Culture is a mainstay in Armenian life, and the schedule of events surrounding the Union’s 87th General Assembly included concerts, exhibits and celebrations displaying the vibrancy of the homeland. When guests arrived at the AGBU Gala Concert inside the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concert Complex, they were greeted by a special exhibit featuring rare photos and text that narrated AGBU’s expanding presence across Armenia, Karabakh and the diaspora throughout its 106 years of existence. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan delivered the evening’s opening remarks, welcoming the other dignitaries present, including Armenian National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan and Mrs. Abrahamyan, First Lady Rita Sargsyan, His Holiness Karekin II and AGBU benefactors, as well as the scores of attendees. Performances included musical and dance selections by the Nork Children’s Center and the Barekamutyun Dance Ensemble, soloist Shoushan Petrossian, and Syuzi Pirumyan and Sevak Avetisyan of the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theater, and the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, which roused the house to a standing ovation.
Always ready to impress spectators with their talents, the award-winning AGBU Nork Children’s Center students performed a diverse program during one afternoon tailored especially for the worldwide AGBU delegation. Guests enjoyed watching the many types of performing arts featured on the stage, as well as the intricate handiwork pieces created by the young sculptors, painters and craft students that were on exhibit at the spacious center.
The Union also celebrated its achievements during a Gala dinner night and a farewell evening, the latter of which was made even more festive through a spontaneous fundraising drive. Supporters donated and pledged $250,000 on the spot toward the AGBU Syria Emergency Relief Fund, which has been delivering critical aid to Armenian families in Syria, reaching out to Armenian families who have relocated to Armenia, and providing scholarship assistance to Syrian Armenian students who have had to flee to Lebanon and are now attending AGBU schools in greater Beirut.