2012 Syriac Orthodox Youth Convention
After 12 months of hard work and dedication, the outcome of the 2012 Syriac Orthodox Youth Convention can truly be deemed a success! Popular workshops, both spiritual and cultural in nature set the tone of the convention. As usual, there were four workshops in total, and this year we were blessed and honored in having His Eminence Mor Cyril Ephrem Karim, or beloved Archbishop, conduct two workshops on Syriac identity and also on Seyfo. Both workshops,
due to the nature and interest in the topics, were well attended, each drawing around 150 convention participants. The other two workshops were spiritual, biblical workshops conducted by Youth Director Gabriel Bar-Sawme, highlighted by an interesting talk on love from the perspective of the Syriac Church.
For this year’s Friday night party, the committee elected to have it at our Church of the Virgin Mary in Paramus. For the first time ever, or in a while, there was live music on Friday night, typically a treat left strictly for the Saturday gala. Swedish import Sargon Daoud put on a great show as roughly 380 people attended the Friday night party which was said to have been the best ever. Also for the first time, the Saturday gala was held at a separate location from the hotel where all the convention attendees stayed. This turned out extremely well as the Secaucus Crowne Plaza dance floor was never empty. The popular Syriac singer Bashar Yuhanon, from Sweden, put on a great show, as he has for the last few annual youth conventions.
The two day activities included a New York City trip on Friday and Suryoyo Olympics on Saturday. The highlight of Olympics, attended by roughly 80 people, was a basketball tournament that crowned a combined team of New Jersey and California youth as champions. Gregory Dawli (NJ), Gabriel Aydin (NJ), Sean Demircift (CA), John Demircift (CA), Lindsay Khoury (NJ), Phillip Akdemir (NJ) & Andrew
Yachouh (NJ) beat a collection of New Jersey youth in a very close final. Congratulations to the winning team!
This year’s delegates meeting, chaired for the first time by Bar-Sawme, concluded with the decision that St. Athanasius in Tampa would sponsor next year’s convention and St. George’s of Brooklyn would take this year’s biannual.
This year’s convention could not have been made possible if not for the help of many selfless individuals who worked diligently during the convention weekend and during the entire year leading up to it. Committee chairs George Marogi (logistics and booking), Jack Nazy (marketing), and Abe Hanikeh (entertainment) and their respective committed team members which included; Poliana Ceylan, Nour Gabro & Jennifer Latte made this convention happen, and I and the rest of the Archdiocese youth are indebted to them. A special thanks goes to Brooklyn’s John and Brenda Abdulahad for booking the two singers. Also our drivers who shuttled people back and forth need to be mentioned as without them, the entire convention just wouldn’t have happened.
Thanks to Yakub Cankurt and Mattew Alpar among others! It would be very difficult to mention everyone by name, but truly the enthusiasm and determination of our youth was very visible during this year’s convention. This in itself is very encouraging and gratifying.