Los Angeles, CA – The Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) is set to welcome Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity Jason Kenney, who will be attending the ANC-WR Annual Banquet on behalf of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The ANC-WR is presenting its prestigious “Freedom Award” for Prime Minister Harper’s principled stand on securing recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the government of Canada. The ANC-WR Annual Banquet is set to take place on September 30, 2007 at the Universal Sheraton in Los Angeles.
“Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper set a strong example for world leaders across the globe when he affirmed the Canadian government’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” stated ANC-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “The Armenian American community is honored to welcome Secretary of State Kenney to accept the Freedom Award on behalf of the Prime Minister,” he added.
Prime Minister Harper distinguished himself among human rights advocates when he affirmed that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 was the first genocide of the 20th century. For decades, previous Canadian governments had refused to call the systematic annihilation of over a million Armenians as “genocide” for fear of upsetting the Republic of Turkey. Prime Minister Harper has emphasized that Canada’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide is sometimes not easy “for the foreign service of Canada” to accept. In a recent letter to the Armenian National Committee of Canada, the Prime Minister wrote that, “We have made it very clear that our recognition of the Armenian Genocide represents the official position of the [Canadian] government.
In a written statement to the ANC-WR, the Prime Minister added that he was “honoured to learn that I was being recognized… for my government’s decision to officially recognize the Armenian [G]enocide.” He added, “As you gather to celebrate your culture at one of the largest gatherings of the Armenian Diaspora in the world, please know that Canada remains firmly committed to promoting the principles of democracy and human rights. We also continue to look forward to strengthening economic and diplomatic ties between Armenia and Canada in the years ahead.”
Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity Jason Kenney will attend the ANC-WR Annual Banquet to accept the Freedom Award on behalf of Prime Minister Harper. The Ministry on Multiculturalism strives to ensure that all Canadian citizens maintain their identities, take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. The Canadian experience has demonstrated that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence. Kenney has served the Canadian government since 1997 when he was first elected to the House of Commons. After being reelected in 2000, 2004 and 2006, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister in February 2006. Kenney also serves as Chair of the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights.
This year’s annual banquet is set to honor U.S. Senator Robert Menendez as “Man of the Year” for his principled stand against the Bush Administration’s Hoagland nomination. In August of 2007, the Administration withdrew the nomination of Richard Hoagland as Ambassador-designate to Armenia. The ANC-WR will also honor community activist and philanthropist Hacob Shirvanian with the organization’s “Legacy Award” for his decades of service and leadership.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots public affairs 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 ANC-WR promotes awareness of issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
Photo caption #1: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Photo caption #2: Canadian Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity Jason Kenney.