On Friday 12 February 2016 His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian presided over a close-knit community gathering to welcome Baroness Caroline Cox among Armenian friends in Sydney. Present at the event were representatives of all Armenian organisations numbering some 110 individuals.
As a long-time friend and advocate of the Armenian people, Baroness Cox presented her heartfelt impressions and experiences of her travels to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh having made 84 trips over 20 plus years. Her audience heard with great interest her perceptions on how Armenians have risen from the ashes of destruction to make new lives for themselves despite having to face persecution, genocide, earthquake and war. She spoke passionately of her encounters with individuals whom she named by name and how they had each touched her with their heroism and brave outlook. She informed how she takes group of pilgrims each year to introduce them to Armenians as she did in 2015 attending a conference on the Armenian Genocide Centenary.
The presentation then focussed on her small NGO, which the Baroness founded under the name of HART – the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust and how it supports the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre in Karabagh, a facility that provides treatment to people with a wide range of disabilities from children with cerebral palsy to elderly people suffering from strokes.
Everyone was moved by the work of the rehabilitation centre and Diocesan Council Vice-Chairman, Mr Stepan Kerkyasharian who led the evening’s proceedings invited the audience to join together in a fundraising effort that raised $12,000.
In the course of the evening Chairman of HART Australasia Ltd, the Rev Dr Roger Chilton addressed the participants on the mission work undertaken in the Asia-Pacific region and how he warmly embraced his new understanding about Armenians and their plight. The evening closed with Bishop Najarian commending the hand of friendship and help extended by Baroness Cox for all these years wishing her continued good health and strength for the inspiring missions she leads.