The Armenian Relief Society 
   at the United Nations
Published by the ARS, Inc. 
UN Committee

    Issue 2, Volume 3    
    May 2015                                                                                                                                                           

De ar Members,

Welcome to the Second Edition of the "Armenian Relief Society at the United Nations". This edition is dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. We will discuss the activities of the ARS at the March 2015 Commission on the Status of Women. Our ARS representatives were very active in organizing many successful events at the United Nations this past month. We hope that you will find this issue informative and interesting.


ARS UN Team and Editors





ARS UN Exhibit and Reception in Commemoration of the 
Armenian Genocide  



On the evening of March 5, 2015, the ARS Inc., in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, hosted a reception at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to mark the opening of "Stitching to Survive: Handwork of Armenian Women", an exhibit on Armenian textiles. The exhibit was open to the public from March 2nd to March 13th and held during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference so that all UN employees, Mission Diplomats and NGO Conference participants from all around the world would be able to view the exhibit. Over 200 people, including ARS members from all over the US Eastern Region, Canada and Brazil attended the opening reception. 


In addition, over 8,000 people who attended the CSW from all across the globe also viewed the exhibit. The exhibition honored the work of Armenian women through various samples of lace, crochet, embroidery, needlework, clothing and accessories. Susan Lind-Sinanian from the Armenian Museum of America curated the exhibit. Armenian women created each piece after the genocide in order to support their families during an era of enormous struggle and survival. At the opening reception of the exhibit, Armenia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and ARS Central Executive Board (CEB) Chairperson Vicky Marachelian spoke about the work of Armenian women and their endurance to help their families survive after the Armenian Genocide.



Ambassador Mnatsakanyan and ARS Central Executive Board Chairperson Vicky Marachelian at the Opening Exhibit


ARS UN Committee Members at the Opening Reception


Beijing Platform for Action


The Beijing Platform for Action was created as a result of the Fourth World Conference on Women. It remains the most progressive internationally agreed statement of action on women's rights and empowerment. 2015 is the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and so CSW59 conducted the global review called Beijing+20. This review process is important in holding governments accountable for their actions and is designed to assess what progress has been made, and what barriers remain to the empowerment of women and girls. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 precise areas of concern that require crucial attention to transform this world of inequality for women to a world of gender equality and women's empowerment for all. The areas of concern highlighted in the document are:


  • The Elimination of Violence Against Women

  • The Achievement of Human Rights for Women

  • Women and Armed Conflict

  • Women and Poverty

  • Education and Training of Women

  • Women and Health

  • Women and the Media

  • Women and the Economy

  • Women in Power and Decision Making

  • Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

  • Women and the Environment

  • The Girl Child

Twenty years after the Beijing commitment, the goals set forth by the promise have only been partially fulfilled. Through ARS active involvement in the CSW NGO committee and advocacy work done by the ARS UN committee and ARS NGO representatives at the UN, the ARS has directly contributed to the Beijing Platform for Action since its presence at the Fourth World Conference for Women. Therefore, Beijing+20 provides the ARS with a crucial opportunity to influence the future of women's rights and empowerment.


Commission on the Status of Women and Side Events


The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively devoted to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The CSW holds an annual conference each year at the United Nations Headquarters. This year's 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 59) conference was held from March 8th to March 20th. The ARS had six designated conference representatives: UN Committee Chairperson Valentine Berberian, UN Coordinator Houry Geudelekian, and UN Committee Members Suzanne Azarian, Linda Tarzian, Lucy Pamboukdjian and Nory Boiatchian.


This year at the CSW 59, on March 9th, the ARS in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Armenia, Permanent Mission of Cyprus, University of the Highlands and Islands, and the Diasporan African Women's Network (DAWN) organized and participated in a CSW side event entitled, "Women and Diaspora: From Past to Post - 2015." The objective of the side event was to show the continued resilience of women against economic and social hardships when migrating to nations in order to build a better and brighter future for their homelands and respective diasporan communities. The event was moderated by Nanore Barsoumian, Editor of the Armenian Weekly


Several panelists spoke about the global and modern perspectives to empower women as agents for profound change. Nora Simonian, a representative of the Armenian Relief Society, shared her personal experiences as an Armenian woman with ties to the diasporan communities of the Middle East and the United States. She told the story of her family's migration while emphasizing her family's cultural values regarding the importance of maintaining the Armenian language. She credited Armenian diasporan organizations to the survival of her family's cultural expressions. 


In addition to the "Women and Diaspora" CSW side event, the ARS organized a second CSW side event on March 10th, entitled, "Social Media, Technology and Activism Beyond 2015." This meeting included a panel discussion on how the use of films, technology and different social media platforms are effectively addressing important issues, such as poverty, education, and gender inequality. Overall, the CSW 59 conference resulted in a conference declaration that promotes a transformative change for all women that leaves no one person behind.  


Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan Speaking at the High -Level CSW Side Event "Women and Diaspora"



ARS Participation in UN Women March for Gender Equality 2015


On Sunday, March 8, 2015, International Women's Day, thousands marched in New York City to promote women's empowerment and gender equality. Amongst those who participated were several ARS members. The march was organized by UN Women, the City of New York, the UN Women for Peace Association, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Man Up, and the Working Group on Girls. The march took place on the same day as the beginning of the NGO CSW Forum. The event's aim was to bring together thousands of women and men on the eve of the 20-year anniversary of the commemoration of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.


The event opened on a brisk afternoon at Dag Hammarskj?ld Plaza, with many empowering speeches given by UN leadership, representatives from the NYC Mayors Office, several celebrity guests and NGO advocates. Thousands walked all the way from UN Headquarters on New York City's east side to the center of Times Square, where a collective renewal of a commitment to gender equality was inspired. At the final convening point of the event, many inspirational speeches were given once again. UN Women's goal is to promote and achieve gender equality by the year 2030. In a world where 1 in 3 women still experiences sexual or physical violence and where there is still a 10 to 30 percent of a wage gap in earnings between men and women, the United Nations is saying that it is time for serious action.

Picture of the crowd at the UN Women March for Gender Equality


Important Links


Link to the Live Web Cast of Women and the Diaspora:

Link to Television Broadcast on ARS UN Reception:

Link to the Beijing Platform for Action:

Link to the NGO CSW NY:

CSW Conference Declaration:


ARS UN Executive Committee
  • Pauline Getzoyan - USA, CEB liaison
  • Rosie Bedrosian- USA, CEB liaison
  • Valentine Berberian - USA, Chairperson
  • Stephanie Killian - USA, Advisor
  • Lara Nercessian - USA, Communications Coordinator
  • Tamar Der Bedrosian- Lebanon
  • Frida Kezelian-Hadjian- Armenia
  • Araxie Apelian-Kolanian- Greece
  • Lucy Pamboukjian- South America
  • Lucy Pampalian- Australia
ARS UN Representatives in New York
  • Suzi Azarian
  • Valentine Berberian
  • Nory Boiatchian
  • Carol Jaffarian 
  • Linda Tarzian 

ARS UN Representatives in Geneva
  • Dorine Kouyoumjian
  • Armik Yeromian
  • Annie Yeromian-Sallier

ARS UN Coordinator
  •  Houry Geudelekian