Tekeyan Cultural Association Launches New Metro Los Angeles Chapter

The legacy of the memorable leaders who helped solidify Armenian culture in the Diaspora and the homeland lives on as 10 Armenian Americans have pledged to continue in their footsteps by forming the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Metro Los Angeles Chapter on Thursday, August 23.

Experiencing a period of revival, the TCA’s newest chapter in Los Angeles joins its counterparts around the world as it ushers in a vibrant and cohesive committee of educated professionals who are joining hands to keep the mission of the organization alive, holding in high regard the Armenian language and culture.

The members, all of whom share family ties and connections to the TCA, held elections during their inaugural meeting in a democratic fashion for the following roles: Carl Bardakian (Chair), Aleksan Giragosian, Esq. (Vice-Chair), Shahnour Hovsepian (Treasurer), Armand Yerjanian (Secretary), Taleen Babayan (Media), Maral Kojayan Beylerian, Talene Hachikian, Armen Toumajan, Esq., Mihran Toumajan and Arno Yeretzian.

“Our newly-formed committee recognizes the significance and responsibility of establishing a new Tekeyan chapter in Metro Los Angeles,” said Bardakian, whose community service spans across the Diaspora and Armenia. “I’m honored to lead this exemplary group and to carry on the legacy of my great-great-uncle, Hratch Yervant, who was one of the founding fathers of the ADL [Armenian Democratic Liberal Party].”

Under the guidance of the organization’s veteran leaders, who attended the meeting in a show of solidarity, the group is well on its way to making its mark in Los Angeles, and ultimately, the Diaspora.

Edmond Azadian, Chairman of the Central Board of the TCA of the United States and Canada, who is based in Detroit, expressed his support for the chapter.

 “We are here to encourage you at every step and do what we can to inspire your efforts,” said Azadian, who once served as editor-in-chief of the Cairo-based Arev newspaper, founded by Vahan Tekeyan, the organization’s namesake.

Other leaders included Parsegh Kartalian, chairman of the TCA Los Angeles chapter, Panig Keshishian, Central Board member of the TCA of U.S. and Canada and Boston-based Aram Arkun, executive director of the TCA of U.S. and Canada, all of whom are well-versed in the goings-on of the organization and served as pillars of support to the committee.

Kartalian embraced the newly established committee and remarked how impressed he was that the entire meeting was conducted in Armenian.

“It is inspiring that all of you know the mother tongue and practice it on a daily basis,” said Kartalian. “As your sister chapter, we encourage you and are ready to work together.”

Upon the announcement of the committee’s formation, Shahnour Hovsepian made a toast, tying together the generations in the room and paying a symbolic tribute to the newly formed chapter and Hratch Yervant, long-time editor of the Boston-based Baikar newspaper, by using the decanter and glasses that once belonged to him.

The imprint of Armenian visionaries of the past has influenced this current generation, who hail from various professional backgrounds, but all share a passion for bolstering the Armenian culture and language. Each member is prepared to not only carry out his or her family legacy, but to also modernize it, without sacrificing the core values of the TCA.

 “There are many talented writers, skilled musicians, and creative artists in our community and I hope Tekeyan can serve as a platform to amplify their voices and coordinate their activities,” said Aleksan Giragosian, Esq., whose grandfather, Deacon Yervant Yetenekian, was one of the key driving forces in building the Tekeyan Center in Altadena.

The worldwide Tekeyan Cultural Association was established in Beirut, Lebanon in 1947 in honor of prolific Armenian writer Vahan Tekeyan. Over the last 70 years, the non-profit has worked tirelessly to preserve the Armenian culture and identity, sponsoring and establishing newspapers, publications, academic institutions and theater groups throughout the Diaspora and in the homeland.

 “The TCA has long held an indispensable role in our community life protecting and perpetuating the Armenian culture,” said Taleen Babayan, whose grandfather, Yervant Babayan, was active at the TCA Center in Altadena following a 40-year tenure as educator and principal of the TCA’s Vahan Tekeyan School in Beirut, Lebanon. “Over the last century, the TCA has reached new heights and will continue to do so through its transformational presence and programming.”

To stay up to date on the new TCA Metro Los Angeles chapter programming, meetings and cultural events, visit www.tekeyanla.org, email info@tekeyanla.org or follow on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/TekeyanLA, Instagram@TekeyanLA and Twitter @TekeyanLA.

-Taleen Babayan

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