LOS ANGELES, CA– In a special ceremony during the February 23rd Los Angeles City Council session, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Council President Eric Garcetti, Yerevan Mayor, Yervand Zakharyan and the entire Los Angeles City Council in inaugurating the Los Angeles-Yerevan Sister City relationship and association. The Los Angeles-Yerevan Sister City Association (LAYSCA) was established by a resolution adopted by the council and the agreement was signed on February 23 by both mayors during the city council session before a standing-room only crowd in City Hall.
During the ceremony Mayor Villaraigosa reiterated his interest in forging the relationship with Yerevan. “Today we are bridging two communities and forever linking two cities together. Los Angeles and Yerevan have much in common, and the establishment of this Sister City relationship will only strengthen our commonalities and bring new ones to light,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I am proud to say that Los Angeles is home to the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia and that Armenian-Americans have been an integral part of Los Angeles’ economic and cultural vitality for decades.”
Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti recognized the importance of the day in his remarks. “It’s great to see so many Armenian organizations represented here today, you must all be proud, please take ownership of this Sister City organization and make it the best we’ve ever seen, because we all know that Armenian Americans have always been an integral part of Los Angeles’ cultural vitality. Thank you, Mayor Zakharyan, for accepting our invitation and coming out to celebrate this momentous occasion with us, we have a lot to learn from Yerevan, a City that is 2,789 years old, and I hope in return we will have much to offer your city,” said Garcetti. The inauguration marks the culmination of an on-going effort by the Armenian American community of Los Angeles to establish the partnership between Armenia’s capital city and the U.S. city with the largest population of Armenian Americans. In August 2005, Councilman Garcetti traveled to Armenia with leaders of the ANCA-WR and the Los Angeles Armenian community in order to meet with Armenian officials and identify potential programs between Los Angeles and Yerevan.
In acknowledging the role the ANCA-WR played in supporting the formation of the association, Garcetti noted, “I also want to thank the Armenian National Committee, the organization that I work closely with, the organization that sponsored our trip to Yerevan.”
“Thanks to our combined efforts with Mayor Villaraigosa, City Council President Garcetti and Mayor Zakharyan, today marks a new milestone as we forge an official relationship between Los Angeles and Yerevan, two cities which hold tremendous importance for the Armenian Americans and citizens of Armenia,” said Raffi Hamparian, Chairman of the ANCA-WR. “Armenian-Americans are both proud Angelinos as well as proud Armenians and it is our intention that the establishment of the sister city association will usher in the next era of meaningful cooperation and partnership between these two great cities of the world.”
“We are grateful for the leadership shown by the ANCA-WR, Mayor Villaraigosa and Council President Garcetti in getting the Los Angeles-Yerevan Sister City Association off the ground,” said Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian, President of the LAYSCA. “With the help of the entire Armenian American community of Los Angeles, the association’s vision and commitment is to expand the working relationship between the two city governments in order to build meaningful programs that will benefit the citizens of both cities.”
ANCA-WR board members and staff accompanied the mayors, city council members and board members of the newly formed LAYSCA during official meetings and the signing ceremony. In attendance for the special occasion was Los Angeles Consul General of Armenia, Armen Liloyan, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirosian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church and dozens of leaders from a wide cross-section of cultural, social and community organizations.
The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
PHOTO CAPTION: Mayor Villaraigosa, Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian, and City Council President Garcetti are joined by the Los Angeles City Council, members of the LAYSCA and community following the inauguration of the Association.