Serj Tankian to receive ANCA-WR ‘People’s Champion’ award

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Serj Tankian to receive ANCA-WR ‘People’s Champion’ award

YEREVAN, AUGUST 4, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced that it will award Armenian-American musician, composer, and political activistSerj Tankianofthe rock bandSystem of a Down with the “People’s Champion” Award atthe 2018 ANCA-WR Gala onSunday, October 7at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, ARMENPRESS reports, citing ANCA-WR.

“Serj Tankian plays an exemplary role by utilizing his strong and influential voice as a successful musician to bring the Armenian Cause to the attention of the world stage by reaching millions of his fans worldwide. For his years of activism on this front, as well as for his motivational support of the will of the People during the recent Velvet Revolution in Armenia, we believe that Serj Tankian is truly worthy of being named the ‘People’s Champion,’” stated Nora Hovsepian, Chair of theANCA Western Region.

Upon being notified of this award, Serj Tankian expressed his gratitude, stating “I’m very honored to be this year’s ANCA’sPeople’s Champion award honoree. I’ve worked with the ANCA for many years on Genocide recognition efforts and consider their work effective and instrumental. We’ve come a long way and I am really proud of our achievements.”

During the Velvet Revolution in Armenia, Serj Tankian expressed his support and travelledtoArmenia to joinhundreds of thousands of people being led bycurrent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the rallies taking place in Yerevan’s central Republic Square. In weeks prior, Tankian, vocal about the revolution, offered his support to Pashinyan and published a video praising the protesters in Armenia and providinghis own words of inspiration.

Tankian even watched theMay 8vote for prime ministerliveinParliament before celebrating with the crowds in the streets of Yerevan. Since then, he has used the power of media, film, and art in order to highlight the democratic and peaceful victory in Armenia while promoting grassroots activism. Most recently, it was announced in an interview in Forbes magazine that Serj Tankian is working on a film on the revolution called “I Am Not Alone.”

Tankian has always been passionate about human rights, recognition of genocides, and social justice. These traits have helped to shapethelyrical style in which he writes music. He has organized and participated in many protests, from Armenian Genocide recognition to Axis of Justice protestsledby him and co-founder Tom Morello. He and his bandmates from System of a Down also starred in a film called “Screamers” that covers the United States position on the Armenian Genocide. In the film, there is an interview shown between Serj Tankian and his grandfather, whowas a survivor of the Armenian Genocide,in which he explains what he experienced duringthat traumatic time of his life. Less than a year ago, the activist musician even joined the late travel journalist Anthony Bourdain for his episode of “Parts Unknown”on CNN whichfeaturedArmeniaand Artsakh, during whichthe two discussedgeopolitical issues in the region, Serj Tankian’s own history withthe Homeland, hisheritage and more.

In the past, Tankian along with the Grammy Award winningrock bandSystem of a Down organized the “Wake Up the Souls” tour, which began in Los Angeles and after several cities ended up in Yerevan’s Republic Square on April 23, 2015where over a hundred thousand fans joined them to commemorate the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The goal of thisinternationaltour was to raise awareness for the Armenian Genocide and to also serve as a call for justice. Some of Serj Tankian’s well known works include a special track called “Aurora’s Dream,” which was the theme music for the inaugural Aurora Prize ceremony, a song he completed for “The Promise” soundtrack, and an Armenian song called “Artsakh,” released, which was written in support of the Artsakh Republic and in protest ofongoingAzerbaijani aggression.

In 2011, he served as a panelistonthe“Lights, Camera, Activate,” panel duringthe inaugural ANCA-WRGrassroots Conference which covered the ways in which film, music and the arts can be used to promote grassroots activism. That same year, he was also awarded with the Armenian Prime Minister’s Memorial Order medal for his contributions to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the advancement of music. In 2010, Tankian in collaboration with the ANCA and Armenian Youth Federation launched the “Yes, It’s Genocide” campaign, which called on President Obama to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide and take decisive action to end the genocide in Darfur. In 2002, he co-founded Axis of Justice,anon-profit organization which works to unitemusicians and their supporters with grassroots political organizations in order to fight for social justice.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Los Angeles, Tankian attended Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School. He currently resides in Warkworth, a semi-rural town north of Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife and son.

The 2018 ANCA-WR Gala will begin at4:30p.m.with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. A three-course dinner will follow at6:00 p.m.accompanied by a powerful program and presentation of awards.

As already announced, British House of Lords Member Baroness Caroline Cox will be receiving the “Advocate for Justice” Award while the “Architects of Denial” film team will be awarded with the “Excellence in Media” Award.

Edited and translated byTigran Sirekanyan


Armenia, Yerevan, 0002, Martiros Saryan 22


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