On the occasion of its 23nd anniversary, Hayastan Foundation Toronto, had its annual fund raising banquet on Sunday, October 18, at the Armenian Community Centre. Over 330 supporters of the fund as well as dignitaries attended the fund raising. The function, which was dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Genocide, with a motto of “From Genocide to Rebirth”, was under the auspices of H.E. Armen Yeganian, the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada.
After the singing of the national anthems of Canada, Armenia and Artsakh, performed by soprano Armenia Sarkissian, the M.C. of the evening Nathalie Gokchenian invited the guests to observe a one-minute silence to honour the souls of the 1.5 millions of our martyr-saints.
The opening remarks by the M.C. was followed by Ambassador Yeganian who emphasized the key role that the fund had played in Armenia and Artsakh, during its 23-year-old rich history and he challenged the audience to surpass the last year’s results. After a brief cultural program performed by sopranos Armenia Sarkissian and Lynn Anoush Isnar, the tables were blessed by H.E. Bishop Apgar Hovagimian, the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Canada.
Migirdic Migirdician, the chair of the local chapter of the fund gave a detailed report of the 5 most recent projects being realized by the Toronto Committee, bringing the total to 49; the ambulance for Nor Maragha village, the kindergarten for Ivanyan Village, the “Life Centre” for the Ivanyan village, the upgrade and renovation of the school at Shosh village, and finally the major renovation and reconstruction work of the school at Nalbantyan village.
Ambassador Yeganian bestowed upon the foundation’s “Benefactor” medals to Mr. & Mrs. Armen and Berjouhi Nalbandian and the Family, as well as to Ms. Seta Frankian, the sister of the late Jean Frankian, in appreciation of their large donations to-date.
Then, Migirdicyan presented the guest of honor and the keynote speaker Very Reverend Father Hovhannes Hovhannisian, the hero of Kantsasar and currently the pastor of Tadi Vank Monastery and the Karvadjar Region. Father Hovhannisian gave a powerful presentation about his experiences in the Artsakh Movement as well as invited the guests to continue their active participation in the fund’s nation building projects. Father Hovhannisian also presented the renovation work, which was currently going on at Tadi Vank and thanked the audience for their participation and generosity.
The fund-raising drive of the evening was kicked off by Houri Najarian, the vice-chair of the foundation. A record $770,000 CDN was raised from the floor with major contributions by Mr. & Mrs. Sarkis and Haygouhi Maranjian, Mr. Luleciyan, Mrs. Nora Nalbandian-Gulesserian, Mr. Raffi Nalbandian and Mr. Sarkis Yacoubian. The evening ended with a very high note with a surprise live auction. International soccer star, Henryk Mkhitaryan had sent an autographed Borussia Dortmund jersey specifically for this occasion, to the fund in Toronto. The very lively auction, conducted by Migirdician, brought in an unprecedented figure of $26,000, which was the result of a tight race by two generous donors.
Closing the program Migirdician thanked Mr. Mkhitarian for his great gesture, and all the donors, informing the audience that with the money raised Toronto will embark upon at least four more projects by building a minimum of two houses for needy five-children families and two more “Life Centres” which bring Medical/Maternity and Community Centre functions all under one roof for the villages, in Artsakh.
The fund-raising will continue, and it is hoped that until the upcoming annual Telethon, on November 26, the record number will grow even further.