The establishment of the Romanian affiliate was facilitated by Hrach Hovhannisyan, advisor to the fund’s executive director. Hovhannisyan was in Romania in late March to get acquainted with the local Armenian community, oversee the logistics of opening the affiliate office, and familiarize the community with the work of the fund.
In Bucharest Hovhannisyan was received warmly by community leaders including Archimandrite Datev Hakobian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church of Romania, Varujan Vosganian, president of the Union of Romanian-Armenians, member of the Romanian Senate, and former minister of Finance; and other prominent community members such as Garabet Haciaturian, who has played a key role in various fundraising activities in the past, was voted unanimously as chairman of the fund’s Romanian affiliate.
Throughout Hovhannisyan’s three-day visit, Armenian Ambassador Hamlet Gasparyan and Consul General Nelly Matevossian provided invaluable support in the organization and successful realization of community meetings and events leading up to the affiliate launch.
The first community meeting was held following mass at the Armenian church in Bucharest. In his opening remarks, Prelate Hagopian spoke of the pan-Armenian mission of the fund and the purpose of Hovhannisyan’s visit to Romania.
As he delivered his address, Hovhannisyan thanked the community for its heartwarming welcome and stated his belief that the unity of the Romanian-Armenian community is poised to become even more meaningful, considering that the community will have closer ties with the homeland and actively participate in the ongoing development of Armenia and Artsakh.
“In 2010 the Romanian-Armenian community contributed over U.S. $14,000 to the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund,” says Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the fund. “That amount will be used for our 2011 projects. The establishment of our affiliate in Romania will not only deepen our compatriots’ bond with the homeland, but enable them to partake in its development and strengthening. As a nation, we are strong when our combined efforts are focused on a single goal.”
Hovhannisyan was also warmly received by the small Armenian community of Constanta. As they welcomed the fund’s representative, community members were overcome by emotion and fond memories of Armenia. Many among them had last seen the homeland in the 1950s or 60s. In his remarks, Pastor Avedis Mandalian noted that today the once-sizeable Armenian community of Constanta is reduced to some 200 people, mostly senior citizens, while the youth continues to migrate in search of work and educational opportunities abroad. Nonetheless, the pastor expressed hope that the Armenians of Constanta will do their share in supporting the fund’s projects. Father Mandalian added that he and others continue to encourage community members to attend church and preserve their language and identity at all cost.
Near the conclusion of his visit, Hovhannisyan met with the editors of Ararat Biweekly and Nor Gyank Monthly, who expressed their strong commitment to publicizing the fund’s fundraising activities and projects. Toward this goal, a radio station in Constanta, which provides weekly coverage of Armenian news with an emphasis on economic and cultural developments, has agreed to broadcast news about the fund as well.
Toward this goal, the radio station in Constanta that broadcasts the programme Armenian nation and Civilizaton, which provides weekly coverage of Armenian news, has agreed to broadcast news about the fund as well.
With the addition of the fund’s Romanian affiliate, the organization now has 21 affiliates in 18 countries.
About the Union of Romanian-Armenians: Founded in 1990, the Union of Romanian-Romanians is the community’s only secular organization and is represented at the Romanian Parliament. The union has branches and Sunday schools in several Romanian cities. It also operates the Ararat Publishing House and a printing facility. Among Ararat’s book publications are Romanian translations of Armenian literary works. In addition, the union publishes the Romanian-language Ararat Biweekly and the Armenian-language Nor Gyank Monthly. The union’s 20-member Board of Directors is presided over by Varujan Vosganian.