By: Tony Ordoukhanian
(Glendale, CA, August 24, 2022)—In a Glendale City Council session held on August 23, 2022, the Glendale City Council (Councilmembers Ara Najarian, Dan Brotman, Elen Asatryan, and Paula Devine) led by Mayor Ardy Kassakhian unanimously adopted a resolution to establish a sister city relationship with the city of Martuni in the Republic of Artsakh.
During the presentation of this resolution, ANCA-WR Government Affairs Coordinator Edward Barsoumian spoke in support of the initiative being taken by the City Council. “This resolution will undoubtedly promote meaningful discourse on the humanitarian crisis and current situation in Artsakh, cultivating greater cultural exchange, and demonstrating the City of Glendale’s leadership in combating hate and promoting cultural understanding across the globe,” said Barsoumian.
Mayor Ardy Kassakhian had first proposed this collaboration to his fellow Council Members in June 2022. Beyond establishing the sister city relationship with Martuni, the councilmembers underscored the importance of promoting the economic development of Martuni, the preservation of Armenian cultural heritage across Artsakh, and the strengthening of relations between the citizens of Glendale and the Armenian population of the Republic of Artsakh.
Councilmember Devine moved the item and Councilmember Najarian seconded it, allowing for Martuni to become the 10th city to establish sisterhood ties with the City of Glendale.
With the pending transfer of the cities of Aghavno, Berdzor and Nerkin Sus to Azerbaijan on August 25, ANCA-WR’s representatives highlighted the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe which has resulted in the displacement of hundreds of Armenian families from their indigenous lands. Moreover, they expressed the determination of Armenians to prevent cultural genocide through the removal of historical and cultural monuments (Khachkhars) from the three cities prior to their transfer to Aliyev’s genocidal regime which has waged a campaign of destruction and desecration against Armenian religious and cultural sites in territories occupied by Azerbaijan during and after the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh Conflict.
ANCA-WR Youth Committee Chairman Tony Ordoukhanian also spoke in high support of this new sister city relationship. “It is through this resolution that we as a collective society, regardless of our heritage, Armenian or not, and our creed that we firmly hold onto, that we can firmly stand against hatred, ethnic cleansing, and work to uplift the human rights that the people of Artsakh deserve.” Ordoukhanian expressed his hope that the passage of the sister-city resolution will spark an improved US foreign policy to Artsakh.
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.
Tony Ordoukhanian is the Chairman of the newly formed ANCA-WR Youth Committee and a member of the class of 2022 ANCA-WR Summer interns.