Photos and Story by Beth Treffeisen
The Armenian Business Network (ABN) held their Annual Thanksgiving Party on Monday, Nov. 20, at Annoush’ella Saj Kitchen in the South End. All of the proceeds benefit The Halo Trust’s “Safe Steps for the people of Karabakh” campaign with the goal to rid Nagorno Karabakh, a region in Asia of landmines by 2020.
This was the second annual Thanksgiving Party put on by the ABN, selling out with a hundred guests at $75 a ticket. Each gift was matched by an anonymous foundation.
At the event, guests enjoyed appetizers and drinks from the Eastern Mediterranean restaurant as they socialized with other members of the ABN. Special guests included Pulitzer Prize winner and renowned journalist Stephen Kurkijan and Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutojian.
The goal of the ABN is to inspire and encourage Armenians to support each other through shared learning and networking to achieve excellence in their professional, commercial, and community efforts.
Since 2010, the ABN has grown from a few hundred local Boston professionals to an international business community of over 9,000 members.
“Seven years ago we started as a way to help college kids and give guidance in school and jobs,” said Jack Antounian, founder of ABN. “It was a way to share wisdom and expertise but since it began it just exploded.”
The Annual Thanksgiving Party, Antounian said, is a way for the community to gather and give back at the same time.
The people of Nagorno Karabakh have suffered with landmines for over 22 years. For many Karabakhi Armenians the everyday activities many take for granted are filled with the fear of stepping on or driving over a mine.
With over $2 million raised from foundations and crowdfounding, The Halo Trust is 25 percent of the way towards meeting the funding goal to remove the last of the mines in Karabakh by 2020. In addition to removing mines, The Halo Trust provides jobs to people to remove the mines with a metal detector and returns dangerous farmland to residents.
This charity is not only internationally recognized (It was Princess Diana’s favorite charity and is now Prince Harry’s, who is in the spotlight for his recent engagement announcement.) Nina Festekjian, co-owner of Annoush’ella, got the chance to meet Prince Harry at Kensington Palace earlier this year for a Halo Trust charity event.