What was/is it like

Articles on two series:

What was it like growing up Armenian in...

What is it like being married to an Armenian

The fourth presentation in the series "What is it like being Married to an Armenian" was held Saturday, September 10th 2022 at the Merriam Park Library.

Panelists for this fourth session were Lowell Johnson (Andrea) and Jim Favre (Margaret). Steve Usitalo moderated the session and the attendees were taken on a fascinating journey to local areas and, also to broader ares of the World icluding Armenia itself. Members of the audience contributed supporting stories for the two panelists. ACOM provided some light refreshments after the formal session.

Doug Tiffany and Steve Usitalo

This was our first Virtual meeting for this series. So no socializing with beverages and appetizers but we still had a great session. Nairey Digris was the session moderator. Doug and Steve were joined by their spouses for this session since it was a virtual meeting. This created a new dynamic in the discussion where there was a couple interaction. Previous sessions did not have this interesting interaction. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session. 25 people participated in this enjoyable session.






What was/is it Like ... Videos

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020


 What was it like Growing up Armenian in...   Video Selector
Session Date Held Moderator Panelists  
1 2/19/2012 Tom Keljik Karam Bedros, Sam Mesroubian, George Yaghsezian View
2 5/20/2012 Tom Keljik Mara Meketarian, Peka Savayan, Caroline Ylitalo View
3 10/28/2012 Tom Keljik Francis Bulbulian, Avo Toghromadjian, Margarita Tchaldarian View
4 10/13/2013 Tom Keljik Art Kouradjian, Azad Mesrobian, Raisa Martirosyan View
5 5/18/2014 Leroy Erickson der Tadeos Barseghyan, Mariam Kocharian, David Grigoryan View
6 3/21/2015 Leroy Erickson Nairy Digris, Kristapor Souslian, John Parker-DerBoghossian View
7 3/13/162016 Francis Bulbulian Artyom Tonayan,Terese Najarian, Peter Hajinian View
8 10/23/2016 Leroy Erickson Cynthia Erickson, Mark Keljik, Judy Ohannesian, Aram Charchian View
9 3/12/2017 Francis Bulbulian Lynne G. Knadjian, Hasmik Ter-Vardanyan, Margaret Vartanian View
10 3/18/2018 Nairy Digris Tom Keljik, Armineh Khachatoorian, Reena Ghannoum View
11 3/24/2019 John Parker-DerBoghossian Margarita Aroutiounian, Martin Meketarian, Darla Kashian
12 7/21/2019 John Parker-DerBoghossian Mark Wiersbeck, Sarah Wiersbeck View
13 3/8/2020 John Parker-DerBoghossian Alarica Hassett, Martin Azarian View
14 7/22/2023 Steven Usitalo Der Sahak Kaishian View
15 11/12/2023 Steven Usitalo Lucine Simonyan, Carrie Mesrobian View

 What is it like being married to an Armenian    Video Selector
 Session  Date Held            Moderator                           Panelists
       1   9/30/2018     John Parker-DerBoghgossian       Terry McGibbon, Ruth Charchian, Jennifer Keljik  View
       2   11/3/2019     John Parker-DerBoghgossian        Donna Azarian, Leroy Erickson  View
       3    3/7/2021     Naïry Digris        Doug Tiffany, Steven Usitalo  
       4   9/10/2022     Steve Usitalo        Lowell Johnson. Jim Favre  View


What was it like growing up Armenian in ...  13th in the series

ACOM's popular series "Growing up Armenian in.." returned for a 13th session on Sunday March 8, 2020. Panelists were Alarica Hassett and Martin Azarian. The discussion was moderated by John Parker-Der Boghossian.

The second in a series of panel talks featuring spouses of Armenians was held Sunday November 3 at Keljik's Oriental Rug store in South Minneapolis. A great venue for an interesting afternoon. 24 people were in attenjdence to hear Donna Azarian and Leroy Erickson talk about their experiences with their Armenian Spouses. A more detailed written narrative is yet to come. In the meantime use the two links below for a replay of the event.

For an audio recording of the session click HERE.

Link to a video of the event - HERE

For pictures from the event click Read More

Session 12 - "What was it like growing up Armenian in ..."


The 12th in the series - What was it like growing up Armenian in ... was held on Sunday  July 21, 2019 at the Merriam Park Library. Presenters for this session were Mark Wiersbeck and his Mother Sarah Wiersbeck. Nairy moderated the session which was attended by 15 people. After an informative and interesting formal presentation, there was a short Q&A session followed by refreshments.

On March 24th, ACOM presented the 11th session in the series "What was it like growing up  Armenian in ....". The panelists for this session were; Darla Kashian (Milwaukee,WI), Marty Meketarian (Cleveland, OH) and Margarita Aroutiunian (Yerevan, Armenia)


ACOM presented the first in a new series of interesting and informative panel sessions, at the Merriam Park Library on September 30th 2018. The new series is entitled "What is it like being married to an Armenian" and was moderated by John Parker der-Boghossian. Topics covered by the panelists during the session dealt with - how long married, the panelists own ethnicity and experience in it, prior knowlege of Armenia and Armenians, involvement in the Armenian community since becoming married, what new things have they learned about Armenians, what are their likes (and dislikes,If any) of "Armenian ways". The following article by Bradley Erickson gives a capsule take on the session:

The tenth session in the ongoing series "What Was It Like Growing Up Armenian In ..." Features Tom Keljik who grew up in the Twin Cities, Armineh Khachatoorian who grew up in Iran, and Reena Ghannoum who grew up in Syria. The event was held on March 18th 2018 at the Merriam Park Library in St. Paul and was open and publicized to the general public as well as to the Armenian Community. The three presenters gave their interesting perspectives on growing up in their communities. Tom, who like many children of immigrants was not immersed in the culture until he was older and began to discover the stories about his parents and older relatives. Armineh grew up in an Iran that was still welcoming to Armenians and there was always the Armenian presence available to her. Reena grew up in Syria and also had many Armenian friends and neighbors. During the last few years the troubles in Syria were escalating but she was still at ease in her home area. The session was moderated by ACOM President Nairy Digris. As always, the session prompted a lively discussion session. Of the 27 attendees, there were two attending that were outside of the general Armenian community. But were verry interested in the session and hopefully came away with a greater understanding of Armenians and their lives.

On Sunday, March 12, 2017, the 9th session in the series "What was it like growing up Armenian in ..." was held in fellowship hall at St. Sahag Armenian Church. The three panelists brought some very diverse perspectives on their early years and how those experiences brough them to where they are today. As always, the audience was intrigued by the stories and brought up some interesting questions in the Q&A period following the presentation. Francis B. served as moderator and kept the session moving along. Thanks to the three participants and to all who came to find out more about Armenian heritage and identy.

On Sunday October 23, 2016 ACOM held the 8th in the series "What was it like growing up Armenian in ...."   The series draws on the personal experiences of those interviewed. For the first time, we had four participants, all born in various places in the U.S. For those of us in the audience; the time spent listening was well worth the investment. Click on the images to read their stories. 

On Sunday, March 13, 2016, ACOM hosted the 7th session in the "What Was It Like Growing Up Armenian In ..." series. The panelists this time were Peter Hajinian, who grew up in the Milwaukee area, Terese Najarian, who grew up in the Twin Cities area, and Artyom Tonoyan, who grew up in Armenia and the Ukraine. Our host was Francis Bulbulian.

The sixth session of ACOM's popular series of "What it was like growing up Armenian In ..." was held on March 21, 2015. The featured speakers this time were Kristapor Souslian, who grew up in Egypt, Nairy Digris, who also grew up in Egypt, and John Parker Der Boghossian, who grew up in France and the U.S.

On Sunday, May 18, 2014, ACOM hosted the 5th session in its series "What It Was Like Grow-ing Up Armenian In ...", with about 70 observers in attendance. This ses-sion's participants, were Father Tadeos Barseghyan, Mariam Kocharian and David Grigoryan. For the first time in these sessions, all three participants spent at least some of their time growing up in ... Armenia.

October 13, 2013 - 4th in a series

The series draws on the personal experiences of those interviewed. For those of us in the audience; the time spent listening was well worth the investment. Arthur Kourajian, Azad Mesrobian, and Raisa Martirosyan assembled in Friendship Hall shortly after 1 pm and were peppered with questions by the main interrogator - Tom Keljik - for over an hour. 

Click on the images to read their stories. 

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