The great American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson could have imagined Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian Bar Association when he condensed into a crisp, six-word serving the taste of victory during the tender month of May.
“What potent blood hath modest May.”
It was, after all, May’s potent blood that unveiled the unimaginable miracle of the Republic of Armenia 100 years ago. That same blood poured knowingly into the epic sacrifice and dignified glory of Artsakh’s national liberation struggle which began 30 years ago this May. And it surged last month, free and unfettered, through the gateway of the all-encompassing epiphany which continues to course through the full body of the rejuvenated modern-day Republic.
Modest May’s potent blood most recently delivered nearly 50 members of the Armenian Bar Association to the earth and the wind and the fire of the dynamic duo of Armenia and Arstakh, to a land and people for which the organization stands and bows, indivisible in its devotion, singular in its commitment to the posterity and promise of Mer Hayrenik.
During its pilgrimage from May 23-June 2, 2018, the Armenian Bar dredged deeper than ever before into the homeland’s hallowed fields of professional love and labor, which peaked at the 29th Annual Meeting among the green-swept hills and dales of the all-mighty Shushi.
Emerging from a rich array of partnership initiatives which took shape in local universities, judicial chambers and courtrooms, civic auditoriums, government offices, and public welfare centers, a new executive leadership team of the Armenian Bar has been installed for the 2018-2019 year.
Chairman Gerard V. Kassabian of Beverly Hills, CA, with the winds and gales of Dikranagerd at his back and in his horizon, is a top-rated lawyer who owns and operates a law firm bearing his name, specializing in trusts and estates, real estate, and family law.
“In Shushi, Artsakh, I was handed the torch that my esteemed predecessors entrusted upon me to illuminate the proverbial path, the mission of our Armenian Bar Association. We are determined to fearlessly and fiercely defend and uphold the rights of our compatriots wherever they may be.” Gerard Kassabian
Vice-Chairperson Kathy L. Ossian of Detroit, MI, with the determined terrain of Efkere, Kghi and Palou at her base, is the founder and CEO of Ossian Law, P.C., a firm focused exclusively on Information Technology Law.
“Holding our annual meeting in the Republic of Artsakh and our first newly-constituted Board meeting in Yerevan on the historic 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia has renewed my commitment to help make the Armenian Bar Association even stronger, more relevant and open to all lawyers of Armenian descent as we pursue our important mission.” Kathy Ossian
Vice-Chairperson Lucy Varpetian of Los Angeles, CA, with indigenous first breaths and final farewells in Afyon-Karahisar, Aintab and Sepastia, is a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Glendale City Attorney’s Office, with extensive experience in city governance including advising the municipality’s City Council and its Civil Service Commission.
“In 1989, the Armenian Bar Association answered the call when the soon-to-be new Republic of Armenia embarked on its road to independence and sought assistance with building infrastructure. In 2018, Արցախն էր մեզ կանչում.” Lucy Varpetian
Treasurer Saro K. Kerkonian of Los Angeles, CA, with deep roots and fallen family trees in Aintab, Marash and Sassoun is a workers’ compensation law specialist certified by the State Bar of California and works as a Senior Trial Attorney as house-counsel for Farmers Insurance Company.
“As the Armenian Bar Association celebrates next year the 30th anniversary of its founding by Raffi Hovannisian, it is a distinct honor and privilege to be part of an organization whose members represent every segment of the Armenian community, united in purpose, independent, with an unwavering commitment in service to the Armenian people, Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian Cause.” Saro Kerkonian
Secretary Liz Al-Dajani of Evanston, IL, with the resilient DNA of Sis, is a principal of Kerkonian Dajani, LLC, where she leverages her prior career as an appellate law clerk and her interest in cross-border transactions, now specializing in state and federal appellate advocacy as well as Middle East business transactions.
“I saw in the bright and cheery eyes of the children of Armenia the eyes of my own three young sons in Chicago. During our magical trip to Armenia and Artsakh, they all became one gleaming symbol of the now happy face of our homeland. Next time, their eyes will meet face-to-face and the divisions between Diaspora and Hayastan will melt away into our unity of nation, faith and future.” Liz Al-Dajani
Beyond the Executive Committee, the Armenian Bar’s Board of Governors is comprised of: Sara Bedirian (Glendale, CA), Harry H. Dikranian (Montreal, Canada), Christine Engustian (East Providence, RI), Garo G. Ghazarian (Encino, CA), Armen K. Hovannisian (Los Angeles, CA), Karnig Kerkonian (Evanston, IL), Mesrop Khoudagoulian (Glendale, CA), Vanna Kitsinian (Encino, CA), Gary T. Moomjian (Jericho, NY), Tina Odjaghian (Woodland Hills, CA), Scott A. Ohnegian (Morristown, NJ), Raffi Sarrafian (Chicago, IL), and student member Sarkis Yeretsian (Los Angeles, CA).
It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the passing of one of the supreme patriarchs of the Armenian Diaspora. If one person embodied the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the Armenian people in the wake of the Armenian Genocide, it was Courken George Deukmejian, Jr.
Born in the State of New York in 1929 to parents who hailed from the Western Armenian city of Aintab and who were survivors of our horrific national dispossession, George Deukmejian was a kind, humble, brilliant man of impeccable integrity who devoted his career to public service.
Serving the United States of America in myriad capacities, he was a veteran of the United States Army and the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. A lawyer by education and training, he decided early on to take the high road in profession as in life, sacrificing his own personal gains in the private sector to instead pursue a career dedicated to public service. Deukmejian served as a California State Assemblyman and as a California State Senator who believed in and promulgated a public policy of law and order and fiscal conservatism. He continued his rise in the public sector with his election as California State Attorney General and then became the first governor in the United States of Armenian descent when he was elected Governor of the State of California in 1982.
In the process, at every turn, and at each elevation of stature, he never forgot his Armenian roots. He was present and addressed the audience when the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument was dedicated in Montebello, California, the first such monument to be placed on public land. As Governor, he empowered many of his fellow Armenians by appointments to the judiciary, California State commissions and other government positions where Armenians had not had the opportunity to previously serveor where they were under-represented.
In the words of Armenian Bar Chairperson Saro Kerkonian, “With the passing of Governor Deukmejian, we mourn the loss of a man who represented the best of humanity. We are grateful to a man we knew to be loving, caring, humble, yet strong, a man who led an exemplary life as a beloved husband to his wife Gloria, a father and grandfather. In so many ways, he was a man who personified Armenian family values. We grieve the passing of a warrior and a champion of the Armenian Cause.”
Armenian Bar Board member Lucy Varpetian, whom Governor Deukmejian personally mentored while she was a law student, fondly reflected: “As an organization, we had the great honor of welcoming Governor Deukmejian’s participation at multiple Association events over a long span of almost 30 years. And I count myself among the luckiest of aspiring lawyers to have received the gift of wisdom and common sense from this noblest of men. Beyond the many individual lives he touched, so momentous were his contributions to the well-being of the Armenian people as a whole and to our organizational mission that the Armenian Bar Association bestowed upon Governor Deukmejian its highest accolade, Honorary Life Member.”
The members of the Armenian Bar Association will always remember George Deukmejian‘s unwavering moral support, guidance and encouragement from our very inception. His exemplary life of public service will remain a limitless source of inspiration to us all.
At this time of mourning, we find solace in the knowledge that Courken George Deukmejian, Jr. served God and the Armenian Nation and that he is resting with our Lord. His glorious spirit will live on eternally.
Asdvadz Hokeen Loosavoreh
Armenian Bar Association