A capacity crowd of over 200 supporters and friends of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) were in attendance at the highly anticipated official book launch of Matthew Karanian’s “Historic Armenia, After 100 Years: Ani, Kars, and the Six Provinces of Western Armenia” hosted by the ANCA-WR Advocacy through Film and the Arts Committee on February 11 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.
“We are privileged to join forces with Matthew Karanian and feature his impressive and critical work which chronicles and beautifully illustrates our historical landmarks and cultural treasures of which we are the rightful heirs,” remarked ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “It is fitting that the launch of the first-ever guide book to Western Armenia served as ANCA-WR’s inaugural event of 2015, the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. This publication is an imperative tool in our arsenal with which we can assert our collective demands for reparations and restitution,” added Asatryan.
ANCA-WR Board Member Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian, before proceeding with her opening remarks, acknowledged the news received earlier in the morning about the passing of Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Tarkanian, who was the son of an Armenian Genocide survivor, was honored by the ANCA-WR two years ago with the People’s Champion Award. A moment of silence was observed in his honor. Khanzadian then extended a warm welcome to all and conveyed the Board’s appreciation and praise for Karanian’s inspirational efforts to compile his decades-long research and photographs into a visually compelling and highly informative narrative compilation of Armenian ancestral territories. Invoking the book launch luncheon as the first of many in the series of ANCA-WR’s Centennial events, Zerounian-Khanzadian urged the attendees to continue their unwavering support for the Armenian Cause and make their collective voices heard by participating in Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol on April 20th and the Pan-Armenian March for Justice of April 24th.
Before Karanian’s book presentation, ANCA-WR Chairperson Nora Hovsepian’s documentary “Journey to the Homeland” was premiered. Filmed during Hovsepian’s trip to Western Armenia in May 2014, the documentary features Karanian and his exploratory research, which informs his book.
After the screening, ANCA-WR Advocacy through Film and the Arts Committee Chairperson Nora Yacoubian shared her remarks and introduced Karanian. “I have no doubt that Matthew’s book will shed insight and pave the way for many more travelers who journey to the homeland,” expressed Yacoubian. “Please do not leave here today with just one book, buy one for each of your children and your grandchildren. This is the first guidebook of Western Armenia. Let it guide you home,” advocated Yacoubian before inviting Karanian, whom she thanked for being an ambassador and an advocate for the Armenian Cause, to present his book.
“I’m honored to have the steadfast support of the ANCA-WR and am grateful for this opportunity. We’re standing together on the critical issue of preserving and protecting our heritage in Western Armenia,” expressed Karanian. Karanian invited all those gathered to accompany him on a journey of rediscovery as he presented a slide show and immediately captivated the audience with his repertoire of stunning photographs of ancient Armenian churches, cultural dwellings and the regional landscapes. The crowd, transfixed by his accompanying narrative of the ancient and historic monuments in Ani, Kars, and the provinces of Bitlis, Dyarbakir, Erzerum, Kharpert, Sebastia, and Van, listened intently to the fascinating details Karanian has amassed over the years. His first visit to Van was in 1997. After the presentation, guests hurriedly seized the opportunity to purchase their copies of Karanian’s 176 page book that is illustrated with 125 color maps and photographs. Yacoubian’s earlier pleas did not fall on deaf ears; many guests bought multiple copies for their family members and friends and had all of the copies signed by Karanian. While signing hundreds of his books, Karanian happily answered the many questions guests had about his numerous trips to Western Armenia as well as his upcoming projects.
To purchase your copy of Karanian’s “Historic Armenia After 100 Years: Ani, Kars, and the Six Provinces of Western Armenia” please call 818.500.1918.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.
See Photo Gallery of event at www.facebook.com/ANCAWesternRegion