GLENDALE – The Office of the Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles and the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA), hosted a reception featuring speakers in honor of International Women’s Day on March 10.

Ambassador Armen Baibourtian thanked the women in attendance, all of whom were members and affiliates of various cultural, political and philanthropic organizations in the community.  He emphasized the importance of gender equality and illustrated examples of women’s rights in the Armenian culture dating back to 12th century law books written by Mekhitar Goshe. “The blueprint of the first Armenian constitution written in the 1700s stated that men and women are equal,” he added.

Baibourtian proudly declared that there are currently two stellar female Armenian Ambassadors in Canada and Indonesia and that the appointment of two additional female Ambassadors to Europe will be made in the upcoming months. He spoke about his past experiences working with data at the United Nations where he learned that there is a strong correlation between the advancement of a nation and its rate of equality in society.

On a lighter note, Baibourtian shared with the audience that while roles of women were traditionally played by men in theaters, 19th century actress Siranoush Atchadjian famously played the role of Hamlet in Constantinople.

Minister-Counselor Nelly Saroyan thanked the audience, particularly Armenian mothers for passing down the Armenian language, traditions and culture to the next generation. “I am proud to be here among you and wish you all happy International Women’s Day.”

Nicole Nishanian, President of AIWA-LA introduced guest speaker Marissa Najarian, an educator who discussed the importance of philanthropic parenting and empowering young girls. “On International Women’s Day, it’s critical we give girls the tools now so that they can be leaders in the future.” Najarian added that educating young girls on social issues enables them to become better problem solvers, allowing them to use those skills in any profession when they reach adulthood.

“This was truly an inspirational event celebrating women of all age groups and backgrounds,” said Garine Depoyan, Social Democrat Hunchakian Party-Western USA Executive Committee member. “I would like to thank Ambassador Baibourtian for his dedication to gender equality and female empowerment and AIWA-LA for all the work that they do promoting issues of concern to Armenian women worldwide.”

The evening concluded with AIWA-LA co-founder Hermine Janoyan reading the names of a long list of prominent Armenian women who are pioneers in the areas of science, arts, government, education and beyond.

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