Tag: Public Servants Dinner

16 Aug 2019

Upstanding Robert Morgenthau Laid To Rest

On July 22, 2019, the Armenian Bar Association, like legion of admirers within and outside of the Armenian community, heard with deep sorrow and accepted with heavy heart the news of the passing of a bold and brave paragon of high moral character, Robert M. Morgenthau.

Mr. Morgenthau passed away 10 days short of his 100th birthday and will be remembered as an irreproachable public figure, most notably—for Americans – as New York’s long-serving district attorney and—for Armenians—as the grandson of U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau.

Knowing well that the Morgenthau family inhabits a hallowed sanctuary within the annals of American and Armenian history, separately and inter-connectedly, our leadership in New York immediately contacted the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S., and Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, advising of the rueful report of Mr. Morgenthau’s passing and requesting a letter of condolence from Armenia’s Prime Minister.   We also reached out to our spiritual leaders at the Diocese and the Prelacy, securing their representation at Mr. Morgenthau’s memorial service.

We, for our own part, prepared and issued a timely and touching press release. [See Armenian Bar Association Mourns the Loss of Robert M. Morgenthau.] It was widely disseminated among our members and friends.

On the eve of the memorial service at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel, accompanied by U.N. Ambassador Mher Margaryan and with the facilitation of Ambassador Varuzhan Nersesyan, Armenian Bar Board member Souren Israelyan personally delivered Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s letter of condolence to the Morgenthau family in which the head of government conveyed the Armenian nation’s sympathies and gratitude. [See https://www.primeminister.am/en/condolence/item/2019/07/24/Nikol-Pashinyan-condolences/.]

On the morning of the memorial service, July 25, 2019, a delegation of Armenian Bar representatives assembled in homage to and honor of Mr. Morgenthau at Temple Emanu-El, Judaism’s largest house of worship in the world.  The Morgenthau family envisioned the service as a celebration of Robert Morgenthau’s resplendent lights of life rather than as a mournful elegy of his demise.  The temple teemed with thousands of devotees of the lasting legacy of Mr. Morgenthau.  Prominent among the attendees were priests of the Armenian Church who, cloaked in our centuries-old religious vestments, greeted the family and represented our traditional faith and unifying ecumenicalism.

As widely reported in the media, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the high societies of law and public officialdom came together in a non-partisan tribute to the rectitude and righteousness of Mr. Morgenthau. [See for example https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-morgenthau-funeral-sotomayer-20190725-flpwdgupijevdoxy5r4ogcgmya-story.html%3foutputType=amp.]

At the memorial service, Senior Rabbi Emeritus Ronald Sobel highlighted the transformational heritage of the Morgenthau family, starting with Henry Morgenthau, Sr.,  the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide, followed by Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the U.S. Secretary of Treasury during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, and then encapsulated by the dearly departed, Robert Morgenthau. Mr. Morgenthau’s children and close friends spoke about his incredible life and as an exemplar of an honest and high-minded individual who, through the gift of a long and distinguished life, pioneered many causes of justice, to the very last of his days.

In his eulogy, Bob Morgenthau, the eldest of Robert Morgenthau’s sons, remembered how his father cherished loyalty in general, and the allegiance of the Armenian community in particular. He noted that, while all of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide have passed away, the Armenian community’s bonds of respect and admiration for the Morgenthau family have never diminished.  Speaking about that continuity of affinity, Bob Morgenthau pledged that the Morgenthau family’s deep and meaningful relationship with the Armenian community will remain vibrant for future generations.

While the Armenian Bar Association felt humbled last month to witness the truly moving ceremony of Robert Morgenthau’s final journey, just last year we had the good fortune of welcoming Mr. Morgenthau to our Public Servants Dinner at the Yale Club.

There, on April 26, 2018, on what have been the 162nd birthday of his grandfather Henry Morgenthau, Robert Morgenthau received one of the Armenian Bar Association’s highest honors.  The magnificent gala dinner was attended by hundreds of judges, public officials, dignitaries and, of course, by members and friends of the Armenian Bar Association.  Please see our reporting of the event and also for the text of Robert Morgenthau’s remarks as he accepted our Public Servants Award. [Video] [Speech]

14 May 2019

Armenian Bar Champions Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and N.Y. Judicial Conduct Commission Leader Robert Tembeckjian at Public Servants Celebration

New York—The Armenian Bar Association’s New York/New Jersey/Connecticut Chapter hosted its annual Public Servants Dinner at the Yale Club in midtown Manhattan on April 25, 2019, where it conferred its coveted Public Servant Award on two prominent public servants: Robert H. Tembeckjian, the Administrator & Counsel to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and Rod J. Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice. The event, which was sold out well in advance, was attended by prominent members of the practicing Bar, over 70 judges of the appellate and trial courts, over 20 present and former federal and state prosecutors, and more than 25 other public servants at the international, national, state and local levels, including numerous bar association presidents.

“The Armenian Bar Association is committed to promoting public service, recognizing those who devote their professional lives to serving the public and embody the best qualities for such noble endeavor. Tonight, we acknowledge the distinguished lifetime achievements of two of our own, Robert H. Tembeckjian and Rod J. Rosenstein, as Public Servants of the Year for 2019. With the amazing co-chairs and committee members we look forward to carrying on this grand tradition in the years ahead,” said organizing committee co-chair Souren A. Israelyan.

The Public Servant Award was first conferred on Robert H. Tembeckjian, who has been a devoted public servant working at the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct since 1976, and since 2003 has been serving as the Commission’s Administrator & Counsel. With a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Mr. Tembeckjian was a Fulbright Scholar who went to Armenia in 1994. There, he taught constitutional law and ethics at the American University of Armenia and Yerevan State University. Both honorees of the evening delivered substantive, timely and groundbreaking speeches.

Mr. Tembeckjian called attention to the need of our country’s leadership to show compassion and empathy to the plight of refugees and immigrants, as he recalled how his grandparents, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, arrived in America as undocumented aliens. He described the circumstances by which his grandmother eventually was allowed to remain in the United States and become a United States citizen: “. . . my illegal immigrant grandmother was reprieved by a government that understood it could both uphold the law and postpone its consequences for humanitarian reasons; a government that took time to examine and differentiate among the many who sought its refuge, that did not invoke scripture to promote exclusion at the expense of decency or justice.” (Full speech here.)

The evening’s next featured Public Servant Award recipient was Rod J. Rosenstein, the 37th Deputy Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Rosenstein began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He started his career at the Department of Justice at age 25. He also served as the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland from 2005 to 2017. As the second in command at the Department of Justice, Mr. Rosenstein advised and assisted the Attorney General in formulating and implementing the Department of Justice’s policies and programs and in providing overall supervision to all organizational units of the Department. Most recently, Mr. Rosenstein also oversaw the work of Special Counsel to the Justice Department, Robert S. Mueller III, as he investigated the question of Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Mr. Rosenstein’s speech, which was covered by major news organizations, including CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal, were his first public comments on the Mueller Report since it was published just days earlier. Mr. Rosenstein explained in detail his role and that of the Justice Department during the Mueller investigation. He stressed: “As acting Attorney General, it was my responsibility to make sure that the Department of Justice would do what the American people pay us to do: conduct an independent investigation; complete it expeditiously; hold perpetrators accountable if warranted; and work with partner agencies to counter foreign agents and deter crimes.” He emphasized that the Department of Justice “. . . stands for the principle that every American deserves the protection of the rule of law.” (Full speech here.)

Lisa Barsoomian, the wife of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and a past executive committee board member of the Armenian Bar Association, was also in attendance. Mr. Rosenstein delighted the audience as he recounted his life as an ABC – Armenian By Choice – and described his trip to Armenia in 1994 with the Armenian Bar Association, where he presented lectures to law students at Yerevan State University.

Photo Gallery here.

Read their remarks at the links in the captions below:

Robert H. Tembeckjian, Administrator and Counsel for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General.

 

 

 

 

 

16 Jun 2018

ArmenBar Revives a Prominent Tradition Honoring Public Servants in NYC

By Malvina Mardirosyan, Esq.

On April 26, 2018, on the occasion of what would have been the 162th birthday of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. – one of the greatest supporters of the survival of the Armenian people, the Chapter honored four public servants who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and years of dedicated service to the community:
• Honorary Robert M. Morgenthau, grandson of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and District Attorney (former), New York County, and Of Counsel, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
• Honorable Claire C. Cecchi, U.S. District Court Judge, District of New Jersey
• Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas, Justice, NYS Supreme Court and President, Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York
• Honorable Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney (former), Northern District of New York, and Partner,Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

The magnificent gala dinner was attended by many judges and dignitaries including his Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, his Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan and Hon. Zohrab Mnatsakanian, then Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, presently the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia. Three generations of the Morgenthau family were in attendance including, Robert Morgenthau, honoree, his son – Bob, and grandson – Harry who is now a member of ArmenBar. The prominence of the event was also marked by attendance from other bar associations’ leadership including Michael Miller, President of New York State Bar Association.

Attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour at the Yale Club terrace overlooking the NYC skyline, followed by awards dinner program at the elegant ballroom. Saro Kerkonian, Chairman of the ArmenBar gave opening remarks, “Tonight, we honor and recognize public servants, that special breed of humanity who often disregard and subordinate personal gain to follow, instead, a career path which advances the greater good, protecting and uplifting the entire community through their public service.”

On acceptance of this year’s award, Mr. Morgenthau gave a poignant speech about the Armenian people and his grandfather’s legacy. Mr. Morgenthau emphasized the Armenian cause by referring to a well-penned letter by him to the editor of the Wall Street Journal entitled “Will Trump Tell the Truth About the Armenian Genocide?” that was published earlier this year.

East Coast Chapter Co-Chairs, Denise Darmanian and Gary Moomjian, remarked, “In the sixteen months of its existence, the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut Chapter of the Armenian Bar Association has been on an amazing ride. This event continues our momentum and the ride will not stop here. Special thanks go to the event planning committee co-chairs Souren Israelyan and John Halebian and the twenty-one active members of the committee. We are enormously grateful and proud of each.”

The event received wide media coverage and was published on Page 2 of the New York Law Journal, April 30, 2018 edition.

RMM Remarks – Armenian Bar Association 4.26.2018