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(SAN DIEGO) – The Knights of Vartan, Gomidas Tahlij #43 of San Diego has donated a commissioned painting of St. Vartan and Ghevont Yeretz for the side altar of St. Sarkis Armenian Church, San Diego.

The painting by Armenian artist Tigran Hovumyan was dedicated and blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, and parish priest Very Rev. Father Pakrad Dz. V Berjekian, on Sunday, February 5, 2023, as part of St. Sarkis’ First Anniversary Celebration.

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The Knights of Vartan 104th and Daughters of Vartan 82nd Grand Convocation

The Knights of Vartan 104th and Daughters of Vartan 82nd Grand Convocations were held in Glendale, CA from July 13 to 16th 2022. It was attended by over 200 members of leadership, delegates and family members from all over the USA. The events included a series of workshops, meetings, tours, social events and a banquet.

Clockwise: AT 2022, NAS Steve Adams delivers his speech at the Banquet; the Woman of the Year Dr. Ann Karagozian receiving her prize from AD Gloria Korkoian; AT 2021-2022 with Man of the Year Dr. Richard Hovannisian

For the first time in three years, the Convocations were held in person. The 2020 and 2021 Convocations still took place via Zoom, where decisions were made and projects were implemented (as due to covid-19 in person large meetings were not allowed.) Thus, it was great to see each other again in person after three years.

The Convocation Committee had been working on this event since 2019. The committee, headed by General Chairman Past Commander Gary Kaloostian and Co-Chairwoman Sonia Serpekian, Past Chairwoman, worked very hard to keep all reservations and arrangements made in 2019 and make it a memorable and well organized event in 2022. The best location was chosen for the Convocation, The Hilton Hotel in Glendale city, where there is a major Armenian population. The event was hosted by three Knights f Vartan Lodges and three Daughters of Vartan Chapters: Ardaz Lodge #17, Ghevont Lodge #26, Sevan Lodge #28, Varteni Chapter #17, Nevart Chapter #18 and Gayane Chapter #22.

The 4-day event started on Wednesday, July 13 with tours to Paramount Studios Tour, Ararat-Eskijian Museum & Ararat Home, Western Diocese and the American Armenian Museum, which is under construction. Worthy to mention that a number of Knights of Vartan local members are involved in the American Armenian Museum building project.

The outgoing Grand Commander Steven R. Adams presided at the Grand Convocation and the business meetings. The Knights of Vartan allocated financial support for certain key charitable initiatives: the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia NGO, scholarships for Armenian American Students in the USA, scholarships for students in Armenia to attend the American University of Armenia, Yerevan State University, and National Polytechnic University of Armenia.  The following projects will be funded too: CASP (Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program) to benefit needy children in Armenia; Mer Hooys; Support of Census and Data Collection in Artsakh by the Astvatsaturian Foundation; and the After School Program in Aygedzor School in Tavush.

During the last two years, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, its lodges, chapters and members directly allocated over 3.6 million USD donations and gifts in kind for Armenian charities worldwide. 

Photos from events and kef night. Group photo of the organizing committee.

Dr. Taner Akcam was the Workshop Guest Speaker on July 14th.  His presentation was on the Armenian Genocide Research Program of the Promise Institute of UCLA. Professor Taner Akcam is the inaugural director of the Armenian Genocide Research Program of the Promise Institute at UCLA. Before coming to UCLA, Professor Akcam held the Kaloosdian and Mugar Endowment Chair of the Armenian studies at the Clark University. He was the Knights of Vartan Man of the Year in 2012.

The Grand Convocation is also the time when the Knights and Daughters of Vartan recognize fellow Armenians for their exceptional work by electing the Man of the Year and the Woman of the Year.  

Dr. Richard Hovannisian, the Knights of Vartan Man of the Year, is the past holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation chair in modern Armenian history at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He was a member of the initial steering committee of the Armenian Assembly of America, six-time president of the Society of Armenian studies, chairman of the board of the Armenian Monument Council in Montebello, and Associate Director of the UCLA Near Eastern center.

The Daughters of Vartan Woman of the Year was Dr. Ann Karagozian Sarafian.  She is a Distinguished Professor in UCLA’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, having taught there since 1982, and Director of UCLA’s MAE Energy & Propulsion Research Laboratory, as well as Director UCLA-Air Force Research Laboratory Collaborative Center for Aerospace Sciences. Her life-long academic achievements and leading-edge research activities are indicative of her many talents, her drive to succeed, and a dedication to excellence. The applications of her research relate to improved energy efficiency, reduced emissions and advanced rocket and air breathing propulsion systems. She was appointed the Inaugural Director of UCLA’s Promise Institute in 2020.

Ms. Gohar Palyan, the Knights of Vartan Liaison from the Communications office based in Yerevan, Armenia traveled to Glendale, CA to present the numerous projects implemented the Knights and Daughters of Vartan in Armenia. 

On July 16th the Knights of Vartan elected and installed the incoming Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan, Hunan Arshakian of San Diego, CA, and the Daughters of Vartan re-elected and installed of the Grand Chairwoman of the Daughters of Vartan, Gloria Korkoian of Detroit, Michigan.

Grand Commander Hunan Arshakian was born in Aparan, Armenia, in 1979.  As an exchange student he moved to USA and graduated from Oceanside High School.  He earned his Associate of Arts in Business Administration from Mira Costa Collage, and Bachelor of Arts degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University.  Hunan Arshakian has been active in Armenian community life in San Diego, serving as Chairman of ACYO 2001-2003, member of the Parish Council of St. Sarkis Armenian Church of San Diego. He was the Past Commander of Gomidas Lodge in 2006-2008 and 2017-2019, and Grand Lieutenant Commander of the Knights of Vartan from 2014 to 2017.

He established and currently serves as the CEO of GSCA Inc. San Diego-based company, operating five child care centers in San Diego County since 2013. Since 2015, he is the CEO of H&A Investment Properties LLC.  San Diego-based company develops and manages properties in the Counties of San Diego and Los Angeles. 

Hunan Arshakian has excellent leadership skills and extensive managerial experience.

Grand Commander Hunan Arshakian commented in his speech, “As much as the Knights of Vartan accomplished, the diaspora and the homeland need us to step up more than ever. Our fellow brothers and all of us, Asbeds made the oath to the Аrmenian people, homeland, church and family. We will make changes for the better of the Knights of Vartan organization, and we will do it together.”

Grand Chairwoman Gloria was born in Detroit and grew up in Dearborn, MI. She attended Wayne State University earning a Liberal Arts Degree. She spent most of her career as a project manager for AT&T and Hughes Network Systems. Her parents set the example of lives of service to the Armenian Church and Knights and Daughters of Vartan for herself and her siblings.

Grand Chairwoman Gloria joined Zabelle Chapter #12 in 1994. She served 7 terms as Secretary, 3 terms as Chairwoman, 2 terms as Grand District Representative and served on two Grand Councils.  Grand Chairwoman Gloria chaired the 2018 100th Grand Convocation and the Daughters of Vartan 78th Grand Convocation Committee for Zabelle Chapter #12 and Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge #6. She was elected Grand Chairwoman of the Daughters of Vartan on July 24, 2021.

Grand Chairwoman Gloria Korkoian commented in her remarks at the Banquet that the times have changed since 1916, but the need still exists to help our people in Armenia, Artsakh, the Ukraine, the United States and anywhere else in the diaspora where our people need assistance.

In lights of the war raging in the Ukraine, where Armenians have been there since the first century, and the continuing unrest in Artsakh, this year’s Daughters of Vartan Grand Council appropriations were made to the Armenian Diocese of the Ukraine and the Baroness Caroline Cox Rehabilitation Center in Stepanakert for humanitarian aid to our brothers and sisters in peril there. Donations were also made to House of Hope – Mer Hooys, Diaspora for Frontline Families Fund, Fuller Center for Housing Armenia NGO, Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation, CASP, American Red Cross (Ukraine Humanitarian Efforts), Our Lady of Armenia Orphanage/Gyumri, Armenian American Wellness Center, St. Nersess Theological Seminary, Armenian Churches throughout the USA, Armenian Eye Care Project to name a few.

The Knights of Vartan Grand Lodge consists of seven officers: Grand Commander Hunan Arshakian of Gomidas Lodge, Grand Lieutenant Commander Levon Thorose of Ardaz Lodge, Grand Chaplain Sergey Simavoryan of Gomidas Lodge, Grand Recorder Armen Gostanian of Gomidas Lodge, Grand Treasurer Ronald Nazeley of Ardaz Lodge, Grand Master of Ceremonies Gregory Babikian of Gomidas Lodge, and Grand Sentinel Karen Amirkhanyan of Gomidas Lodge. For the first time in 104 years history the Grand Lodge includes members of two different Lodges.

The Daughters of Vartan Grand Council consist of seven officers: Grand Chairwoman Gloria Korkoian, Grand Associate Chairwoman Lisa Aglamishian, Grand Chaplin Nancy Kalajian Berschbach, Grand Secretary Laura Lucassian, Grand Treasurer Ilene Fantazian, Grand Mistress of Ceremony Leslie Balian Bush, Grand Sentinel Joyce Obenhoff. They are members of Zabelle Chapter #12, Detroit, MI.

The Knights and Daughters of Vartan are committed to Armenian communities worldwide.

Fiesta Under The Stars Dinner and Dance on July 14th.