ARS Roubina Chapter Celebrates IWD’s “Choose To Challenge” Theme

Clockwise: Host Hoori Chitilian, keynotes speakers Diane Kazarian and Ani Hotoyan-Joly during Zoom celebration of IWD, March 7, 2021.

By Hera Ohannessian-Lurch

International Women’s Day is considered a focal point in the movement for equality and is celebrated worldwide on March 8th. Who knew that last year’s celebration would be our last in person event for more than a year! This year, on Sunday March 7, 2021, the ARS Roubina Chapter’s IWD committee took to Zoom for an afternoon of inspiration, relaxation and education!

Host Hoori Chitilian presented our 160+ attendees with a brief history of the Armenian Relief Society before speaking to this year’s IWD theme ‘Choose To Challenge’, addressing attendees in both English and Armenian.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century to forge purposeful action for equality. It continues to be a powerful platform globally that drives action for gender parity, while celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 was #ChooseToChallenge. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. Collectively, each one of us can help forge a gender equal world. Let’s celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.

The afternoon started with a DIY cocktail and mocktail recipe presented by Hagop Jack Sounboulian. Jack currently works downtown bartending at Kelly’s Landing. His cocktail was a refreshing and perfectly sweet Elderflower Cucumber Guava fizz suitable for backyard barbeque events! He followed up with a mocktail featuring similar flavors for those looking for a non-alcoholic take on the drink.

Up next were our keynote speakers Diane Kazarian and Ani Hotoyan-Joly, the founding Visionaries of The Prosperity ProjectTM. The Prosperity ProjectTM is a new not-for-profit organization founded to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian women who are being disproportionately affected. It was conceived by a diverse group of more than 60 female leaders from across Canada and was founded and is being led by Women’s Executive Network and Canadian Board Diversity Council Founder, Pamela Postian Jeffery, who was also the honoree and keynote speaker at our 2017 IWD Event. Diane and Ani shared their experiences and wisdom as successful Armenian women in the business world and advised our attendees on the importance of sponsorship in the workplace.

The second half of the event focused on health and wellness. Alice Istanbul shared some yoga basics and breathwork to help combat the toll that stress is taking on our bodies. And Tamara Sarkisian of Fruitful Kitchen provided some great tips on healthy living through food and shared a recipe for her Banana Cookies.

ARS Toronto Roubina Chapter looks forward to International Women’s Day 2022, where we can continue to celebrate the incredible women within our community.