h1

[FAR New York]: Moving the Blog to a New Location…

January 12, 2011

Dear Friends,

Over the past year, at this location, the Fund for Armenian Relief has brought you the latest news about our work, as well as the happenings within the Armenian community through our blog. Today, we’re happy to announce that we’re new and improved – blogwise, that is. Now fully integrated into our website http://farusa.org, with better image quality, better browse capability, and stronger connection to the rest of the social media world, we’re definitely hoping to enhance your reading experience.

This is also another way to make it easier for you to stay in touch with our community, of course. Whether it’s a story about our child protection program, the latest scholarship recipient or a link to one of our favorite blogs, we hope that our new layout will make it easier and more enjoyable for you to stay informed on the latest and keep the conversation going.

Please do stay in touch and visit us at http://blog.farusa.org.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

h1

[Web Wrap]: World’s Oldest Winery Found in Armenian Cave.

January 12, 2011

Let’s add this to the list!

Via Asbarez.com

WASHINGTON — The earliest known winery, approximately 6,000 years old according to researchers, has been uncovered in a cave in the mountains of Armenia.

A vat to press the grapes, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl dating to about 6,000 years ago were discovered in the cave complex by an international team of researchers.

While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation.

The findings, announced Tuesday by the National Geographic Society, are published in the online edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Please continue reading here.

h1

[Armenian Life]

January 12, 2011

First Snow in Yerevan

First snow in Yerevan-by-Felix

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

h1

[CSFC]: New Hope for the Children’s Center.

January 12, 2011

Last month, a group of distinguished women from the Eastern Diocese gathered to brainstorm ways to support and advance the mission of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Children’s Center—one of the leading entities serving the cause of child protection in the republic’s capital city of Yerevan.

Among other initiatives, the members of the committee—Mrs. Sirvart Hovnanian (honorary chair), Mrs. Nadya Garipian (co-chair), Mrs. Sylva Torosian (co-chair), Mrs. Nuart Arslan, Mrs. Yegsa Bestepe, Mrs. Ani Hamparsumian, Mrs. Magda Najarian, Mrs. Sossie Najarian, Mrs. Karen Nargizian, Mrs. Talar Sarafian, Mrs. Anita Temiz, and Mrs. Alice Yigitkurt—decided to raise money to help organize a Christmas celebration for young people at the Children’s Center.

The funds they raised were matched by FAR’s Board of Directors chair Mr. Randy Sapah-Gulian and used to purchase gifts and supplies for children at the center. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate and President of the FAR Board of Directors, traveled to Armenia at the end of December to present the gifts to the children and to attend the celebration at the center in Yerevan.

DSC_0149

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Archbishop Barsamian conveyed the warm wishes of the women’s committee of the Eastern Diocese, and distributed the gifts to the children. Young people showcased their talent in a special program featuring singing, dancing, and skit performances.  Also attending the celebration were members of the Children’s Center’s Circle of Friends—benefactors in Armenia who are also working to raise funds for the center.

DSC_0162

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Since its founding in 2000, the FAR Children’s Center has improved, transformed—and occasionally saved—the lives of some 6,000 children, aged 3 to 18, who were deemed “at-risk” for a host of heartbreaking social pathologies. A professional staff of social workers, psychologists, and nurses address the specific issues of each child, and work with that child and his or her family. 

New

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

h1

[CME]: CME Brings in First Group for 2011.

January 12, 2011

By Hambartsum Simonyan

This week, FAR welcomed the first group of 2011 participants for its Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program. Nana Karapetyan, a pediatrician from Artashat; Lusik Manatsakanyan, a therapist from Armavir; Garunik Ghushchyan, a therapist from Noyemberyan; and Astghik Gharaqeshishyan, a laboratory physician from Vanadzor, began the program yesterday. They will spend about a month working with doctors in Yerevan to learn about the latest medical advances in their specializations.

This begins the sixth year of CME. More than 255 doctors from Armenia’s rural areas have enhanced their knowledge of modern medical practice through this program since 2005. CME provides the way for these doctors to learn about innovative approaches and methodologies from top healthcare providers in Yerevan free of cost.

Hambartsum Simonyan with
CME Program Participants

CME

Credit: Hambartsum Simonyan

h1

[Web Wrap]: The Half-Armenian Identity: But Your Name Is…

January 11, 2011

What defines the Armenian identity?

By Robert Fullam via ianyan MAG

I have encountered the phrase “but your name is,” countless times when I meet new Armenians and non-Armenians alike. Explaining to non-Armenians that my mom is the Armenian has never been too hard but it is the conversations with Armenians that always tend to get me. Most if not all half-Armenians with an Armenian mother have encountered this. You go to a church picnic or recognize an Armenian name in school, etc and introduce yourself. Everything is going fine and then you tell them your name. They get this look on their face, of slight confusion, like they’re trying to reconcile your claim to your identity with your obviously non-Armenian surname. Repeated experiences of this situation had slowly made me feel slightly ashamed when I told Armenians my name, every time I told somebody, it felt as if all the eyes in the room were looking at me, judging me, judging if I were authentically Armenian.

Please continue reading here.

St. Hripsime Church in Echmiadzin
completed in 618, is one of the
Oldest surviving churches in Armenia.

St. Hripsime

Credit: Rita Willaert/Creative Commons/via ianyan Mag

h1

[Armenian Life]

January 11, 2011

Enjoy.

Armenian Song Aida Sargsyan ‘ Lorke ‘

h1

[Web Wrap]: Living in Armenia: The Battle of Poverty and Prosperity.

January 11, 2011

This is a great testament to the existing economic disparity in Armenia. Read!

By Maria Titizian via Asbarez.com

I have had to bear witness to poverty in my homeland more times than I care to remember. I have felt the bitter cold of winter on my back each time I have gone to the village of Vedi for Christmas to visit distant relatives who live there. The same occurred again this year when I made my annual trek to see this family of six who live in conditions that should bring shame on all of us.

Please continue reading here.

Etchmiadzin, Armenia, 2009

Poverty

© Sara Anjargolian via Asbarez.com

h1

[FAR & BAFA Soup Kitchens]: Gohar Karapetyan And The Staff of Nor Hajn’s Soup Kitchen.

January 11, 2011

FAR’s Nor Hajn Soup Kitchen has operated for 16 years. Gohar Karapetyan, part of a team of five cooks, including Dariko Dallakyan, Alisa Hakobyan, Anahit Melikyan, Sveta Baghramyan, and their supervisor Babken Hakobyan, lead the kitchen’s operations.

Together, they all work in the soup kitchen as one peaceful family.

Nor Hajn Soup Kitchen’s Cooks
(from left to right)Alisa, Sveta, Dariko, Anahit

Alisa_Sveta_Gohar_Dariko_Anahit

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

Born in 1963, Gohar is the youngest employee of the soup kitchen. She has worked there since 1995. Her husband Harutyun died four years ago, leaving her alone with her two sons Hamlet, 28, and Sargis, 24, and her one and a half year old grandson Harutyun. Just as many other family members of soup kitchen employees, Gohar’s husband used to visit and eat there. During those years, everyone lived in very poor conditions, so the kitchen also served staff as a means of support.

“Since my husband’s death this place has given me much needed help and a source of peace,” Gohar said. ”This soup kitchen has become my second home.”

Gohar Karapetyan

Gohar_Karapetyan_NorHajn

Credit: Felix Arustamyan

All employees are comforted when they know that each of their beneficiaries have their meal every day, said Gohar. They also worry when the elderly patrons do not show. “We always take the meal to their homes when they are ill, when we know they are unable to visit the soup kitchen,” she said. “We are happy to do this kind work and we are always touched to receive the appreciation of people. Sometimes the old men kiss our hand as a token of their gratitude. We share with our beneficiaries their happiness and sorrow. We celebrate the birth of a grandchild, and we buy a present for the family.”

Gohar recalled a young beneficiary named Naira who had attended the soup kitchen since the age of 10. She had vision problems and FAR Soup Kitchens Program Coordinator Rafik Martirosyan helped her to cure her eyes thanks to the support of BAFA. When Naira married a man in Javakhk, the entire staff bought presents for the new couple. “We always treated her as our daughter,” said Gohar. “And now she often calls us and tells us how much she misses us.”

All soup kitchen staff are grateful to FAR and BAFA. Many have said that it’s because of the kitchen that they have been able to support their families for many years and receive help in dire circumstances. Although their salaries are not high, they remain devoted. Gohar’s story attests to this, “We are pleased to receive the blessings of our beneficiaries and provide a way for everyone to receive their daily bread.” 

h1

[Web Wrap]: Hollywood’s First Celebrity Humanitarian that America Forgot.

January 11, 2011

Anyone remember Jackie Coogan?

By Vicken Babkenian via Asbarez.com

A story that made the rounds in Hollywood in the 1960’s told of how a little girl who had been a fan of the TV series “The Addams Family” was lunching with her mother in a studio cafe, when she spotted the actor who played Uncle Fester. The girl excitedly approached the beefy 50-year-old man and asked him for his autograph. With a broad smile, he signed, “Jackie Coogan.” Studying the signature with great dismay, the little girl cried out, “Who’s Jackie Coogan? I have never heard of him! I wanted you to sign ‘Uncle Fester’!”1

While many of us will identify with the girl’s disappointment, the story is fraught with irony and represents the forgotten legacy of Hollywood’s first “celebrity humanitarian.”

Please continue reading here.

Hollywood

Credit: Vicken Babkenian via Asbarez.com