New York - On Saturday, March 3, 2007, over 300 guests joined AGBU's Central Board of Directors and Council of Trustees at the New York Historical Society (NYHS) to celebrate a hundred years of preserving and promoting the Armenian heritage around the world. The evening included a special multimedia program, archival photography exhibition and a grand cocktail reception in the majestic rooms of the city museum on Manhattan's Central Park West. Among the evening's guests were U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern Diocese); and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern United States).
Guests were welcomed to the festive gathering with a champagne reception in the NYHS entrance hall prior to the 30-minute multimedia program in the auditorium. Showcasing never-before-seen film footage and photographs of AGBU's early programs in Armenia, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere, the video program, narrated by Alex Sarian, included three presenters, each of whom outlined a different era of AGBU's achievement and recounted their personal connections to an organization that touches the lives of 400,000 Armenians annually. The presenters were AGBU Central Board Member Yervant Demirjian, AGBU Camp Nubar alumnus John Cherkezian, and AGBU Young Professionals of Greater New York (YPGNY) Chair Natalie Gabrelian.
AGBU President, Berge Setrakian, concluded the evening's multimedia program with some words that reflected on AGBU's unique place in Armenian history, "As our reputation for integrity resonated, AGBU emerged as a steadfast champion of the Armenian people in the 20th century. A chronicle to the times, the organization's efforts supported our people faithfully through a tumultuous history of genocide, natural disasters, repatriation, resettlement, revival and national independence. Thanks to the steadfast support of our members and donors, AGBU has flourished into a world-class organization with the resources and goodwill to serve Armenians across the Diaspora and in our homeland."
Setrakian encouraged all Armenians to unite under the inclusive umbrella of AGBU to face the obstacles ahead, "Let us join together in this universal mission, greater than any one of us through cooperation and solidarity to appeal to all organizations, religious or otherwise, to work as a collective whole with Armenia to tackle the challenges ahead of us to preserve our national identity."
A Proud History on Display
After the program, guests were led to a specially prepared exhibition of archival photographs from the organization's Nubarian Library in Paris. Founded in 1927, the Nubarian Library continues to serve as a leading Armenian resource for researchers and academics. Arranged in the two-story NYHS library, the exhibition entitled "Picturing A Century of AGBU" included over 140 photographs, which illustrated ten decades of making a difference in the lives of Armenians everywhere.
The images told the fateful history of the Armenian people and AGBU's constant effort to safeguard the global Armenian community. Today, with 140 AGBU Districts, Chapters, Young Professionals groups, Offices and Centers globally, the organization continues to flourish as a bridge between communities in 35 countries unified by a common heritage and passion for all things Armenian.
The evening's guests were also treated to a grand cocktail reception in one of NYHS's most elegant picture galleries filled with masterpieces of early American painting. Guests gathered for the ceremonial cake cutting, with AGBU President Setrakian, AGBU Trustee Nazar Nazarian, Central Board members, and New York Centennial Chair, Houri Guedelekian.
"It was a magical evening at the New York Historical Society for AGBU's Centennial. It was so rewarding to experience the culmination of months of hard work with an amazing volunteer committee, and particularly the support of AGBU staff. I thought I knew a lot about AGBU until I volunteered on the program committee and discovered how truly deserving AGBU is of all kinds of accolades for what it has accomplished in a hundred years," Guedelekian said.
The event was made possible through the generous donations of various corporations and private individuals, including major gifts from Deutsche Bank, Yervant Demirjian, David J. Greene & Co., Rothschild Asset Management, Inc., Berge & Vera Setrakian, and additional support from Alliance Bernstein, Cadence Capital Management, Cooke & Bieler, L.P., Vahe & Huguette Gabrache, and Rainier Investment Management, Inc.
AGBU's final centennial event will take place next month in Yerevan during Holy Week, when AGBU leaders and volunteers from around the world will come together for a special conference to set the course of the organization's future programs and activities on a short- and mid-term basis. Looking forward to the next centennial, AGBU members will bury a time capsule in Armenia on Easter Sunday to be opened in 2106.
Additional photos from the March 3rd New York Centennial Celebration can be viewed at The www.agbu.org/ny100.
To view this press release in Armenian (PDF) please click the following link: https://agbu.org/pdfs/AGBU_New_York_Centennial.pdf