Reflections from the 101st ARS Eastern US Convention
By Kohar Bargamian Teague
On the first day of the 101st ARS Eastern US Convention, delegates arrived at the hotel lobby to a warm welcome from members of the ARS North Carolina “Nayiri” Chapter : Judy Hagopian Edwards, Lusya Shmavonian Schnelli and Anita Mangasarian Bolz. By the time the evening opening session had begun, everyone knew the legendary story of the newly created chapter. The beginning of the chapter was very William Saroyanesque – “See if the race won’t live again when two of them meet.” Shmavonian Schnelli explained, “It was our family’s fascination with pineapples and the fact that my son took a picture of Ungerouhi Judy’s Pineapple Realtor sign while on a bike trip that was the catalyst. . The pineapple and this image connected us. My son came back from his bike trip with the photo and noticed that the estate agent’s last name on the sign had an -ian at the end of the name. I contacted Judy with a simple phone call, and the rest is history.
When the 2020 Artsakh War began, Shmavonian Schnelli, Hagopian Edwards and Mangasarian Bolz knew they had to organize the humanitarian efforts. With administrative assistance from ARS-EUSA Executive Director Vartouhie Chiloyan and the ARS-EUSA Board of Directors, they formed the first ARS North Carolina Chapter. Like the founding members of the ARS more than a century ago, Shmavonian Schnelli knew there was no such thing as “sitting on the sidelines”; The soldiers and citizens of Artsakh needed help. The fledgling chapter and its members have already had a profound impact by rising up, organizing and serving the noble cause of providing humanitarian and educational aid to all Armenians in the Diaspora and the homeland. We’re sure to see many more great things coming out of this dynamic chapter.
The ARS North Carolina “Nayiri” chapter wasn’t the only “hot” act at the convention. The new delegates not only excelled in their duties, but also went above and beyond and filled the roles of tivan, secretaries and committee members. After the minutes of the meeting in English from the first session were read, the convention cheered and applauded for a job well done. The two English minutes takers, Areni Margosian and Ani Aroyan, quickly explained: “This is not the first time that we take minutes; AYF has trained us well in taking minutes for AYF chapter meetings and conventions. »
The resolutions committee was equally impressive; three ARS members – Artvine Nekrourian, Hagopian Edwards and Sossy Shahinian Sagherian – skillfully crafted resolutions and made the language clear for the new ARS-ER board to understand and execute. Hagopian Edwards described his participation on the committee as “total immersion! Fascinated by the process, Nekrourian admitted, “There is a fine line and balance between what the committee received as a resolution and ‘the necessary cleaning up of language’ so that the author’s intent is maintained.” Shahinian Sagherian took it all in stride, knowing that diligence in listening was key to crafting a resolution that matched the wishes of the convention. She found her role on the committee to be a valuable experience.
The 101st ARS convention delegates from across the eastern United States were quick to share their thoughts. Rather, each delegate was to share their thoughts on everything from the smallest of questions (order of the day, breaks, lunch, etc.) to the topics to be discussed (sources of funding, leadership and strategy). Delegates were grateful to convention chairs, Shakeh Basmajian and MaryAnne Bonjuklian, and all committee members. For many, this convention was the first time – in a long time – that they had attended an in-person meeting – a welcome break from the Zoom meetings of the pandemic.
On Friday night, convention delegates and guests (who had no convention/committee duties to perform) organically commandeered the hotel’s entire outdoor pool patio and gave new meaning to ” sing with the stars,” as Armenian revolutionary and love songs echoed in the summer evening air. The main stars of the ARS-ER convention were Yn. Maggie Kouyoumdjian, Silva Kouyoumdjian, Marina Yakoubian.
On Sunday morning, August 21, the tone of the convention was unified. With the election of the new Board of Directors, the ARS-EUSA Board and Delegates were encouraged to return to their Chapters and Members and implement the established programs of ARS-EUSA and to help plan the strategic growth of fundraising and membership resources, as well as maintain vigilance. in humanitarian aid to Armenians in crisis areas.
Many ARS members shared their deep gratitude for this inspiring gathering. Heather Krafian and Maral Nakashian wished the new board success as they step down at the end of their terms. Angele Manoogian presented the new board with a generous donation. The convention applauded and thanked her for her unwavering commitment and generosity to the ARS Eastern United States. The ARS-EUSA Board of Directors was able to present the North Carolina Chapter with seed money to fund their projects with funds raised from the Saturday Night Gala Raffle and the Sergeant-at-Arms of the agreement.
The chapters that voted and sent delegates to the 2022 convention are to be commended. Each delegate did their best by listening, learning and mentoring. Always strive to “leave it better than you found it,” Krafian recalled. Congratulations to all the delegates. You made a difference.