Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s Toronto affiliates’ fund raising banquet made a great success
Posted on June 30, 2011
On, Sunday, June 26, Hayastan Fund’s Toronto affliate, with internationally renowned film and stage director, Atom Egoyan as the key-note speaker, had its annual fund raising banquet in the newly renovated halls of Armenian Community Centre. This year's banquet was dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the Independence of Armenia and Artsakh.
The main goal of the evening was to raise funds towards the re-construction of the Education and Cultural Centre of Shushi.
Tenny Nigoghossian, the MC of the evening kicked off the program in front of a capacity audience of more than 400. Nigoghossian stated that "We must acknowledge the enormous significance and the role that the arts and culture play in re-establishing a community. We proved we could do it here. Let's prove we can do it in Shushi."
Arman Akopian, Minister-Counsellor, Charge d'Affaires, of the Republic of Armenia, who was in Toronto, as his last visit in his official capacity, congratulated the audience on the occasion of the anniversary and remarked that both Armenia and Artsakh are free and independent, now for a full generation. He commended the Armenia Fund for playing a vital role during this initial period of 20 years of nation building.
During dinner, a comprehensive video of all the construction activities of the Fund, in 2010, was shown.
Then the 20th Anniversary cake, with 20 candles, was lit by the benefactors of the Fund who were present.
After a brief cultural program performed by young artists of Toronto, Migirdic Migirdicyan, the chair of the Toronto Chapter, started his presentation by thanking all the donors as well as the supporters of the Fund who have been providing in-kind services reducing the overall expenses, all throughout the year. He later gave a trip report of his recent visit to Artsakh and Armenia, where he visited both the current project site as well as the previous schools built by Toronto. The re-construction of the Education and Cultural Centre of Shushi is 60% complete and the edifice will be opening by the spring of 2012. Migirdicyan also stated that both in Artsakh and Armenia the number of newly born babies are increasing nicely, so we had no choice but continue building educational facilities for our future generations in our homeland. He also stated that “everything we do tangible for our brothers and sisters over there makes them more confident that they are not alone in their struggle”.
Then, after listing the accomplishments and the numerous awards of Atom Egoyan, Migirdicyan introduced the key-note speaker, as "a person who is not only a film and stage director but a fine intellectual in the true sense of the word". Egoyan took the podium and gave a very eloquent narrative of the early years of the Karabagh Movement, starting in February of 1988, when the whole world was watching the Glasnost and the Perestroika and Karabagh as one if its, if not the first, test. He continued with his speech by giving several personal experiences of the early years of the independence or just before it. He stated "All of us witnessed the history, our own, in our life time and we have to do everything possible to continue the independence, that our ancestors could only dream of." Egoyan concluded his speech by re-emphasizing the importance of giving to Armenia Fund, who has been building wonderfully all throughout these years in Hayasdan and Artsakh.
While the audience was applauding thunderously, as a token of appreciation, Egoyan was presented with three gifts. The first one was the silver coin minted by the Central Bank of Armenia, in 1994, as its very first series of coins on the occasion of the 74th Anniversary of Sardarabad. The fact that Egoyan is a cultural ambassador of Armenian, the second gift was an Ambassador brand watch, again Made in Armenia, donated by Armenian Watch International(AWI). Finally, the guest speaker was asked to exchange the tie that he was wearing with a tricolour bow-tie, which was from the same series worn by the school children of two of the schools, as part of their uniform.
After that, Houri Najarian, the vice-chair of the Toronto Chapter of the Fund, kicked off the fund raising drive, by emphasizing the importance of giving to the projects of Armenia Fund which is also in its 20th year. The fund raising drive of the evening started by the presentation of a cheque, for the amount of $4,520, which was collected by the students of Toronto Armenian schools and later by Victoria Khajavi, a 14-year old student who herself, single-handedly, had raised $2,400. Following her Taniel Sarkissian of the Youth subcommittee of the Fund presented a cheque for $600.
While the pledges were pouring in, Atom Egoyan's tie was auctioned off which fetched a handy $1,000. At the end of the evening $130,000 was raised for the re-construction of the Education and Cultural Centre of Shushi and an anonymous donor pledged $300,000 for a special project which will be the renovation of a hospital and an old-age home in Yerevan.