STUDIO CITY, CA– The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region held its annual ANCA-WR Banquet at the Sheraton Universal in Studio City on Sunday, November 9. The evening featured individuals who have helped raise awareness about Armenia and Armenians in civic life, and have contributed to the advancement of the Armenian Cause in their respective fields. In addition to the traditional Man of the Year Award and the ANC Freedom Award, this year’s banquet included three new awards–the prestigious ANC Legacy Award, the ANC Scholarly Excellence Award, and the California Public Official of the Year Award.
The list of honorees featured ANC Legacy Award Recipient Judge Dickran Tevrizian, ANC Man of the Year Recipient Congressman George Radanovich, ANC Freedom Award Recipient Congressman Adam Schiff, California Public Official of the Year Award Recipient State Treasurer Phil Angelides, and Dr. Alfred De Zayas, who received the ANC Scholarly Excellence Award. Regular CNN legal commentator and defense attorney Mark Geragos acted as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
Each year, the ANCA-WR Banquet gives community members and public officials the opportunity to learn of the ANCA-WR’s major accomplishments, and its dedicated network of local chapters. Attracting over seven hundred and fifty supporters and activists, the Banquet was an excellent opportunity for individuals to show their support and appreciation for the efforts of the ANCA-WR. The annual event also featured a silent auction with many rare items featuring past honorees and historical artifacts. This year’s auction highlight was a guitar autographed by rock band System of a Down–last year’s ANCA-WR Freedom Award recipients.
Judge Dickran Tevrizian thanked the ANC for honoring him with the inaugural ANC Legacy Award and gave a moving address to an overflowing banquet hall of ANCA-WR annual sponsors, supporters, and activists. Ara Bedrosian, a former extern for Judge Tevrizian and ANCA Leo Sarkissian Summer Intern, presented the award to the Judge and thanked him on behalf of all Armenian-Americans with whom he had “shared his vision of the American Dream.” During his tenure on the Federal Bench, Judge Tevrizian mentored hundreds of young Armenian-American law students and professionals.
“Judge Tevrizian’s dedication and contributions to so many young lawyers, current judges, and others studying law is unparalleled. His brilliant legacy is the hundreds of people that he has helped and our community will benefit from his leadership for years to come,” stated ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian.
The ANCA-WR Man of the Year Award was presented to George Radanovich (R-Fresno). Congressman Radanovich was recognized for his long-standing dedication to introducing and seeking passage of a genocide resolution in Congress, which specifically identifies what happened to the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915. He has also been instrumental in securing support from fellow Republican members in the Congress on a number of other issues affecting the growth and prosperity of the Republic of Armenia.
After receiving his award, State Treasurer Phil Angelides recounted the tragic experience of his grandparents who barely survived the burning of Smyrna during the early 1920’s. In his remarks, the State Treasurer reaffirmed his long-standing support and solidarity with the Armenian community. Earlier this year, State Treasurer Angelides severely criticized syndicated columnist George Will for commenting that California needs a leader like Ataturk to deal with its recall related problems. The Treasurer publicly demanded that Mr. Will apologize to the millions of California residents who escaped Ataturk’s atrocities in Turkey.
The evening also included video presentations highlighting the work of the ANCA-WR, and a very moving posthumous tribute to BBC correspondent director and producer James Miller (1968 – 2003) who directed and produced the documentary on the Armenian Genocide, “Armenia: The Betrayed.” Author Samantha Power was also honored for her book, “A Problem from Hell: American in the Age of Genocide,” which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for best non-fiction literature. The book chronicles America’s responses to genocides of the twentieth century, including a gripping account of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
In their remarks, Congressmen George Radanovich and Adam Schiff, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, Judge Tevrizian, and Dr. De Zayas all praised the ANC for its work in promoting the concerns of the Armenian-American community and advancing the cause of seeking justice for the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
Dr. Alfred De Zayas, the recipient of the ANC Scholarly Excellence Award, was lauded for his groundbreaking report regarding the applicability of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to the Armenian case. According to his findings, the UN Convention applies retroactively to the Armenian Genocide, making the Turkish state fully responsible for reparations. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. De Zayas teaches international law at several European and North American universities.
After 22 years of service as Secretary of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Dr. De Zayas retired recently.
Chair of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors Raffi Hamparian, thanked everyone for their activism and involvement in the Armenian Cause, highlighting important milestones in Armenian American advocacy. Hamparian praised the honorees for their outstanding leadership on issues of concern to Armenian-Americans. “Our 2003 honorees are all-stars for all those who believe in the freedom and liberty that makes America so wonderful. Our honorees are also all-stars for all those who want to end Turkey’s corrupt effort to have America participate in its dirty campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide,” Hamparian remarked.
The elected officials in attendance included United State Representatives George Radanovich, Adam Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Brad Sherman, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, State Senators Chuck Poochigian and Jack Scott, California State Assemblymembers Ron Calderon, Dario Frommer, Jackie Goldberg, Paul Koretz and Carol Liu, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Eric Garcetti, Greig Smith, Dennis Zine, Wendy Greuel, and Antonio Villaraigosa, Glendale City Councilmembers Gus Gomez, Raffi Manoukian and Mayor Frank Quintero, La Canada Mayor Stephen A. Del Guercio and Councilmember Anthony J. Portantino, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Robert Collins, Glendale School Board President Pro Tem Greg Krikorian, Burbank Unified School Board Member Paul Krekorian and many other distinguished guests.