August 23, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tamar Gregorian
tel. 504-723-2906

ANCA Eastern Region’s 13th Annual Banquet Brings Hundreds of Activists Together in the Merrimack Valley

Freedom and Cardashian Award Recipients Announced

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Lowell, MA – Hundreds of community leaders and grassroots activists throughout the Eastern United States will gather together at the 13th annual Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region banquet on Saturday, November 9, 2019, at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Inn & Conference Center to mark the year’s accomplishments and honor those who have worked tirelessly for the Armenian cause. 

Each year, the ANCA-ER honors individuals who have made extraordinary contributions toward issues that concern Armenian Americans with the ANCA-ER Freedom Award and ANCA-ER Vahan Cardashian Award. This year’s recipients of the ANCA-ER Freedom Award are Dr. Taner Akçam and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), and this year’s recipients of the ANCA-ER Vahan Cardashian Awards are Aram, Armen and Ara Jeknavorian

Dr. Akçam is the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. Dr. Akçam was one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide. As the chair of the Armenian Genocide Studies program at Clark, he directs research and teaches future generations of scholars about the Armenian Genocide. 

“We are honored to have Dr. Akçam join us at this year’s banquet. He is a prominent researcher and advocate for the Armenian cause. He has dedicated his life to truth-telling and accuracy in teaching and research, and we are eager to present him with this year’s ANCA-ER Freedom Award,” said Steve Mesrobian, 2019 ANCA-ER Banquet Committee Co-Chair.

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), who serves the second district of Massachusetts (Leominster, North Hampton and Worcester), has dedicated his career to serving as a human rights activist. As the co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a ranking member of the House Rules Committee, he’s been able to create change and impact legislation that has been meaningful for dozens of underrepresented groups.  

As a proponent of human rights, Congressman McGovern has been a long-time friend of the ANCA and the Armenian American community of Massachusetts. He’s supported key legislation and has consistently called upon the U.S. government and presidents to properly and accurately recognize the Armenian Genocide. Most recently, Congressman McGovern played an instrumental role in ruling on both the Chu and Sherman Amendments, which endorsed the bipartisan Royce-Engel peace proposal for Artsakh and blocked the transfer of U.S. defense articles to Baku. Both amendments were backed by the ANCA and offered to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. 

“As a long-time supporter and constituent of Congressman McGovern, I am thrilled that he’ll be joining us at this year’s banquet to accept the ANCA-ER Freedom Award. His life’s work has been to shine a spotlight on injustices and human rights violations throughout the world. The Armenian American community of Massachusetts, and the region as a whole, is eager to thank him for his dedication and support,” said George Aghjayan, Chairman, ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund. 

The Vahan Cardashian Award is given annually to an ANCA-ER activist or supporter who demonstrates longstanding accomplishments on behalf of the Armenian Cause. This year, the ANCA-ER has chosen to honor three deserving activists with this prestigious award – Aram, Armen and Ara Jeknavorian. 

Along with building key congressional relationships throughout the years, Aram, Armen and Ara have worked tirelessly in positions of leadership in the ANC of Merrimack Valley while also serving the needs of numerous Armenian American organizations throughout the Merrimack Valley.  

Our community is so proud and honored to have the Jeknavorian brothers recognized for their unwavering commitment to both the ANCA and the entire Merrimack Valley Armenian Community. All three brothers have devoted their lives to promoting Hai Tahd and advocating on behalf of Armenia and Artsakh. The ANC of Merrimack Valley is eager to have our friends and supporters join us in honoring the Jeknavorian brothers for their continued efforts, which have led to significant political support from numerous elected officials in our area,” said Mimi Parseghian, 2019 ANCA-ER Banquet Committee member and ANC of Merrimack Valley Member. 

The evening will include a silent auction featuring numerous items donated from local Armenian and non-Armenian businesses and individuals, as well as organizations such as AYF Camp Haiastan and the Armenian Heritage Cruise. 

“The ANCA Eastern Region is looking forward to celebrating our accomplishments with our activists and supporters. We’ve got a very deserving group of honorees and a dynamic host committee comprised of ANCA activists from the ANC of Merrimack Valley, Chicago, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Our fantastic team is working to prepare an unforgettable evening for our guests,” said Nairee Hagopian, Co-Chair of the 2019 ANCA-ER Banquet Committee.

Who: ANCA Eastern Region
What: 13th Annual Banquet
When: Saturday, November 9
6:00 pm Cocktails & Silent Auction
7:30 pm Dinner & Awards Program
Where:University of Massachusetts Lowell Inn & Conference Center
50 Warren Street
Lowell, MA 01852

For more information about this year’s banquet, please visit, call or email https://ancaef.org/2019-banquet/, (917) 428-1918 or erbanquet@anca.org. 

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The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region is part of the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots organization, the ANCA. Working in coordination with the ANCA in Washington, DC, and a network of chapters and supporters throughout the Eastern United States, the ANCA-ER actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. For more information, visit https://er.anca.org/.