In 1956 newly arrived Armenian immigrants from Egypt decided to form a social club to provide an avenue to keep in touch with one another and to assist similarly situated newcomers arriving after them to the greater Los Angeles area. Unbeknownst to the Egyptian Armenians [Yekeeptahyes], another group of Armenians who recently arrived from Palestine had formed a similar organization. As each group had few members and shared similar backgrounds and goals, the individuals decided to merge and created The Armenian American Middle East Club (AAMEC), a non-profit, non-political social club with a voluntary Executive Board. As the membership grew over the years, the mission of the AAMEC was redirected to assist the Armenian community at large through financial donations, in addition to providing a social “agoump” for the members.
To raise funds for purposes of donations, the AAMEC organized annual picnics, holiday themed dances, Labor Day excursions to Palm Springs and New Year’s Eve galas, all of which were very popular and sold-out events year after year after year. The proceeds from those events were distributed annually to Armenian schools, charities and college students as scholarships. Over a period of 64 years, the AAMEC donated in excess of $500,000 to community support and special purpose directed organizations including, but not limited to, Ararat Home of Los Angeles in Mission Hills, Armenian orphanages in Lebanon, Spitak earthquake victims (Pyunic), Disabled Armenians in Armenia, Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument in Montebello, Armenian Genocide Memorial in Pasadena, multiple Armenian schools in California, Scholarships to Armenian students, funds for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, The Eye Care Project, The Bone Marrow Organization, Physically disabled children of Gyumri, and the Armenian Museum in Glendale.
At the final AAMEC General Meeting, the members present voted to dissolve the Club. By a unanimous vote the membership decided to donate the remaining funds to two active Armenian organizations: $10,000.00 to the Armenian Museum in Glendale; and $25,933.24 to the Ararat Home in Mission Hills. The founding members would be very proud of the accomplishments of AAMEC and its contributions made to those in need of assistance. We, the AAMEC thank our members and the community for their continued support of the AAMEC over the decades. Special thanks are extended to the members of the Executive Boards who donated their time and energy, with particular thanks to the members of the Ladies Auxiliaries whose tireless efforts and attention to details ensured the success of all AAMEC events. Our thanks are extended to the members who served on the ad hoc committees. Our gratitude is extended to many of the businesses and individuals who encouraged us by regularly donating to or sponsoring our significant anniversary celebrations. It is a sad day and yet a day of celebration knowing the AAMEC made a difference in the lives of many deserving Armenian individuals and organizations.
The Armenian American Middle East Club will always be a part of the history of the Armenian community of Los Angeles.
AAMEC Dissolution Committee