OIA Auxiliary Membership Ceremony (Video)
OPEN LETTER OF GRATITUDE
THE ORGANIZATION OF ISTANBUL ARMENIANS—OIA
— By Garo B. Ghazarian
My fellow Bolsa-Hyes — I do like the sound of that! This past Sunday you bestowed great fortune and honor by designating me an “Honorary Bolsa-Hye.”
As the newest proud member of the beloved and storied Organization of Istanbul Armenians*—the OIA, with my deep gratitude, I share a few of my thoughts and feelings on the privilege of joining you as well as OIA’s 1st honoree—the inimitable Oshin Keshishian—in becoming your 2nd honorary member:
The momentous occasion on September 15, 2019, commemorating the legacy of the late Prof. and Genocide Scholar Vahakn Dadrian, an evening during which Genocide Scholar Prof. Taner Akcam was recognized with the inaugural “Vahakn Dadrian Scholar Award,” the title you gifted me with by formally designating me as an honorary Bolsa-Hye—and of all days on late Hrant Dink’s birthday—will forever be ingrained in my memory. Being surrounded with the very best people—by each of you—is one which I will cherish and remember when strength is needed to carry on, when faith fuels feelings of faltering, when willpower is tested by daily challenges, and when dark clouds loom large above our path threatening to darken our people’s and nation’s path—the Armenians’ collective path.
For more than four (4) decades you have opened your doors and your hearts to all. I am but one of the countless who have walked through your open doors. And in all that time, you have affirmed time and again—in an astonishing way—the essential connectedness of humanity, and your commitment to all things Armenian.
Never has the OIA failed in being one with our people and community. Never have you failed at being inclusive while being innovative. You have been invigorating. Yours are unique expressions of the human imagination and heart, unique answers to a fundamental question. What does it mean to be an Armenian and alive? Ours—as Armenians—is a journey with challenges that will confront us as a people. Ours is a never-ending journey. And while there are those who strive to make tomorrow relevant, you make today and every day relevant. You make all of us relevant.
I embrace the privilege of OIA membership and join your continuing exploration of the fullness of promise, and of pushing the boundaries of knowledge forward. I pledge to contribute not just to the OIA, but hand in hand with the members of OIA, for all of our people. Together we shall continue to serve the Armenians of today, so that tomorrow dreams may be realized, our dreams, and the dreams of past generations of Armenians.
From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful. My special thanks to His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Srpazan Derderian for his blessings and kind words, and to my dear friend, Armenian Bar Association comrade of many years, and the Chairman of OIA’s Board of Trustees Edvin Minassian. I sincerely thank each and every one of you, the Bolsa-Hye community at large, the membership of the OIA, its Board of Trustees, and its Executive Committee:
Mr. Karapet Akpulat, Mr. Edi Sarafoglu, Dr. Mark Kosker, DC, Mr. Hagop Halici, Mr. Herman Yaylaoglu, Dr. Ohannes Kulak-Avedikyan, OMD, Mr. Serj Bulanikian, Mr. Garo Kurian, Mr. Garbis Sarafian, Mr. Vace Kilavuz, Mr. Aret Binati, Mr. Sevag Shirvanian, Esq., Dr. Arek Balci, DDS, Ms. Talin Sarafoglu, Ms. Talin Yaylaoglu, Ms. Rosalin Madoyan, Ms. Mari Khatchikian, Mr. Anto Paylan, and Mr. Yetvart Hacatoryan.
Together, we shall #AbsolutelyRiseFiercely!