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The celebrated restaurant owner and chef José Andrés describes Las Vegas as a celebration. From July 10th through the 13th some 230 Knights and Daughters of Vartan did just that, celebrated at their Grand Convocation. For the Knights of Vartan, it was their 101st Avak Tahlij while the Daughters of Vartan marked their 79th Kerakouyn Zhoghov. This year’s Grand Convocation was hosted by Fresno, California’s Yeprad Lodge No. 9 and Alidz Chapter No. 8 with help from other California lodges as well as those from Chicago and Washington D.C. The site of this year’s gathering was Harrah’s Hotel and Resort, located on Las Vegas’ famous strip.

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Daughters of Vartan Helps to Provide a Brighter Future for Armenian Youth

The Daughters of Vartan in partnership with the St. John’s Armenian Church Women’s Guild hosted a successful luncheon to raise funds for “Our Home-Mer Doon, Inc.”, and were honored by the presence of Mer Doon’s U.S. Program Director, Julie Ashekian, and Tigranoohi Karapetian, President (Armenia).

Grand Matron, Anita Arslanian announced that with the funds raised from this event, the Daughters of Vartan U.S. and Canadian Chapters have donated over $35,000 to Mer Doon since its inception in 2005.  Mer Doon provides a family environment for young women in Armenia who have outgrown their childhood home in Armenian orphanages, or who come from seriously disadvantaged lifestyles.  Because of Mer Doon, these young adults have the opportunity to become productive members of Armenian Society, instead of being forced to live far more devastating lives.

Julie Ashekian described Mer Doon’s mission and reported on the success to date in providing for the education, empowerment, development of leadership skills, and creating an environment of self-sufficiency and family – breaking the cycle of dependency for 11 young women, who are pursuing studies in languages, psychology, nursing, theatre, teaching, and law.  To qualify to join the Mer Doon family, the youth must agree to complete their education.  Two of the women are now married, which represents a significant break-through for female Armenians who were orphans.

President (Armenia) Tigranoohi Karapetian addressed those in attendance and extended heartfelt thanks.  U.S. Program Director Julie Ashekian noted that the Daughters of Vartan has been among the largest donors.  She said “It’s about giving hope, education, a home, and life!”

The Daughters of Vartan, which was founded 75 years ago in 1933, partners with the Knights of Vartan, which was founded in 1916. Both organizations encourage their members to assume leadership roles in cultural, educational, religious, and charitable organizations and activities on the local, national and international level for the betterment of the Armenian nation worldwide.  Information on the Daughters of Vartan can be found on the Knights and Daughters of Vartan website: Information on Our Home-Mer Doon, Inc. can be found at