“The Velvet Revolution and the Advance of Democracy: Where Can It Lead?” with Ambassador Grigor Hovhannessian

Friday, June 15, 2018


*Lunch Event*


“The Velvet Revolution and the Advance of Democracy: Where Can It Lead?



Ambassador Grigor Hovhannessian

Current Ambassador of Armenia to the United States


It has been called the “Velvet Revolution”.  Starting March 31, 2018, the citizens of Armenia using social media demanded that their Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resign after he initiated further consolidation of power for himself, after 10 years of ruling in Armenia.  Led by Nikol Pashinyan (42), the people assembled in the streets, traffic was stopped, and institutions were shut down nationwide.  The people, especially the young, wanted immediate change.  Recent years of economic development had benefitted the elites, but most of the country was left behind in hopeless poverty. 

 At first, Sargsyan refused to step down, and the Parliament confirmed his position, but the people persisted, remarkably, again without violence. The threat of Russian interference loomed.  Then, after two weeks, the citizens succeeded in their push toward Democracy.  Sargsyan stepped down, saying, “The movement of the street is against my office. I fulfil your claim.”  Pashinyan was elected Prime Minister.

 As global leaders witnessed this process, policy developers and pundits alike started to speculate on where this extraordinary nonviolent revolution would lead.  Could a strengthened Armenia help bring about geopolitical balance and stability in the near East and surrounding regions?  Could Armenia become a neutral country like Switzerland, and, if so, how might that affect United States interests?  Some have even suggested that Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” could become a model for change toward democracy in other countries. 

 The Ambassador of Armenia to the United States, Grigor Hovhannessian, will be in Orange County on June 15, 2018, and our Orange County World Affairs Council has arranged for him to speak to us about the impacts, globally and to the United States, of the new developments in this sensitive part of the world. 

 Make sure to reserve your tickets for this luncheon — at 12:15 pm and/or the prior reception at 11:30 am at Prego Mediterranean.  Tickets are first come, first served for this rare opportunity to hear directly from the Ambassador about this timely and important topic.  Also, if you would like to be a sponsor of this event, please email Trustee member Helen Haig at for more information.  Sponsors will be recognized at the luncheon, and they will be invited to a sponsors-only private VIP pre-reception with the Ambassador.

 Before serving as Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States, Hovhannessian served as Consul General at the Los Angeles Consulate, and as Armenia’s ambassador to Mexico.  Before that, Hovhannessian held several appointments in the United Nations focusing on Africa and the Middle East.  This included serving at the Office of the UN Special Coordinator (UNESCO) for the Middle East Peace Process in Jerusalem, and an appointment to the UN Secretariat Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as head of the Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) offices, among other things.  Hovhannessian is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.


Prego Mediterrenean


Event Sponsor Reception 11:15 AM

VIP Reception (hosted hors d’oeuvres, bar & beverages) 11:30 AM

Lunch & Speaker Program 12:15 PM


WACOC General Member Lunch + Program $35

WACOC Premium Member Guest Lunch + Program $35

Non-Member / WACOC General Member Guest Lunch + Program $40

Student Lunch + Program $30

VIP Reception only (1 ticket) $20

Event Sponsor ( Includes Lunch + Program + Event Sponsor Reception + VIP Reception) $250

Dietary Restrictions: Please e-mail or call us office (949) 253-5751 by Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Accommodations cannot be made after this date. 

Refund Policy: Refund requests will not be accepted after the registration deadline. Cancellations must be made no later than the registration deadline. 

Paying by Check: If sending in a check, please call our office by Wednesday, June 13, 2018.