By the decree of the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the independence of Armenia, members of the AGBU Central Board of Directors - AGBU Vice President Sinan Sinanian and AGBU Treasurer Sam Simonian - have been awarded the distinguished Anania Shirakatsi Medal for their substantial contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity, service to the homeland, as well as their contribution to the strengthening of friendship between the Republic of Armenia and foreign countries. Sinanian received the state medal during a banquet attended by President Sargsyan at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on September 25th to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the independence of Armenia. Sinanian is a prominent leader in Southern California's Armenian community. Most recently, he chaired the committee to realize the establishment of House of Armenia, a planned cultural center in Glendale and the headquarters of the Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles. In his opening remarks, Sinanian thanked President Sargsyan for visiting the Armenian community in Los Angeles despite his limited time and busy schedule. The honoree went on to say, "It is an honored tradition when commemorating historic events to erect a landmark stone that stays for posterity. Earlier today the president inaugurated the House of Armenia, which was realized through the joint efforts of our community. We believe that the House of Armenia, while being the official residence of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Armenia, is destined to be the showcase for what is beautiful in our homeland and a permanent exhibition hall for its ongoing achievements. That edifice will be the symbolic landmark stone erected on behalf of our community on this proud occasion of the 20th anniversary of the independent Republic of Armenia. It is our wish that every time we pass by the House of Armenia, or step foot in it, we be reminded of our collective responsibility to continuously help and support our homeland."Eight hundred Los Angeles-area Armenians and numerous prominent government officials attended the gala event. In addition to awarding the Anania Shirakatsi Medal to Sinan Sinanian, the Armenian president bestowed a number of other awards during the event, including the Order of Honor to Gerard Turpanjian for his significant services and contribution to the Republic of Armenia, the Order of Merit of the Second Degree to His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, for his dedication to and support of Armenia, and the Mkhitar Gosh medal to Tevan Arustamian, for his contribution to the development of diplomacy, law, and political science in Armenia.