MOSCOW, Russia--Armenak Agababyan, the owner of Saxon Porcelain Manufactory of Dresden, hosted a cocktail party to benefit Armenia Tree Project (ATP) at the Dresden art gallery in Moscow in July. The gallery exhibits contemporary and traditional fine artwork. It is located in the very heart of Moscow’s historical, cultural, and business center in Gostiny Dvor, next to Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
The Armenian community came together for this first-ever benefit event for ATP in Moscow. Some of the organizers included Emmanuil Dolbakyan, Hasmik Grigoryan, Aram Hakobyan, Zhanna Melkonyan, Suren Mkrtchyan, Karlen Muradov, Valery Petrosyan, and Albina Sukiasyan. The event was attended by more than 90 people from different organizations including the Ararat Cultural Center, Armenian Union of Russia, and Hayordats Tun, as well as representatives of the Moscow government.
Two prominent artists exhibited their work in support of the event--Zhanna Melkonyan, Honored Artist of Russian Federation, and Irina Alaverdova, a member of the European Academy of Natural Sciences. Paintings from Ms. Alaverdova’s series, “Bach’s Clavier in Birch Alleys,” were exhibited to complement the theme of the event.
Right from the beginning, guests became acquainted with one another and started discovering ATP through colorful brochures, magazine articles, photo albums, and beautiful postcards produced by the organization. They enjoyed the exhibitions as well as classical music performed by the Anima Musica string quartet, along with cognac and traditional caviar hors d’oeuvres.
ATP volunteer Astghik Nalbandyan from the United States presented the organization’s work and shared her personal impressions of ATP from her trip to Armenia last spring. Ms. Nalbandyan described ATP’s tree planting, environmental education, and poverty reduction programs and screened the “Every Tree” film about ATP. She presented a slideshow of photographs taken by ATP Executive Director Jeff Masarjian during last spring’s tree planting season in order to illustrate the scale and scope of the organization’s work.
Moscow State University Professor Valery Petrosyan gave a speech on environmental protection and ecology issues in Armenia and the importance of ATP’s mission. Petrosyan is a professor of chemistry, rector of Moscow’s Open Ecological University, and a United Nations expert on chemical safety. “As odd as it sounds, I am also a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia,” he explained.
Before the event Ms. Nalbandyan met with His Grace Bishop Yezras Nersisyan, the Primate of New Nakhijevan and Russia, at the construction site of the magnificent Armenian Church. She presented him with an ATP tree planting certificate and he recalled learning about ATP’s mission during a visit to the Armenian community in Boston. Bishop Nersisyan blessed the upcoming event and noted the importance of the unity of Armenians in projects that benefit the nation.
Ms. Nalbandyan presented ATP tree certificates to several guests that evening. “The idea that there is a tree growing in Armenia in my name warms my heart and connects me even more with my motherland,” said Aram Hakobyan.
“I’ve had all kind of gifts in my life and I thought nothing would surprise me anymore. I haven’t had a tree given to me before. Amazing--my tree will breathe the Armenian air!” added Zhanna Melkonyan in appreciation.
“This is more than just a gift. This is so meaningful and moving. I am grateful to learn about ATP, which does outstanding work in our homeland,” emphasized Hasmik Grigoryan.
Next, Albina Sukiasyan stood up and encouraged guests to support ATP. Each member of her family sponsored the planting of a tree by ATP as a tribute to the head of the family, Emmanuil Dolbakyan. “Help Armenia Tree Project to help you,” announced Suren Mkrtchyan Jr., who distributed ATP postcards and donation envelopes to participants.
Guests made gifts to ATP during the evening and businessman Arthur Tonoyan was on the top of the list. An auction donation of Armen Meruzhanyan’s book, “Armenia in Historical Pictures, Traditions, and Legends” also took place. Aram Hakobyan donated one of his paintings for the auction. One individual even offered to provide the land he owns in Ashtarak for ATP’s further expansion. Donations were made by Julietta Grigoryan, Valery Petrosyan, Natalia Sevumyan, Albina Sukiasyan, Lusine Tonoyan, and Yulia Yanikova.
“We are grateful for the efforts of Astghik Nalbandyan and our host Armenak Agababyan for initiating this benefit event in Moscow,” noted Executive Director Jeff Masarjian. “Our thanks go out to the community for attending and for financially supporting our programs. We raised awareness about Armenia’s rich natural heritage and the group sponsored another 100 trees which ATP will plant in Armenia this fall. We plan to expand ATP’s outreach to even more communities of the diaspora in the coming months and hope to receive a similar reception.”
ATP’s mission is to assist the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard of living and protect the environment, guided by the need to promote self-sufficiency, aid those with the fewest resources first, and conserve the indigenous ecosystem. ATP’s three major programs are tree planting, environmental education, and sustainable development initiatives. For more information about ATP, please visit the web site www.armeniatree.org.