Knights to honor an activist, a broadcaster, and a benefactor: Boyajian, Abdo, Kaprielian to be honored

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Knights of Vartan to honor an activist, a broadcaster, and a benefactor: Boyajian, Abdo, Kaprielian to be honored

Published Wednesday January 28, 2009

Armenian Reporter International

New York - The Mid-Atlantic Knights & Daughters of Vartan will honor three Armenians at their Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 28. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in Kavookjian Hall, 630 Second Ave., New York.

Writer-activist David Boyajian, whose investigative articles and commentaries have appeared in Armenian and non-Armenian media outlets for over 15 years, will receive the Humanitarian Award.

In an April 2007 Los Angeles Times story, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, openly questioned the veracity of the Armenian Genocide and said his organization opposed the Armenian Genocide resolution then pending in Congress. "The resolution takes a position. It comes to a judgment," Mr. Foxman told the Los Angeles Times.

At the time, few people took note of the statement - even though the article itself was at the center of a scandal, in which the managing editor of the Los Angeles Times resigned amidst intense scrutiny of his decision to block an earlier version of the story - by star reporter Mark Arax - and replace it with an article that equivocated about the Armenian Genocide.

But Mr. Boyajian noticed.

He wrote a letter to the Watertown (Mass.) Tab, published in July 2007, saying that "No Place for Hate" (NPFH) programs "are tarnished" by their association with the ADL. He called on Watertown to sever ties with the program.

The letter started a movement in which Armenians, Jews, and others of goodwill worked together to change the ADL's position. Watertown and other communities did sever their ties to NPFH; the New England leadership of the ADL opposed its national director's position - leading to a firing and resignations of board members; and the ADL "clarified" its position somewhat.

The Humanitarian Award thus honors Mr. Boyajian's initiative, his belief in citizen activism, and his consistent follow-through.

Vartan Abdo, director of the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey, will receive the 30-Year Community Service Award.

Mr. Abdo is best known in the community as founder of the Armenian Radio Hour, providing 30 years of radio service to the metropolitan New York/New Jersey Armenian community. He has been involved in the educational, religious, cultural, and political life of the local Armenian community. He is a full-time professor of mathematics and statistics at Union College in Cranford, N.J., and an adjunct professor of mathematics at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J. He was born in Jaffa, Israel, and currently resides in South Orange with his wife Adi.

The Lifetime Dedication Award will be preseted to Hratch Kaprielian, a jeweler by trade, as well as a dedicated supporter of Armenian endeavors.

Mr. Kaprielian immigrated to the United States in 1971 and started a career in the jewelry industry as a diamond setter. He worked his way up to become a successful entrepreneur with interests in numerous businesses worldwide, including Franck Muller USA, Artsakh Bank in Armenia, and Kaprielian Enterprises, a jewelry manufacturing business in New York. Mr. Kaprielian is also engaged in various philanthropic organizations including the Armenia Fund in New York, Karabagh Relief Fund, and many other charities in Armenia.

Mr. Kaprielian was a founding member of the annual Times Square Commemoration committee in 1984. He continuously lends financial support to Armenian causes and activities. Most recently, Mr. Kaprielian was one of the sponsors of the Presidential Banquet for Serge Sargsian at Cipriani Restaurant last September. He resides in New York.

The program also includes a performance by the Akh'tamar Dance Ensemble.