ARF-ER ‘Panagoum’ Held at Camp Haiastan

(ARMENIAN WEEKLY) FRANKLIN, Mass.—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Eastern Region (ARF-ER) held its regional Panagoum retreat on Oct. 9-11 at AYF Camp Haiastan in Franklin. The weekend attracted around 40 ARF members from across the Eastern United States. The Panagoum weekend was planned by the ARF-ER Central Committee.

The weekend program featured in-depth presentations on Western Armenia, the work of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Armenia’s proposed constitutional reforms, and the work of the ARF-ER, and provided participants a chance to discuss important issues on the party’s political agenda.

On Saturday morning, ARF-ER Central Committee chair Haig Oshagan provided participants an overall look at the work the Central Committee has done thus far and discussed its future plans for the region; these included initiatives on a local, regional, and international level.

Following lunch, ARF-ER Central Committee member Greg Bedian introduced ANCA Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) board member Steve Mesrobian, who presented the work of the ANCA-ER to participants, including a look into the ANCA’s new website. ANCA-ER board member Dikran Kaligian then gave a presentation about the ANCA’s work on genocide education, including its collaboration with the Genocide Education Project (GenEd).

Participants were given the unique opportunity to hear from Levon Mkrtchyan, a former member of the ARF Bureau and former minister of education and sciences of the Republic of Armenia, who spoke to participants about Armenia’s proposed constitutional reforms. Mkrtchyan, who is visiting Armenian communities of the Eastern United States to speak about the reforms, detailed the upcoming referendum in Armenia, which looks to overhaul the country’s current constitution and shift the country to a parliamentary system of government. Mkrtchyan explained how the ARF has always advocated for a parliamentary system of government in Armenia, which would limit the authority of the president and help create a better balance of power.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the ARF oath-taking ceremony, which was held in the traditional manner at Camp Haiastan’s Recreation Hall; one ARF novice joined the party’s ranks. After the ceremony, participants were given a chance to congregate and socialize around a bonfire, where they sang revolutionary and patriotic songs and told stories.

On Sunday morning, participants were given a chance to hear from Ani Haroian, George Aghjayan, and ARF-ER Central Committee member Khajag Mgrdichian, who presented Turkey’s Kurdish issue, Islamicized Armenians, and the ARF’s and Armenia’s role in Western Armenia today.

The weekend proved to be another in a series of successes for the ARF-ER and its supporters, who are already looking forward to next year’s Panagoum.

Photo: Participants of the ARF Panagoum