The 86th General Assembly of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) was convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from October 13-17. The main issues of the GA agenda were the expansion of the Union’s programs carried out in Armenia, formulation of new district committees in various Armenian communities of the Diaspora, allocation of financial resources for the implementation of the union’s programs, development of the initiatives of the AGBU chapters, formation of a youth wing adjacent to the Union’s Central Board of Directors, as well as the expansion of professional personnel for the effective implementation of the programs. AGBU General Assembly started on October 13 with a concert of classical music hosted by the Ambassador of France to Argentina Jean-Pierre Astvadzadourian at the French Embassy of Argentina. After the concert, the delegates headed to the AGBU headquarters on Armenia Street to attend the exhibition on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the local AGBU Youth League. The following day, the GA participants were present at the AGBU Marie Manoogian Educational Institute’s primary class concert, toured the institution and visited the classrooms, exhibition halls and sports facilities. During the General Assembly members of the AGBU Central Board of Directors held meetings with chapter delegates discussing issues concerning the Union’s activities. AGBU Young Professionals from different countries also participated in the GA. During the meeting with the YPs AGBU President Berge Setrakian expressed his satisfaction with the growing number of the YPs and their activities in favor of their homeland. He also emphasized his determination to include youth in the Union’s administration and encourage their ideas and activities. The GA sessions started on October 16 in the Buenos Aires Alex Manoogian Center presided over by President Berge Setrakian and with the participation of members of the AGBU Central Board of Directors. Over 200 delegates from Armenia, Australia, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Russia, Switzerland, Syria, Uruguay, USA. Also present were Head of the Argentina and Chile Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Gisak Mouradian and RA Ambassador to Argentina Vladimir Karmirshalyan. The Biennial Reports published in English and Armenian presented AGBU’s activities and financial overview of the past two years. President Setrakian opened the Assembly with an encouraging speech presenting the challenges and achievements of the Union in 2008-2009. He mentioned that despite the financial difficulties all the projects of the AGBU branches and all the activities of the Union were successfully implemented. Summing up the Union’s activities of the past two years AGBU Central Board member and Middle East representative Vasken Yacoubian presented four main directions: projects carried out in Armenia and Artsakh, education activities, chapter initiatives and youth programs. The financial report of the Union was presented by AGBU Central Board Treasurer Sam Simonian. After the reports submitted by advisers, delegates voted to elect Joseph Oughourlian of New York as new member of the Central Board of Directors, to replace Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, whose term as member expired, according to the AGBU by-laws provisions of reaching the age of 75. Mr. Setrakian thanked Dr. Gundjian for his lasting activities and dedication to the Union, highly praised his role and merit in national and public activities and wished him good health and vigor. Eight members of the Central Board were re-elected for a four-year term. In his speech RA Ambassador to Argentina Vladimir Karmirshalyan spoke about the historic importance of the AGBU foundation and its activities. Souvenirs and letters of gratitude were given to Regine Bazarian, Hakob Chamikian, Elizabeth Gyozukarayan and Antonio Sarafian by AGBU President Berge Setrakian for their continuous dedicated service to the Union. Finally, Archbishop Mouradian surprised all the delegates by reading Catholicos Karekin II’s pontifical decree addressed to Bedros Piandarian, long time financial director of AGBU Central Board of Directors in New York, and a second decree addressed to Ruben Kechichian, AGBU Central Board member and chairman of AGBU Buenos Aires Chapter, and decorated them with the St. Nerses Shnorhali medals. Closing the assembly President Setrakian highly praised the work of General Assembly organizing committee, coordinating bodies, members of the Buenos Aires chapter. After the adoption of the GA resolution, with Archbishop Gisak Mouradian’s prayer, the General Assembly concluded its sessions. On October 16, the presentation of the Spanish translations of Margaret Atjemian-Ahnert’s “The Knock at the Door” and a book on Armenia cuisine took place within the framework of the General Assembly. After the meeting, the delegates went to the land adjacent to Alex Manoogian Cultural Center and laid the foundation stone of the new “General Antranik” scout center. One of the most memorable evenings of the 86th General Assembly was the official gala-dinner held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday, October 15, during which renowned Argentinean-Armenian entrepreneur Eduardo Eurne-kian was honored. Armenia’s Ambassador to Argentina Vladimir Karmirshalyan delivered the welcoming address of the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. Greeting all the participants of the General Assembly, Mr. Sargsyan congratulated Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian praising his patriotic initiatives and investments in Homeland. A word of blessing and congratulation was also sent by Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians Karekin II. His Holiness emphasized AGBU’s close ties with the Homeland and the Armenian Apostolic Church, and congratulated Mr. Eurnekian on being named “AGBU’s Man of the Year” praising his service to Homeland and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. AGBU, which has always encouraged philanthropy and active involvement in Armenian community life, honored Eurnekian in appreciation of his commitment to bettering the lives of Armenians. Setrakian made Eurnekian an honorary member of the Central Council of the AGBU, which received a standing ovation and lengthy applause. Eurnekian humbly announced that he is just doing his duty for his people in Argentina and in Armenia.



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