AYF to Mark Women’s Day with ‘Breaking Barriers’ Event

Breaking Barriers1
AYF to celebrate International Women’s Day with ‘Breaking Barriers’ event

AYF to celebrate International Women’s Day with ‘Breaking Barriers’ event

GLENADALE—The United Human Rights Council, a central council of the Armenian Youth Federation – Western United States, and California State University, Northridge’s (CSUN) Alpha Gamma Alpha chapter will be hosting “Armenian Women: Breaking Barriers” at the Burbank Youth Center on Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. to celeberate International Women’s Day. RSVP here.

The program is headlined by three female leaders in their respective fields, each characterizing the experience and resilience of Armenian women during specific time periods. Houri Berberian, the Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies at the University of California, Irvine will be focusing on the eras of First and Second Armenian Republics. Celebrated author Sona Zeitlian will be covering the period before and immediately after the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Mari Manoogian, State Representative Mari Manoogian of the Michigan House of Representatives will speak about present-day Armenia and Diaspora.

The UHRC hopes to highlight Armenian women during these specific time periods and motivate women today to be fearless against any form of constructed obstacles. The event is a part of the AYF UHRC’s “Project Ser” (in Armenian, ‘Ser’ means both love and gender), a campaign to make gender equality and inclusivity a reality and a practice in communities and organizing spaces. T-shirts will be sold at the event, with proceeds going to both the Women’s Support Center and Society Without Violence as part of the UHRC’s fundraiser to counter domestic violence in Armenia.

“I am honored to be featured on this panel with Houri Berberian and Sona Zeitlian, two female Armenian trailblazers,” said State Rep. Mari Manoogian.

“Through this event we hope to inspire young Armenians to ignore societal limits of what a woman should be,” said Lucine Reganyan, a member of the AYF UHRC. “We hope their stories and encouraging words will motivate women to continue breaking down barriers.”

Sona Simonian-Zeitlian was born in Cairo, Egypt. After graduating from the American University in Cairo, she taught in Armenian schools in Egypt, and later in Lebanon. Zeitlian has won the Kevork Melidinetsi Award of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in 1968 and 2013 for her pioneering studies entitled “The Role of Women During the Revolutionary Movement” and “On the Trail of Armenian Women from Ancient to Modern Times.” In 1980, her narratives about the legendary heroes of early Armenian history were published in four volumes. In 2004 and 2006 her research entitled “Armenians in Egypt: Contribution to Medieval and Modern Egypt” was published in Los Angeles in Armenian and English.

Houri Berberian is a Professor of History, the Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies, and the Director of the Armenian Studies Program at the University of California, Irvine. She has authored many articles, including two on Armenian women, one focusing on women’s activism and education in late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Iran, and another on the early modern New Julfan women’s lives and laws that governed them. She has also authored two books. The first is titled Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911: The Love for Freedom Has No Fatherland.” Her second book, “Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds”, will be out with UC Press in April.

State Rep. Mari Manoogian was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan, and is serving in her first term representing the 40th District, which includes Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, and a portion of West Bloomfield Township. At age 26, she is the youngest woman serving in the 100th Legislature, and the first Armenian-American woman to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives. Prior to joining the legislature, Manoogian served in various capacities at the United States Department of State.

The ACF Beshir Mardirossian Burbank Youth Center is located at 75 E. Santa Anita Avenue, Burbank, CA 91502.

The United Human Rights Council (UHRC) is a committee of the Armenian Youth Federation – Western United States (AYF-WUS). By means of action on a grassroots level, the UHRC works towards exposing and correcting human rights violations of governments worldwide, and aims to foster dialogue and collaboration between peoples who share this common vision.

Alpha Gamma Alpha is an Armenian sorority was established on October 25, 2002 at the University of California, Los Angeles and in 2003 at CSUN. The purpose of Alpha Gamma Alpha is to unify students to work towards the advancement of Armenian causes, our college communities, and the greater community. Alpha Gamma Alpha aims to spread and further the Armenian culture as as well as guide fellow sisters in academics, life decisions, and social relationships while building life-long ties.

Founded in 1933 with organizational structures in over 17 regions around the world and a legacy of over eighty years of community involvement, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.


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