The City of Fresno welcomed a Sister City Delegation from Etchmiadzin, Armenia in an official setting at the Fresno City Hall on Monday, August 16 during a press conference. The Armenian delegation was headed by Etchmiadzin Mayor Karen Grigoryan and included Deputy-Mayor Vazrik Grigoryan, and Councilmember Dr. Samvel Franklyan. The Mayor’s wife Hripsime and their son Manvel accompanied the delegation.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin officially welcomed Etchmiadzin Mayor Grigoryan and his delegation to Fresno and shared her good wishes for the Sister City partnership. Mayor Grigoryan expressed his joy in being in Fresno and was honored for the invitation. In turn, he extended an open invitation to Mayor Swearengin. Gifts were exchanged by the Mayors on this joyous occasion.
Also sharing the podium were Fresno-Etchmiadzin Sister City Chairman Vahagn Bznouni, Founding Chair Fresno Councilmember Andreas Borgeas, Congressman Jim Costa, and Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian.
Present at the press conference were Deputy Consul General Mesrop Shaboyan of the Consulate in Los Angeles, Consulate Administrative Officer Gevorg Manukyan, Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson, Governor Schwarzenegger’s Central Valley Director Lindsay Barsamian , Congressman Radanovich’s Field Rep Kimberly Houlding-Kaufmann, Senator Cogdill’s District Director Mary Alice Kalustian, Councilman Borgeas’ Chief of Staff Stephen Sotomayor, Fresno-Etchmiadzin Sister City Committee members, Clergy and representatives of the Fresno Armenian community.
The delegation was honored at a dinner in Fresno by the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles with the presence of members of the Sister City committee and community organizational representatives.
This first visit of Mayor Grigoryan and his delegation to Fresno consolidated the partnership established last year as Sister City between the cities of Fresno and Etchmiadzin. To enhance their visit, the members of the Fresno-Etchmiadzin Sister City Committee organized tours during the week-long stay, including: Community Medical Center, the Madera Wine Trail, Fowler Packing; National Raisin, Agrian, CSUF Armenian Studies Program, the Armenian Churches and sites, and California Armenian Home. The delegation’s itinerary also included placing flowers at the 1915 Martyrs Monument and Tehlerian Monument, at Ararat and Masis Cemeteries, respectively, and a day trip to Yosemite National Park.
Chairman Bznouni stated, “I was pleased that a mutual agreement for programs such as producing wine at CSUF from grapes grown in the Etchmiadzin area, and implementing a student exchange program was made.”