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Organized and sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), and with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Syria in My Memories, a charity exhibition-sale of well-known Syrian-Armenian photographer Vahe Shahinian opened at the Hovhannes Tumanyan Museum on September 30, with over 300 people in attendance. Special thanks to longtime AGBU member and supporter, Syrian-Armenian Sarkis Kazanjian who contributed to the success of the event. All proceeds from the sale will be used for programs assisting Syrian-Armenians who have moved to Armenia as a result of the conflict. Syria, confronted with war and desolation today, was presented in all its previous charm and beauty. Through more than 150 photographs, the artist presented a selection of his work over the last 30 years. He confessed that, because of the war, he has not even touched a camera in the last three years. “I would like Armenians here (in Armenia) to know that Syria is not a country of war. There was peace in Syria, but now Syria has gone backwards 50 years. Syrian-Armenians that moved to Armenia now must learn to adapt and live here. About 20-30,000 Armenians are still in Syria. But living in Syria today is a matter of fate; you do not know what will happen next. I reject war and believe in a promising future for Syria,” said Shahinian emotionally. The exhibition opened with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Shahinian presented a photograph of His Holiness to the Catholicos and thanked him for his pontifical care and enormous help towards Syrian-Armenians, before touring the exhibit and describing the photographs to His Holiness.

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