PASADENA —T he American Armenian Rose Float Association, Inc. (AARFA) today revealed the full list of riders on its “Armenian Melodies” float during the 135th Tournament of Roses. Amidst symbols of cultural significance, “Armenian Melodies” captures the heroism of Armenian mothers as exemplars of determination, resilience and fortitude in the face of centuries of upheaval.
The list of riders includes several deserving pillars of the Armenian community, outlined below:
- Ani Hovannisian Kevorkian: Well-known filmmaker, Ani Hovannisian Kevorkian has traveled the world directing and producing award-winning true stories for network television and other international audiences, and reporting Armenian news. Ani’s work includes the documentary, “The Hidden Map,” which tells the story of her genocide-survivor grandparents. “The Hidden Map” debuted nationwide on NBCLX the weekend of April 24, 2021 to popular audience response and several encore presentations. It was also the top broadcast on PBS SoCal in December, leading to national PBS distribution in June 2022, with about 1000 broadcasts during its first week. “The Hidden Map” has earned more than a dozen international awards and honors at festivals and special screenings, notably one in the UK Parliament. It was considered for three 2021 Primetime Emmys, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. Ani is actively involved with the Armenian community in California and worldwide, and is a member of the Directors Guild of America, Television Academy, and International Documentary Association.
- Araks Karapetyan: Born in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, Araks is a pianist and singer. Growing up in the family of Alexander Karapetyan, a professional musician and artistic director of the ethnographic ensemble “Maratuk,” Araks was instilled with a great love for national culture from childhood, and her father was and remains her only teacher in this nationalist cause. From a young age, she sang on popular big and small stages, won awards, commendations and certificates of honor. Araks is a great devotee of ethnographic singing and continues to present her songs with great spirit and dedication to the Armenian cause.
- Arick Gevorkian: For more than 40 years, Arick has been a longtime community advocate, leader, music educator, high school teacher, trainer, volunteer, and activist, dedicating his life and energy to the betterment of various nonprofit organizations and to the cultural enrichment of youth through fun, innovative, engaging and educational music teachings and methodologies. Apart from teaching at several southern California schools, Arick travels with his extensive collection of Armenian and International folkloric musical instruments to local schools, youth camps and educational centers to educate and inspire youth and children to take interest in the performing arts, playing music, composing, and expressing their inner feelings through the arts. His motto is “Teach youth the value of heritage, identity and culture, so they can continue creating.” He is a multi-instrumentalist and composer of numerous scouting songs and loves to perform with his youth and children’s choirs.
- Margaret Mgrublian: Margaret currently sits on the Los Angeles City Mayor’s International Advisory Council; is a member of the Board of Governors of the Armenian American Museum that is currently under construction in Glendale; sits on the Southern California Regional Council of the Armenian Assembly of America, and is Vice-President of the Armenian International Women’s Association, Los Angeles Affiliate (AIWA-LA.) She is also a board member of the National Association of Armenian Scholars and Research (NAASR) and a board member of St. Nerses Seminary in New York. Margaret is a past chair of the Pasadena Community Foundation, a non-profit that serves as a depository for philanthropic funds which grant out over $1 million a year to Pasadena nonprofits.
- Meline Mailyan: Meline Mailyan, Esq. is an immigration attorney in Los Angeles. She has been a community activist and a human rights advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition in the United States for over a decade. She has been one of the forces in organizing the March for Justice in Hollywood for over 15 years. After the 44-day war of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, Meline co-founded the Center for T no ruth and Justice (“CFTJ”), an organization consisting of a group of lawyers overseeing the collection of first hand testimonial evidence from war survivors via in-depth, recorded interviews.
- Salpy Akaragian: Salpy Akaragian, Ph.D., RN, NPD-BC, PHN, is the President and the Founder of the Armenian International Medical Fund (AIM Fund), Founder and President of the Armenian American Nurses Association, Treasurer of the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC) and Former Nursing Director of UCLA Health. She was the US Partner Representative for USAID/AIHA grants from 1995-2004, directed multiple healthcare projects, and initiated reforms and developed programs in Armenia, such as the first Baccalaureate Equivalent Degree program in Nursing, setting up the primary healthcare clinic in Lori Region, and facilitated the formation of the Armenian Nurses Association in Armenia. Currently, she is preparing for the 26th medical mission to operate on 13 children for cochlear implants so they can hear for the first time.