The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, MA
Aug 29 2009

Knights and Daughters of Vartan Hold Grand Convocation in Boston

BOSTON ' `Boston Knights Light the Way' was the theme for the 91st
Knights of Vartan and 69th Daughters of Vartan Grand Convocation held
at the Westin Copley Place Hotel, during the week of June 30 ` July 5,
hosted by Ararat #1 Knights Lodge, Commander Nelson Stepanian, and
Arpie #9 Daughters Otyag (chapter) of Boston and Donna Deranian,

The Convocation Committee was headed by Robert M. Avakian and a team
of Ararat Lodge and Arpie Otyag members.

Two days of intense business meetings were held separately by the
Knights and Daughters, during which delegates deliberated on various
current issues and election of the officers for the ensuing year. The
Knights reelected Haig K. Deranian as grand commander, Charles
S. Guleserian as vice commander, Jack Medzorian as grand chaplain, Ara
Balikian Esq. as grand secretary, Edward Juskalian as grand treasurer
(new candidate), Sarkis Gennetian as grand master of ceremonies and
Arto Kurkjian as grand sentinel. The Daughters elected a new Grand
Council, replacing the outgoing Grand Council headed by Grand Matron
Anita Arslanian. The new council is headed by Grand Matron Melene
Ouzounian and includes Geraldine Tahajian, Peggy Kalemkarian, Salpy
Adams, Betty Farsakian, Kathy Bedrosian and Rozine Bedoyan.


The Knights made special recognition awards during its meetings to
honor individual members who demonstrated exemplary service during the
year. These included Antranik Cingoz from San Francisco, who
personally raised over $100,000 from friends and associates all over
the world for the Knights of Vartan Armenia School Support
Project. Also recognized were the efforts of Michael Gulbankian for
his past service on the Armenia Adopt a School Project, James
Kalustian and state Rep. Peter Koutoujian for their efforts in
spearheading the Armenian Heritage Park and Genocide Memorial on
Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway.

During the meetings, donations made during the year 2008-09 by the
Knights and Daughters to various Armenian charitable and humanitarian
causes in their local communities and Armenia were reported, totaling
$543,341. The various lodges of the Knights made donations which
totaled $477,094, including $133,916 for the Armenia School Support
Project (matched nine for one by the World Bank) and a container of
medical equipment and supplies for Karabagh valued at $296,500 (this
was the sixth container shipped for a grand total value of $2,500,000
in this effort). The Daughters reported donations of $66,255,
including support of the Fuller program for housing in Armenia.

Armenia School Support Project

In his annual report, the Armenia School Support Committee Chairman
Levon Karakashian pointed out that since its inception in the year
2000, the project has raised $1,937,558, which has been matched by the
World Bank to total $19,375,576 of construction work performed for 187
needy school projects in Armenia. The funds raised by the Knights of
Vartan came from individual lodges, members, non-members and
charitable foundations in the USA and abroad. The members applauded
the work of the committee for their efforts in this flagship program
of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan in serving critical needs of
schools in Armenia.

Reports were also made by committee chairpersons of other programs,
which included the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies, the
Knights of Vartan Armenian Research Center at the University of
Michigan and the annual Times Square Armenian Genocide Commemoration
Committee. Also reported was the outstanding progress of the Armenian
Heritage Park and Genocide Memorial on Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway,
spearheaded by Knights of Vartan members of the Ararat Lodge #1 in
Boston who initiated the project and united all of the Armenian
organizations in Massachusetts to participate. It was reported that
all approvals are now in hand, final fund raising is in progress and
ground breaking is expected shortly.

The week was kicked off by various Boston tours and a cocktail
reception hosted by Grand Commander Haig Deranian and outgoing Grand
Matron Anita Arslanian but the first official event was the
LobsterFest, which was held Thursday, June 2, at the site of the USS
Constitution Museum in Charlestown. After music, hors d'oeuvres, tours
of Old Ironsides and a lobster meal, Koutoujian, the evening's master
of ceremonies, informed the group of the Armenian connection with the
Constitution, based on extensive research done by Dr. Martin
Deranian. In 1905, the Navy proposed using the ship for target
practice, but Armenian immigrant and Boston businessman Moses Gulesian
offered $10,000 to preserve her. Gulesian's gesture made headlines,
aroused interest, and eventually Congress appropriated funds for

The Friday, June 3 event began with an unusual exhibition. The host
lodge Ararat #1 arranged for a special statue display of St. Vartan
Mamigonian. Many photos were taken with the statue and more than a few
were startled when the statue changed position. After the visit with
the living statue, the group moved into the Armenian Cultural and
Educational Center in Watertown, for an evening of Armenian mezza and
dancing to the music of the Johnny Berberian Ensemble.
Grand Banquet

The week of activities was capped by the July 4 Grand Banquet attended
by nearly 300 Knights, Daughters and guests to see presentations to
Man of the Year Hirant Gulian, recognition of the humanitarian work of
Baroness Caroline Cox and scholarship recipient Garine Ashjian, one of
six college student winners throughout the United States and Canada
that the Knights award annually. Deranian addressed the gathering and
underscored the Knights of Vartan New Vision, which was the subject of
workshops and meeting sessions. Deranian stated that `¦the Knights
respect the traditions and beliefs inherent in our heritage, but also
endeavor to pave the way for new ideas in the coming years.' The
banquet ended just in time for the group to be able to witness the
fireworks after the Boston Pops annual concert.

Grand Commander Haig K. Deranian and seven past grand commanders of
the Knights of Vartan.
[caption id="attachment_1734" align="alignright" width="199"
caption="Man of the Year Hirant Glian and Grand Commander Haig
K. Deranian"][/caption]
Convocation Committee

Upon the conclusion of a busy week, Convocation Chairman Robert
M. Avakian stated, `We take pride in the fact that we just hosted a
huge endeavor for our comrades from across the nation and they had a
great time and went home with fond memories of Boston.' He added, `We
are especially indebted to the untiring efforts of our convocation
committee members who took responsibility, most for the first time,
for the endless details of the convocation.' These were Alice
Sahakian, Aram Deirmendjian, Artak Kalenjian, Dr. Charles Nargozian,
David Barber, Donna Deranian, George Elanjian, George Haroutunian,
Gladys and Harold Partamian, Jirair Demirchian, John Peterson, Michael
Guleserian, Nelson Stepanian, Paul Boghosian, Paul Ketchoyian, Helen
and Richard Cherkerzian, Roset Atinizian and Walter Nahabedian.

The 2010 Grand Convocation will be held July 7`10 in Irvine, Calif.

The Knights of Vartan, founded in 1916, is an Armenian fraternal
organization dedicated to the preservation of the rich cultural
heritage of the Armenian people, and encourages its members to assume
leadership roles in cultural, educational, religious and charitable
organizations and activities. The Daughters of Vartan, an affiliated
organization, was formed in 1933. For more information on the Knights
and Daughters of Vartan, visit

http://www.mirrorspectat hold-grand-convocation-in-boston/