by Lucy Ardash
September 26,2002 issue of the Mirror-Spectator.
Amid a whirlwind of activities, the Honorable Vartan Oskanian, Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and his wife, Dr. Nanig
Oskanian, visited the Detroit area on September 20-21 as part of a
multi-city fund raising effort. Accompanying him were the Honorable Arman
Kirakossian, Armenian Ambassador to the U.S., along with Salpi Ghazarian,
Executive Assistant, and Dzunik Aghajanian, spokesperson for the Foreign
First on the itinerary was a meeting with Richard Manoogian, CEO of Masco
Corporation and Chairman of the Armenian Apostolic Society, at Masco
headquarters. Oskanian thanked Mr. Manoogian for furnishing the Foreign
Ministry and Armenian Embassy offices and extended his gratitude for all of
the Manoogian family's efforts on behalf of the Republic of Armenia.
Following a tour of Manoogian's magnificent American art collection
exhibited throughout the building and luncheon in the executive dining
room, the entourage went on to visit the Alex and Marie Manoogian School in
Southfield, Michigan. Later that day, the Foreign Minister was the guest
lecturer at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus, organized by
Professor Kevork Bardakjian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program.
The highlight of the evening was an elegant reception graciously hosted in
the Foreign Minister's honor by his cousins, Dr. and Mrs. Zaven and Lena
Oskanian at their lovely home in Bloomfield, Michigan. Over a hundred
guests braved severe thunderstorms and a tornado watch to attend the event.
Dramatic floral arrangements of roses, lilies and exquisite exotic flowers
filled every room of the spacious house for this occasion. Fine wines and
hors d'oeuvres were served as guests mingled and greeted the dignitaries.
During a brief program, Dr. Zaven Oskanian welcomed the Foreign Minister
and the Ambassador, as well as Congressman Joe Knollenberg, Co-Chairmen of
the Armenian Caucus, Dr. Naji Arwashan, the Consul General of Syria, and
Mohammad Skwayni, Consul General of Lebanon and their spouses. Edmond
Azadian, Chairman of the Host Committee, introduced the honored guest
reviewing his impressive credentials. He characterized Minister Oskanian
as the Talleyran of Armenian statesmanship and diplomacy, serving
successive administrations and shaping Armenia's foreign policy vis-à-vis
the rest of the world.
Vartan Oskanian then expressed his appreciation for the tremendous
outpouring of support and stated that during his last visit to his family
in Michigan in 1978, he, along with all Armenians, only dreamed that
Armenia would be independent, but never expected that his next visit would
be as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. He
continued that as we observe the 11th anniversary of independence, Armenia
could not have survived and developed without the enormous support of the
Diaspora. Oskanian explained that the intent of the current fund-raising
effort is to enhance the ministry's lobbying capacity during the next few
months when the pressure around the Nagorno-Karabagh issue is expected to
heat up and to improve the ministry's capacity to secure funds from
international organizations for specific programs, training and improving
the skills and reach of our diplomatic personnel to enable them to conduct
more effective foreign policy.
On Saturday afternoon the Foreign Minister and his entourage ended their
visit with a tour of the eight fascinating galleries of the Alex and Marie
Manoogian Museum and the newly renovated St. John's Armenian Church