October 21, 2013

Glenview, IL — A crowd of supporters of the Armenian National Committee of Illinois (ANC-IL) gathered at the home of Dr. Khachig and Lena Ishkhan on Sunday, October 6, 2013, to hear about recent developments in Hai Tahd at the local, regional and national level.

The featured speaker of the event was ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. The long-time director of the ANCA’s Washington, DC office discussed the various phases that Armenian political activity has passed through. He described how Armenian political activity began nearly a century ago with efforts were centered around fostering sympathy, especially with regard to securing aid for victims of the genocide and for Armenia’s fledgling republic. He stated that, with the Soviet takeover of the republic, the community entered a stage of partisanship, which peaked during the Cold War, where different elements aligned themselves with the different poles.

Hamparian discussed how in the 1960s and 70s, the community began to take a more outward focus, organizing protests and becoming more forceful in our demands. In the 1980s and 90s, the community began to become much active in lobbying efforts and trying to influence the decision makers within our government structures. More recently, the ANCA has tried to expand the community’s reach by helping young Armenian Americans actually become the part of the government structures and eventually become the decision makers.

He also described how the ANCA’s palette of issues has expanded beyond human rights and the genocide to demands for reparations, support for Armenia, Karabakh and Javakhk, and support for Armenian communities in Iraq, Syria and other areas in turmoil. He talked about the transition of Armenia’s relationship with the US from one that is aid-based, which began with earthquake relief, to one that is trade-based in order to help fuel economic growth.

Earlier, ANC of Illinois Chair Claude Ohanesian opened the program by thanking everyone for attending. He then called hosts Khachig and Lena Ishkhan forward to thank them for their gracious hospitality, presenting them with a gift of a signed copy of the newly published book by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian, “one church, one nation.”

Reviewing some of the many activities of the ANC of Illinois, Ohanesian spoke about the ANC’s continuing efforts to raise awareness about Armenian issues with local, state, and federal officials, mentioning meetings with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Cong. Michael Grimm, Congressman Brad Schneider, members of the Illinois State Assembly, and others.

Ohanesian spoke about the ANC’s 2013 Armenian Genocide commemoration, which featured noted author Peter Balakian and which was co-hosted by the Illinois Holocaust Museum. He also discussed continuing efforts with the Museum to mark the Centennial of Armenian Genocide. He then introduced Illinois State Holocaust and Genocide Commission member and long-time ANC activist Greg Bedian to provide an update on the Commission and other outreach activities.

Bedian, who was appointed to the Commission by Gov. Quinn, described the newly organized Commission’s efforts to raise genocide awareness. He spoke about how the Commission was working to encourage the various communities impacted by genocide to work more closely together and learn from each other, and how the ANC had hosted a meeting of the Commission at the Armenian Community Center in March. He also discussed the importance of an international academic conference, held in May that the ANC co-organized with the Assyrian and Greek communities, and held at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, which was the first major conference ever held devoted to the three genocides committed by the Ottoman Turks.

Upon conclusion of the program, attendees were given copies of the book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” which was written by Samantha Power, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The Armenian National Committee of Illinois is a grassroots public affairs organization which works in coordination with a nationwide network of offices, affiliated organizations and supporters to inform, educate, and actively advance the concerns of the Armenian American community on broad range of issues.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Michelle Hagopian
Email / Tel: 917-428-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Eastern Region
80 Bigelow Ave, Watertown MA 02472
Phone. (917) 428-1918 | Email. |
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