On the first two days of the Phoneathon, volunteers will appeal mainly to Armenian organizations and Armenian-owned businesses, while the last leg of the event will be dedicated to rallying the grassroots.
Lending their assistance to the Phoneathon will be numerous Hayastan All-Armenian Fund executives, representatives of the republics of Armenia and Artsakh, journalists, celebrities, and other public figures. They include Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the fund; Hrach Hovhannisyan, advisor to the executive director; Arkadi Ghukasyan, vice-president of the fund’s Board of Trustees; Viken Chitechian, Armenian ambassador to France; Hovik Gevorgyan, Nagorno Karabakh’s permanent representative to France; Bedros Terzian, Gilbert Momdjian, and Avedis Kizirian, chairpersons of the fund’s French, German, and Swiss affiliates, respectively; Artak Herikyan, Armenia 1 TV (public television) correspondent in France; and Helen Segara, an acclaimed French singer of Armenian descent.
“It’s truly impressive to see so many hundreds of fellow Armenians come together under one banner, in a united and powerful effort to help foster the development of their homeland,” Ara Vardanyan said, commenting on his participation in the Phoneathon.
Guido Selva, the Phoneathon’s IT director since its inception in 2000, expressed his enthusiasm for the event. “In the first year, I approached the Phoneathon as just another job,” he said. “Soon enough, however, as I witnessed the massive support it garnered for projects in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and also as I became aware of the great changes that those projects made possible, I grew quite fond of the event. Today I both look forward to the professional challenge of integrating the operations of 150 computers during the Phoneathon and am excited about the support which it will surely secure.”
Although the Phoneathon is organized mainly by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s French affiliate, it is in fact a genuinely pan-European effort uniting Armenian communities across the continent, given the full participation of the fund’s German, Swiss, and Dutch affiliates. Accordingly, the Phoneathon’s volunteer corps includes many Armenians from Germany and Switzerland.
Following the Phoneathon, Ara Vardanyan and Hrach Hovhannisyan will travel to Los Angeles in order to participate in the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 12th annual Telethon. At the conclusion of this pan-Armenian Thanksgiving Day event, on November 26, the results of 2009’s major fundraising drives – including the Pan-European Phoneathon, the Fundraising Gala held in Moscow, and the Telethon itself – will be announced.
It should be noted that Orange France Telecom, the major sponsor of the phoneathon, has bean providing significant infrastructure and technical support to this principal fundraising event for years.