No announcement yet.

Event To Benefit The Armenian American Wellness Center In Armenia

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Event To Benefit The Armenian American Wellness Center In Armenia

    March 19, 2004
    Embassy of the Republic of Armenia
    2225 R Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20008
    Tel: 202-319-1976, x. 348; Fax: 202-319-2982

    Armenian Parliamentarian Hranush Hakobian Participates In An Event To
    Benefit The Armenian American Wellness Center In Armenia

    On the evening of February 28, approximately hundred and fifty people
    gathered at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to hear from Hranush
    Hakobian Ph.D., member of the Armenian Parliament and chair of the Standing
    Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth Issues of the National
    Assembly of Armenia, in a tribute to the Mothers of Gyumri.

    The event was sponsored by The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, H. E.
    Amb. Arman Kirakossian, and the Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc.
    (AACA) in support of the life-saving work of the Armenian American Wellness
    Center (AAWC) in Armenia in its mission to save, prolong and improve the
    lives of women in Armenia through early detection and treatment of their
    breast and cervical cancer.

    Since Armenia's independence in 1990, Hranush Hakobian has served four terms
    as a member of the National Assembly of Armenia. Ms. Hakobian holds a Ph.D.
    in Law, a Master's Degree in Mathematics from the Yerevan State University,
    and a Master's Degree in Political Science from the Academy of Political
    Sciences in Moscow. She has also briefly studied International Law in the
    United States. She has served Armenia in several capacities, including
    Minister of Social Security (1996- 1998) and Chair of the Standing Committee
    on Health, Social Services, and Ecology of the National Assembly
    (1994-1996). She has authored 85 laws on issues concerning women, children,
    health, privatization and human rights in the Armenian Parliament.

    M.P. Hakobian is in the United States as the official guest of the Armenian
    American Cultural Association, Inc., the US sponsoring organization of the
    Armenian American Wellness Center, which is a humanitarian health project in
    Armenia. As a volunteer, she serves as Co-President of the Wellness Center,
    along with Rita Balian, and together they are responsible for the
    operations, development and expansion plans of the Center.

    Sonia Crow, the vice president of AACA, served as emcee for the evening.
    "This event is being held as a tribute to the Mothers of Gyumri. Gyumri is a
    city which is still struggling to overcome the devastating effects of the
    1988 earthquake. AAWC's Monthly Medical Missions have been extended to
    encompass the women and mothers of Gyumri. Living in a high health care risk
    zone, the women of Gyumri are subjugated to severe stresses and diseases,
    among which are breast and cervical cancer. The children of Gyumri (ages 6
    to 13) have joined forces with us at the AACA/AAWC by producing these
    paintings displayed on the walls which are for sale today. The proceeds will
    go towards continuing to provide life-saving medical services to their
    mothers during AAWC's monthly missions." She also announced that an
    anonymous donor would match all the funds raised on that day. Then she
    invited the Ambassador to the podium.

    In his opening remarks, Ambassador Arman Kirakossian introduced M.P. Hranush
    Hakobyan saying, "From the very first days of Armenia's independence,
    Hranush Hakobian has committed herself to improving the Armenian State
    through her capacity as a member of the National Assembly. Apart from her
    active public service, Hranush Hakobian finds time to help Armenian women
    through her work with the Armenian American Wellness Center." Ambassador
    Kirakossian closed his remarks by expressing the Embassy's and his personal
    appreciation of Hranush Hakobian and Rita Balian for their tireless work on
    behalf of the women of Armenia and wished them further success in their
    future endeavors in helping saving lives of mothers.

    M.P. Hranush Hakobian then took the podium. "The most serious problem facing
    Armenian women today is poverty and the polarization between the rich and
    the poor," said Ms. Hakobian, "yet one of the ways we can fight poverty is
    by providing women with access to modern health care facilities, and this is
    the reason why we founded the Armenian American Wellness Center."

    "The Armenian people are held up by four pillars: the first pillar is the
    Armenian language; the second is the Armenian Church; the third is the
    Armenian culture; and the fourth pillar is the Armenian family, of which the
    mother plays the predominant role. Therefore it is of vital importance that
    we, as Armenians, ensure the health and well-being of our mothers and
    sisters in Armenia in order to guarantee a productive future for Armenia."
    Hakobian concluded her remarks by saying, "I believe that when Armenians are
    healthy, Armenians are wealthy and happy, and this will lead to a strong and
    secure Armenia."

    The event also included a musical program organized and coordinated by Leon
    Khoja-Eynatyan, faculty member at the prestigious Levine School of Music in
    Washington, DC. The program consisted of three musical pieces, the first of
    which was from Armenian American composer Alan Hovhaness and was performed
    by Nayiri Poochikian on violin, Virginia Lum on piano, and Leon
    Khoja-Eynatyan on percussion (marimba). This was followed by a piece from
    Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu and performed by Mrs. Poochikian and her
    daughter Hoorig on violin with Ms. Lum on piano. The final piece of the
    program was from Japanese composer Keiko Abe and was performed as a solo by
    Mr. Khoja-Eynatyan, along with the performer's own improvisation. The
    musical program, especially the final piece, was received with great

    AACA President and Co-founder Rita Balian then gave closing remarks,
    commenting on AACA's vision for the future of the AAWC. "I began this
    project seven years ago with the goal of taking one mammography unit over to
    Armenia to aid in the prevention of breast cancer. With the help of Hranush
    and as a result of the hard work and dedication of everyone associated with
    the AAWC/AACA, we have since seen our goal of one mammography unit evolve
    into a state of the art Wellness Center for diagnostic and preventative
    health care with two satellite clinics. As we look to the future and begin
    our renovations of the building donated to us by the Armenian government, we
    envision a modern health care center that focuses not only on the health of
    our mothers and sisters in Armenia, but a health care center that will help
    to improve and prolong the lives of the entire family. I would like to thank
    everyone who has ever donated a "gift of hope" or volunteered his or her
    time to our noble cause. I would also like to thank all of out committee
    members who have helped to make this event benefiting the mothers of Gyumri
    such a great success."

    The guests were then invited to participate in a raffle by giving a "gift of
    hope," a donation which will be used to provide free mammograms and pap
    smears to women at the Wellness Center. The winners received boxes of
    chocolate which were specially created with the AAWC logo through a business
    and philanthropic partnership between the AAWC and the Grand Candy Company
    of Armenia. One raffle winner also went home with a very special painting
    from one of the children of Gyumri.

    In attendance at the event were Armenian Ambassador to the U.S, H.E. Arman
    Kirakossian and his wife, Susanna; former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia H.E.
    Michael Lemmon and his wife Michele; Donna Dowsett-Coirolo, Armenian Country
    Director from the World Bank; USAID Team Leader for the Caucuses, James
    Watson and his wife Susan; Joseph Simone, the Founder of the International
    Spirit of Life Foundation, along with his wife Osa; Gerald Hill, Director of
    Global Outreach for Disease Management from Capital Technology Information
    Services, Inc.; Barbara Brocker and Suzanne Grinnan from the American
    International Health Alliance; from International Relief and Development,
    President and CEO Arthur Keys and his wife, Jasna Basaric-Keys, Director of
    Public Health for IRD; and many members of Washington's Armenian American

    The Armenian American Wellness Center, previously known as the Armenian
    American Mammography University Center, was established in April 1997 by
    Founding President and CVO (Chief Volunteer Officer), Rita Balian, with the
    overwhelming contributions and assistance of hundreds of donors, volunteers,
    U.S. medical teams, corporations, institutions, and the U.S. and Armenian
    Governments and their respective embassies. The AAWC has screened over
    53,000 women, and has helped to save, improve and prolong the lives of over
    1,200 women through early detection and treatment of their breast and
    cervical cancer. The Center was initially established in Armenia as a
    response to the alarming increase of breast cancer cases and the critical
    need for accurate and early detection of the disease. In January 2002, with
    the addition of gynecology and pathology departments, the Mammography Center
    was renamed the Armenian American Wellness Center to better reflect the
    range of services it now provides.

    A satellite clinic was opened in the suburbs of Yerevan in April 2000.
    Among the recent achievements of the Wellness Center is the opening of a
    second satellite clinic on July 6th, 2003, in the town of Gavar located in
    the Gegharkunik Province of the Lake Sevan Region. In addition to
    mammography and basic gynecological services, the Gavar Clinic will also
    provide American style primary health care services for the entire family.
    The AAWC, with its Yerevan Clinic and two Satellite Clinics, now has a total
    staff of 36 people, most of who have received additional training in US
    medical institutions and provide high quality clinical services to their
    patients. Since the establishment of the AACA, its overhead expenses have
    not exceeded 3% of its total grassroots fundraising.

    For more information on the Armenian American Wellness Center, interested
    persons should contact AACA, Tel: 703-416-2555 or e-mail: [email protected]