80th Annual AYF-YOARF Convention

The 80th Annual AYF-YOARF Eastern Region Convention was held from December 26-30, 2013 in Westborough, MA. About 40 senior members from the Eastern Region attended to evaluate the current state of the organization, reflecting on the past year and planning for the future. The members’ thoughtfulness and knowledge was both inspiring and motivating as we worked many hours to improve the organization.

The Convention was hosted by the Worcester “Aram” chapter. Their hospitality helped to create an environment conducive to productivity. On Saturday night, the Worcester AYF and parents of the chapter members hosted a delicious dinner for the Convention attendees.  The community also graciously allowed us to use their church for the Saturday night portion of our meeting. We are grateful for the work that the Worcester community put into welcoming us and helping to make our Convention excellent.

The Convention also included guests from other organizations who were invited to speak and report on their activities. Baron David Hamparian, Camp Haiastan’s Executive Director, discussed increasing communication with the AYF in the future and having more AYF involvement at Camp, specifically in developing a curriculum for the Armenian school. U. Heather Krafian of the Cambridge ARS spoke about how the youth may become involved in ARS programs and cited the many educational opportunities available to Armenian youth. Tamar Kanarian represented the ANCA Eastern Region and called on the youth for help with their political initiatives in the upcoming year. Ken Topalian reported for the AYF Olympic Governing Body, seeking AYF input on many issues, and Aram Kayserian spoke on behalf of Homenetmen for increased communication between the two organizations.

Previous AYF Central Executive member U. Stepanos Keshishian reported for the AYF Western Region as their Executive Director. U. Levon Attarian represented the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee and discussed plans as we approach the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

One of the greatest differences from past Conventions was the delegates’ discussion of international issues and the Eastern Region’s position with them. Previously, the Eastern Region had focused much of its efforts locally. With many members traveling to Yerevan, Javakhk, Artsakh, and Western Armenia over the past year, we were equipped to discuss the state of the AYF and other efforts internationally. Many members learned from each other and became curious in deepening their knowledge of these issues.

With the 100th anniversary of the Genocide approaching, this year’s main topic of discussion was how the AYF can be involved in these plans. We decided the Call to Action for the 2014 year will be Western Armenia and the 100th, referred to in our meetings as “The Centennial.” We will take the year to plan for local, regional, national, and international events in 2015 with the intention of uniting all Armenians and our supporters across the world for this monumental event.

The final task of the Convention was to elect a new Central Executive. The newly elected CE is: U. Michelle Hagopian and U. Stephen Hagopian from the Granite City “Antranig” chapter, U. Raffi Varjabedian and U. Raffi Yaboujian from the Greater Boston “Nejdeh” chapter, and U. Dalita Getzoyan, U. Garo Tashian, and U. Andrew Bagdasarian from the Providence “Varantian” chapter. As we begin 2014, the CE of the Eastern Region is confident that our members will be more active and conscientious of the world around them in the coming year. We look forward to what our members will accomplish as we prepare for the future.

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