NORTH PROVIDENCE, RI – For the second time this summer, the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Rhode Island secured a Friendship City between North Providence, Rhode Island, and the village of Jardar, Republic of Artsakh. The North Providence Town Council issued the proclamation establishing the Friendship City with the goal of raising awareness of Artsakh – its people’s right to self-determination and the ability to live freely and not under the abhorrent genocidal regime of Azerbaijan.
The Friendship City and proclamation were announced at the City Council meeting just weeks after the ANC of Rhode Island, which has historically engaged federal, state and city governments to advance the Armenian Cause for decades, secured a Friendship City between Stepanakert and Cranston.
North Providence is home to multiple generations of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, during which survivors of the first major wave of anti-Armenian attacks that took place during the first World War led to thousands escaping to the United States for a new chance at life, many of whom found haven in Rhode Island, in particular North Providence. Over the past century, Rhode Island’s Armenian American community has established various churches, several educational and cultural institutions and organizations that have created a foundation for a flourishing community. North Providence and Jardar share a strong Armenian community, both of which are dedicated to human rights and dignity and are equally committed to preserving their Armenian identity.
Both North Providence and Cranston have also hosted an Armenian flag raising ceremony annually honoring Armenian Americans from their city/town who have brought honor and pride to the Armenian community for close to a quarter century.
North Providence spearheaded the first flag raising, and thanks to the work of the ANC-RI and its relationship with former North Providence Mayor A. Ralph Mollis, they laid the groundwork for advocacy and activism that continues to this day.
“The Armenian National Committee would like to thank Mayor Charles Lombardi and the Town Council of North Providence for setting up a Friendship City agreement with Jardar, Artsakh. The ANC of RI has a long proud history of partnering with the Town of North Providence to raise the Armenian flag every April 24 to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, and we are happy to add North Providence to the list of governments who have established a relationship with a counterpart community in Artskah,” stated Steve Elmasian, chairman of the ANC of Rhode Island.
“We are thrilled to have two cities and towns in Rhode Island establish Friendship City agreements with cities and towns in Artsakh with North Providence joining Cranston, Rhode Island, which established a Friendship City agreement with Stepanakert, Artsakh on April 24, 2023,” said ANC-RI co-chairman George Mangalo.
Friendship Cities with Artsakh have been established in the Eastern Region between Granite City, Illinois, and Ashan, Republic of Artsakh; Cranston, Rhode Island, and Stepanakert, Republic of Artsakh; and now North Providence and Jardar, Republic of Artsakh.
“We have no doubt that with the continued support of our Armenian community in the Diaspora – specifically in Rhode Island – that we can continue to hope for relief and survival. Being under the blockade for more than 170 days is not only disheartening for our people but insulting to our natural rights. But we are used to hardship and we know that we will survive. Any effort to show the world that we are here and that we will remain here is most welcome. This is our land, our native land, we have nowhere else to go. The efforts of the ANC of Rhode Island show our people that we are not alone,” said Gev Iskajyan, Armenian National Committee of Artsakh executive director.