman, Aida Dimejian.
“My hope is that we reinvigorate ourselves – that we take the hope and energy generated by our coming together here tonight so that when we meet next year we can recount with pride how we Armenian Americans, worked together and came one step closer to achieving our righteous and just goals,” remarked Dimejian.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.
Man of the Year – Congressman Howard Berman
As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) took a major step towards ending U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide by passing the Armenian Genocide Resolution – H. Res. 252 in March of 2010 – out of his influential committee. He did so despite an intense campaign of threats and coercion by the Turkish government and its lobbyists in Washington, as well as last minute opposition from the Obama Administration.
During his remarks, Chairman Berman noted that even though the United States and Turkey are allies, there should be no justification for Turkey turning a blind eye to the reality of the Armenian Genocide.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Howard Berman attended UCLA for his B.A. and LL.B. In 1973, he was elected to the California State Assembly becoming the youngest person to be named Assembly Majority leader. In 1982, Berman was elected to Congress where he was named to the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
In the 111th Congress, Berman made improving America’s diplomatic strength, assistance to fight terrorism, and improving the efficiency of U.S. foreign aid his top priorities
Legislator of the Year – Charles Calderon
Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon was honored for his longstanding record of support for Armenian American issues and most recently, for championing ACR 148 – the Assembly Concurrent Resolution which calls on the California Department of Transportation to erect signs on State Highway 60 directing motorists to the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument in Montebello.
Calderon has been a friend of the Armenian American community since being first elected to public office at the age of 29. In the 1980s, he enacted legislation requiring that the Armenian Genocide be included as part of the history curriculum in our public.
Calderon enjoys a remarkable list of achievements over his twenty years in public service. From the Montebello School Board to the state legislature, Calderon has made history. In 1990, he became the first Latino State Senate Majority Leader. In 2006 was appointed Assembly Majority Leader making him the first legislator to serve as Majority Leader of both the Assembly and Senate.
He has been a leader on the issues of crime, education, the environment, health care, disaster relief and a strong advocate for Armenian American issues in California
Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Richard Hovannissian Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian is the Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History and Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Professor Hovannisian has received many honors for his scholarship, civic activities, and advancement of Armenian studies. He has spoken in 35 countries, at over 150 colleges and universities, and more than 1000 public lectures and forums on six continents about Armenian history, culture, and current issues. Since the 1970’s, Dr. Hovannisian has focused on remembrance and denial of the Armenian Genocide.
He is a founder and six-time president of the Society for Armenian Studies and serves on the editorial boards of five journals and on the boards of directors of ten scholarly and civic organizations. His contributions in academia have continuously supported the advancement of the Armenian Cause.
He was born and raised in Tulare, California. He received his B.A. and M.A. in history from the UC Berkeley and Ph.D. in history from UCLA. A member of the UCLA faculty since 1962, he has guided many students to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Armenian History
Legacy Award – Gharles Ghailian
As the grandson of Vanetsi Genocide survivors, Charles Ghailian was born in Buenos Aires, Argenitina. The Ghailian family was involved in the Armenian community in Buenos Aires, particularly the elder Ghailian who played an instrumental role in young Charly’s nationalistic development. The Ghailian family relocated to the United States in 1959, settling in Los Angeles.
He has held leadership roles with Homenetmen, ANCA-WR, and currently, as Chair of the University of Southern California’s (USC) Institute of Armenian Studies. Growing up, Ghailian was involved with the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and the Raffi Choir and was an early member of the “Raffi” Hayrenagtsagan Organization Scouting Program, which served as the foundation of the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter in 1968.
Mr. Ghailian’s business accomplishments are especially noteworthy. From working as an independent agent and distributor at the age of 19 to serving as a top executive at a publicly traded company, Ghailian made his mark in the apparel industry. Today, he is the President and founder of Monarch Apparel Group.
Charles Ghailian is happily married to his wife of 37 years, Julia. They are blessed with three children: Carlo, Angelo and Monica and five grandchildren.