Youth Excellence Contest
As nine young, talented, and well-educated Assyrian students walked down the stairs of the theatre at the Santa Clara Convention, one felt a sense of a much more brawny pride at the youth’s accomplishments in society as a whole. As a nation living in Diaspora, our young men and women are armed with a weapon called education—this is our newest bludgeon that uses a weaving of words and creative and critical thinking to mark our place in this quicksand society, where many nations tend to trip and plunge, while leaving no imprints of their identity. Our education is the key to our recognition as a cultured and civilized people and this was why our brave youth chose to participate in such an event. They quickly crochet lyrical terms in astute rejoinders to the host of the contest’s questions. One would only melt into their seat as they listened to the vibes of their harmonious and brilliantly scholarly remarks. The audience’s heart beats only grew faster as the pride in their veins began to pump harder and harder throughout their body and mind. As we listened quietly to their brief speeches, it became difficult to predict who would win, but in the end, the decision making by the judges was no picnic yet they came to a conclusion. A young lady won first prize with two young gentlemen winning second and third. However, this was not a night of winners and losers; they were all winners in our eyes. Lovers of our nation and education are winners in Assyrian society for they will broaden the wings of the mighty eagle and allow our nation to rise above all troubles and tribulations that cripple our nation and unite us as one once again. Congratulations to all the contestants of this year’s Youth Excellence Contest and we all anticipate the participation of a larger youth group in this contest next year!
Looking for informative, mind-blowing speeches about the Assyrian past, present, and future? The seminars at the 71st Annual Assyrian Convention had just that with professors from various prestigious universities, esteemed scholars, and many other cultured individuals from throughout the globe! Speakers like Ms. Lina Yakubova, Dr. Eden Naby, Dr. Zack Cherry, Dr. Robert Karoukian, Professor Niek Veldhuis, Dr. JoAnn Scurlock, Dr. Burton Anderson, and many many other venerated individuals were in attendance and gladly informed the Assyrian nation about Assyrian history, our present status, especially that in Iraq, and what will become of our future if we proudly educate ourselves and most importantly, our youth, in these imperative issues pertaining to our people. Ms. Lina Yakubova, an Assyrian cinematographer, also gave us the pleasure of viewing her latest documentary entitled “Assyrians in Armenia”, which shows the life and struggles of our brothers and sisters in Armenia. Her brilliantly documented movie gave us a look into their lives and the hardships they were presented with throughout their existence because of their undying need to retain our glorious name. These outstanding seminars were a must see at the Assyrian Convention! They fed our minds and became the thirst-quencher of the soul!
The awe-inspiring Assyrian fashion designer, Mr. Youkhana “Kenny” Odisho, presented the Assyrian nation with the most remarkable and dazzling Assyrian clothing one could ever see! The eye-catching clothing was put together by Mr. Odisho’s own two hands to resemble those worn by the Assyrian nation during 3500 B.C. As the son of a talented seamstress, Mr. Odisho was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1967, where his love for fashion began and grew inspiration for his dreams of becoming a fashion designer. As a highly educated and brilliant man, he became the Renaissance man of our generation. He eloquently and professionally presented each of his breathtaking, handmade designs, which depicted the life and dress of the astounding Ancient Assyrian nation. Having worked with Versace and Anne Klein, he was able to broaden his talents and expand his field of knowledge in the fashion industry. He had designed clothing that had an element of Ancient Assyrian clothing, but with the talents and heart and soul of Mr. Kenny Odisho himself. He had decided to begin his show by presenting the two different dresses created for Ishtar, the Goddess of Love. The clothing was designed to represent the clothing worn by Queen Shamiram, Queen Shamiram in Battle, Queen Shamiram on the Throne, Assyrian men and women, musicians, Nebuchadnezzar, Senacherib, the High Priest, Sargon II in Battle, Sargon II Senacherib, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal, Ashurbanipal in Battle, Gilgamesh, and even what prisoners and bodyguards wore! The colors of the fabrics were simply stunning with the decorated patterns in gold and inlaid with precious stones as well as the gleaming silk and satin imprinting their splendor into the minds of the audience. One could not imagine how a person could top such a magnificent thing off, but Mr. Odisho was able to come up with two pieces that truly put the icing on the cake! A gorgeous wedding dress and evening gown were shown that absolutely amazed the audience. The fine incorporation of the Assyrian flag into these two dresses, which were shimmering with style and elegance, was truly the crowd’s favorite. Not only was this a beautiful sight, but this event genuinely inspired individuals to follow their hopes and dreams and not to give up on their aspirations. We can make it happen if we set our mind to it!