YEREVAN, MARCH 10. ARMINFO. The Armenian Assembly of America held its annual national meeting in Boca Raton, Florida last week to review operations in Washington, Los Angeles and Yerevan, launch new initiatives and honor those who have served the Armenian cause with distinction. ARMINFO was informed in the press office of AAA, the 33rd annual Board of Trustees meeting was held March 4-5 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club and included two full days of business meetings.
As the first order of business, Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian welcomed participants and thanked them for their involvement in the meeting. Reflecting on the standard for the Assembly’s three decades of service to the Armenian people, Hovnanian said it was imperative to continually “strive for perfection in all the Assembly does.” He also challenged each member to grow the Assembly exponentially, so that the organization can better support the citizens of Armenia and Karabakh to face the enormous challenges ahead. Looking ahead, participants reviewed the Assembly’s legislative priorities which include: maintaining robust assistance to Armenia and Karabakh, maintaining U.S. military assistance parity for Armenia and Azerbaijan, further promoting U.S.-Armenia trade relations, confronting Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades and reasserting the basis for Nagorno Karabakh’s self-determination. In addition, the Assembly reiterated its pledge to secure U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide and actively participate in community-wide commemorations of the 90th anniversary. To achieve these goals and others, including assisting Armenian communities in war-torn Iraq, Assembly leaders said they will need to rely more strongly on members and activists across the country.
Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), who attended and participated in the events, addressed supporters during the Friday night welcoming reception. Pallone discussed the recent public declarations by U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who candidly affirmed the Armenian Genocide during his visit with Armenian communities across the U.S. Pallone said Evans’ remarks did not contradict U.S. policy, but rather articulated the same message that the Bush Administration has set forth in the President’s annual April 24 proclamations. Pallone again pledged to pursue U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Also during the meeting, the following Trustees Officers were re-elected for 2005: Chairman Hirair Hovnanian, President Carolyn Mugar, Vice President Gerard L. Cafesjian, Vice President Robert A. Kaloosdian, Vice President Noubar Afeyan, Vice President Joyce Stein, Secretary Peter Vosbikian, Counselor Robert A. Kaloosdian and Solicitor Albert Momjian. Edele Hovnanian was elected Treasurer, a position previously held by Afeyan. Assembly officials also welcomed two new members to the Board of Directors – Associate Trustee Lu Ann Ohanian of Belmont, Massachusetts and former Director John