Pasadena delegation to visit Armenia

After over a year of planning, an official California delegation from the City of Pasadena, led by members of the Pasadena Chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America, City of Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Pasadena City Councilmember and Vice Mayor John J. Kennedy, Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education President Vruyr Boulghourjian and other local elected officials from the cities of Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Glendale, along with several members of the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee and other prominent community leaders, residents, supporters and friends, are set to embark on their official visit to the Republic of Armenia, Pasadena Now reports.

During their 11 day trip the delegation, will participate on an 8 day in-depth visit to Armenia, followed by a 3 day visit to Pasadena’s Sister City, Vanadzor, Armenia. This will be the second such Pasadena City delegation to visit the Republic of Armenia, the first of which was hosted, also by the ANCA Pasadena, back in July of 2004 and will include a special visit to Pasadena’s Sister City of Vanadzor. The Pasadena delegation will begin their tour of Armenia on August 31st and will return on September 10th.

Accompanying the Pasadena Mayor and the Councilman are: ANCA Pasadena Chairman Boghos (Bo) Patatian, ANCA Pasadena Advisory Board Member and City of Pasadena Treasurer & Deputy Finance Director Vicken Erganian and David Gevorkyan, along with other officials from the cities of Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Glendale. The trip, initiated under the stewardship of Mayor Tornek will be the Mayor’s and many others first trip to Armenia.

Mayor Tornek was elected to represent District 7 on the Pasadena City Council in April, 2009, was reelected in 2013 and was then elected as Mayor in April, 2015 and is serving out his first 4-year term as Pasadena’s first City-wide elected mayor. In 2016, the Mayor was honored by the Pasadena Armenian National Committee as an exemplary public official for his diligent efforts in working closely with the Armenian community of Pasadena and help building bridges between the city’s diverse communities. Councilmember and Vice Mayor Kennedy was elected to represent District 3 on the Pasadena City Council in April 2013, was reelected to his second term in office in 2016, and was recently elected unanimously by his colleagues on the City Council to serve as the City’s Vice Mayor in May, 2017.

The primary focus of the delegation’s visit though will be a visit to Pasadena’s Sister City, Vanadzor (vah-naht-zor). Vanadzor was established as Pasadena’s fourth Sister City in 1991. Previously known as Kirovakan, Gharak’ilisa, it is located in the northwestern region of Armenia, about 80 miles north of Yerevan. With a population of about 175,000, it is the third largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Lori Province.

Known for its rich natural beauty and mineral springs, Vanadzor is undergoing a rebirth and revitalization after it was nearly destroyed in the 1988 earthquake that rocked Armenia. The City of Pasaden, in collaboration with the Pasadena Sister City Commission, has even erected on the City Hall grounds the ‘Sister City Trees’ with two plaques which mark a small orchard of trees across Garfield Street from City Hall, south of Holly Street and it is one of those plaques which commemorates the sister-city relationship between Pasadena and Vanadzor, Armenia.

“We are very excited about this historic second visit to Armenia and particularly to Vanadzor,” stated Pasadena ANC Chairman, Boghos (Bo) Patatian. “This will be our Chapter’s and City’s second visit to Vanadzor and will undoubtedly serve its mission to strengthen the ties between Vanatzor and Pasadena and give our public officials a better understanding of the rich Armenian culture and history. We thank the Mayor for taking on the initiative to organize this trip and building such a stellar delegation of participants, all of whom will unquestionably fulfill this organization’s and trip’s mission, which is to provide policymakers with a first-hand understanding of the rich Armenian history and culture while giving them an opportunity to meet with influential political, social and nonprofit leaders, there in the City’s Sister City of Vanadzor, an din so doing, to strengthen ties and discuss better means of collaboration between the two cities,” commented Patatian.

Upon their arrival to Armenia, the Mayor, Vice Mayor and others will be received by and meet with the meet with the Mayor of Yerevan and later visit the American University of Armenia, `Dzidzernagapert’ – the Armenian Genocide Monument, ‘Yerablur’ –the national military cemetery and burial place where bodies of Armenian liberators, military officers and soldiers who lost their lives during the Nagorno-Karabakh war are laid to rest, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, and `Ecthmiadzin’ the Holy See of the Armenian Church – one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world and visit serval other museums, scenic destinations and historical landmarks.

Upon its arrival to Vanadzor, the Delegation will be received with an official Reception by the Governor of the Lori Region, will visit Vanadzor Technology Center (VTC), the “Gloria” Sewing Factory, ride it famous Ropeway, and visit with the Prelacy of Diocese of Gougark. Also while in Vanadzor, the Delegation will attend an Official Reception in the Municipality of Vanadzor, visit to the Memorial of the Genocide Victims, visit kindergartens ? 4,5, visit its “Football Academy” and attend a concert featuring the “Horovel” Song Dance Ensemble.

The delegation will also include several other distinguished local elected officials and other prominent community leaders namely: Councilmember John Harabedian of the City of Sierra Madre, Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan of the City of Glendale, and Pasadena Sister Cities Committee Board Members: President Fred Alcantar, Secretary Ofelia Cavazos Edmonson, Vanadzor Chairperson Joan Marie Reyes, Student Exchange Coordinator Margaret Gihanian and former President of the Pasadena’s Sister Cities Committee Michael Warner.

The Armenian National Committee of America – Pasadena Chapter – The City of Pasadena Mayor and Vice Mayor and the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee Board of Directors will visit Vanadzor, Armenia as the City of Pasadena Sister Cities Committee’s Second Official Sister Cities on Thursday, August 31st, 2017 to September 10th, 2017 at Yerevan and Vanadzor, Republic of Armenia.

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