Աւետիսեան Դպրոցի աշակերնտներու ծառատունկը
Հայաստանի անկախացումէն ի վեր, Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան (ԱՀԱԸ) բազմաթիւ հայրենաշէն առաքելութիւններէն մէկը դպրոցաշինութեան ծրագրի իրականացումն էր Մայր Հայրենիքի մէջ:
20 տարի առաջ, ամերիկահայ բարերար Էտուարտ Աւետիսեանի հովանաւորութեամբ Երեւանի ՀԱԹ-ի մէջ (Հարաւ-արեւմտեան թաղամաս) ԱՀԱԸ-ի հիմնադրած Խորէն եւ Շուշանիկ Աւետիսեաններու անուան կրթահամալիրը իր յարկին տակ ընդունեց թաղամասի անապահով ընտանիքներու երեխաները, ապահովեց անոնց անվճար եւ որակեալ ուսուցումը: Կարճ ժամանակի մէջ ան դարձաւ սիրուած եւ գնահատուած կրթօճախ՝ իր մասին վկայելով գործով, իր փայլուն շրջանաւարտներով եւ հեղինակութիւն վաստակած անձնակազմով:
Կրթօճախի այդպիսի սրընթաց վերելքը ոգեշնչեց ամերիկահայ բարերարները եւ ԱՀԱԸ-ին՝ գերազանցապէս բարելաւելու դպրոցի շէնքային պայմանները: Եւ 2014 թուականին արդէն դպրոցը տեղափոխուեցաւ 21-րդ դարի շունչով կառուցուած սեյսմակայունութեամբ գերարդիական շէնք: ԱՄՆ «Կանաչ շինարարական խորհուրդի» (USGBC – The United States Green Building Council) հեղինակաւոր LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) վկայագրման պահանջքներուն համապատասխան բնապահպանական նախագիծով կառուցուած կրթահամալիրը իր 7 յարմարաւէտ մասնաշէնքերով Հայաստանի առաջին eco կառոյցն էր: Եւ բնական էր, որ շուտով ան դարձաւ «դպրոց եւ համայնքային կեդրոն»:
Առնօ Բաբաջանեանի 42/7 հասցէի մէջ գտնուող «կանաչ դպրոցը» յագեցած է արեւային ջրատաքացուցիչներով, «դալար տանիքի» շնորհիւ իրականացուող ջրապահպանութեամբ, տեսակաւորուած աղբահանութեամբ, ենթակառուցուածքներու մատչելիութեամբ, սեփական «արտադրութեան» պտուղներով: Դպրոցի աշխատակազմը թեւ-թեւի տուած բնապահպանական անխոնջ աշխատանք կը կատարէ, պետական, հասարակական, միջազգային կառոյցներու, հիմնադրամներու, «Հայաստան ծառատունկ ծրագրի» (ATP) հետ, իսկ ամառնային ճամբարի առօրեան նոյնպէս հիմնուած է բնապահպանական կրթութեան սկզբունքներուն վրայ:
Այդ բոլորը, անշուշտ թերի կ’ըլլար, եթէ չ’ըլլային ուսման հոյակապ պայմանները դիպուկ, տեղին եւ խելացիօրէն օգտագործող մանկավարժներն ու մասնագէտները: Անոնց շնորհիւ է, որ այսօր Աւետիսեան դպրոցի մէջ ուսանիլը պատիւ կը համարուի: Աւետիսեանի շրջանաւարտներուն դիմաց փակ դռներ չկան, եւ դպրոցի աշակերտութեան քանակն ընդամէնը քանի մը տարուայ ընթացքին հնգապատկուեցաւ, ինչպէս կ’ըսեն՝ կրթահամալիրի «դալար տանիքի սիզամարգը» կը գրաւէ մարդոց:
Աւետիսեան դպրոցը սոսկ կրթարան չէ: Ան մեծ, համերաշխ, հայաշունչ ընտանիք է, որ ստանձնած է հայրենաշինութեան եւ հայրենիքի բարեկարգման գործի իր բաժինը:
Avedisian School students planting trees
The Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School and Community Center, located in the Malatia-Sebastia District of Yerevan, Armenia and operated by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), has been awarded a Silver LEED Certification – the FIRST building in the Republic of Armenia to achieve such an award. The School was also awarded the LEED Earth Designation, given only to the very FIRST building project in each developing country to satisfy the USGBC LEED criteria.
LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the sponsorship of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), headquartered in Washington, DC. According to Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of the USGBC, “the LEED Certification identifies the AMAA Avedisian School as a showcase example of sustainability and demonstrates the AMAA’s leadership in transforming the building industry. The USGBC congratulates the AMAA Avedisian School on earning the LEED Certification and thanks you for your commitment to our common goal of building a healthy, sustainable future.”
The Avedisian School was founded in 1998 as a tuition free Kindergarten for students from economically disadvantaged homes. The new K-12 School complex includes a Community Center and the Krikor and Beatrice Bilezikian Building and opened on September 1, 2014. It was the dream of AMAA Benefactor and Board Member Edward Avedisian of Lexington, MA to build a school to honor his Genocide survivor parents, Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian, who had placed an extremely high value on education throughout their lives. The School, with a current enrollment of 552 students and 50 Kindergarten students, provides a free education for economically disadvantaged children from the Malatia-Sebastia District. It is operated by the AMAA and conforms to the standard of education as set forth by the Armenian Ministry of Education.
“The idea of the Avedisian School and Community Center came from the American and German Missionaries working in Western Armenia who provided free tuition and board for students during the mid-19th and 20th centuries,” said Mr. Avedisian. “My mother was one of those fortunate enough to receive this education. We decided to bring that same concept to the present but with an ultra-modern building based on sustainable energy in the Yerevan Valley where pollution was out of control and high incidences of cancer had been noted for many years. After being invited to a meeting with the United Nations Development Program in New York, our sustainable energy expert, Armen Gharibyan, and I were provided funding to visit the new UN European Headquarters Building in Copenhagen to see if we could get some new ideas from their massive ecological masterpiece. As it turned out, Armen knew at least as much as their experts and we returned to Yerevan with renewed confidence in the project. Today, the Avedisian School’s new approach to building using sustainable energy has captivated both the government and the public so much so that an entire industry is growing rapidly and providing many good paying jobs for those working in the industry. What started as a small step to the future, combined with over 300 sunny days a year in Armenia, provides the catalyst for Armenia to achieve over 50% of its energy needs in the next ten years. That, I am confidant, will be another first in the world. A major benefit will be a great reduction in cancer rates since the CO2 reduction will provide for much reduced pollution. Add to that the joy of seeing Ararat for most of the daylight hours will make my day and yours for sure.”
Joseph Zeronian, Ed.D., former President of the AMAA Board of Directors during the building of the Avedisian School in 2014, said, “It is gratifying to see the Avedisian School gaining honors in the Motherland. The School has met and exceeded the hopes and dreams of its founders and the Board of the AMAA that endorsed its establishment.”
The Avedisian School’s building team included Senior Technical Advisor/Architect Ronald Altoon, Architect Isahak Nersisyan, Construction Manager Faraj Yeretsian, LEED Consultant/Solar Energy Design and Implementation Consultant Dr. Armen Gharibyan, LEED Consultant AJB Inc., Conservation Advisor Dr. Kenell Touryan, AMAA, LEED and USGBC Liaison Richard Youatt and Legal Counsels Peter Kougasian, Esq. and Jeanmarie Papelian, Esq.
“From start to finish, this was a concerted team effort,” said Mr. Altoon. “Every role was essential, every challenge met head on. Armenia, under the Soviet system, was unaccustomed to addressing environmental or sustainable design issues so we were faced with many challenges. When Mr. Avedisian approached me about working on this project, I suggested that we accept the challenge to design the School to become LEED Certified. This was not an easy task to be sure. Mr. Avedisian became the champion of the LEED Certification goal. He advocated for this to the AMAA Board and sustained his commitment throughout the process. After our very challenging LEED journey, we have fulfilled our original vision. Not only have we achieved LEED Silver, but also LEED Earth.”
“The LEED Certification shows how the Avedisian School fits into the global sustainability movement and how the AMAA is an important innovator and leader not only within Armenia but within the region and globally,” said Mr. Youatt. “Mr. Avedisian played a very important role in the transformation from the immediate post- Soviet era to the present. His broad vision for rebuilding Armenia’s entire educational system and his early focus on LEED Certification were visionary at a time when Yerevan was ‘on its knees’ with water and energy shortages.”
The School’s construction process introduced a new construction culture in Armenia by keeping all of the local and international environmental laws and standards. The School achieved LEED credits for meeting requirements of applying efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, introducing a unique system of solar hot water, using proper polyurethane thermal insulation levels, applying efficient LED lighting and a proper architectural design with correctly selected windows and walls. The School also used light colors on the roof, developed lots of green areas around the School which reflect the solar irradiation as nature, installed rainfall collection areas underground, recycled concrete waste to make concrete tiles, and used environmentally friendly materials for finishing, indoor air quality and natural lighting.
“The Avedisian School is a source of great pride for the AMAA in Armenia for many reasons,” said Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of the AMAA’s Board of Directors. “The standard of education is very high in comparison to other schools in the area and the School provides an education tuition free in an area that houses families with modest means. Almost all of the graduates have pursued higher education in the local colleges and universities. At the same time, the Avedisian School building serves as a lesson to Armenia’s architects and designers on how to build a structure that is beautiful and yet efficient in the use of energy and natural resources. This is of utmost strategic importance for a country that must import sources of energy from other countries. Our congratulations and special thanks to Ed Avedisian and Ron Altoon for this accomplishment.”
Funding for the LEED Certification process was generously provided to the AMAA by the John Mirak Foundation of Massachusetts. The Mirak family’s Foundation has committed to preserving Armenia by funding organizations that focus on issues surrounding the environment, the welfare of children, autism, poverty reduction and education at all levels.
“When we were approached by Ed to help fund the new School, he gave us several naming opportunities,” said Julia Mirak, Trustee of the John Mirak Foundation. “Many of them involved funding infrastructure or playing fields, but the idea of funding the LEED Certification process was immediately attractive to us. Not only would it help the current students and faculty by providing a more inviting atmosphere in which to learn and teach, but the systems that were being proposed would enhance the neighborhood for generations to come. Our family is proud to have been able to help make the School a beacon in Armenia for sustainability, energy conservation, pollution control and environmental education and responsibility.”
The Armenia Tree Project (ATP), an organization headquartered in Watertown, MA that has been working to protect Armenia’s environment since 1994, also collaborated on the environmental education curriculum at the Avedisian School which helped secure the LEED Certification. One of the School’s projects, funded by the ATP, has been the green roof gardens which feature grasses, trees and vegetables planted atop the building which provide insulation, lower heating and cooling costs. It is also used as a hands-on teaching tool for conservation as the students help care for the plants and observe their growth.
“My first visit to the Avedisian School was in 2009 when I visited the old campus in Malatia-Sepastia,” said Ms. Papelian. “Despite the challenges posed by the unfortunate state of the building, Avedisian School Principal Melanya Geghamyan ensured that the students excelled in every area. I also learned on that trip that one of the School’s science teachers had received training on environmental education from the Armenia Tree Project and was incorporating it into her lessons. When I was an AMAA Board member, I was involved with plans for the new campus and we had many discussions on how to develop a green school. The building itself is a huge component – it had to be environmentally friendly of course, but Mr. Avedisian and Principal Geghamyan also felt that the students should be engaged in learning to preserve and protect the environment.
Today, five years after the new campus opened its doors, we can observe that it truly is a green school. More than 400 trees and shrubs surround the campus, many planted by the students with support from the ATP. Students plant and care for vegetables on one of the School’s green roof areas. They also create compost from cafeteria scraps, recycle paper, and compete to see who can make the most creative art from discarded items. The ATP recognizes the Avedisian School as a prominent partner school – whenever ATP wants to pilot a new program or project in its environmental education curriculum, Principal Geghamyan welcomes our educators. And, it is great fun for students to visit ATP’s nursery in Karin Village and plant trees each spring. It is fitting that the Avedisian School has received the first LEED Certification in the region. It sets the example for how schools can help develop the next generation of environmental stewards. Congratulations to the team who made this certification happen. I am proud to be associated with such a fine institution.”
“The United Nations Development Committee (UNDP) was also impressed by the Avedisian School,” added Mr. Youatt. “A site visit by a UNDP representative during the School’s construction and a meeting with Mr. Avedisian left the representative with a very positive impression of the visionary, yet practical, energy efficient design of the Avedisian School. The UNDP subsequently provided some material support for the construction and saw the project as inspirational for other countries and cities addressing similar challenges as those faced by the School.”
The students at The Avedisian School have greatly benefitted from the healthy and sustainable environment at the School, where they attend classes in math, language, science, geography, computers, art, music, crafts and physical education. They have exceled in many areas helping the School win many awards, including national chess and debate competitions. The School has also won several prestigious awards including 1st place in Nationwide Russian Language Competency, 1st place in Nationwide French Competency and a Gold Medal for Best School Administration. Since 2015 the Avedisian School has had 62 students graduate from the high school. This year all of the 31 graduates have been admitted to higher educational establishments including American University of Armenia, French University of Armenia Foundation, University of Foreign Languages, Pedagogical University of Armenia, Engineering University of Armenia, Armenian State University of Economics, Armenian Medical University, Armenian Conservatorie, Yerevan State University and Russian-Slavonic University.
“The Avedisian School has also benefitted from the LEED Certification in terms of being the most unique environmentally friendly building not only in Armenia but also in the whole South Caucasus Region,” said Melanya Geghamyan, Principal of the Avedisian School. “The whole building is an environmental laboratory. The students have been taught how to differentiate between litter and recyclables, classify garbage into special bins for paper, plastic and litter, how to save water, and plant and care for trees and plants due to the green roofs. Because of the LEED Certification and the Eco Project implemented at School, the students learn about composting and how significant it is to take advantage of enriching the soil with the principle of ‘zero waste.’”
AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian added that “as a Christian organization, the AMAA cares deeply about the environment and protecting God’s land and resources. The Avedisian School and Community Center educates our students about environmental issues both academically and practically and encourages them to adopt eco-friendly habits and promote them among their families and friends. The AMAA’s trailblazing efforts at the Avedisian School have helped promote environmental awareness among the students and serves as an inspirational model to other schools and organizations throughout Armenia.”
“The AMAA salutes the pioneering insight of a remarkable group of project owners and professionals who rose above the cost and construction considerations to be the good stewards of the Creator in securing the LEED Certification and the LEED Earth Designation for the Avedisian School,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “We have been entrusted with the welfare of our planet. The Benefactors, the AMAA Board and Administration and the faculty and students of the Avedisian School are taking good care of Armenia’s ecology while they toil to provide an environmentally sustainable Homeland for the enjoyment of generations to come.”
The Interns at Yeraplour
“Your Young Shall See Visions” Acts 2:17
By Rev. Serop and Alina Megerditchian
We were pleased to be asked and were blessed to plan, organize and lead this year’s AMAA Summer Internship to Armenia, July 4-19.
The theme of the Internship “Vision for Mission,” was based on Acts 2:17 “Your young shall see vision.” The purpose and the aim of this year’s Internship was to provide the youth of our churches from different parts of the world – the United States, Canada, Australia, South America, Europe and the Middle East ̶ the opportunity to learn about and appreciate many ministries of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and the Evangelical Churches of Armenia (ECA) in the Homeland, to be a time of personal spiritual growth through daily Bible study, discussion, prayer and evaluation sessions and to discover our rich Armenian heritage, roots and legacy through exposure to some significant historical, religious and key cultural sites of our beloved Homeland. The Interns accomplished these goals by serving and helping through different types of services, such as visiting, cleaning houses, cooking and having prayer time and lunch with the lonely, elderly and needy families in Vanadzor and Shiragamout, assisting at Vacation Bible School for children and children with special needs in Vanadzor, making jam (Mourabba) for Shogh Center’s kids in Vanadzor and working with children at AMAA’s Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan.
Fifteen interns from eight countries bonded with each other very quickly and very well, as one family, and each day actively participated in the program and praised God for witnessing AMAA’s and ECA’s ministries for the children, youth, adult, elderly and needy of Armenia.
Interns toured significant AMAA ministries such as AMAA’s Avedisian School and the Shogh Day Centers. They met with local church pastors and congregations supported by the AMAA through the network of the Evangelical Church of Armenia (ECA). They had the opportunity to spend two days working alongside leaders at AMAA’s Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. They spent five days doing mission projects in Shriagamout and Vanadzor and they also visited cultural sites to discover their rich, Armenian cultural roots.
We would like to commend the interns for having the vision and implementing it through mission and, with their own money, sponsoring a child at Shogh Day Center in Vanadzor.
Also, we would like to commend the interns for sharing their pictures and writing their thoughts, reflections and daily activities and ministries on AMAA’s Intern’s Blog page at https://amaainterns.wordpress.com/
The following are excerpts from the interns’ experiences.
For me the Internship was such a great experience. I was able to meet new people and become closer with them. I loved the time spent with the kids at Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. I also liked visiting with the people and to put a smile on their faces just by talking to them. Overall, I learned I should be grateful for what I have and not complain, because there are a lot of people who are happy with what they have even though it’s not much. I want to thank all who prepared this Internship Program for us. It was an incredible experience, and I think everyone should experience this amazing trip and learn new things like I did. Thank you for everything.
During the Internship, I was so impressed by what AMAA ministries accomplish in Armenia, as well as by how the churches, against all odds, strive to serve the Lord using every resource no matter how small. I learned that unity is surely power, especially when it comes to prayer. A good team will always lead to great work and hence to great friendships and this is exactly what happened. I pray that God may strengthen us for further missions. We are called to feed His sparrows!
George Al Sahili
Over the two weeks, we witnessed both the tourist version of Armenia and the real cities of Armenia. I saw how terrible the living conditions were for many people and how happy and joyful these people were knowing that God is there with them. This trip also made me realize how fortunate I am to be born and raised and to live in Canada. It allowed me to reflect and be grateful for everything that I have, and it showed me what a big difference we can make. I learned about the different AMAA services. They support many churches, schools, and childcare centers. They also provide a lot of support for families who cannot support their children in a safe home. It was an experience that I’ve never had before, and I am already recommending this trip to others so they can experience what I have seen.
The Internship was truly enriching and life-giving. The balance between sightseeing, socializing and serving was excellent. I left the internship with a sense of fulfillment, being blessed spiritually and relationally. Three things I’ve learned. One, that I have a true family in Christ in my Evangelical Church in Armenia. Two, how proud we should all be of our Armenian Evangelical legacy and heritage. Three, how glad I was to see the good work done by the AMAA in Armenia. I am looking forward to seeing how I can be a part of that.
I participated in the AMAA Summer Internship 2019 for two main reasons: first to see my Homeland, and second to serve God in my Homeland. As a first-time visitor of Armenia, I had mixed emotions. I was amazed by the beauty and modernity of Yerevan and heartbroken by the plate houses of Shiragamout. But if you ask me if I would ever visit Armenia again, I sure would. The best thing about Armenia is the people. Their kindness, generosity, hospitality and faith are unmatched by any other nation. In our short two weeks of living and communicating with the people of Armenia, I learned a lot about how to be a better version of myself and invite others to be better by serving God through the people and strengthening my faith. I miss every single intern already and hope to reunite with them again in our Homeland. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity.
I had an amazing experience during AMAA Summer Internship 2019. We had the chance to visit some of AMAA offices/centers and churches in Armenia. And I’ve learned so many lessons during the Internship, that no matter what our situation in life, our faith and hope gets stronger by believing in God, because He will be with us every time we need Him. As for my impression? What we saw outside of Yerevan, for me it’s the reality, what we saw in Yerevan for me it’s a fake city.
Jack Mousa Oghli
The AMAA Summer Internship 2019 was a well-planned mission project. It was strategically designed to begin the trip by touring the beautiful areas of Armenia, display Armenia’s reality through missionary work in the middle, and end with a fun cultural education. Whether we had a tour guide or not, Rev. Megerditchian and Dr. Alina always prepared us by giving a little history lesson on where we were and why we were visiting. We learned about the Word of God and how it applies to us each day during our daily devotions, about local foods, the songs and dances, and the prayers sung throughout the trip. We learned how much the AMAA is doing for the Armenian people through educational, evangelical and humanitarian programs. No matter what family we visited during our missionary work, even in the poorest conditions of the real Armenia, God showed each of us lessons; lessons to complain less, to never take life and God for granted, to always put a smile on because there is much to still be grateful for, to work as a team, and to be giving. There is much that needs to be done now that we have learned our lessons and as we do our best to help our brothers and sisters in Armenia, we need to be disciples and teach those around us what we have learned through the AMAA Summer Internship 2019.
Since I came to the Armenian Evangelical Church in Buenos Aires, every day I dreamed to see Armenia with my own eyes. And now, after 15 years, I can say this dream has come true. When I heard about the AMAA internship, I said “yes!” after praying and finding God’s will. For years I read a lot about Armenia, its culture and habits, learned about its language and unique alphabet, its music, and I fell in love with all these. And when I arrived in Armenia all that was true! But it’s not only that…In Armenia there are cities devastated by earthquake, families living in ‘caravans’, people without jobs, without water or food, children with divorced or absent parents, or helpless elders. And that part of Armenia I didn’t find in articles, touristic books or newspapers. It’s the same country but seems to be not important to show to the world. I give thanks for enjoying the amazing and ancient culture of Armenia and at the same time to share and spend time with those who need company, a piece of bread, or even a smile. During these weeks we learned a lot of things, but overall that no matter the situations we are going through we must know that God is always present. If we have something to share with others, let’s not keep it to ourselves. God blessed us, and we must be a blessing for those who in need.
When I first arrived in Armenia for AMAA’s Internship, I was nervous for who I would be spending my time with and if I would enjoy my time serving in Armenia. I quickly became close friends with everyone in the group and knew that our time spent serving the Lord together would be fruitful. Seeing the condition of people’s lives, and what work the AMAA does, I was really affected and wanted to do more for these people when I returned home. I enjoyed spending time with needy children and families, especially knowing that I was helping and making them happy. I came back from our Internship learning so much about myself, life in Armenia, and the work of the AMAA. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to come on this mission’s trip, made new life- long friends and learned so much.
I’m very thankful to God for giving me this special opportunity to visit Armenia and serve the Lord through various missions and activities. I’m also glad to meet new friends from different countries and feel like a family. In this internship I learned to always be thankful to God for what I have. I also learned to be a humble, loving and caring person. AMAA’s ministries and this year’s Internship will always be in my memory and I will practice what I learned in my daily life.
The two fruitful weeks of this year’s AMAA Summer Internship in Armenia were one of the best two weeks of my life. I saw and learned many things about myself, my Homeland, culture and people. Before the trip I knew very little about life in Armenia. I never thought that there are people who live in very bad conditions and are in need of help. I am very thankful that the AMAA gave me this opportunity to participate in this trip. I never knew how much they do for these people. This trip inspired me to be a better person and always be grateful of what I have. The Armenian people showed me what it is like to have God’s love. In their very sad living conditions, they were very thankful and happy praising God continuously and that amazed me, also inspired me to be like them. I feel very blessed and thankful to be part of a culture that puts God first in everything. It is truly amazing to know that an organization like this exists because it makes me think that there are still people in this world that do good.
During the Internship in Armenia, I was very happy for our successful mission. I visited a lot of families that were very nice and welcoming despite their problems and their situation. It was a wonderful experience that I was able to share my testimony with them, talk about God and His love for us and have prayer time together. I’m glad that I met and spent time with the kids. They were surprisingly very joyful meeting us and very respectful to us. During the two weeks, I learned that we can be happy at all costs even in very bad situations. This Internship was amazing for me, I met a lot of people, and I made new friends and had the opportunity to visit my Homeland Armenia. I want to thank the AMAA for everything they did for us and for every single project they have to help our people. I also want to thank Rev. Serop Megerditchian and Dr. Alina for leading this Internship.
AMAA Summer Internship 2019 was a very good experience to see the love of God by serving and helping as one body in Christ. I learned what the AMAA is doing in Armenia. We visited Shoghig Camp in Hankavan where the leaders were committed to teach the kids the Word of God by doing several Bible lessons. We also visited houses that the families were less fortunate, but they blessed us with the joy in their hearts and the faith that they had toward God that He is the eternal life. I learned to not take God and life for granted. Many thanks for this opportunity.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to be part of the AMAA Summer Internship 2019. These two weeks were two of the best and amazing weeks of my life. I learned many new things about my Homeland Armenia, people and their lifestyle. In Vanadzor and Shiragamout I was very surprised to see the way people live and how they struggle. But after seeing their situation I learned that I should always be grateful of what I have and never complain because some people don’t have a quarter of what I have. I was so inspired by these families’ strong faith in God even though they were not living in a great place. I want to thank the AMAA for this trip and for giving us the opportunity to see Armenia and for the work they do because it’s truly amazing and unbelievable.
The success of the AMAA Summer Internship relies heavily on the support, prayer, help and insight from the leadership at the AMAA Offices both in Paramus, New Jersey and Armenia. Special thanks go to AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian, Senior Pastor Evangelical Church of Armenia Rev. Mgrditch Melkonian, Associate Pastor of Evangelical Church of Armenia in Yerevan Rev. Hovhannes Hovsepyan, AMAA-Yerevan Headquarters Office Administrator Anna Ohanyan, Vanadzor AMAA Office Manager Janna Danielyan and AMAA’s PR/Communication’s Coordinator Louisa Janbazian for their continued willingness to make this program thrive for the benefit of our young Armenians all over the Diaspora.
In conclusion, let’s continue our prayers that the good seeds planted in our interns’ lives, by God’s grace, may grow and bear fruits of lifelong “Vision for Mission.” May God continue to bless the AMAA and the Armenian Evangelical Church for His glory.
* Rev. Serop Megerditchian is the Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, CA..
In 2014, on the eve of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, a Consortium was formed between six organizations to reach out to the children of the Martuni Community in the Chambarak Region. The Consortium has now expanded to eleven organizations to include The Armenian Missionary Association of America-Armenia (AMAA-Armenia), “Shen” Charity NGO, Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), “Development Principles” NGO, Fund for Armenian Relief, World Vision Armenia, Teach for Armenia (TA), World Council of Churches Armenia Round Table Foundation, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), “Armenian Caritas” Benevolent NGO and “Diaconia Charitable Fund.”
In the first phase of the Consortium and in cooperation with Teach For Armenia, AMAA-Armenia sponsored a well-trained teacher to teach IT courses in the Martuni community of Chambarak Region for two years, both at the school level and at extracurricular and community level programs.
On July 26, 2019, the two Consortium member organizations solemnly signed their agreement to cooperate in the Kirants Community of Tavush Province, where AMAA-Armenia and TA will implement this program in the Primary School of the Community and will actively initiate community development and impact programs.
Peter Kougasian, Esq. Former AMAA Vice President and Robert M. Morgenthau, Esq. at AMAA’s 91st Annual Meeting Banquet at Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell, NJ
he Armenian Missionary Association of America is saddened to learn of the recent passing of Robert M. Morgenthau, Esq., United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for nine years and Manhattan District Attorney for 35 years, and longtime friend and boss of AMAA Board Member and Vice President Peter Kougasian, Esq. Mr. Morgenthau, part of a prominent New York political family for many generations, passed away on July 21, 2019 in New York City, a few days away from his 100th Birthday.
“In the 40 years of our acquaintance, I got to know Mr. Morgenthau very well, and I can assure you that he was a very, very great man, was passionately devoted to the Armenian people and spoke at many Genocide commemorations over the years,” said Mr. Kougasian. Mr. Kougasian, who served as an Assistant District Attorney under Mr. Morgenthau, was instrumental in securing Mr. Morgenthau as the guest speaker for the 91st AMAA Annual Meeting Banquet, held October 17, 2010 at the Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell, NJ.
Mr. Morgenthau was the grandson of Henry Morgenthau Sr., a lawyer and businessman, who became President Woodrow Wilson’s Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913-16. He came to be identified as the most prominent American to speak out about the Armenian Genocide and his book “Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story” remains one of the most historical documents about the Genocide and is still frequently cited by Genocide scholars. Henry and several other Americans formed a public fundraising committee to assist Armenians called the Committee on Armenian Atrocities (later renamed Near East Relief) which raised over $100 million in aid. Through his friendship with the publisher of The New York Times, he ensured that the Genocide received prominent coverage in the paper; The Times published 145 articles about the Genocide in 1915 alone. Countless Armenian families recall how their “Uncle Henry” personally intervened to provide for their ancestor’s safe settlement in America. Henry’s image appeared in a 2015 Armenian postage stamp series called “Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.”
Mr. Morgenthau’s father, Henry Jr., served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary for much of the Depression and World War II. His biggest success was the Social Security Program; he reversed proposals to fund it from general revenue and insisted that it be funded by new taxes on employees.
Mr. Morgenthau served as a mentor to generations of public servants in politics and law. Under his leadership many notable Assistant District Attorneys served under him including the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, Governor Andrew Cuomo, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, and his wife Sona were honored to meet Mr. Morgenthau at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, which he founded and later became Chairman. “We celebrate the long life of Mr. Morgenthau,” said Mr. Khanjian. “While we are sad to lose such a great man, the bright side is that our Creator gains his company.”
By Dr. Albert and Sue Phillips*
What a blessing it has been to be of service to the people of Armenia for the last eleven years and we thank the Lord for all who have ventured along with us and given of themselves to serve others.
This year the Armenia Medical Mission Team of 43 members and 9 Armenian translators staffed ambulatory clinics in two separate regions of Armenia June 13-23. The North Team returned to Vanadzor and Stepanavan and the South Team traveled to Sisian and Kapan, a new location. We are thankful to God to have had enough medical personnel to be able to split the team this year and thus give care to several regions in Armenia. The Medical Mission Team consisted of 7 physicians, 2 dentists, 2 pharmacists, 5 nurses, 1 occupational therapist and 27 willing volunteers. The clinics were set up in the Evangelical Churches of the towns we visited. Dr. Chris Tashjian, his wife Barbara, and Allison Phillips were the South Team leaders and without their leadership we could have never been able to expand as we had this year.
Patients came from local neighborhoods and many were transported from outlying villages to the clinic by bus. Throughout the course of the week, over 1,000 patients, including adults and children, were seen. Our dentists treated 450 children and educated them on dental hygiene. We witnessed the results of our ongoing treatment by finding less dental disease in the group of children who return each year. Similarly, our adult patients who have received treatments in the past, reported improved health after receiving treatments for diabetes and hypertension. Through the support of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), we have been able to give the patients enough medications to last one year.
While patients were waiting to be seen, our nurse educators gave lectures on various medical issues. During the clinic, patients were invited to attend church services where team members shared their testimonies and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached. After each visit with the doctor, patients were given an opportunity to have a prayer offered. Many were touched both physically and spiritually. This year, 98 families of young children ages 6 months to 5 years had the opportunity to participate in an Early Childhood Development Assessment administered by Dr. Allison Phillips, OTD. The results of this testing found that 3 of the children had developmental delays and parents were given individual counseling and instruction. We are happy to announce that the AMAA has made a large investment in the Medical Mission ministry. This month, the AMAA hired an Armenian physician employee who will return to our clinic locations to provide follow up and continuity of care.
The Medical Mission Team has committed to return to Armenia for our twelfth year in July 2020. If you have a desire to serve our brothers and sisters in Armenia or are interested in knowing more about the Armenia Medical Mission, please visit our website. The link can be found at AMAA’s website, www.amaa.org under “Projects.” Medical and non-medical, Armenian or non-Armenian speaking volunteers are welcome. We are humbled to see how God has grown the Medical Mission over the years. We can assure you that your generous donations to the AMAA earmarked for the Medical Mission go directly to the Armenian people and are only used for medications and supplies. Jesus during His ministry often met the physical needs prior to addressing the spiritual needs of those He met. We are committed to emulating His love in Armenia.
“The AMAA Medical Mission is an embodiment of both the reflection of Christ’s love poured unto our people and the spreading of the Word of God in action,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “We thank those at the helm of the Medical Mission and the many volunteers who demonstrate their faith in action.”
*Dr. & Mrs. Albert and Sue Phillips are AMAA’s Armenia Medical Mission Team leaders.
On July 9, RA’s Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan and the Head of the Office of the High Commissioner Sara Anjargolian received 17 Interns of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) coming from 8 countries – USA, Canada, Australia, Lebanon, Syria, Switzerland, France and Argentina. During their 15 days in the Homeland, the youth will not only get acquainted with their Homeland but will do humanitarian service. They will stay in Vanadzor for five days to help and minister single elderly people, care for them, help them in everyday jobs and clean their homes.
After welcoming the youth, Mr. Sinanyan and Ms. Anjargolian spoke about their repatriation stories, their motivation to return to Armenia, and to live and work in the Homeland. Mr. Sinanyan mentioned that he lived in the US for 31 years, but after the Velvet Revolution in Armenia last year, he decided to return to his Homeland, to live here and to work for the Armenian Government. Ms. Anjargolian said that she had been living in Armenia for the past seven years. She founded the Impact Hub in Yerevan and began helping young starters to be established in Armenia. Referring to Diaspora Armenian youth, Ms. Anjargolian stressed that it is extremely important to keep in touch and share news with each other and to make suggestions.
The leader of the Interns Rev. Serop Megerdithcian, Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, CA, spoke about the goal of the Vision for Mission initiative of the AMAA’s 2019 Internship Program in Armenia.
Mr. Sinanyan, commenting on the Interns’ visit to Armenia, said, “If you link your future with Armenia, then we have succeeded. The role of the Diaspora is not just to help Armenia. The Diaspora should also participate in the future of the Homeland.” Ms. Anjargolian urged them to come to Armenia for volunteer work, to work, to establish a business, to engage in tourism, or even work for the government, because the doors are already open.
The Interns then had the opportunity to ask some questions to the Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs. Responding to one of the questions regarding the goals in the relations with the Diaspora, Mr. Sinanyan said that it is necessary first to improve and restore these relations, and to use the potential of the Diaspora for Armenia. One of the Interns asked how important the work of the Armenian government with the Diaspora is. Mr. Sinanyan said that now the goal is to link Diaspora Armenians to Armenia as much as possible, and the ministry’s reshuffling of the Prime Minister’s office has given a higher status to Armenia-Diaspora relations.
The Interns were also interested in the Commissioner’s opinion on the Diasporan-Armenian dividing line. “These divisions are the result of historical events. In reality, we are not different. The moment when we understand that we are Armenians and our Homeland is Armenia, the differences will disappear,” said Mr. Sinanyan.
At the end of the meeting the Interns emphasized that in Armenia people are warm, the Armenian heart is immediately felt and they are ready to share what they have. It felt they have fallen in love with Armenia.
Office of RA’s Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs
Read the Armenian text here.
AMAA TO CELEBRATE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS FOUNDING ON OCTOBER 19 IN BOSTON, MA
By Florence Avakian
“We’ve got to do something,” they said, and they did, and continue to do so, declared Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director and CEO of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, (AMAA).
The “they” are the dedicated couple, John and Michèle Simourian who with “commitment, goodwill and action” took devoted action and inspired the members of the AMAA to help the survivors of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia 30 years ago.
This couple has continued to dedicate their efforts for four decades to the values and work of the AMAA, an outstanding Christian non-sectarian organization.
2018 was also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the AMAA, a very symbolic date for this noteworthy organization that has been the “Good Samaritan” to many needy people – orphans, widows, the poverty-stricken sick and grieving around the world.
Their vital and dynamic work for more than 100 years will be celebrated in grand style at a banquet in Boston, MA, on Saturday evening, October 19. Co-Chairs of the banquet are John and Michèle Simourian.
In a brief telephone conversation with this writer, Michèle Simourian said, “Out of our great respect for its sterling reputation, and what it stands for during the past 100 years, it has been a privilege to be involved with the AMAA. Also our intense love for our Armenian ancestry has played a huge role in working for our people.”
The AMAA Orphan and Child Care Program, “a birth-child of the earthquake,” has continued to serve the impoverished children of Armenia and Artzakh,” stated Mr. Khanjian.
Michèle Simourian, an AMAA Board member, and founding Co-Chair of the Program, has “vigorously led and served it” for more than 25 years.
AN AMAA CELEBRATION IN ARMENIA
Last year the AMAA celebrated its Centennial in Armenia by inaugurating the new AMAA Community Center and Sanctuary in Gyumri which was the epicenter of the earthquake. “It celebrated the revival of Armenia’s historical epicenter of cultural heritage and intellectual treasure,” declared Mr. Khanjian.
The Center “will bring joy, add a smile on the faces of its children, and bring honor to God,” he added.
John Simourian who has been a long-time member of First Armenian Church of Belmont, MA and past trustee, will serve as Master of Ceremonies of the banquet. He revealed that he had become involved with the AMAA through association with his “wife’s leadership.”
This is “a wonderful and far-reaching organization, going strong for more than 100 years. It responds to the physical and spiritual needs of the helpless and the homeless,” he commented.
He said he was “looking forward” to his role as banquet MC, working with the Banquet Committee members and developing an interesting program for the October 19 celebration.”
With obvious emotion, Zaven Khanjian declared, “Our task as the blessed recipients of those who walked before us is set, and we are ready to embrace the future. With added resources, expanded services and multiplied vigor, a brighter future is on the horizon of the mission of the AMAA.”
The Thirty-Year Genocide, Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities 1894-1924
By Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi. 656 pages, Harvard University Press
Published April 24, 2019
A Non-Review by Gilbert Bilezikian, Th.D., Professor Emeritus, Wheaton College
We Armenians have reached a point in the history of our nation when the survivors of our Genocide, our parents and grandparents, have left us for their eternal destiny, taking with them their sufferings, their sorrows and their secrets. We, their children, have often deplored the conspiracy of silence which, for whatever reasons, caused them to conceal from us the atrocities they had witnessed and suffered during the Armenian Genocide.
I must confess here how I cheated on my parents to learn what I had never been intended to know. The following excerpt from another book conveniently relates the story:
“Little boys are supposed to sleep soundly. I never did and, as an old man, I still don’t. The only place available to go to bed in the tiny apartment of the Montmartre neighborhood in Paris where our small family lived was the sofa in the front room. My parents were survivors of the Genocide inflicted upon the Armenian religious-ethnic minority while the world was busy doing war during the early part of the last century. World War I had become the occasion for the first occurrence of ethnic cleansing in modern times as it was perpetrated with consummate efficiency while the Western nations were busy destroying each other. A million and a half Armenian Christians were systematically massacred while the rest of the population managed to flee their bloodied Homeland. My parents escaped the carnage and made it to Paris where I was born and raised.
One of my earliest memories has me trying to conceal under my blanket the fact that I was awake when my parents and their guests thought that I was safely asleep. They met around the table, under a hanging bulb that cast a weird orange light reflected from the lampshade above it. They gathered periodically and, unaware that I could hear them, they whispered among themselves the horrifying stories of the depredations they had suffered during the Genocide as families, towns and villages. When they were all gone, I kept staring in the dark, eyes wide open, teeth chattering, tight little body, shaking irresistibly, deep into the night.
It is a documented fact that the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, now practically extinct, have not spoken to their children about it. Their silence has been explained as an attempt to spare their progeny the trauma they themselves experienced, or as their inability to come to terms with the magnitude of the devastation they suffered. But they spoke about it freely among themselves, as if attempting to glean from each other an understanding of what happened to them.
Frozen with terror, I strained to hear every word they spoke. While simulating sleep, I clenched my teeth on my blanket to prevent them from chattering and thus betraying my awareness. I remember hearing sobbing accounts about fathers being tortured to death in front of their families, of women and children forced out by the ten thousands on one-way death marches into the Syrian desert of Der-Zor, of churches set on fire with hundreds of refuge-seeking innocents trapped inside, of my maternal grandfather Garabed Kupelian, a beloved pastor, killed with eighteen Christian leaders on their way to a church convention in the city of Adana.”
(How I Changed my Mind about Women in Leadership by Bilezikian in Alan Johnson ed. pp. 50-51)
And now, decades later, this newly published book makes a thunderous landing on my desk. Hardly cracked open, it forces me to re-examine my understanding of the Armenian Genocide. Instead of the formal academic book review I was assigned to turn in, here are a few observations thrown together which I hope will motivate readers to grapple themselves with the story.
The Thirty-Year Genocide was written by a team of two Jewish professors at the Ben Gurion University in Israel for the purpose of transforming “how we see one of modern history’s most horrific events.” At first thought, the available Armenian Genocide literature is so extensive that it does not seem that much can be added to its understanding. However, the reader quickly discovers that the thoroughness and the minute attention given to the research challenges traditional insights and breaks new ground in several areas of Genocide theory. It is generally agreed that the designation “Armenian Genocide” refers to the campaign of spasmodic destructive frenzy that caused the Ottoman government to decimate the Armenian population that had occupied the land of Anatolia long before the Turkish hordes from central Asia had invaded it during the eleventh century. This book makes a persuasive case for the proposition that the Genocide was not primarily a systematic program of ethnic cleansing aimed at eliminating the Armenian population in one massive strike under the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid. More accurately, it unfolded in three stages that led to the horrors of extermination inspired by the anti-Christian jihadic expressions of religious fanaticism that found their fulfillment in the policies of Mustafa Kemal. The book chronicles the evidence that the Armenians in Turkey suffered a protracted agony of extinction that stretched over three decades which culminated with the ascent to power of the founder of the Turkish Republic.
By cleverly exploiting the disarray of his country’s government, Kemal, the victor of the battle of Gallipoli, was able to exploit to his own advantage the turmoil of his time to secure a position of dominant military and political power. I remember sitting in class during the 1940s in my Parisian public school where he was depicted with reverence as the iconic revolutionary hero who delivered the Turks from the colonial ambitions of the Great Powers to lead his people from backward medieval conditions into the magic and the wonders of the modern world. Again, this book comes to our help by providing the elements of a realistic profile for Kemal that depict him as a somber, calculating, perfidious opportunist who manipulated the jihad option to bring the thirty-year Genocide to a climactic conclusion that was extended to include the Christian Greek and Assyrian minorities, and that surpassed in cruelty and savagery what had already been inflicted on the Armenians.
The existence of the Armenian Missionary Association of America bears witness to the emergence of a missionary movement among churches and denominations a century or more ago. Once the task of nation-building had been achieved in the Western countries, the eyes of Christians, especially Protestants, turned beyond their home-shores toward the spiritual, educational and medical needs of peoples on all continents that were devoid of the Christian message. As a result, missionaries from America and Europe were already present and active in Turkey when the Armenian massacres began in 1894. The authors of our book have taken time to describe and carefully reference scores of stories of interventions by dedicated Christian foreigners who reached out to harassed Armenians as protectors, intercessors, conciliators, providers, rescuers, first-responders, caregivers, doctors, nurses, guardians of orphans, chroniclers and gravediggers. This witness to the self-sacrificing dedication of the apostles of mercy gains credibility in consideration of the fact that it is borne in this book by two objective non-Armenian and non-Christian distinguished Jewish scholars. As a matter of fact, some of the readers who are holding this book in their hands at this instant, whether they know it or not, owe their existence to the altruism of those heroes who have now passed away in anonymous obscurity—many of them buried in nameless graves in the faraway land where they served. The authors of the book are to be congratulated for this tribute to the missionaries, carriers of mercy caught in a monstrous nightmare of rampaging inhumanity.
But primarily, the authors are to be congratulated for the inception and, after many years of meticulous research and writing, for the publishing of this book. It will stand in both the historical records of nations and in the field of Genocide studies as a monumental marker of excellence. The incentive for the commitment to this task could have naturally devolved from the chronology between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. Indeed, the spacing in time of the two events calls for the comparative study of historical contexts and causality which is available in the book. But there may be more to it. It is well known that a number of Israeli intellectuals view the present policies of their government critically, as if calculated to build a capital of hatred so intense that it may not be containable through diplomacy. Like the Armenians were in Turkey, they realize that they constitute a tiny religious and ethnic minority surrounded by Muslim nations committed to their annihilation. They consider that their leaders’ policies of colonization through territorial expansion and military oppression do not bode well for the future of their country. They also realize that their reliance on American power and nuclear weapons would not withstand the attack by the dozen surrounding, equally armed nations, numbering half a billion Muslims tightly gathered together, three circles deep, as a formidable siege fortress with little Israel in the middle. Although its authors do not touch on this notion, it may well be that their book could serve as a cautionary warning to alert their people to the dangers that loom ahead.
Finally, the words at the end of the book may be the most important. Astoundingly, there is no discussion in the book about the multitude of Genocides that have occurred across the planet since the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. No suggestions are made for possible recourse to international agencies to adjudicate conflicts that become genocidal, for the recourse to sanctions and boycotts, and for the intervention of peace alliances. In particular, no instructions to bring to reason those guilty of Genocide except for confrontation with facts in the face of denials and cover-ups, in the hope that the truth can prevail and bring restoration to honor and to good-will in the family of nations. The dispirited mood reflected in this fish-tail ending of the book may find explanation in the last five words of the concluding sentence of the whole volume:
We hope that this study illuminates what happened in Asia Minor in 1894-1924, that it will generate debate and, in Turkey, reconsideration of the past.
Gilbert Bilezikian was born to Genocide survivors who escaped to France from their native town of Marash. His maternal grandfather was Pastor Garabed Kupelian, one of the nineteen ministers and missionaries who were killed on their way to a church convention near Adana in 1909. A native of Paris, he received his B.A. from the University of Paris. He then went to Boston to obtain the M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Boston University. Dr. Bilezikian’s professional life began in Paris where he taught seven years at the European Bible Institute while serving as Minister of Christian Education at the American Church in Paris. In 1961 he came to the United States and served for five years as Pastor of the Loudonville Community Church in Albany, New York. In 1967 Dr. Bilezikian went to Beirut, Lebanon to serve as the President of Haigazian University (then College). In 1971 he returned to the United States and taught at Wheaton College for 20 years until his retirement. Currently, Dr. Bilezikian and his wife Maria live in Wheaton, Illinois.
The 2019 Commencement Ceremony of the AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School in Yerevan was very emotional. On June 13, teachers, parents, upper grade students, representatives of the AMAA and the Evangelical Church of Armenia, founders of the School, members of the School Board, overseas guests, and representatives of various local and international organizations came together to bid farewell to the School’s 31 graduates.
Principal Melanya Geghamyan greeted the guests and expressed her heartfelt advice to the graduates. She thanked School Benefactors Edward and Pamela Avedisian (who were unable to come to Yerevan this year), the Bilezikian family and other Benefactors, Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, Harout Nercessian, AMAA Representative in Armenia, partner organizations and the parents for believing in the vision of the Avedisian School, for their trust, and for always supporting the School.
The keynote speaker was Doreen Bilezikian representing the Bilezikian family. Her message was profound and encouraging. She spoke about the dangers, difficulties and obstacles in the crossroads of life, and advised the graduates not to fall apart, and to continue their road uninterrupted.
The graduates then stood up along with their Home Room Teachers K. Harutyunyan and N. Margaryan as their names were called one by one to receive their Certificates from School Principal Mrs. Geghamyan, AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and Benefactor Yervant Chekijian. Then 31 caps simultaneously took off in the air.
The warm atmosphere continued in the School’s lobby, around the refreshment tables. Regardless of their spoken language, place of residence, profession and occupation, those gathered under the roof of the Avedisian School had much to say to each other.
“And let knowledge and love become the compass of your great voyage.”
Melanya Geghamyan, School Principal.
You may see the Armenian text and additional photos at: avedisianschool.am/am/commencement-2019/
Public Radio of Armenia broadcasts about Avedisian School graduation. http://www.armradio.am/hy/16070
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian on June 14. The newly appointed Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan also participated in the meeting.
The Prime Minister highly appreciated the mission and service of the Association in the United States and Armenia. Mr. Pashinyan expressed hope that the programs of the AMAA will continue to expand and develop in Armenia.
Mr. Khanjian noted that the Association intends to give a new impetus to the economic, social and educational programs implemented in the Homeland and added that, inspired by the processes taking place in Armenia, they are ready to do their utmost for the sake of preserving the Armenian identity and developing Armenia. Mr. Khanjian welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Zareh Sinanyan as High Commissioner for the Diaspora and expressed confidence that with his activities he would substantially contribute to the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora ties.
In the course of the meeting, Mr. Khanjian briefed the Prime Minister about the ongoing activities of the Association and its upcoming programs. (primeminister.am)
On June 14, Anna Hakobyan, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of “My Step” and “City of Smile” received AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, his wife Sona Khanjian, and AMAA Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian.
During the meeting Mr. Khanjian spoke about his recent meetings in Armenia and his impressions of these meetings.
The group touched upon the role of the media and the fight against counterfeiting. In that context, Mr. Nercessian stressed that after the Velvet Revolution media activity in Armenia has changed. “The media has become freer covering any events and issues,” he said.
“I spend more time in the “Haykakan Zhamanak” newspaper, and journalism professionalism is of great importance to me,” said Ms. Hakobyan. “It is extremely important that the media provide comprehensive information, regardless of who owns that media. The role of free press is also very important as it is conditioned by the democracy and development of the state.”
During the meeting they also discussed the activities of “My Step” and “City of Smiles” and the possibility of cooperation within the framework of the Fund’s programs. (annahakobyan.am)
SUMMER IS HERE
and thousands of children in Armenia and Artsakh are looking forward to their first day of Camp where they will relax, enjoy sun-filled days and participate in fun activities for a little while, away from their impoverished surroundings and daily routines.
Through the kindness and generosity of our donors, the AMAA operates two Overnight Camps, one in Hankavan, Armenia and one in Shushi, Artsakh, as well as over 30 Day Camps in other areas of the Homeland. Besides nutritional meals, sports, arts and crafts, AMAA’s camping mission will also enrich the lives of the children spiritually.
Unfortunately, many children might miss this wonderful and memorable Camp experience without your help.
Please help us give our children some much needed fun again this summer and support the AMAA Camp Program.
A gift of $70 will help one child attend an overnight camp for one week.
A gift of $40 will help a child attend a day camp for one week.
The children in armenia and artsakh will never forget your love, your generosity or the very positive impact that you will have on their young lives.
On behalf of every one of our young amaa campers, thank you…
And have a wonderful summer!
…You are the light of the world…..Let your light shine in front of people.
Then they will see the good that you do and praise you Father in heaven.
Remember Burt Lancaster?
The boys of my generation should.
Burt Lancaster was our early childhood Hero on screen. ‘The Crimson Pirate,’ ‘From Here to Eternity,’ ‘Trapeze.’
We had no TV, no laptops, no iPads, no livestreaming on gadgets. The big screen was the only media where we scrambled to see the Lancaster movies as often as they were shown. And we loved it in the wilderness of our childhood minds. And then… ‘when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.’
The issue of the AMAA News in your hands is rich covering:
Heroes discovered ‘when I became a man.’
Role Models who are the epitome of ‘train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.’
Role Models who have garnered the prize of graduating Sunday School where they learned ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’
Role Models who not only lived a life guided by the light of Scripture but applied its teachings in their lives.
Growing up, youngsters need a Hero, a Role Model, someone to look up to, someone to emulate, a Leader to follow.
A Leader, with indelible integrity, honesty, sought after and trusted.
A Leader, who despite a towering presence in society and prominent role in life, demonstrates boundless humility and modesty.
A Leader, who practices what he or she teaches and is a shining light of goodness.
A Leader, whose ‘good reputation is more desirable than great wealth.’
Reckoned names in God’s service match the above criteria. As a community in the service of the Lord and humanity we are rich because of the grace of such Role Models who have enlightened our path and whose memorialized or living legacy is what we invest in the lives of our youth in the present.
That is what AMAA’s mission is all about and that is where the focus of your support and the spotlight of our attention is now and forever.
Burt Lancaster and his acrobatic heroism still brings a smile to my face. But the glowing legacy of the late Dr. Mihran Agbabian and the shining light of Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian and the path they have carved as Role Models has impacted my life and the lives of the multitude.
‘Let your light shine in front of people.’
Thank you for your support and thank you Dr. Agbabian and Rev. Dr. Tootikian.
AMAA is proud to announce happy and joyful news about our long-time Board Member and Major Benefactor, Edward Avedisian
Commencement 2019: University of Rhode Island
Edward Avedisian is one of five men and women who joined 433 esteemed individuals recognized with the honorary doctorate degree; the highest honor bestowed by the University.
Doctor of Humane Letters
The son of Armenian Genocide survivors, Edward Avedisian grew up in an immigrant neighborhood in Pawtucket and graduated from the city’s public schools.
Avedisian was a clarinetist with the Boston Pops for 35 years and the Boston Ballet Orchestra for more than 40. He has performed around the world and was twice appointed a Fromm Fellow for Contemporary Music Performance under the direction of Aaron Copland at Tanglewood.
Avedisian’s artistic achievements are rivaled only by his philanthropy, including a $5 million gift to the University’s College of Pharmacy in 2017 in memory of his brother, Paramaz Avedisian, a 1954 graduate of the College. The pharmacy building bears his brother’s name. In addition to the Endowed Professorship in Organic Chemistry, he has established the Paramaz Avedisian Pharmacy Scholarship.
He also fully funded the Center for Health Studies & Research and the Center for Business Research & Development at the American University of Armenia. He is the founder of the AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian K-12 School & Community Center in Armenia and was the sole benefactor and chair for renovation of Armenia’s Nork Marash Medical Center.
In 2008 Avedisian (BU’59,’61), was named Boston University Distinguished Alumnus and has contributed to the Boston University School of Medicine and College of Fine Arts. In 2016 he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He presently serves as a Board Member of Light Sciences Oncology.
Boston Orphan and Child Care Gala Honors AMAA Orphan and Child Care Committee Co-Founder Michèle Simourian
By Dianne Chilingerian
A perfect evening in early May enticed over 100 guests to the 2019 Armenian Missionary Association of America’s Boston Orphan and Child Care event “Changing Children’s Lives 30 Years and Counting” held at the Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, MA.
This year’s gala honored the Co-Founder of the AMAA’s National Orphan and Child Care Committee and longtime advocate for Armenian causes Michèle Simourian for her magnificent work to inspire and spearhead not only the National but also the Boston Orphan and Child Care Committee for more than 30 years.
The evening featured a cocktail reception and a walk and talk buffet style dinner that fostered new connections and mirrored the amazing love, enthusiasm and energy of the evening’s honoree. Committee Co-Chairs Susan Covo and Phyllis Dohanian opened the evening by welcoming guests, and Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, Pastor of the Armenian Memorial Church of Watertown, MA, offered a gratifying prayer of thanks.
Following a delicious dinner, AMAA representative Sona Khanjian presided over a special presentation acknowledging Michèle Simourian for her loyalty and faithfulness to the mission of helping children in need, and ending with words from scripture felt deeply by all in attendance, “…Whatever you did for the least of these…, you did it for Me.” (Matthew 25:40).
True to form, Michèle was humbled and overwhelmed, yet nonetheless sure in her expression of thanks to the original co-founding members—Joanne DeAngelis, Nancy Eskandarian, Joyce Janjigian, Sheila Palandjian and Jacquie Stepanian—as well as the many contributing members over the years.
Christine Kutlu and Jeanmarie Papelian presented a touching video that went to the heart of the need, and magically garnered over 30 new Sponsors for children in Armenia. Peter Covo, special guest Auctioneer, brought the laughter during coffee and dessert, as well as the bids on fabulous auction items such as a trip to Paris, Red Sox/Yankees box seats and SRO Boston Pops tickets.
At the end of the evening, silent auction winners were announced over bursts of joy, followed by expressions of warmth and love that seemed to coalesce over the crowd and permeate the long goodbyes.
The Westin Waltham Boston
70 3rd Ave, Waltham, MA 02451
Armenian Memorial Church
32 Bigelow Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472
By Joyce Abdulian
The joyous atmosphere at the Phoenicia Banquet Hall on Sunday evening, April 28, 2019 felt like a family reunion within a Celebratory Banquet. The evening was planned by the Merdinian School Women’s Auxiliary, and Co-Chaired by Ani Hanessian and Louisa Janbazian.
Louisa Janbazian welcomed the full house by quoting former AMAA Vice President, Peter Kougasian, Esq at the 30th Annual Merdinian banquet, “Why Merdinian? What is the purpose of a Christian, Armenian education in this increasingly secular world….? Without the kind of education children receive at Merdinian School, how will our children come to see, that Christian faith is not just tradition, or superstition, or ethics, …but rather that Christian faith is so important, that for its sake, their Armenian forebears went to their death. We are here today, because we want a School where young minds are at least exposed to the idea that right and wrong really are sacred commandments…”
Master of Ceremonies, The Honorable Alice Altoon, created a warm and informative atmosphere as she moved the program along; also sharing the family connections she has with her first cousin, honoree Dr. Daniel Abdulian.
After the singing of the American and Armenian National Anthems by soloists Arpy Aintablian and Raffi Kerbabian, the opening prayer was given by Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian, Associate Pastor of the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, AMAA Board President, congratulated the honorees for their many years of dedication to the Merdinian School and AMAA—both having served for years on the AMAA Board.
A full table of Abdulian/Atikian cousins, which included the honoree’s children, Dr. John, Richard, and daughter Diana, were all present to honor their Uncle Daniel and Juliette. Everyone enjoyed greeting the many relatives and friends present, making an evening full of warm exchanges. Juliette’s daughter, Tamara Jabour, of Nashville, Tennessee, was pleased to be at the event. Mr. Aram Boulgourjian, first Principal of Merdinian, as well as many teachers and parents were in attendance.
The booklet message from Dr. John and Linda Kay Abdulian and family is worthy of quoting. “In love and honor of Dr. Daniel and Juliette Abdulian for their long devotion and stewardship to Christian education and the Merdinian School. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Dedicated Principal, Lina Arslanian congratulated the honorees for their years of devotion to the School. She also shared a poignant account of her appreciation of Dr. Daniel as her personal physician.
Five year old Zoey Atachian, Merdinian Preschool student, brought down the house as she sang the Armenian song Menk Chenk Tzeker Sourp Kirkeh (We don’t leave the Bible) accompanied by her grandmother, Esther Assilian. Enjoying the limelight, she continued impromptu reciting a Bible verse she had learned in school. Vahe Snapyan, a dignified 8th grade student gave an eloquent, emotional recitation of Zarmanali Hye (Amazing Armenian) by Poet Gevorg Emin. Soloists, Soprano Arpy Aintablian and Tenor Raffi Kerbabian, presented a meaningful musical program of Armenian songs, the last of which was Dr. Daniel’s favorite, “How Great Though Art.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Agbabian introduced the honorees, depicting how experiences in their youth formed their life’s actions of dedication and service. She gave an interesting history of the honorees’ family lives in Kessab and Aleppo. She shared her personal and family friendship with both, presenting their life-long love and commitment to the C&E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School and the AMAA. She also shared how the brothers, Drs. Daniel, Jack, and Misak were a trio of healing hands in the community.
Merdinian Board of Directors Chairman, Dr. Vahe Nalbandian, presented the honorees with a gift and Lifetime Achievement Award—thanking them for their years of generousity, dedication, and service to the School. The honorees graciously accepted the honor bestowed upon them—Dr. Daniel in his usual dignified manner. Juliette expressed her appreciation by personally thanking everyone involved with the planning and execution of the evening. It was evident how much the evening meant to both of them. Well Done Good and Faithful Servants.
Women’s Auxiliary Co-Chairs Ani Hanessian and Louisa Janbazian presented a $20,000 check to Dr. Nalbandian as the Auxiliary’s contribution to the School for scholarships and operations.
Dr. Nalbandian introduced Mrs. Azniv Ghazanian, a long-time parent of three Merdinian students—who will miss the school, now that her children have moved on. She lovingly spoke of her years with the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) and the life-long friendships forged. She shared how the Merdinian outstanding education within a Christian environment was of foremost importance to her and her family. Perhaps grandchildren will bring her back.
The “Kessab” element was very apparent. Rev. Serop Megerditchian, Senior Pastor of Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, shared how he is a cousin with the late Anush Abdulian. His closing comments and prayer came with a comment directed to Dr. Daniel in their own beloved Kessab dialect.
The devotion to Merdinian, not only by our honorees Dr. Daniel and Juliette Abdulian, but by the entire community, keeps the legacy of the School’s founders Charlotte and Elise Merdinian vital. These two sisters planted the seed for countless children to reap the benefits of their benevolence—and pass it forward.
Established in 1982, Merdinian is the only Armenian Evangelical School in the United States. The School offers a broad-based curriculum that fosters academic excellence, high moral values, and spiritual enrichment in the Armenian Evangelical tradition. The School strives to create a safe and nurturing environment where every student receives personal attention to become a successful and responsible individual.
I shall fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalms 23:4
Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO’s Message at Times Square, NYC – April 29, 2019
……Խոցեցին ու ջնջեցին,
Հատեցին հաստ ու բարակ,
Յօշեցին եւ տանջեցին,
Փշրեցին, տուին կրակ,
Ներկեցին ձոր ու բարձունք,
Քանդեցին երկինք մի լուրթ
Մորթեցին մի ժողովուրդ,
Հացառատ մի ողջ աշխարհ,
Սո՜ւրբ նշխար՝ շան բերանում,-
Ուզեցին մի հայ թողել,
Եւ այն էլ…….թանգարանում……..
-Գարուն ա, ձուն ա արել………..
The plan was to keep one soul
Condemned to a museum wall…………………
The Unsilencable Belfry
Well, Thank God, we are not in a museum.
We are here today by the Grace of God, who through the goodwill of Good Samaritans, saved tens of thousands of orphans and widows driven to extinction in the treacherous Syrian desert or on their way to their Golgotha in Deir-al-Zor. Unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives to save the remnants of an indigenous people uprooted from a homeland where their forebears were graced to call home for over four millennia. Heroes, who placed righteousness, or the faith they professed above the shame of adherence to the orders of a heinous Ottoman government set to annihilate a race in a genocidal crime against humanity.
Failing the evil plan, more survivors had secured a place in world museums.
On the Eastern front of our historic homeland, we also saw the merciful hand of God. In 1918, remnants of the survivors, having their back to the wall of annihilation fought the most ferocious and heroic battles against battalions of regular army regiments. Holding back no sacrifice and brevity, they won the battle of survival, creating the first independent Republic in the history of our nation in many, many centuries.
The museums of the world were getting tight for the survivors.
Today, as we commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Genocide, we witness another form of independence in the Homeland. Independence of the mind and soul to a fetterless horizon of creativity, dignity and the pursuit of happiness. Independence that tends to shatter the barriers of social, judicial and democratic inequalities. Independence that will anchor the faith and a conviction that the Homeland equally belongs to all where citizens equitably share rights and responsibilities, collectively soaring towards a promised future that will bring prosperity to the land and happiness to its people.
We reckon that our challenges have not disappeared.
From the existential threat looming on the border of Artsakh to the perpetrator’s continued self-imposed coma of denial to the lack of progress on the front of reparations and restitution and the absence of punitive potency in the slowly expanding wave of recognition, we have a long way to go.
Meanwhile, we’re set to pursue priorities in developing a strong and modern society that will defend the homeland, plow new economic frontiers, keep the faith ablaze, respect tradition while innovating culture, rear generations of alert, accomplished, creative and responsible youth with a strong sense of belonging.
As we vow never to forget the grief of our fathers and the pillaged ancestral homeland, we eye a crimson future that will bring joy to our children, prosperity to the nation and peace to the land where the biblical Noah’s ark rested.
As for the museums, we will eternally confine crime to its walls, never to experience it again as we echo once more Baruyr Sevag.
We are, we shall be, and become many…………
Եւ ինչո՛ւ պիտի չհպարտանանք…
Կա՛նք: Պիտի լինե՛նք: Ու դեռ – շատանա՛նք:
Times Square, NYC, April 28, 2019
Փառք Աստուծոյ թանգարանի մէջ չենք։
Այսօր, այստեղ ենք Աստուծոյ շնորհքով, որ «Բարի Սամարացի»ներու ազնուութեամբ, տասնեակ հազարաւոր որբեր եւ այրիներ փրկեց, որոնք բռնի մղուած էին Սուրիական դժոխալի անապատը եւ կամ իրենց «Գողգոթա»յի ճանապարհը դէպի Տէր Զօր։ Խոնարհ հերոսներ, որոնք զոհեցին իրենց կեանքը՝ փրկելու համար բնիկ ժողովուրդ մը, բռնագաղթուած իր հայրենիքէն, զոր իրենց նախահայրերը աւելի քան չորս հազարամեակ տուն կը կոչէին զայն։ Հերոսներ՝ որոնք արդարութիւնն ու իրենց հաւատքը բարձր դասեցին մարդկութեան դէմ ցեղասպանութեան ոճիրը գործող Օսմանեան հրէշալի կառավարութեան հրահանգներուն ենթարկուելու ամօթէն։
Բնաջնջումի ծրագիրը ձախողեցաւ եւ բազմաթիւ վերապրողներ տեղ գտան աշխարհի «թանգարան»ներուն մէջ։
Մեր պատմական Հայրենիքի արեւելեան ճակատին նաեւ տեսանք Աստուծոյ ողորմած ձեռքը։ 1918-ին՝ վերապրողներու մնացորդացը, ոչնչացման պատը ետին ունենալով՝ հերոսական վայրագ գոյամարտեր մղեցին կասեցնելով թշնամի բանակային զօրամիաւորներու յառաջխաղացքը։ Այդ փրկուած սրբազան հողին վրայ, անոնք ստեղծեցին մեր ազգի պատմութեան բազում դարերու առաջին անկախ Հանրապետութիւնը։
Աշխարհի «թանգարան»ները արդէն նեղ կուգային վերապրողներուն համար։
Այսօր, երբ կ՚ոգեկոչենք Ցեղասպանութեան 104-րդ տարելիցը՝ մենք վկայ ենք այլ անկախութեան մը մեր Հայրենիքէն ներս։ Անկախութիւն՝ մտքի եւ հոգիի, ստեղծագործութեան անծիր հորիզոնի, արժանապատուութեան եւ երջանկութեան ձգտումի։ Անկախութիւն՝ որ կը միտի խախտել ընկերային, իրաւական եւ ժողովրդավարական անհաւասարութիւնները։ Անկախութիւն՝ որ կը խարսխէ հաւատքը եւ վստահութիւնը, թէ Հայրենիքը հաւասարապէս կը պատկանի բոլորին, ուր քաղաքացիներ հաւասարապէս կը բաժնեն իրաւունքն ու պարտաւորութիւնը՝ միասնաբար ճախրելով դէպի խոստացեալ ապագայ, բերելով երկրին՝ բարգաւաճում եւ իր ժողովուրդին՝ երջանկութիւն։
Գիտակից ենք որ մեր մարտահրաւէրները անհետացած չեն։
Արցախի սահմանին ծառացած սպառնալիքէն մինչեւ ոճրագործին շարունակական ժխտումի ինքնախաբէութիւնը, փոխհատուցման եւ վերականգնման ճակատին առաջընթացի բացակայութիւնը եւ ցեղասպանութեան ճանաչման դանդաղ ծաւալման ալիքին ընկերակցող իրաւական ոյժի բացակայութիւնը, մենք դեր երկար ճանապարհ ունինք կտրելիք:։
Միաժամանակ, նպատակասլաց կը հետապնդենք գոյացնելու ուժեղ եւ արդիական հասարակութիւն, որ կը պաշտպանէ Հայրենիքը, կը նուաճէ նոր տնտեսական տարածքներ, կը պահպանէ անեղծ հաւատքը, կը յարգէ աւանդոյթները՝ մշակոյթը նորարար դարձնլու հոլովոյթին, կը կրթէ գիտակից եւ ստեղծագործ սերունդ մը, կը կերտէ հասուն եւ պատասխանատու երիտասարդութիւն՝ ինքնագիտակցութեան ուժեղ զգացումով։
Մինչ կ’ուխտենք երբեք չմոռնալ մեր նահատակներու տառապանքը եւ թալանուած հայրենիքը, մեր աչքերը կը սեւեռենք դէպի պայծառ ապագան, որ կը խոստանայ երջանկութիւն մեր մանուկներուն, բարգաւաճում մեր երկրին եւ խաղաղութիւն այն հողին, ուր պիպլիական Նոյան Տապանը հանգչեցաւ։
Գալով «Թանգարան»ներուն, մենք յաւիտենապէս պիտի դատապարտենք ոճիրը անոր պատերուն, երբեք չվերապրելով զայն, անգամ մը եւս վկայակոչելով Պարոյր Սեւակը՝:
«Եւ ինչո՛ւ պիտի չհպարտանանք…
Կա՛նք: Պիտի լինե՛նք: Ու դեռ – շատանա՛նք»:
Նիւ Եորքի «Թայմզ Սքուէր» հրապարակ,
Ապրիլ 28, 2019
“Wish Upon A Star….” Theme of AMAA’s Child and Orphan Care Luncheon and Fashion Show to Help Children in Armenia and Karabagh Held in Beverly Hills Hotel
The Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel was the beautiful setting of the Armenia Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) Child and Orphan Care Luncheon and Children’s Fashion Show on March 23. The theme of “Wish Upon A Star…” signified the important work that is being done by the AMAA to help dreams come true in Armenia and Karabagh. The Luncheon Co-Chairs, Diane Cabraloff, Gina Felikian and Sandra Kalemkiarian worked tirelessly to make every aspect of the Luncheon enjoyable for over 450 guests and supporters who attended. They warmly welcomed the guests and introduced the dynamic emcee for the day, Jacqueline Sarkissian, who is the morning news reporter for Good Day Austin on Fox 7. Before lunch, Sara Kalemkiarian Cipolla delivered an inspiring devotional and prayer about gratitude.
The Ballroom was stunning—the beautiful flowers were generously donated by Zareh David Ghoukasian of David Z Design, who continues to support the event every year. This year’s Silent Auction was spectacular as there were more than 100 items to bid on. Nicole Nishanian and Leslie Shahinian, Silent Auction Co-Chairs, procured many amazing items, including several designer bags, beautiful jewelry, and much, much more. There were many opportunities to help the children by sponsoring a child, providing meals at the day care centers, or by purchasing a Bible for them to read. This effort was coordinated by Maro Najarian Yacoubian and Tina Segel who organized the Child Sponsorship table and encouraged everyone to make a difference in the life of a child in Armenia. Many children were sponsored at the luncheon.
Joyce Stein, National Co-Chair of the Orphan and Child Care Committee, and her daughter Tina Segel introduced a video which showed the continuing need in Armenia and how AMAA’s important ministry has helped dreams come true for thousands of Armenian children and their families.
This year, the Committee was thrilled and honored that the talented Armenian designers of Closh traveled all the way from Istanbul, Turkey to provide the fashions for our first runway show. The Closh designers, Serli Keçoğlu and Selvin Parunakyan Özgül, have deep connections with the Armenian Church and surrounding community in Turkey and have always been dedicated to the Armenian cause. They hand made all of the dresses for the show and donated their time, energy and talent to create a memorable experience for all.
As in previous years, there was a wonderful Children’s Fashion Show which was introduced and coordinated by Aleen Oruncakciel. The Fashion Show was sponsored and produced by Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oaks. The Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oaks team, along with the Committee, worked together to make the Fashion Show a complete success
Sandra Kalemkiarian, who coordinates finances and reservations, works tirelessly every year to efficiently close out the Auction. “We are grateful for the very generous donations we receive each year,” said Sandra, “and especially for all the children who were sponsored.”
The guests left the event with a bag full of goodies, including amazing nail care products donated by Jessica Vartoughian of Jessica Cosmetics, dried fruit from LindaKay Abdulian, cookies from Leslie Kevorkian, devotional books from Sandra Kalemkiarian and bookmarks from Arpi Krikorian. The children each received a gift bag donated by Ani Zakari. The beautiful bags for the goodies are donated each year by Arsine Seraydarian.
In closing, Lori Muncherian and Arsine Phillips, West Coast Child and Orphan Care Committee Co-Chairs, thanked the Chairs, the entire Committee and all the donors for their continued support of this event for the children in Armenia and explained that “We are working to help change lives and give hope for a better future one child at a time.”
Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It is an affirmation about life after death—an assurance of eternal life with God. It is also a statement about a quality life here on earth—an assurance of a better life here and now.
Undoubtedly, Easter is a unique historical event which affirms Jesus’ victory over death. That event, however, becomes real, relevant, and meaningful to those who bind their lives with the triumphant Lord. Only after the encounter with the risen Lord, Easter receives a new meaning.
That’s what happened to the disciples of Jesus. Although Christ had risen from the dead on Sunday following his crucifixion, they had a hard time at first to believe in the news of his resurrection. It was not until each in turn had experienced, in his or her own way, the undeniable presence of the living Christ that they were convinced. Each had a so-called “eastering event” in his or her own life. John’s and Peter’s eastering happened when they saw the shroud-littered empty tomb of Jesus. Mary found her eastering event when Jesus spoke to her in the garden. The doubting Thomas had his eastering event when Jesus showed him the marks of his wounds.
Once the early followers of Jesus experienced the risen Lord in their lives, they were completely transformed. Their sorrow gave way to joy, and that joy made them courageous and confident. This little band of once-demoralized people suddenly became brave witnesses of Jesus. Fearlessly declaring the Gospel of the risen Christ, they became a powerful movement challenging the Roman Empire.
As in the past, today also people can experience the eastering event of the new life in Christ if they accept him as Lord and Savior of their lives. Following that a marvelous transformation takes place in their lives. That decisive encounter will give them a new perspective. It will fill their lives with peace, purpose, and power. It will give them faith, hope, and spiritual strength to push aside the stone of self-defeat. They will no more be afraid of dying, nor will they be afraid of living. They will be able to declare with conviction; “Christ has risen from the dead. He is risen indeed!”
Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian
Armenian Evangelical World Council
Հայ Աւետ. Համաշխարհային խորհուրդի Ս. Զատկուայ Պատգամը
Սուրբ Յարութեան Հրաշքը
Յիսուս Քրիստոսի Յարութիւնը պատմական եզակի դէպք մըն է, որուն վրայ հիմնուեցաւ Քրիստոնէական Եկեղեցին: Եթէ Յիսուս յարութիւն առած չըլլար՝ գուցէ սոսկ կրօնական նահատակ մը պիտի ըլլար, բայց ոչ տիեզերական Փրկիչը մարդկութեան: Հաւանաբար ան պիտի ճանչցուէր իբրեւ հանճարեղ մարգարէ մը, կամ փիլիսոփայ մը, որ իր ուսուցած վարդապետութեան եւ համոզումներուն համար իր կեանքը զոհած էր:
Քրիստոնեայ Եկեղեցին քսան դարերէ ի վեր հռչակած է Քրիստոսի Յարութիւնը իբրեւ պատմական անհերքելի դէպք: Քրիստոսի աշակերտները առաջին վկաներն էին անոր յարութեան: Անոնք երեք տարիներ շարունակ աշակերտած էին անոր, լսած էին անոր պատգամները, տեսած էին անոր հրաշագործութիւնները, հուսկ ականատես եղած էին անոր խաչելութեան, մահուան եւ թաղման: Բնականաբար, 3իսուսի խաչելութիւնն ու մահը խորապէս ցնցած էին իրենց ներաշխարհը: Ահաւոր էր իրենց ցաւը: Վախն ու անոր առթած շփոթութիւնը ընկճած էին անոնց հոգիները:
Երեք օր յետոյ, սակայն, արտակարգ դէպք մը պատահած ըլլալու էր անոնց յուսահատութիւնը, դառնութիւնն ու վախը փարատելու, անոնց վիշտն ու ցաւը ամոքելու եւ անոնց խախտած հաւատքը վերակենդանացնելու համար: Այդ արտակարգ դէպքը Քրիստոսի Յարութիւնն էր: Այո՛, Յարութեան դէպքը, Զատկուայ հրաշքը, Յիսուսի աշակերտներու անձերուն եւ նկարագիրներուն մէջ արմատական փոփոխութիւն մը յառաջացուցած էր: Արդարեւ, իր խաչելութենէն երեք օր ետք, Կիրակի առաւօտուն Արեմաթիացի Յովսէփի դամբանին մէջ, ուր Յիսուս թաղուած էր, հրաշք մը պատահած էր— Քրիստոս յարութիւն առած էր…:
Յիսուսի թափուր գերեզմանը, անոր հրաշափառ Յարութեան դէպքը լիովին յեղաշրջած էր աշակերտներուն կեանքը: Անոնց յոռետեսութիւնը տեղի տուած էր լաւատեսութեան: Անոնք թօթափած էին ամէն անձկութիւն եւ յուսաբեկութիւն եւ խանդով ու աւիւնով, հաւատքով ու վճռակամութեամբ տոգորուած՝ յարուցեալ Յիսուս Քրիստոսի աննահանջ ախոյեանները դարձած էին:
Յարուցեալ Քրիստոսի քառասնօրեայ երեւումները անոր աշակերտներուն եւ հետեւորդներուն աւելի եւս ամրապնդած էր անոնց հաւատքը: Ա’յդ հաւաքական հաւատքէն էր որ ծնաւ Քրիստոնէական Եկեղեցին: եկեղեցին ալ, իր հերթին, ծնունդ տուաւ Աւետարաններուն եւ Նոր Ուխտի միւս գիրքերուն:
Զատկուան հրաշքը, ոչ միայն Յիսուսի աշակերտներուն, այլ ամէն դարու մէջ ապրող քրիստոնեաներուն ներշնչած է, եւ կը շարունակէ ներշնչել յաւիտենական կեանքի անմեռ եւ անմար յոյսը, թէ՝ կեանքը աստենական չէ միայն, այլ նաեւ անդենական: Կա՛յ նաեւ անդրշիրիմեան կեանք մը, յաւիտենական կեանք մը:
Աւելին, Ս. Յարութեան հրաշքը, ոչ միայն Յիսուսի աշակերտներուն, այլ ամէն դարու մէջ ապրող քրիստոնեաները ներշնչած է, եւ կը շարունակէ ներշնչել, ամենօրեայ յաղթական կեանք ապրելու վստահութիւնը: Յարուցեալ Քրիստոսի յաղթութիւնը կը դառնայ քրիստոնեաներուն կենսունակութեան աւիշը, կ’ըլլայ հզօր ուժամղիչը՝ անոնց կեանքերուն եւ կը մղէ զանոնք դիմագրաւելու ամէն տեսակ տագնապներ, դժուարութիւններ եւ խութեր: Անոնք, Առաքեալին նման, իրեն հոգեկան ոգորումներուն մէջ կրնան յայտարարել. «Բայց գոհութիւն Աստուծոյ, որ մեզի յաղթութիւն կու տայ մեր Տէր Յիսուս Քրիստոսի ձեռքով»:
Թող Ս. Յարութեան հրաշքը իր ներզօր ազդեցութիւնը ունենայ ամէն մարդու կեանքին, որպէս զի կարենայ լիաթոք գոչել. «Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց. Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի»:
Վեր. Դոկտ. Վահան Յ. Թութիկեան
Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդի
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
On Easter, as we praise God and sing “Alleluia, the Lord is Risen!”, we offer our prayers of gratitude for His greatest gift to us and for all things beautiful. Easter is also a time of reflection to consider all the gifts He grants us, many of which we often take for granted. It is fitting to give thanks, on Easter and every day, and remember from where it all began.
At the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) we are blessed to witness the gift of compassion through countless acts of generosity: the act of sponsoring a child in need, a volunteer traveling thousands of miles to administer medical services, a Pastor tending to the needs of a broken spirit, a teacher drawing out a student’s gifts and talents, or a scholarship recipient graduating and attaining success.
AMAA’s programs give witness to the transforming love of God. Our mission is to stand by those living in the humblest of circumstances, provide opportunities to escape the constrictions of poverty, and bridge ministries of education, social services and pastoral care.
Please consider supporting our Easter appeal. All gifts matter! Together, we can express our gratitude for what God is doing in our own lives and in the world.
We pray God’s blessings on you and those you love
Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց։ Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնը Քրիստոսի։
Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO
The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) set a goal in 2019 to raise funds to support AMAA’s “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh, which provide provisional services for underprivileged children. The Centers, located in Gyumri, Vanadzor and Yerevan in Armenia and Askeran and Shushi in Artsakh, support children 6-12 years old who are living in socially underserved families, providing them a safe environment during parents’ working hours. The main objectives of the Centers are to help these children overcome educational difficulties, grow personally, and become part of an educated and healthy society. AMAA Representative in Armenia Harout Nercessian was invited to Australia to share this important work done with the children in these Centers and in their communities.
On Sunday March 24, Mr. Nercessian spoke at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church of Longueville to a combined Worship Service with Lane Cove Uniting Church, where he delivered the message and made a presentation about the Association’s work in Armenia and Artsakh. A Lawn Bowls Fundraising event followed the Worship Service at the Longueville Sports Club. This unique event was the first in a series of events organized for this year’s AMA-Australia Week, which was well attended by young people and enjoyed by all.
Later that afternoon, a cultural event was held at Longueville St. Andrew’s Uniting Church, featuring the Zela Margossian Quintet. Their amazing ethno-jazz performance with a taste of Armenian traditional music was greatly appreciated by all. The group donated all proceeds from the Concert to the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers. The opening of a Photography Exhibition followed the Concert in the Church’s War Memorial Hall, where Raffi Elejian, a new arrival from Aleppo, Syria, exhibited his photos. The Exhibition was opened by the Past President of Uniting Church of Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan and was open throughout the following week.
On Tuesday, March 26, Manvel Saribekyan’s documentary movie Map of Salvation, about five young European Missionaries who were witnesses to the Armenian Genocide and subsequently founded shelters for Armenian children and women, was screened at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall.
On Sunday, March 31, the AMA-Australia Sunday Worship and Praise Service was held at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney in Willoughby. Many dignitaries, UCA clergy, politicians and representatives of Armenian organizations were present. The Service was led by Rev. Hagop Sarkissian, Church Minister. AMA-Australia President and Executive Director Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian offered the prayer and brought greetings on behalf of the Association. Mr. Nercessian brought the message based on Luke 12:13-21 The Parable of the Rich Fool. He also gave a report on the inspiring work that is done for our children in the “Shogh” Centers and the amazingly transforming impact that has been achieved in their lives and in their families, all for the glory of God. During the Service, talented and famous opera singer Natalie Aroyan performed an aria by Pucini, accompanied by talented pianist Alex Sahagian. At the conclusion of the Service, UCA President Dr. Dierdre Palmer offered prayer, led the Lord’s Prayer Hyre Mer and gave the Benediction.
Following the Service, the AMA-Australia Annual Luncheon was held at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall. The Luncheon was well attended and included politicians and UCA leaders. All enjoyed the delicious food and the wonderful entertainment provided by the Lane Cove Delta Jazz Band, led by David Cant, a member of St. Andrew’s Uniting Church. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian presented a brief audio-visual report about last year’s AMAA Centenary Fundraising for the Artsakh Kindergartens and the completion of the renovations. He made an appeal to continue their support to the AMAA’s projects, especially this year’s fundraising for the “Shogh” Day Centers, including the Sponsorship programs. Mr. Nercessian outlined the work done with disadvantaged children in these Centers. Some beautiful handicrafts, made by the children of “Shogh” Centers, and the bilingual New Testaments were available for purchase. With the generous donations of our supporters throughout the week-long activities, $35,000 Australian dollars net was raised for the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh.
During his stay in Australia, Mr. Nercessian also spoke at the Armenian Evangelical Church Ladies Group Worship Service and visited the Armenian Day Schools of AGBU Alexander School and Hamazkaine Galstaun College.
Officially established in 1991 as an independent charitable organization and registered Incorporation in Australia, AMA-Australia is a sister Association of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). AMAA-Australia is the brainchild of the former AMAA Executive Director, the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, who unfortunately didn’t see its fruition. It pursues the same aims as the AMAA, serving the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in the Homeland and Diaspora.
AMAA Boston Orphan and Child Care
Changing Children’s Lives 30 Years and Counting
If you plan to be in the Boston area on Thursday, May 9, 2019, join us for an evening of food, wine, and fun!
The Boston Orphan and Child Care Committee is hosting a fundraiser at the Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley Hills, MA and Honoring
Founding Orphan & Child Care Co-Chair
with a special tribute to Boston area
Original Committee Members
There will be a Live and Silent Auction and Wine Pull! Proceeds go to the children in Armenia
By Dianne Chilingerian
The Boston Area Orphan and Child Care Committee of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA)will celebrate “Changing Children’s Lives 30 Years and Counting” on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, MA.
This year’s event will honor longtime advocate for Armenian causes and organizations, and Co-founder of the AMAA’s Orphan and Child Care Committee, Michele Simourian.
The evening will feature a cocktail reception, walk-and-talk buffet style dinner with open serve food stations and drinks bars, as well as silent and live auctions, surprise guest auctioneer, wine pull, and prizes to include international travel tickets, exotic hotel stays, sought-after sports and theater tickets, outstanding dining opportunities, and much more. To join the Committee, donate, or purchase an ad in the program book, kindly contact Dianne Chilingerian at 617-965-8009.
Founded in 1918 in Worcester, MA and incorporated in New York in 1920, the AMAA is a nonsectarian and a nonprofit Christian charitable organization that serves the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in 24 countries around the world.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian’s message at the Testimonial Banquet Honoring Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian on his 60th Anniversary of Christian Ministry
Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան Գործադիր Տնօրէն Զաւէն Խանճեանի պատգամը Վեր. Դոկտ. Վահան Թութիկեանի Հովուական եւ Հանրային Ծառայութեան 60-րդ Տարեդարձին Նուիրուած Յոբելինական Ճաշկերոյթին
Վերապատուելի Վահան Թութիկեան,
Ցնծալի պահ մը կ’ապրինք արդարեւ: Ուրախ եւ ցնծալի:
Հաւաքուած ենք պատիւ ընծայելու իր կեանքը «Տիրոջը այգիին» մէջ ծառայելու նուիրած անձի մը ծառայութեան վաթսունամեայ յոբելեանին: Ծառայութիւն մը՝ որ չէ սահմանափակուած բեմերու վրայ հրամցուած քարոզներու եւ կամ վանականներու հոլովոյթով մեկուսացած կեանքի մը ծիրին մէջ:
Այսօր հաւաքուած ենք գեղերգելու Յակոբոս Առաքեալի նման գործի, աշխատանքի, ծառայութեան եւ արտադրելու նուիրուած կեանք, որ կը հաւատայ թէ «ինչպէս մարմինը առանց հոգիի մեռած է, նոյնպէս ալ հաւատքը առանց գործերու մեռած է»:
Վերապատուելիին արգասիքին նուիրուած նախորդ գրախօսական մը կրկնելու գինով, արդար է աղաղակել թէ ժամանակակից Հայ Աւետարանական եւ այլոց ծառայողներու փաղանգին մէջ ստուար է թիւը այն հոգեւոր գործիչներուն, որոնք իրենց հովուական ասպարէզի կողքին, մշակած ըլլան գիր ու գրականութիւն, եւ սպիտակ թուղթին յանձնած ըլլան միտք ու կարծիք, բան ու բանիւ, գիր եւ դպրութիւն, յուշ եւ պատմութիւն:
Արդարեւ ակնարկ մը Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի արտադութեան հունձքի ցանկին, ցոյց կուտայ թէ վերջին քառասուն տարիներու ընթացքին Վերապատուելին միջին հաշուով հրատարակած է տարին աւելի քան մէկ գիրք որուն վերջինը նուիրուած է վաթսուն տարիներու վրայ երկարած ծառայութեան եւ արտադրութեան մը ցոլացումին՝ ինչպէս նաեւ մտքի եւ հոգիի նոր ցոլքերու փայլատակման:
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի հրապարագրական յուռթի արտադրութիւնը բեղմնաւոր եւ արգասաբեր գրադարան մը հարստացնելու օրհնութիւնն է: Գրադարան մը՝ որ ընթերցումի հաճոյքէն եւ ընկալումէն ետք կը շարունակէ ծառայել որպէս կեանքի փորձութիւններու, մարդակային արժէքներու, եկեղեցական պատմութեան, Աւետարանական Շարժումի ստեղծման եւ հոլովոյթին, Հայ Եկեղեցւոյ Տօնացոյցին, ազգային պատկանելիութեան, Նոր եւ Հին Կտակարաններու սերտողութեան եւ տակաւին բազմազան նիւթերու շտեմարան եւ համայնագիտարան:
Պատմութեան, մամուլի, Աստուածաբանութեան, հոգեւոր եւ աշխարհային կեանքի, ազգային եւ զոյգ հայրենիքներու հանդէպ հաւատարմութեան եւ տակաւին այլազան նիւթերու շուրջ թուղթ մրոտելու լուսարձակումներէն անդին, Վերապատուելին իր վաթսունամեայ ծառայութեան տարիները յատկացուցած է նաեւ ղեկավարութեան եւ առաջնորդութեան մակարդակով, նաւավարելով Հիւսիսային Ամերիկային Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցիներու Միութիւնը, Աւետարանչականը, Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդը եւ այլ շրջանային Միջ-Եկեղեցեկան եւ Համազգային կառոյցներ, ձեռնարկներ, ոգեկոչումներ, յոբելեաններ եւ համագումարներ:
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի անձին, ծառայութեան եւ արտադրութեան մասին մտածելու մէկնակէտին իսկ, զիս առաջնորդեց մանկութեան, աւելի ճիշդ նախակրթարանի գրասեղաններու վրայ որպէս ոսկէ ապարանջան սորուած հետեւեալ քառեակը:
ԿԱՄՔ, ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔ ԵՒ ԿՈՐՈՎ
ԵՐԵՔ ՁԻՐՔԵՐ ԵՆ ՈՐՈՎ
ՄԱՐԴ ԾՈՎՈՒ ՎՐԱՅ ԹԷ ԳԵՏՆԻ
ԱՆՊԱՅՄԱՆ ԿԸ ՅԱՋՈՂԻ
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեան իր կեանքով, կենցաղով, եւ արդիւնաբերութեամբ կատարելապէս կը մարմնացնէ վերոյիշեալ երեք ձիրքերը:
Անոր ԿԱՄՔը կը հպատակի իր ամռակուր համոզումներուն, որոնք հիմնուած են նախ Աստուծոյ Խօսքին եւ ապա անկէ բխած մարդկութեան հանդէպ իր տածած սիրոյն: Վերապատուելին իր որոշումներու ծիրին մէջ կը հիմնուի խորունկ խորհրդածութիւններու վրայ որոնց արդիւնքն է ծանծաղութենէ հեռու եւ հաստատ կամքի վրայ հիմնուած դիրք կամ որոշում:
Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔԱՅԻՆ կարգապահութիւնը եզակի է եւ ներգործիչ: Անոր քունի եւ ֆիզիքական հանգստութեան ժամերը խտացուած են գիշերային չորս ժամերու եւ ցերեկային կարճ հանգիստի մը վրայ: Մնացեալը մեղուաջան աշխատանք է եւ արդիւնաբեր եւ իմաստալից արտադրութիւն:
Եւ վերջապէս ԿԱՄՔն ու ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔը տրամադրութիւններ են որոնք անկասկած կարօտ են շարժակի ուժի եւ քաջութեան: Եւ ահա հոս է որ անհրաժեշտ է մտային եւ ֆիզիքական ԿՈՐՈՎի ուժը, կարողականութիւնը եւ կատարելագործելու քաջութիւնը, զոր կ’արժեւորէ ԿԱՄՔի վրայ հաստատուած արդիւնաբերելու ԱՇԽԱՏԱՆՔը:
Ահա Աստուածային կոչումի կողքին Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի գոհար ձիրքերը որոնց բոլորին գումարը հանդիսացող Աստուածամերձ Քեսապի ծնունդ Աստուծոյ ծառային Վաթսունամեայ ծառայութեան վաստակին առջեւ այսօր սիրով, յարգանքով եւ երախտագիտութեամբ կու գանք խոնարհիլ:
Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան անունով կը գնահատեմ եւ կը շնորհաւորեմ Վերապատուելի Թութիկեանի տարիներու ընթացքին թուղթին եւ կեանքի ալիքներու յանձնուած բազմածաւալ հրատարակութիւններու, խոնարհ ծառայութեան եւ Աստուածահաճոյ կոչումի մը արգասիքը հանդիսացող կեանքը:
Վարձքդ կատար պատուելի:
Մարտ 17, 2019
By Joyce Abdulian
Even though we are about to enter the solemn period of Lent, the Johannes Brahms German Requiem, performed by the Lark Musical Society on Saturday, March 2, 2019, ushered us into the glory of Easter with its “Promise of Hope”—They will enter Zion with singing…Gladness and joy will overtake them. (Isaiah 51:11). God’s word came alive through the powerful, transcendent voices of the Lark Chorus, with the LARK Orchestra under the masterful direction of Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian. Considered his greatest vocal work, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) intended his famous German Requiem to be for the living instead of the departed—a non-denominational statement of faith.
Following the concert, the audience, at the annual collaboration of the Lark Musical Society and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), at the stately Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, was bussing with small gatherings animatedly discussing the majestic performance of the Brahms Requiem with exclamations of: “The soaring music transported our souls to the heavens.”
Soloists: Baritone, Edward Levy, Soprano, Suzanne Waters performed inspiring renditions of Brahms’ message—Your heart shall rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:22).
The prelude to the Requiem was two other works by Brahms; Schicksalslied, Op. 54 (Song of Destiny) completed in 1871—is an orchesteral accompanied choral setting of a poem written by Friedrich Holderlin. Alto Rapsody, Op 53 written in 1869 as a wedding gift to Robert Schuman’s daughter, is a composition in a setting of verses from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, performed with a soul-stirring rendition by Mezzo-Soprano, Garine Avakian.
In a pre-concert scholarly lecture, Doris Melkonian shared how Brahms was greatly influenced by Martin Luther’s German Bible. He established his reputation on Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is a gift from God. Doris shared how the theme was drawn from the fourth movement of the Requiem, “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7) The Promise of Hope is a greater hope, a hope in God, and the hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus.
The presentation of Brahms Requiem by the Lark singers and musicians, under the direction of Maestro Vatsche Barsumian, was the most moving experience that I have ever had. The music permeated my body and soul. As I sat there listening, I felt as if I were going to heaven on the wings of an angel. With the recent passing of Dr. Mihran Agbabian, a longtime supporter and member of the AMAA, the evening was dedicated to his memory. Ken Kevorkian, Chairman of Concert Organizing Committee.
Lark Musical Society President, Andy Torosyan shares: I am proud of the AMAA and LARK for bringing the community together with a magnificent concert featuring Brahms’ German Requiem. The performance was powerful and made us feel the music came to life and we were a component part of the experience that Brahms intended. Not only was it awe inspiring, but it ended in a peaceful prayer and reminded us of our mission to serve God by serving our fellow mankind. I am grateful to everyone who attended and supported the concert. As you know, nonprofits cannot continue their mission of service to the community if the community does not in fact support the nonprofit. I look forward to next year’s concert and invite everyone to come and celebrate the Lenten season with us.
By Zaven Khanjian
Walls are an integral part of our lives. They are all around us. In our homes, offices, properties, parks, gardens, parking structures.
The dictionary defines wall as ‘a high, thick masonry structure…. chiefly for defense.’
God did not create the wall.
Early man created the necessity as a result of his behavior and need for protection, defense and convenience and thus built the wall. Society evolved to create larger, longer ramparts which surrounded cities and towns.
It is ironic that while walls protect, they also hold an adverse function. Walls separate, block, impede, obstruct and restrict.
Civilization knocked down the walls, inhabiting hills and prairies, liberating imagination, stimulating creativity and confining walls to touristic attractions.
Or so we thought.
Walls do not come in just brick and mortar. They bear many ugly faces. The inhumanity of man has applied mental, psychological and physiological forms of walls. Religious persecution, slavery, poverty, racial discrimination, occupation, oppression, censure, sanctions, blockade, hate and abuse are all ugly faces of walls.
On my home office desk I have a stunning photo of my father at age 14 covered in rags while enrolled as the only Christian Armenian in a Turkish school. Intimidated, bullied and constantly spat at, my father spun out of the persecution walls into the welcoming arms of his Syrian hosts and, like many of his orphaned kin, proudly advanced himself.
A friend of the AMAA has reminded me how much he is agonized, but also greatly inspired, by picturing his father confined to the walls of refuge, orphaned and homeless, and vows to liberate children from the constrains of their miseries.
A dignified professional imprisoned in an open solitude, tortured by the loss of loved ones, passionately cries for the safety of persecuted Christians, generously contributing the means.
A super hero with a golden heart can’t wait to see a Child Sponsorship posting on AMAA’s Donor Shop and then grab the opportunity to dignify a child with improved living conditions.
An angelic anonymous couple, humbled by the love of God, magnanimously contribute to the AMAA and disseminate the Word of God and illuminate lives in all aspects in areas darkened by conditions beyond one’s control.
A family who unselfishly and generously pursue the passion of giving to educate the youth, arm them with a degree in higher education and lead them to independence in the arena of life.
These are true examples of breaking down walls.
Today, in 2019, we are at the dawn of the AMAA’s second century leaving behind a Century of Faith, Love and Service. The legacy of Faith, Love and Service is perpetual.
Our vision during the AMAA’s second century is to demolish walls of poverty, shatter obstructions and hindrance to education, spread the Word beyond limits, emancipate imagination and to thrust our youth into open fields of creativity, soaring high, taking the lead and perpetuating the mission.
We are blessed with your generous support each and every day and pray that there will be no more walls on the path of AMAA’s important mission.
by Rev. Nerses Balabanian Pastor of Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, Fresno, CA
Whose Mark Do We Bear?
They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. Rev. 20:4b NIV
The verse you just read is quoted from the Book of Revelation. Apostle John wrote down his vision of the Judgment Day. He described the people who suffered and lost their lives for the witness of their Lord Jesus Christ, who refused to worship the beast or his image, and who did not compromise their faith. This cost them their lives, and they were given the glorious crown.
Today, 1568 years later, we celebrate the memory of Vartan and his friends. Even though thousands fell on that day in the Battle of Avarayr, yet we consider it a feast and not day of mourning. It is a feast because what happened in the Battle of Avarayr was not an end as the Persians thought it would be. It was a beginning, a continuation of what Thaddeus, Bartholomew, and St. Krikor Lousavorich sowed into the hearts of the Armenian people.
There are 150 years between 301 and 451 AD, i.e. between the Armenians accepting Christianity and being ready to die for their faith. They were not willing to bow to the “beast” and accept his “mark.” Christianity had become real in their lives. Martyrdom is a life of testimony. The Armenians were able to worship and read the Bible in their mother tongue especially since the Armenian Alphabet was developed in 405 AD. The Armenians studied their faith and learned that Christ had set them free from sin. They wanted to live in freedom and worship the God they loved.
What do we learn from these martyrs today?
Vartan and his friends bore marks: In his speech, Vartan mentioned,
“each of us carries numerous injuries and scars on our bodies …”
Whose mark do we bear today? Whose impact shows in our lives?
We often meet people who have a tattoo on their body as a sign or a remembrance of something meaningful for them. Some wear crosses as a symbol of their faith. Some wear scars of war. However, Vartan says, “…those courageous acts I count useless because all of them will vanish.” For Vartan, those were useless because they would fade away.
The Christian mark that Vartan and his friends bore was their testimonial life. A life that was ready to say NO to the Persian gods and YES to Jesus Christ.
Today, we Armenians are able to continue worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ and pray to Him because of people like Vartan and his friends who chose to not give up their faith, their Christian values, and the freedom of religion. Our message after more than fifteen centuries is to continue in the same spirit. We need to bear the mark of our Lord Jesus Christ by living our faith boldly and by serving and witnessing for Him.
Փողոցին մէջ եթէ երբեք հանդիպիք,
Լակոտ մը մերկ, սեւ ու խոշոր աչքերով,
Որ կը շրջի սուլելով «Մեր Հայրենիք»,
Բերէք ինձ զայն, Բերէք իմ գիրկըս սիրով։
Հայր Վահան Յովհաննէսեան
«Բերէք Ինձ Զայն» 1936
Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան Օրհներգը փոխելու նիւթը կրկին սեղանի վրայ է:
Հայաստանի ներկայ իշխանութիւնները քննարկութեան առարկայ դարձուցած են Օրհներգի փոփոխութիւնը կարծիք հայցելով զանազան աղբիւրներէ:
Ահաւասիկ իմ կարծիքս:
Որեւէ մէկուն անակնկալ պէտք չէ թուի այն իրողութիւնը թէ ընդհանրապէս հայութիւնը յուզող հարցերու մէջ երբեմն տեսակէտի տարբերութիւն եւ զանազանութիւն կայ Սփիւռքահայուն եւ հայրենի հողին վրայ հասակ առնող մեր արենակիցներու մէջ: Ահազանգ հնչեցնող երեւոյթ մը պէտք չէ համարել այս, նկատի ունենալով այն բոլոր մտածողութեան եւ կարծիքներու զանազանութիւնը զոր գոյութիւն ունի թէ Սփիւռքեան իրականութեան մէջ ինքնին եւ մանաւանդ աւելիով իսկ ՀՀ քաղաքացիներու մտածողութեան եւ տեսակետներու մէջ:
Անխախտ իրողութիւն է թէ հազարամեայ հայրենիք, երդիք եւ ծննդավայր կորսնցնող սփիւռքահայը, յետ եղեռնեան իր անխարիսխ տագնապին մէջ իր գոյութեան երաշխիքը եւ տոկալու աւիշը գտաւ ազատ եւ անկախ հայրենիքի մը երազին մէջ: Երազ մը, որուն խորհրդանիշը հանդիսացաւ առաջին հանրապետութեան զինն, դրօշն ու օրհներգը: Որբացած «լակոտ»ները եւ անոնց յետնեալ սերունդները չդադրեցան շրջիլ սփիւռքեան «օտար ու խորթ» ափերու վրայ սուլելով եւ երազելով «Մեր Հայրենիք»:
Այսօր՝ երբ հրաշքը կատարուած է եւ մենք որպէս կորսուած Արեւմտահայաստանի ժառանգորդներ, մօտ 28 տարիէ իվեր կը վայելենք ազատ ու անկախ Հայրենիքի մը կատարելագործուած երազը՝ մեզ հայրենի սրբազան հողին, փրկուած շերտ մը Հայրենիքին եւ զայն կերտող բոլոր նահատակ մարտիկներու յիշատակին հետ շաղկապող ոգին խտացուած է այս խորհրդանիշներուն մէջ: Դրօ՛շ, Օրհնե՛րգ եւ Զինանշա՛ն:
Ինչո՞ւ խախտել այս ոգեկան հիմերը: Ինչո՞ւ կտրել հայրենիքի մը հետ մեզ նոյնացնող այս կապը: Ինչո՞ւ զրկել սփիւռքահայը, պատմութենէն ծորող եւ զինք սնուցանող աւիշէն:
Գուցէ «Մեր Հայրենիք»ի երաժշտական կշռոյթը գերազանցող հրաշք յօրինողներ ունի մեր հայրենիքը:
Գուցէ մեր մրրկաշունչ կամ հայրենապաշտ բանաստեղծները հրաշագործ ստեղծագործութիւններ երկնած են, զոր կրնայ փոխարինել «արտասուքով լուացուած» դրօշի օրհներգը:
Գուցէ եւ գուցէ:
Բայց մենք ամէն առիթ եւ պատեհութիւն ունինք վայելելու այդ ստեղծագործութիւնները, հպարտանալու անոնցմով, անգիր եւ բարձրաղաղակ երգելու կամ ասմունքելու զանոնք: Այդ ամէնը, հայրենիքէն սկսած, մինչեւ երկրագունդի ամէն մի անկիւն հաւաքուած Հայկի զաւակներու խմբակի մը հագագէն բարձրացող ձայն է երգի, երկի կամ աղօթքի ամէն օր:
Մեր անցեալէն բխած, մեզ անցեալին հետ շաղկապած եւ մեզ յարատեւօրէն անխարիսխ, անհասցէ եւ անհայրենիք «լակոտ»ի մը հոգեբանութենէն վեր բարձրացնող այս խորհրդանիշ օրհներգը թող շարունակէ համաշունչ հնչել եւ իր քոյր՝ փողփողող եռագոյն խորհրդանիշին հետ հաւաքել իր որդիքը Արարատի լանջերուն վրայ:
Այս բոլորը կ’ուղղեմ մեր Հայրենի իշխանութիւններուն, եղբայրական ոգիով, յարգելով ոմանց խորթ թուող այս մտածելակերպը, առանց արհամարհելու փոփոխութեան տուն տուող ոմանց տրամաբանութիւնը եւ հաստատ գիտնալով՝ թէ մեր բոլորին հայրենասիրութիւնը նժարի վրայ պակաս կշռող պատճառներու փնտրտուքը, կասկածն ու ամբաստանութիւնը անհեթեթ է, անտեղի եւ աւելորդ:
«Մեր Հայրենիք»ի ամէն մի խազ թող շոյէ մեզ իր որդիասէր շունչով եւ ծնողի մը գուրգուրանքով տուն կանչէ մեզմէ ամէն մէկը, հայցելով՝
«Բերէք ինձ զայն, բերէք իմ գիրկըս սիրով»։
Զաւէն Խանճեան, Գործադիր Տնօրէն
Փետրուար 5, 2019
Մեր Հայրենիք, ազատ անկախ,
Որ ապրել է դարե դար
Իր որդիքը արդ կանչում են
Ազատ, անկախ Հայաստան։
Ահա եղբայր քեզ մի դրոշ,
Զոր իմ ձեռքով գործեցի
Գիշերները ես քուն չեղա,
Նայիր նրան երեք գույնով,
Նվիրական մեկ նշան
Թող փողփողի թշնամու դեմ
Թող միշտ պանծա Հայաստան։
Ամենայն տեղ մահը մի է
Մարդ մի անգամ պի՛տ մեռնի,
Բայց երանի՝ որ յուր ազգի
OPEN TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS
The James G. Jameson Essay Contest, sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), runs every academic year starting in October, and is financed from the income of a special fund established by Mr. and Mrs. James G. Jameson of Brookline, MA.
All Armenian and part-Armenian students attending schools in North America are eligible. Only unpublished essays are accepted, which are written in English and have a length of 1,000 to 2,000 words.
The topics of the Contest are required to touch upon some aspect of Armenian heritage and experience, such as religion, history, culture, literature, language, art, architecture, geography, and economics.
Essays are judged on the basis of merit in such criteria as content, style, logic and reasoning, coherence, and usage.
Awards for the Contest are made in two categories: College/University contestants, and High School contestants.
The deadline for entries is May 1, 2019.
Entries and/or inquiries should be directed to: James G. Jameson Essay Contest, c/o of The Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year for full-time undergraduate students of Armenian descent studying in North America.
Students interested in applying for scholarships should personally request the Application Form by calling 201-265-2607 or by email email@example.com. Previous recipients must reapply each year. It is the responsibility of the student to request an application form.
Incomplete items and/ or missing documents will automatically disqualify an applicant.
All completed application forms must reach the AMAA Headquarters postmarked not later than May 01, 2019.
Awards are made by the Scholarship Committee, which takes into consideration the applicant’s grades, financial need, the tuition cost of the college he/she will attend, accomplishments, future leadership potential and good character references. Please note, Scholarship Grant checks are issued only to academic Institutions and not individuals.
On Thursday, January 24, Artsakh Republic Minister of State Grigory Martirosyan received AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nersessian, AMAA Benefactor Bryan Bedrosian, and AMAA-Artsakh Branch Representative Victor Karapetyan.
Mr. Martirosyan values the AMAA’s work in Artsakh and expressed hope that the AMAA’s continuity will contribute to the upbringing and education of the younger generation. “I would like to highlight the role of the AMAA Camps in the daily lives of our children,” stated the Minister.
Mr. Nercessian thanked State Minister Martirosyan for his warm welcome and presented in detail over a dozen AMAA activities in Artsakh, highlighting in particular the role of the “Shogh” Day Centers.
At the conclusion of the meeting all present shared their views on further cooperation in the future.
Rev. Serop Megerditchian escorts Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, RA Minister of Education and Science
By Louisa Janbazian
On Wednesday, January 16, Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia visited Merdinian School in Sherman Oaks, CA, accompanied by John Shirajian, President of Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA), Jirayr Abrahamyan, President of the Alumni Association of the Polytechnic Institute of Armenia, and Dr. Vardan Gevorkyan. The students greeted Mr. Harutyunyan in the Aram and Anahis D. Boolghoorjian Hall of the School singing the song “Dukhov.” After Principal Lina Arslanian’s welcoming words and Armenian language teacher Aline Shirajian’s introduction about the background of the School, Rev. Serop Megerditchian, Merdinian Board member and Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, greeted the Minister and the guests and talked about the significance of the educational work and the mission of the Armenian Evangelicals world-wide – in the Diaspora and in Armenia, highlighting Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School in Yerevan. Minister Harutyunyan addressed the students and answered questions directed to him by some of the students regarding the education and the school system in Armenia, and concluded his remarks emphasizing the importance of the Armenian schools in the Diaspora. The students presented a few patriotic songs dedicated to Yerevan, which was greatly appreciated by the Minister. The program ended with a prayer by Rev. Megerditchian. A reception followed the program in the faculty lounge, where Faculty and Board members continued their conversations with the guests in an intimate atmosphere.
Qualifications for Senior Pastor at FAC:
- Years of Experience Desired: Open, based on ability
- Degree Requirement: Masters of Divinity
- Ability to preach in both Armenian and English preferable
- The Pastor must be a man of God who has accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
- The Pastor must exhibit consistent spiritual growth in his personal life and have a love to serve the Lord and the Armenian Evangelical community.
- The Pastor must be able to lead the youth and foster spiritual growth among our youth
- Oversee current ministries, programs and personnel.
We offer a competitive salary, excellent benefits and a parsonage.
All respondents will remain confidential. In order to initiate the application process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
But our community still needs your support…
(Re)building communities from encumbering burdens will help bring a sense of hope for Syrian Armenians struggling with the conflicts Aleppo faces today. Syrian Armenians who choose to stay within the country need our prayers to raise their socio-economic living standards post the traumatic experience of war, and the reconstruction of Worship Centers to seek guidance from the Lord.
In the midst of daily challenges, the Armenian Missionary Association of America honors its relief efforts to Syria.
With your continued support, we have been able to complete the restoration of the Emmanuel Church of Aleppo and provide a sanctuary for those who thirst for the Word of God. Although we have fulfilled that goal, we ask for your support to meet the construction liabilities and raise the living standard of the war stricken community.
Your generous gift will help our communities in Syria to put together the missing pieces and (re)build what has fallen.
On January 9 and 10, the AMAA-Armenia and Evangelical Church of Armenia (ECA) jointly presented their Annual Christmas Programs at AMAA’s Yerevan Center at 18 Baghramyan Street. The Program was held in seven sessions and featured the AMAA-Armenia’s and ECA’s Hayasa Theatrical group presenting the play “Road to Home” to a capacity audience. Approximately 2,300 children and their parents attended these programs. .
Written and directed by Playwright/Director Nune Abrahamyan, the Play’s message to the audience was that if they are filled with love for people around them, think of others, help the neglected, and believe in the sacred miracle, they will find the way to the heavenly home. “Do your best for all.” “Do not give up when you have the gift to help the needy.” “Give children a Miracle.” Such messages and slogans echoed throughout the Center. “Letters of dreams” were hung on the Wishing Tree which was displayed on the stage. The characters of Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria became more influential and credible in the Play by younger and older actors, reinforcing the power of faith in our lives.
The AMAA-Armenia and ECA jointly held 72 other such Christmas programs in more than 45 towns and villages throughout Armenia and Artsakh, with a visit from Santa Clause and distribution of Christmas Joy packages.
Over 10,000 children received not only Christmas Joy Packages and visits from Santa but also hope that there is much kindness in the world today. We thank all our donors who supported our children in Armenia and Artsakh by donating to our Christmas Joy Program this year.
See more photos and read Armenian Text at https://bit.ly/2FlHbEu
By Mira Yardemian, HU Public Relations Director
On Saturday, May 26, 2018, Haigazian University conferred 121 undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University’s 58th Commencement exercises, amidst an atmosphere of joyfulness, pride and ovation, sometimes mixed with moments of high emotion.
Minister of Tourism Avedis Guidanian represented both the President of the Republic Gen. Michel Aoun and the President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri. Member of Parliament Hagop Pakradounian represented the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berry. Among the attendees were MP Rev. Edgar Traboulsi, MP Gen. Jean Talouzian representing the Lebanese Forces Political Party, the Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon Samvel Mkrdchyan, the representative of the Commander of the Lebanese Army, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community of Syria and Lebanon, Rev. Salim Sahyouni, Prelate of the Armenians in Lebanon, Bishop Shahe Panosian, Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchy, Bishop George Assadourian, President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria Rev. Haroutune Selimian, the Head of the Lebanese Press Union Elias Aoun and the Mayor of Bourj Hammoud Mardig Boghossian. The guests also included the Chair of the Haigazian University Board of Trustees Dr. Hasmig Baran coming from the USA, members of the Board, representatives of Armenian and Lebanese political parties, community leaders, representatives of educational institutions, parents, relatives and friends.
The auspicious ceremony began with the celebratory processional march by faculty and graduates on the notes of the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem and the Prayer of Invocation offered by Campus Minister Rev. Wilbert Van Saane.
Expressing his pride in the graduating class, University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian acknowledged the unwavering efforts and dedication of the parents, asking the audience to give them a hearty applause.
In his address, Rev. Dr. Haidostian tackled the notion of “virtue” in shaping characters and identities. He focused his talk on “respect” as a much-needed virtue and a key for success that transcends all times and eras. “No matter in what era we live, remember that respect is what I need from myself for myself, what those around me need from me without discrimination,” Rev. Dr. Haidostian noted. In a society where, unfortunately, respect is displayed mainly to the strong, he emphasized the importance to always “remember your Creator, remember His creatures, remember your families, and communities and country, remember that those stronger than you are in need of your respect equally with those who are weaker than yourselves.”
In his inspiring keynote speech, Director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Haigazian University Trustee and an Alumnus of 1973, Prof. Vahram Shemmassian addressed the graduating class by asking questions for them to consider and introduced creative and constructive ideas for them to think about. These questions included “Can you be a game changer? Can you criticize yourself in the strictest manner? Can you surround yourself with capable and powerful people without the fear of losing your status?”
Prof. Shemmassian suggested that the graduates always keep a positive balance in life, namely in finding an adequate balance in the use of technology and globalization matters. “The sooner you regain your independence from excessive use of technology, the quicker the freedom to imagine and create again will revisit you,” he noted.
“Be the latest design that suits and beautifies all shapes of humanity – tasteful, colorful, radiant, attractive, original, imaginative, ingenious…” Vahram Shemmassian, Ph.D.
He also invited the students to be change makers, unique, and mostly grateful. In this respect he said, “Life can never be miserable if you discipline yourselves to see the brighter side of things and the advantages that you have. Be the latest design that suits and beautifies all shapes of humanity–tasteful, colorful, radiant, attractive, original, imaginative, and ingenious.”
Prof. Shemmassian concluded his address with very precious advice, saying, “if you have accumulated a number of credits just to obtain a degree, then you have not learned much. But if you consider those units as stored seeds with which to feed the hungry, assist the less fortunate, give hope to the dislocated and the homeless, elevate peoples’ self-esteem, and or ennoble mankind in general, then you and a true education have embraced each other inextricably.”
The graduates then were called to collect their diplomas from the University President, assisted by Deans Fadi Asrawi and Arda Ekmekji.
With a sense of accomplishment and gratitude, valedictory Hagop Karamian and Suzanna Saadeddine thanked the parents, University faculty and staff, giving them the credit for shaping and equipping the graduates with all the necessary education and skills to embark on their new phase of life.
Speaking to their peers, Mr. Karamian assured his fellow graduates that “they have epitomized the model character of a Haigazian University learner,” inviting them to “celebrate our academic milestone, but also, the idea that we are beacons of hope and catalysts of change in society.” Ms. Saadeddine pointed out the importance of being grateful and serving the community and ultimately “our dear country Lebanon, as it is the most in need of our knowledge, ethics and expertise.”
After singing the Alma Mater, and upon the Benediction offered by the President of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East Rev. Mgrdich Karageozian, with loud cheers graduates threw their caps high into the air, joyfully marking the end of a four-year journey and confidently anticipating the commencement of a new beginning.
Ministry of Love and Service
Led by Dr. Al and Sue Phillips, the AMAA Medical Mission team is in the final stages of preparing for their 10th annual trip to Armenia.
This year, in cooperation with the Evangelical Church of Armenia, two teams made up of Armenian and non-Armenian speaking doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and support staff, will travel to AMAA Mission Centers in the North and South of Armenia: Vanadzor, Stepanavan and Sisian.
Patients hear of the arrival of the Medical Mission team weeks earlier via various forms of media. Last year approximately 850 patients were bused in from the local villages and the dentists treated 250 patients. Each patient passes through the clinic to have his/her vital signs collected and urine testing completed. If necessary, EKGs are performed. From there, patients are interviewed by nurses and medical students in triage and then examined by the team of physicians. Prescriptions are given for a variety of conditions, primarily hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Patients are counseled on their medications by the pharmacists and given enough for one year.
The mission of this ministry is “To share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by serving the physical needs of our Armenian brothers and sisters. With the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are called to serve those in need of God’s love through medical service, health education, and the preaching of the Gospel.”
The Mission Trip is a combination of work and fun. When not working in the clinic, the team tours important sites around Armenia. After spending so much time and working closely together, the team becomes like a new family.
Pray for their service and dedication as they share Christ’s love through their work. Stay connected with their blog when the trip commences.
For more information click here to visit the Medical Mission page.
Our witness in the Diaspora is growing, and our visibility is increasing. We rejoice in bearing witness to the truth of the gospel, and we thank God for the life given to us through our Savior Jesus Christ.
We will reflect on this and Revival Through Missions at the 24th Biennial Assembly of the AEUNA, in Burbank, California, June 28-July 1, 2018. Delegates and attendees will be learning how our Union is making the witness of Armenian Evangelicals worldwide more visible in many diaspora activities. A wonderful program is planned around our theme for the Assembly.
Program and keynote banquet speaker is acclaimed author/theologian Dr. J.P. Moreland. Our purpose is exactly this: Revival Through Missions. We invite you to help make this event a blessing to all and a call to action!
Your participation will further encourage those attending from our churches and fellowships, those attending from Armenian Evangelical churches in South America, and those visiting us possibly for the first time. A commemorative booklet is being prepared for this event, and we invite you to be a sponsor.
To be a banquet sponsor click here to download form
To register for the 2018 Biennial Convention click here to download application
Registration and payment is also made available online at www.aeuna2018.com
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of Rev. Dr. Ara Jizmejian, Eastern Region Minister to Youth for the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, early Thursday morning, April 12, 2018.
We offer our condolences to his wife Sylvia; his children, Garen, Cedric and Ara Junior; his parents Mihran and Vartoug Jizmejian, all his pastoral colleagues, the AEYF Eastern Region youth, Camp AREVELK and Camp AREV communities, and all others he ministered to. Below are excerpts from the communique received from the AEUNA:
We are deeply comforted by the reality that he is now free of the restriction of the physical body, which has been raised in incorruption and glory, in the sanctuary of God not made with human hands, for those who love the Lord and serve him faithfully. We take great comfort from our Christ-centered hope and know that we all will be united again. Rev. Ara is now experiencing Psalm 100:4, which says, “Enter his gates with Thanksgiving.”
Rev. Ara received his call to pastoral ministry while attending the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto, and began pastoral ministry at the First Armenian Church of Belmont. He later served at the Armenian Church of the Martyrs in Worcester.
For decades he served as the AEUNA Eastern Region Minister to Youth, and was the inspirational pastor for scores of east coast youth and a committed worker for the Lord in the Armenian Evangelical Church at large.
Rev. Jizmejian began struggling with cancer a few months ago, and throughout his illness continued ministering through online updates from his hospital bed, and witnessing to his nurses and doctors.
Rev. Ara shared with everyone his conviction: “God is glorified as we, His people, serve each other as members of one body.”
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and Mrs. Sona Khanjian, visited with Badveli Ara and his family on April 5th, spending their time in prayer and reflection.
May God’s grace, and the love of Jesus Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, work in us and through us in the days to come.
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of AMAA Former Executive Director (2001-2003) Rev. Jirair Sogomian of Huntington Beach, CA. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1937 and passed away on March 11, 2018.
Memorial service on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 11:00 am
Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church
9516 Downey Avenue, Downey, CA 90240
A memorial luncheon to follow
Badveli Jirair felt the call to ministry during his youth in Egypt, ministered in the Near East, at AEUNA churches, through the AMAA, and in ecumenical missions here in the U.S.
Rev. Sogomian began his pastoral ministry at the United Armenian Calvary Congregational Church in Troy, NY, where he was ordained. He pastored the Armenian Congregational Church of Detroit for five years. During his tenure, the Church hosted the 1971 convention at which East and West Coast Unions merged and established the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA.)
In 1975, he became chaplain of Haigazian College. He returned to the U.S. and pastored Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church during the time that Church purchased its Downey property. Badveli Jirair was one of the organizing committee members of the AMAA-sponsored Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center in Hollywood.
In 1979, he accepted the challenge of ministering to a mission church of the United Church of Christ in Simi Valley, CA, bringing that congregation to self-sufficiency in three years. During those years, he helped organize several ecumenical ministries, serving the homeless, the hungry, those in need of medical care or mental health care. He became an ecumenical leader in the area, organizing conferences as well as pastoral retreats.
In 1990, he moved to Havertown, PA, to pastor the Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church. During his pastorate, the Church sponsored four Armenian refugee families from Armenia and Baku, assisting them until they became well-established. During his years in the Philadelphia area, Badveli Jirair led Armenian ecumenical programs such as joint Vartanantz celebrations and Armenian Martyrs’ Day commemorations. He also worked on the AEUNA Stewardship and Theological Education Committees, and led his church to make a significant commitment to the AEUNA Theological Education Endowment Fund.
Badveli Jirair was called by the AMAA to be its Executive Director in 2001. Multi-lingual and known for his for goal-oriented administrative skills and organizational leadership, Badveli served with his position faithfully until 2003.
In 2003, Rev. Sogomian and his wife Lorraine “retired” to Huntington Beach, California, to be close to their children and grandchildren. His retirement was interrupted by a call to serve as Interim Pastor of the Immanuel Armenian Congregational Church in Downey, California, where he served for six years until his final retirement in 2011.
Badveli Jirair was a genuine, honest and compassionate servant of God. Very often, in short phrases, he delivered crucial messages. He was a great contributor and investor into the life and ministries of the AMAA and AEUNA. While his earthen vessel was getting weaker, his spirit was getting stronger.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, Mrs. Sona Khanjian, Dr. Hrag Marganian and Dr. Arthur Salibian visited with Badveli Jirair on March 7th. They enjoyed singing hymns Rev. Sogomian liked and spent some time in prayer with him.
Our condolences to his wife Lorraine, their children Mark Sogomian (Daria), Sharon Mequet (Brian), Michael Deovlet (Carol), Sheri Olson (Scott), Allison Vamvas (Sterling) and grandchildren, sister Marie Galustian & Rev. Vigen Galustian and extended family and friends.
We Must Demonstrate Our Love for and Admiration of Women All Throughout the Year
Harout Nercessiann, AMAA Armenia Representative
Reflections on the Occasion of International Women’s Day
Today is March 8. It is the international Women’s Day. Women all over the world, including Armenia, are honored with nice words of praise and flowers. Husband, brothers, sons, and daughters look for ways of honoring their mothers, sisters, and wives. In Armenia, as in many other countries, March 8 is a holiday. So we all enjoy this special holiday.
We certainly can and must honor the women in our lives. AMAA Armenia employs many women. Actually most of our employees are women. I greatly appreciate their contribution to the services that we provide to children and the vulnerable. Women have skills that few men demonstrate. Their love for children and compassion for the needy is most compelling. I find women to be hardworking and dedicated to their callings. Women demonstrate these qualities very early on in life. Young girls are most mature, responsible, reliable and hardworking. I want to personally thank the women who work for the AMAA in Armenia and Artsakh.
I also want to challenge my fellow men. It is great to bring flowers and say nice things to women on March 8. Yet, I consider these to be too little. We must demonstrate our love for and admiration of women all throughout the year. Furthermore, we must love and respect women not only with words and flowers, but by deeds that realize their full potential and make women feel appreciated.Let us not forget the fact that women raise and educate our children. It is in the best interest of humanity if we educate, train, encourage, support, promote, uplift and empower women to use their talents and lead for the betterment of humanity. We will all be much better for it.
Արտահայտե՛նք մեր սերը և հիացմունքը կանանց նկատմամբ ամբողջ տարվա ընթացքում
Հարութ Ներսեսսյան, ԱՀԱԸ Հայաստանի ներկայացուցիչ
Խոկումներ Կանանց Համաշխարհային Օրուան Առիթով
Այսօր մարտի 8-ն է՝ Կանանց Միջազգային Օրը: Աշխարհի, այդ թվում՝ Հայաստանի կանայք, պատվի են արժանանում գովեստի գեղեցիկ խոսքերով և ծաղիկներով: Ամուսինները, եղբայրները, որդիներն ու դուստրերը իրենց մայրերին պատվի արժանացնելու տարբեր միջոցներ են փնտրում: Հայաստանում, ինչպես այլ երկրներում, մարտի 8-ը ոչ աշխատանքային օր է: Այսպիսով, մենք բոլորս վայելում են այս հատուկ օրը:
Մենք մեր կյանքում անշուշտ կարող ենք և պետք է պատվենք կանանց: ԱՀԱԸ Հայաստանում շատ կանայք են աշխատում: Իրականում մեր աշխատողների մեծամասնությունը կանայք են: Ես խորապես գնահատում եմ նրանց ներդրումը այն բոլոր ծառայություններում, որ մենք մատուցում ենք երեխաներին և այլ խոցելի խմբերին: Կանայք ունեն հմտություններ, որ շատ քիչ տղամարդկանց է հասու: Նրանց սերը երեխաների և գթասրտությունը կարիքավորների նկատմամբ ամենաուշագրավն է: Ես տեսնում եմ, որ կանայք աշխատասեր են և նվիրված են իրենց կոչմանը: Կանայք դրսևորում են այս որակներն արդեն իրենց կյանքի վաղ շրջանում: Երիտասարդ աղջիկները շատ հասուն են, պատասխանատու, հուսալի և աշխատասեր: Ես ցանկանում եմ անձամբ շնորհակալություն հայտնել բոլոր այն կանանց, ովքեր աշխատում են ԱՀԱԸ-ում՝ ինչպես Հայաստանում, այնպես էլ Արցախում:
Ես նաև ուզում եմ մարտահրավեր նետել մեր տղամարդկանց: Շատ հրաշալի է մարտի 8-ին ծաղիկներ նվիրել և գեղեցիկ խոսքեր ասել կանանց: Մինչդեռ ես սա շատ քիչ եմ համարում: Մենք պետք է մեր սերն և հիացմունքը արտահայտենք նրանց նկատմամբ ամբողջ տարվա ընթացքում:
Մարդկության մեծագույն շահն է, եթե մենք կրթում, վերապատրաստում, քաջալերում, աջակցում, առաջ ենք տանում, բարձրացնում, ուժեղացնում և ղեկավար պաշտոնների ենք արժանացնում կանանց՝ օգտագործելու իրենց տաղանդը և առաջնորդելու կարողությունները՝ մարդկության բարեփոխման համար: Արդյունքում մենք բոլորս ենք բարեփոխվում:
By Elise Kalfayan
The day after a gentle rain, sunshine in the crisp late afternoon lit the scene perfectly as guests arrived for Lark Musical Society’s celebration concert, “Faith and Love” at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium, Sunday, March 4, 2018. The program featured Anton Bruckner’s tripartite Te Deum, a popular thanksgiving hymn that honors God’s work among his believers, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Chorus “Ode to Joy,” a masterpiece expressing the human longing for brotherhood and equality. It was a joyful and inspiring celebration of the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) 100-year legacy of mission and service.
The AMAA was founded in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts by the Armenian Evangelicals to send aid overseas to survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the Near East. Its work has continued and expanded since then, now providing humanitarian aid, education, youth programs, and support for churches and Christian outreach in 24 countries. AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian honored its founders and leaders in his program notes, citing Psalm 135:3 and writing, “Pleasant is the memory of the early visionaries, successive leadership and generations of unsung heroes whose gospel-illuminated path and selfless sacrifice led to miracles in the life of the nation.”
AMAA board members joined directors and staff, supporters, Lark Musical Society members and supporters, local dignitaries, and a full-house audience at the magnificent concert with the express desire to celebrate the AMAA’s work in musical tribute. Many of the guests came from local Armenian Evangelical churches, and have long-standing ties to the AMAA, and fervent appreciation for its mission. This was the final event of a busy weekend as the AMAA Board of Directors held meetings March 2-3 in the L.A. area, and five local churches hosted AMAA presentations Sunday morning.
Doris Melkonian, who holds a Master of Arts in Musicology from UCLA, delivered a pre-concert lecture. Those arriving early learned that Bruckner named his work after an ancient hymn which begins “Thee, O God, we praise” and he based its text on the Apostles’ Creed.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is considered one of the greatest works in the Western musical tradition. Melkonian pointed out that the 1st movement starts with “the void” of the book of Genesis; while the exuberant chorus of the 4th movement celebrates joy, life, and God’s divine blessings. She concluded, “Tonight, as the contemplative music of Bruckner and Beethoven transport us upward, we join in this joyful chorus of praise and give thanks to God. We praise God for the miracles and the transformational work that have taken place through the programs initiated and sponsored by the Armenian Missionary Association of America.”
Doors to the hall opened soon afterward and almost every seat was filled as Concert Committee Chair Ken Kevorkian welcomed guests and dignitaries. Rev. Dr. Ara Chakerian, the Moderator of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America blessed the concert with an invocation.
Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of the AMAA Board of Directors, patron of the Lark Musical Society, and a member of the Lark Mastersingers, stepped forward to provide a stirring reflection on the founding of the Armenian Republic and the founding of the AMAA in 1918, one century ago:
“For 100 years the AMAA served Armenian communities in the Diaspora, and after the disastrous earthquake that hit Armenia in 1988, the AMAA extended its activities to the Motherland also. Today, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the AMAA, we are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the rebirth of the Armenian nation, the rebirth of hope for a people who walked in the valley of the shadow of death, came face to face with the possibility of total annihilation, but survived.”
Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian led the Lark Orchestra, Lark Mastersingers, and musical artists Shoushik Barsoumian (Soprano), Garineh Avakian (Mezzo-soprano), Berj Karazian (Tenor), and Abdiel Gonzalez (Baritone) in a tremendous and moving musical program that exceeded even the high expectations set by the evening’s speakers. The Lark Musical Society, formed and supported by true artists, routinely excels in its beautifully curated and produced programs, and this was no exception. The performance was a wonderful achievement as well a fitting centennial tribute to the AMAA. Multiple ovations that followed the finale were well-deserved by all the outstanding artists and musicians who played in this program.
Maestro Barsoumian founded the Lark Musical Society, which includes a conservatory, musical education program for children, the Dilijan Chamber Series, and other successful musical and artistic endeavors. The first of many collaborations with the Lark Musical Society and the AMAA initiated in 1996 when the Lark Choir was invited to Paris, France to perform during the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of the Armenian Evangelical Church.
In his concert notes, Maestro Barsoumian wrote that Lark has a focus on the cultural work of the Armenian people, but drew in this concert from the full canon of Western music. “This seems a fitting emulation of the truly global scale of the AMAA’s mission, with its charitable efforts rendered worldwide to communities in need, even as it maintains a focus on enriching the lives, both spiritual and physical, of Armenians wherever it can.” He concluded, “The spirit of these masterpieces is the spirit behind the good works of the Armenian Missionary Association of America. Long may they continue to serve. Long may they spread their Faith and Love.” Amen.
AMAA BOARD MEMBER, Dr. Ann R. Karagozian Sarafian, Ph.D. Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
The Armenian Missionary Association of America extends congratulations to Board Member Dr. Ann R. Karagozian Sarafian, who has the distinguished honor of being elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for her ‘”contributions to combustion and propulsion, education of future aerospace engineers, and service to the country.”
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”
The NAE is an American nonprofit, non-governmental organization; that is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
Dr. Karagozian Sarafian received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude. She received her master’s degree and doctorate from Caltech. She joined the UCLA faculty in 1982 and has advised 26 Ph.D. recipients, 53 M.S. recipients, and has supervised 13 postdoctoral scholars and visiting scientists. Bravo Dr. Karagozian!
The AMAA has the honor and pleasure of Dr. Karagozian Sarafian serving on its board since 2015. She has served various roles on AMAA committees which include: the Ethics Committee, Nominating Committee and Current Co-chair of the Armenia Committee.
The bricks have fallen down, we will rebuild with dressed stone. Isaiah 9:10 NIV
Six years of violence and fear have changed lives forever for Syrian Armenians who have remained in Syria and for those who have left. While every effort is being made to start afresh and return to normalcy, the conflict continues to take its toll in more ways than one. In the wake of such calamity the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) relief efforts to Syria remain strong.
Reconstruction is evident in Aleppo, as the streets connecting one ravaged community after another are being repaired. The flow of commerce is beginning to appear on the streets. Rubble from destroyed buildings is beginning to be cleared. Financial burdens on individuals remain high. Lack of normal flow of tap water and power are still in crisis mode. The cost of returning to and repairing one’s home lies on the individual.
Our communities in Syria painfully suffered and endured. They are resilient and ready to bounce back. Your generous gift will help shore them up, rebuild the Church and their lives. Thank you for your support.
AMAA’s commitment includes, but is not limited to, helping (re)build the Armenian communities, keeping schools open, rejuvenating shops and businesses, and providing access to healthcare, food and basic provisions. We want to empower our brothers and sisters to continue rising above and help keep their faith and hope alive. AMAA also continues to provide a LifeLine and new opportunities for those who seek to leave and begin anew in the Homeland -Armenia.
We have not forgotten the destruction of the Emmanuel Church of Aleppo, nor the faithful who continue to gather to worship our Lord.
The Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE), the Community leadership and the Church are ready to rebuild that House of Worship.
“My home is in heaven I’m just traveling through this world.” -Billy Graham
Praise the Lord for the life of a humble servant of God who touched the lives of millions in his lifetime and led them to the Savior.
Today, we remember and celebrate the life of Rev. Billy Graham. Regarded as the most influential preacher of the 20th century, he carried the Gospel to every corner of this world. We remain grateful for his life here on Earth.
“May his memory inspire Christians around the world to fire up their faith, follow the lead of the Great Preacher, take the Good News to the ends of the world and bring the human race closer to the Creator.” -Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
The AMAA extends condolences to the entire Graham family, AMAA Centennial Honorary Committee Member Rev. Franklin Graham, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Samaritan’s Purse for their loss.
To read more on the life of Billy Graham on the link to be directed to the Billy Graham Memorial Site
The Heroism of Vartanantz
By Rev. Dr. Ara Chakerian
As a young boy, I had heard of Vartan Mamigonian’s story of heroism. Many nations have their heroes, and I believed Mamigonian was our Armenian hero. As I grew older and studied his life in more detail, I found out he was but just an ordinary man, who did not possess any super-powers or mighty abilities. He was a regular man who had fears, failures, and he also bled like any human being. Yes, what made him different was his faith, his courage, and his resolve.
His unshakeable faith in God and Savior Jesus Christ.
His courage to be faithful in his call by defending his nation.
His resolve in giving his best for what he believed.
A new year has come upon us, and once again on February 8, 2018 the day of Vartanantz reminds us of this great warrior. How he gave his best to His Lord and nation. He gave his will, his sword, and his life. In short, Mamigonian gave his all.
May we not only be proud of his ever-inspiring stories, but may the Lord grant us the same Spirit to guide us in giving our best for our Lord, and our people. It makes no difference whether we work in a factory, or in an office, or on the field; Vartan Mamigonian’s legacy calls all believers (Armenians and non-Armenians alike) to serve God and give our best in what we do. For this is rooted upon the first and greatest commandment that our Lord Jesus said,
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)
Vartanantz, February 8, 2018
Բռնութեան Տակ, Ազատ՝
Ազատութեան մէջ, Ստրո՞ւկ
«Վասնզի ես ամօթ չեմ սեպեր Աւետարանը։» (Հռովմ. 1. 16)
The Highest League of Chess Championship of Armenia for 2018 just came to an end. By the results of the tournament, for the second year in a row, Woman International Master (WIM) Siranush Ghukasyan, an AMAA sponsored child won the title of vice-champion of Armenia.
We congratulate Siranush on her successful performance and for the honorable prize of Armenian women’s silver medal awarded to her. We are convinced that the best victories are still ahead.
“We will be glad to see Siranush Ghukasyan in Armenia National Team, as the junior chess player with her performance in two consecutive years, proves that she deserves a place on the National Team squad,” says Haymedia.am.
Every year, The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), in collaboration with the Evangelical Church of Armenia, organizes Christmas celebrations for about 10,000 children living in Armenia and Artsakh. Children enjoying a beautiful Christmas Program return home with Christmas Joy Packages full of beautiful gifts.
During the Christmas celebrations, filled with plays, songs and exciting games, children embrace the amazing story of Jesus, and relive the joy of the Savior born. Thanks to these annual programs of the AMAA, Christmas becomes a special celebration for tens of thousands of needy children and their families living in different cities and villages throughout Armenia and Artsakh.
“Each year the Hrant Dink Foundation prepares an Agenda on a particular topic. The theme for 2018 is ‘Memory’.”
January 19th is the (11th) anniversary of a failed attempt to erase memory.
Dark forces planned the placement of a gun in the hands of a hired assassin with the aim and hope of erasing memory.
Hrant Dink arose as the voice of memory.
For stimulating memory, Hrant Dink sacrificed his life.
Memory has no address nor physical existence.
Memory cannot be erased.
On the occasion of this tragic anniversary, we salute the Hrant Dink Foundation.
A voice for peace, human values, dialogue and enlightenment, the Foundation embraces the collective, inexpungible, and enduring memory of history.
We invite you to read Hrant Dink Foundation’s introduction of its 2018 Agenda titled ‘Memory’
You will hear his voice and realize Hrant Dink lives in you.
So many dawns that have not yet emerged.
By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
I did not invent the above headline. But I borrowed it from the American Computer Scientist Alan Kay, whom I quoted in my last AMAA News editorial, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
I remain humbled by the amazing response the AMAA continues to witness in its century old mission to disseminate the Gospel, keep the fire of education ablaze, engage our youth and ‘train a child in the way he should go,’ and to face the challenges of human tragedies and natural disasters head-on.
Despite the abundance of evil around, despite the never-ending lure of greed, despite all those who glorify violence, there is so much good in the world. The seeds of love and compassion that God has sown in the hearts of many manifest His goodness and reflect His love.
I cannot help but share some of the goodness gracefully received at the AMAA…
- “I have noticed great improvement at the AMAA. Activities in support of the Syrian refugee crisis, assistance to fallen heroes in Artsakh, summer camps for children as well as the AMAA News magazine. And, I particularly enjoyed your talk in Minnesota on April 24, 2017.”
- “I consider education very important in the development of the mind and intellect. Unfortunately, some do not get the opportunity and sadly are left behind. I would like to help children attain their ambitions and aspirations. Enclosed is my donation for the education of young girls in Armenia. This may become a way to start ‘inventing the future’ as you so aptly expressed in your editorial.”
- I am grateful to the AMAA because they helped me with my schooling soon after the Second World War. Enclosed please find my gift to be used for a needy student.”
- “Giving is not arduous. I have received a lot.”
The generous donations accompanying the above sentiments and all the others gracefully received at the AMAA are investments in the ‘invention of the future’ of ‘so many dawns that have yet to emerge.’ With the showering of goodness that we have seen since we launched our $20M Centennial Capital Campaign, and at the threshold of 2018, the Campaign total to date has grown to $8M. The challenge is still ahead for us to reach our much-needed goal.
A heartwarming Christmas season has passed. As we celebrated the joyous birth of our Savior, enjoyed His Grace of salvation and His promise of peace, we also remembered the violence, poverty and suffering surrounding us. New dawns will emerge in the fields of Syria, mountains of Artsakh, the plains of Armenia and in communities around us. New dawns that need to see the light of hope, a grip to hold and a shoulder to shore.
The AMAA is ready to rip the shroud of a new dawn.
So many dawns that have not yet emerged.
There is one waiting for you.
On behalf of our Board of Directors and all of us at the Armenian Missionary Association of America, thank you for your generous and continued support of our Mission.
Painting by Anushik Ayvazyan, Yerevan, Armenia (former AMAA sponsored child)
Որքա՜ն հարուստ է մեր մշակոյթը, պատմութիւնը, եկեղեցին եւ մեր հայրերու ստեղծագործութիւնը:
Տօնական օրերու յաջորդականութեան այս հոլովոյթն ու դրութիւնը, ես իսկական օրհնութիւն կը սեպեմ:Արդէն ետին ձգած Ծննդեան վաճառականացուած կամ շահարկութեան ոլորտին շուրջ կեդրոնացած մթնոլորտը, Յունուար 6-ով ներկայացուած այս երկրորդ պատեհութիւնը հրաշալի պարգեւ մըն է մեզի աւելի լաւ ըմբռնելու այն՝ որ կը յիշատակենք, այն՝ որ պատահեցաւ եւ այն՝ միակ եւ մեծագոյն նուէրը որ «խանձարուրով փաթթուած եւ մսուրին մէջ պառկած» մարդկութեան հրամցուեցաւ:
ԽՈՐՀՈՒՐԴ ՄԵԾ ԵՒ ՍՔԱՆՉԵԼԻ
«Հաւատքը չտեսնուած բաներու ապացոյցն է» կ՚ըսէ Պողոս Առաքեալ եւ հաւատքով մենք կը սքանչանանք Մարիամ կոյսին ծննդաբերած Աստուածային յատնաբերումին: Եւ մի ջանաք մարդկային նեղ եւ սահմանափակ մտքերու «ան»կարողութիւնով տրամաբանել Աստուածային մարդեղացումը եւ զոհաբերումը, մարդ արարածին փրկութեան առիթը ընծայելու:
ԽՈՐՀՈՒՐԴ ՄԵԾ ԵՒ ՍՔԱՆՉԵԼԻ
Եւ ահա այս հրաշալիքին մէջ կը կայանայ 5րդ դարէն ժառանգուած «Խորհուրդ»ին Մեծութիւնն ու Սքանչելիութիւնը, երկնուած՝ այնքան գեղեցիկ, խոր եւ խտացած երեք բառերու մէջ:
ԽՈՐՀՈՒՐԴ ՄԵԾ ԵՒ ՍՔԱՆՉԵԼԻ
Այս Ծննդեան Տօնին եկէք խոնարհինք ԽՈՐՀՈՒՐԴի հրաշալիքին դիմաց, ջերմացնենք մեր հոգիները այն ՄԵԾ եւ ՍՔԱՆՉԵԼԻ նուէրով զոր տրամադրուած է բոլորիս, ընդունինք եւ ապրինք զայն երախտագիտութեամբ եւ սիրով: Եկէք ցոլացնենք մեզի պարգեւուած այդ սէրը լուսաւորելով մեր շրջապատը, մեր ազգն ու հայրենիքը եւ համայն մարդկութիւնը:
ՀԱԼԷՊԸ՝ իր ազատագրումի առաջին տարին բոլորեց վերադարձնելով տօնական օրերու ջերմութիւնն ու ոգին: Այդ ոգին, ինչպէս որ տպաւորած է զիս իմ մանկութեան օրերէս եւ արձանագրուած «ՀԱԼԷՊ Առաջին Կայարան» խորագրով եւ «Տօները Հալէպի Մէջ» ենթախորագրով յուշերուս մէջ, կցուած կը ներկայացնենք ձեր ընթերցման հաճոյքին համար:Download Holidays In Aleppo
Որ յայսմ աւուր յայտնեցաւ,
Հովիւքն երգեն ընդ հրեշտակս`
Տան աւետիս աշխարհի:
Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ։
Ծնաւ նոր արքայ
Ի Բեթղեհեմ քաղաքի,
Որդիք մարդկան, օրհնեցէք,
Զի վասն մեր մարմնացաւ:
Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ։
Հեղինակ՝ Մովսէս Խորենացի, 5րդ դար
THE GREAT AND MAGNIFICENT
The great and magnificent Mystery
Is revealed today;
Shepherd and angels shared
The good news with the world;
“Christ is born and is revealed.”
A new king is born
In the city of Bethlehem;
Praise him, sons of men,
For he was incarnate for us.
Christ is born and is revealed.
Words and melody: Movses Khorenatsi, 5th C.
Translation: Ardem Tajerian
Source: The Hymnal (Hokevor Yerkaran)
May every day of the New Year be filled with brightness, hope and many blessings.
All of us at the Armenian Missionary Association of America want to thank you for your love, support and loyalty.
- Review their giving history
- Select child or granny for sponsorship
- Review any purchases made
- Learn more about the Childcare and sponsorship programs the AMAA administers.
- Visit the website at: amaa.donorshops.com
- Click the “Login” button in the top left corner
- Under the “Forgot Your Password?” section, enter your email
- An email with you new password will be sent to your email address on file
There’s still time to show your support to AMAA! This year with your help we have been able to respond to all those who are in need. Your donations have enabled thousands to continue improving their spiritual and physical lives, giving them the means to live with dignity, respect and hope. For this, we thank you.
However, much work lies ahead. Many more lives in Armenia, the Middle East, and Eurasia still need our help—facing countless struggles—especially now in the coming winter months. We simply can’t do it without you. Your support will make a real, lasting impact in the lives of those who are still in need.
To continue to support our work, please make your year-end tax-deductible donation to AMAA today.
You are invited to join the AMAA Down Under!
On the occasion of the AMAA’s Centennial, worldwide gatherings to celebrate and witness this milestone together have been planned. We hope as many members and friends are able to join us on the upcoming trip to beautiful Australia.
Enjoy some of Australia’s most famous sites. Various tour options include a Sydney Harbour Cruise, Southern Barrier Reef tour and visiting the Blue Mountains.
The Centennial celebrations will be under the Auspices of His Excellency Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan State Minister representing the Republic of Artsakh and the President of the Republic of Artsakh Mr. Bako Sahakyan
March 16, Friday, 7:30pm
Chatswood Concourse Concert Hall
March 18, Sunday, 10:00am
Centennial Worship and Praise
Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney
March 18, Sunday, 6:00pm
Centennial Banquet Dinner
4 Day Sydney Tour:
City Sightseeing, Sydney Harbour Cruise and the Blue Mountains
3 Day Southern Barrier Reef Tour:
Including Lady Musgrave Island
5 Day Fraser Island and Great Barrier Reef
Optional Day Tours:
Canberra, Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains
Please register your name with dates if you intend to join the celebrations in Sydney! For accomodation , we have reserved Silkari Suits at 88 Archer St. Chatswood. If booked through the Association, discounted rates will apply.
Make sure to make your reservations as soon as possible! If booked through the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia, discounted rates will apply. For accommodations, we have reserved Silkari Suits at 88 Archer St. Chatswood. If booked through the Association, discounted rates will apply. For any enquiries please contact: email@example.com
We recommend to organize your travel arrangements to Sydney through Planet Blue Travel, Sydney or your local agents. Travel enquiries contact Planet Blue Travel:
Preparations have been underway to bring Christmas Joy to our children in Armenia and Artsakh once again!
Every year the AMAA’s Christmas Joy Program brings many smiles and fun celebrations to thousands of children and their families in towns and villages throughout Armenia and Artsakh. From music and dancing to Christmas plays and visits from Santa, this is a happy and blessed time of the year.
Last year, in collaboration with the Evangelical Church of Armenia, 45 Christmas and New Year’s programs in 30 towns and cities throughout Armenia and Artsakh were organized. Through these programs, the message of Christmas was proclaimed through music, recitations, games and drama.
With the effort spearheaded by our volunteers, Nelson Randolph and Al Jibilian, the assembling and packing of the Christmas Joy boxes will begin in Yerevan soon.
We praise God for their hard work and dedication which enables us to reach out to these children with the love of Jesus!
For as little as $15 you will help the AMAA continue bringing the spirit of Christmas directly to the children in Armenia and Karabagh. For some, this box may be the only Christmas present they receive. This is an opportunity for all to share God’s love and spread the joy of Christmas.
At the invitation of Armenia’s UN Ambassador H.E. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, you are invited to attend the celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia, which will be held at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City, on Thursday, September 21st.
Organized by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, the event will begin at 7 p.m. with a prayer service in the Cathedral, followed by a concert and reception in the Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium.
Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Edward Nalbandian, will be the guest of honor and deliver remarks.
The Haigazian University Armenian Diaspora Research Center (HUADRC) is established to study diverse aspects of the Armenian Diaspora communities in general and in the Middle East in particular, their history, culture, interaction with and integration to the hostland, the Homeland and other Diaspora communities beyond the Middle East.
The Center functions under a “Center Director” in collaboration with the University President’s Academic Cabinet and in cooperation with the Faculty and Librarians.
The Center organizes conferences, hosts public lectures and focus-group discussions, offers internship programs, coordinates and channels efforts in and towards Armenian Diaspora studies in the Middle East.
The Center is engaged in collecting, sorting, and analyzing primary data on the Middle Eastern Armenian Diaspora communities in the context of saving and protecting Armenian Diaspora cultural heritage. It disseminates and promotes academic awareness and knowledge about the Diaspora phenomenon and relevant issues of identity, integration and preservation.
During the past five years HUADRC has organized five conferences:
May 15-17, 2013: Armenian Trans-Nationalism and the Modern Age of Communications
May 14-16, 2014: Armenians of Lebanon (II)
May 24-27, 2015: Armenians of Syria
May 22-24, 2016: Armenians of Jordan
May 29-31, 2017: Armenians of Iraq
Read the Report on the Haigazian Armenian Diaspora Research Center
Organized by the Armenian Diaspora Research Center at Haigazian University, and supported by the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the recent conference on “Armenians of Iraq” took place over the course of three days May 2017.
On Monday, May 29, the official opening took place in the presence of the Prelates of Lebanon and Iraq, community leaders from Iraq and Lebanon, the Ambassador of Armenia in Lebanon, Armenian intellectuals, historians, and academicians. The Ceremony began with the opening words of Dr. Antranig Dakessian, Director of the ADRC, followed by a presentation by Dr. Razmig Panossian, head of the Armenian Communities Department of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Haigazian University’s President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian’s words were followed by the opening reflections of the Prelate of Armenians in Iraq, Arch. Avak Asadourian.
The conference, with its eight sessions, extended over three days and covered thirty-four topics, presented by thirty-four scholars coming from countries such as the United States, Egypt, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Philippines.
The Haigazian University Armenian Diaspora Research Center has scheduled its next conference on “Armenians of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia” for May 2018. Two other conferences are planned for 2019 and 2020, namely Armenians of Cyprus and Greece, and Armenians of the Arab Gulf area (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE.)
An Enchanted Summer Evening in Support of Haigazian University
Celebrating Rev. Dr. John Markarian’s 100th
by Gilda Buchakjian (Kupelian)
On the occasion of the upcoming Centennial of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), a splendid program organized by the Development Committee of Haigazian University (HU) of Beirut was a fitting occasion to celebrate the centenary of Rev. Dr. John Markarian, the founding president of the University. The elegant gala, attended by alumni and supporters of the University, was graciously hosted on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the residence of alumnus Andreas Roubian in Saddle River, New Jersey.
Describing the only Armenian university in the Diaspora as the “jewel” of the Middle East, the Master of Ceremonies, alumnus Serge Buchakjian spoke of the culture of “academic excellence inspired by our heritage” that HU has fostered over the years. The unwritten mission of the institution, as the MC deftly qualified, was being a “bridge linking students of diverse backgrounds, a beacon of hope and peace, reflecting the cosmopolitan pluralistic society where it is located.” Poignant testimonials from HU graduates spoke volumes about the significance of this unique institution of higher learning.The opening prayer was delivered by AMAA’s West Coast Executive Director, Levon Filian. As he described how a painting differs from a masterpiece, Mr. Filian drew from the Biblical narrative, and likened the attendees to masterpieces in the image of the Creator.
AMAA’s Executive Director/CEO, Zaven Khanjian spoke of the achievements of the AMAA in the Diaspora and in Armenia, and Haigazian University as “the product of vision, and sacrifice” which inspired the present. And looking into the impending future, Mr. Khanjian said, “those who make up the AMAA with their talents, resources and contribution will guarantee the future.”
On this most auspicious occasion, Mr. Khanjian presented a special congratulatory letter to Dr. Markarian from His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, a former student of Dr. Markarian’s at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut during the latter’s tenure in the early 1970’s.
Joyce Stein, the daughter of Stephen Philibosian, one of the visionary founders of HU, a member of the Board of the AMAA and of the HU Trustees and herself a loyal and unwavering supporter of the University, introduced the honoree Rev. Dr. John Markarian. Mrs. Stein recounted how her father and Steven Mehakian approached John Markarian, then a member of the faculty at Lafayette College, with the proposal to “change the face of education in the Middle East.” Markarian, “the very fitting, unflappable, intrepid academic, with a sense of humor” took on the challenge thus launching HU. He created an environment for academic excellence, which continues to this day under the capable presidency of Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian. She then awarded the honoree a rare photo representing his early years in Beirut.
Prior to the heartwarming celebration of his 100th birthday with cakes and communal wishes, Dr. John Markarian thanked all those instrumental in the success of HU. And in characteristic humility he said that his work has “been a privilege rather than a chore.” He highly praised the current administration at HU under the leadership of Dr. Haidostian. He credited his family for joining him on his initial venture in Beirut, and his wife Inge for his youthful life. With his unique sense of humor, he imparted a gem of wisdom about longevity that centered on posnology, “the science and the art of joyful living”.
The museum-like residence of host Andreas Roubian, a connoisseur and expert of Aivazovsky, was replete with a myriad paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky, an impressive representation of Russian and Napoleonic art. Roubian has spent his entire life researching and collecting Aivazovsky’s paintings, and his collection is considered by some the world’s most important outside of Russia.
Sotheby’s Chairman, Americas, and Senior Auctioneer, Mr. Doller, a senior expert in 19th century European Art focused on Aivazovsky’s legacy and how Andy Warhol was mesmerized with Aivazovsky’s art. Mr. Doller who is also involved in charitable causes to benefit education expressed his appreciation for Roubian’s involvement in philanthropy, and credited the host with being a true collector, acquiring art because he primarily loved and appreciated its beauty.
Dr. Ani Darakjian, the dedicated chairperson of the Haigazian University Board of Trustees, and granddaughter of Rev. Dikran Antreassian, Chair of the Musa Dagh Defense Council during the Armenian Genocide (the real-life clergyman portrayed in the film “The Promise”) congratulated Dr. Markarian for his two tenures as the proficient president of the University. She commended the academic contribution of the University to all learners of the region, and especially for “providing a chance to those who cannot afford it”.
Current HU president, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, forwarded his heartfelt appreciation and congratulations to Dr. Markarian for his pioneering role and innovative work, and to the AMAA for their momentous and far-reaching accomplishments.
A welcome surprise announcement was the generous contribution of Tina and David Segel to underwrite the cost of updating the HU website.
An enchanting musical interlude, interspersed with enthusiastic applause, was provided by the talented soloist Liliana Natalie Buickians, and pianist Kurt Eric Galvan who played expertly on a 19th century Steinway. The well-selected repertoire, included renditions by Italian and French composers, and culminated in much appreciated Armenian songs by Gomidas.
Warm words of appreciation were addressed to the guests and supporters of Haigazian University, to the co-chairs of the Development Committee Serge Buchakjian and Tina Segel, to the hosts Andreas and Priya for their superb hospitality and home-prepared delectable buffet, to the AMAA leadership, Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, and AMAA staff, to all the speakers, to Anita Buchakjian for her indispensable assistance at the gala, and to Dro Abrahamian, Maria Bakalian at HU for their support, and to Dr. Haidostian for his remarkable work at HU.
To conclude in the words of Serge Buchakjian, “after 62 years of existence, resilience, and excellence,” the hope is to continue to support Haigazian University. The quote from Winston Churchill sums it all: “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.
Interview with Rev. Dr. John Markarian, Founding President of Haigazian College, during his 100th Birthday celebrations on Saturday, July 22 at Andreas Roubian’s House. Interview is conducted by Vartan Abdo of Armenian Radio Hour and PAREV TV of NJ.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian Awarded Presidential ‘Medal of Gratitude’ in Armenia
During a May 28th ceremony at the Presidential Palace, held on the occasion of Republic day in Armenia, RA President Serzh Sargsyan awarded a group of individuals with the highest state awards and honorary titles for their contributions in the spheres of science, education, health, economy, arts & culture, sports, productive work and patriotism.
For his contributions toward the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations and preservation of the Armenian identity, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, Zaven Khanjian received the Medal of Gratitude. The Medal of Gratitude is awarded for state, economic, social, scientific-technical and public activities, as well as for major personal contribution, many years’ of devotion and fruitful activities aimed at promoting the spheres of health, education and culture.
“On this momentous occasion, the 99th anniversary of the first republic of Armenia, the ultimate contentment of service lies in the well preservation of what has been earned through the sacrifice of our forebear” said Mr. Khanjian. “I praise God for our homeland as we continue to advance the spiritual and physical wellbeing of our people everywhere.”
Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, AMAA President, extended congratulations on behalf of the Board of Directors: “We were delighted to hear that Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, has honored Zaven Khanjian, the Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA by awarding him the ‘Medal of Appreciation’. Mr. Khanjian has dedicated his life to the service of the Armenian people in the Homeland and the Diaspora and is clearly deserving of this honor. On behalf of the entire AMAA family I congratulate Mr. Khanjian on this wonderful occasion.”
Mr. Khanjian was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria where he grew up in the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church and was an active member of the Church’s Youth Group.
Upon graduating from Aleppo College, Mr. Khanjian attended the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and in 1967 earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Soon after his graduation he moved to the Persian Gulf and for 13 years worked in his profession assuming top positions in prestigious companies, while creating “Little Armenias” together with like-minded peers.
In 1979, Khanjian moved with his family to California and after working for a few years in his profession, went into the real estate business starting his own successful company, Kanjyan Realty in Glendale, Calif., in 1987.
Prior to becoming the Executive Director/CEO at the AMAA in 2014 he remained an active member of the Greater Los Angeles Community serving in leadership capacities at the Armenia Fund, The Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, The Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School, The United Armenian Congregational Church, Haigazian University of Beirut, the Glendale Family YMCA, The Salvation Army-Glendale Corps, Americans for Artsakh, The Armenian American Real Estate Association and as Founding Chair of the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund – SARF.
Mr. Khanjian has authored volumes of bilingual articles to the American Armenian media and published three Armenian books. He is married to Sona Kellikian, is father of three children and grandfather of six.
The Armenian Missionary Association of America
Orphan and Child Care Committee cordially invites you to its
26th Annual Celebration in the Spirit of Giving
to benefit Armenian children in crisis
An evening of food, wine and fun – featuring a Live & Silent auction, wine pull and Zankagner Performing Arts Ensemble
Music by special guest John Baboian
Thursday, September 28, 2017 7:00PM
WELLESLEY COUNTRY CLUB
294 Wellesley Avenue
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
One Hundred Dollars Per Person RSVP By September 12
The AMAA supports various relief programs, providing basic necessities of life to people, including orphans and needy children.
Through the Orphan and Child Care Fund, the AMAA continues to operate and support programs such as the Child Sponsorship Program, Shogh Day Centers, Summer Camps, and Christmas and Easter Programs.
To learn more about AMAA Orphan and Child Care Programs visit our Sponsor a Child page.
“We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our State of California leaders to build a historic cultural and educational center that will honor the rich history and celebrate the diverse cultures who call our great state home,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
“We would like to express our special thanks to Senator Anthony J. Portantino, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth for leading the efforts to prioritize the funding in the 2017-2018 state budget,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.
The $3 million funding request was initiated in the State Senate by Senator Anthony J. Portantino with the support of Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth. Upon the approval by the Senate Budget Subcommittee and Budget Conference Committee, the new funding for the Armenian American Museum was included in the 2017-2018 state budget proposal approved by the State Legislature on June 15.
“There is a long history of California supporting laudable museum projects around the state,” stated Senator Anthony J. Portantino. “I wanted to make sure that the Armenian American Museum garners equal and fair support.”
“It was an honor to work with my colleagues in the California legislature to secure $3 million dollars in funding for the Armenian American Museum,” stated Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León. “I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Armenian community.”
AMAA LIFE MEMBER, ACTIVIST AND BENEFACTOR ELIZABETH AGBABIAN HONORED BY THE PRESIDENT OF ARMENIA
Elizabeth Agbabian, past Board member, Benefactor and Life Member of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), and a respected longtime activist in the Armenian Evangelical Community and the Armenian American Community at large, was recently awarded the Movses Khorenatsi Medal by Republic of Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan, on the 99th Anniversary of the First Republic.
The President’s award decree reads: “Guided by the 2005 amendments to Article 55, paragraph 16 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, and based on the Law of the Republic of Armenia on state awards and honorary titles of the Republic, I have decided; On the occasion of the Day of the Republic, to award philanthropist Elizabeth AGBABIAN (USA) for her contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity, with the Movses Khorenatsi Medal.” May 17, 2017.
The Movses Khorenatsi Medal is the Republic of Armenia’s highest cultural award. It is presented by the President to those who have significantly contributed to the advancement of Armenian culture in the spheres of culture, art, literature, education, social sciences and sports.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon to Reverend Hovhannes and Aznive Apkarian, Elizabeth Apkarian Agbabian earned a B.A. degree in Social Work and has worked as a trained social worker first in Cleveland, OH and then in Los Angeles, CA, where she has lived since her marriage to Dr. Mihran Agbabian in 1953.
Elizabeth has been active at the United Armenian Congregational Church and has served on the Boards of the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center. She was a founding Co-Chair of the AMAA’s Orphan and Child Care Committee, which was formed soon after the devastating December 7, 1988 earthquake in Armenia and has continued to serve on the Committee for over 28 years. She has visited Armenia frequently to view firsthand the living conditions of the children. Elizabeth was also a founding member of the Haigazian University Women’s Auxiliary and the Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School’s Women’s Auxiliary with the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, then Executive Director of the AMAA, and Zaven Khanjian, then Chairman of the Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School.
Elizabeth is also one of the co-founders of the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA-LA), a non-profit organization dedicated in promoting and enriching the lives of Armenian women worldwide. Along with her committee members, she was also supportive of many ground-breaking initiatives on the West coast including the opening of Armenia’s Consulate General in Los Angeles. With her husband Dr. Mihran Agbabian, founding President of the American University of Armenia, Elizabeth has played a critical role in establishing the University, a most renowned educational institution in Armenia.
Over the years, Elizabeth has earned many prestigious awards. They include the Humanitarian Award of Ararat Home of Los Angeles in 1994, a proclamation of Pontifical Blessings from His Holiness Karekin II in 2003, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2006, a Medal from the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East for her long standing educational services in 2008, the Gold Medal of the Ministry of the Diaspora of the Armenian Government in 2011, Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the Armenian Assembly of America in 2012 and Tributes from the AMAA Board in 1999, 2003 and 2016.
“Volunteers and humanitarians do not help people for medals and decorations,” said Mrs. Agbabian. “Our greatest reward is, knowing that our efforts have helped the needy and the neglected children of Armenia. Important things are the small acts that make our world a better place. I am grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to serve my people through the AMAA. It was Armenia who called me to give to orphans and destitute children the gift of love, compassion and Christian service which I have received from my family and friends in my childhood and adult life. Our reward will be to see a new generation of youth coming out of despair to a productive and happy life.”
“The AMAA salutes Elizabeth Agbabian for this honor coming from the Homeland,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “She has an indelible fountain of energy, love of the nation and a natural urge to help all anchored on her faith in God. On behalf of the larger family of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, we congratulate Elizabeth for the honor bestowed on her by President Sargsyan and thank her and Dr. Agbabian for all they do to support the Mission of the AMAA.”
On Tuesday June 22, the Paros Chamber Choir (artistic director Raffi Mikayelyan, conductor Ruben Karaseferian) jointly with the Avedisian School Orchestra (art director Argentina Poghosyan) presented a Concert at the Khoren and Shooshanjig Avedisian Community Center and School Auditorium, dedicated to the first graduates of Avedisian high school.
During the Concert, the Paros Chamber Choir and Avedisian School Orchestra presented Armenian folk and spiritual songs as well as works by Western European composers. The audience warmly welcomed this most impressive performance.
Paros Chamber Choir is the world’s only Choir, that the vast majority of its members are disabled and wheelchair users.
The Avedisian Orchestra founded in 2016 has already presented a few successful concerts in just one year.
Original article in Armenian: http://avedisianschool.am/am/երևանի-ավետիսյան-դպրոցում-տեղի-ունեց/
AMAA Congratulates Long-time Board Member and Major Benefactor, Edward Avedisian as He Receives Inaugural American University of Armenia Presidential Commendation
It isn’t every day somebody turns a century old. We praise God that Rev. Dr. John Markarian is one of them. He has touched so many lives and has been a blessing to many. The AMAA looks forward to celebrating this special milestone on July 22nd in NJ.
The Rev. Dr. John Markarian was born in Windham, a town in Greene County New York affectionately named “Gem of the Catskills” on June 7, 1917, two months after the US entered into World War I. Dr. Markarian’s father, The Rev. Hagop Markarian, was born in Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. He attended the missionary-run St. Paul’s Apostolic Institute and was one of eight Armenian men in the inaugural graduating class of 1893. In 1898, he left Turkey and entered the United States, where he enrolled in Lafayette College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and was awarded the Astronomy Prize and Math Prize at the time of his graduation in 1901. He went on to Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1904 and was ordained into the Presbyterian ministry.
John’s mother, Dora Benedict Euth, traced her American ancestry thru the Benedict Family whose first arrival in the United States was Thomas Benedict in 1638. She was the great-great-great-granddaughter of The Rev. James Benedict, founding Pastor in 1776, of the Pittston Baptist Church in Luzerne County, PA. The Markarian family eventually moved to Scranton, PA where Hagop was the French Professor at Scranton Central High School and stated supply pastor of two Presbyterian Churches, Old Forge and Duryea.
John graduated from Scranton Central HS in the class of 1935. For three years, he was employed as a clerk in S.H. Bezdjian Oriental Rugs in Wilkes-Barre, PA. During that period of time, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance evening classes earning The Diploma after three years of study. In 1938, he was employed as a clerk in the Plant Record and Cost Department of the Scranton Electric Company until 1941 and enrolled in Lafayette College as a pre-theological student. He graduated in 1943 with a BA Degree in Philosophy. During his enrollment in Lafayette, he worked the nightshift in the Payroll Department at Ingersoll Rand Corporation where he met Ruth Miller. They married in 1943, after his graduation, and moved to New Jersey where John enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary and Ruth joined the Gallup Corporation in Princeton. In 1945, John graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. Following in his father’s footsteps, John became an ordained Presbyterian minister in the Lackawanna Presbytery.
In 1946, Dr. Markarian joined the Religion Department at Lafayette College. It was during this time, one of his students, Harry Balukjian, introduced him to the Armenian Community in Philadelphia. In 1955 he took a two year leave of absence from his position at Lafayette to accept an invitation from the Armenian Evangelical Church to organize a church-related college in Beirut, Lebanon, to be named Haigazian. The family of three, his wife Ruth and their 5-year old daughter Joanne, set sail from New York to Beirut on an Egyptian mail line, the SS Mohammed Ali el-Kebir. The completion of Markarian’s dissertation for his Ph.D. in Theology, postponed because of the move to Beirut, was awarded by Drew University Graduate School in Madison, New Jersey in 1963, during a sabbatical for that purpose. This challenging job, the founding and forming of a University college, lasted 11 years until 1966. The family moved to Pella, Iowa, where Dr. Markarian became head of the Religion Department and Dean of the Chapel at Central College, a liberal arts college affiliated with the Reformed Church of America. During this three-year period, Ruth lost her life in a tragic automobile accident. Dr. Markarian eventually returned to Beirut and became Professor of Theology and Director of Development of the Near East School of Theology until 1971, when he returned to the Presidency of Haigazian University College.
In 1973, Dr. Markarian met Inge Wilke, a member of the staff of the German Embassy in Beirut. The two were married in December, 1974, at the Old First Church in Huntington, New York. They spent the years up to 1982 on the door-step of the war in Lebanon. Dr. Markarian retired in 1982 and the two moved to Los Angeles, living there from 1982 – 1986, when they moved to West Pittston where they presently reside. His daughter Joanne lives in Los Angeles, and his grandson, born in 1983 in Los Angeles, now resides in Sydney, Australia.
On May 22, Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, visited AMAA’s Camp Bedrosian in Shushi, Artsakh, where renovations and refurbishments are underway. The Camp is adding green spaces, opening new lanes, landscaping the playground and making renovations inside the buildings in preparation for the upcoming Camp season. After reviewing, the renovation process, Mr. Khanjian, visited AMAA’s Bilezikian Kindergarten where he met with Diana Danielyan, Director of the Kindergarten and the Senior Director of Shogh Day Care Center, housed in the Kindergarten. Mr. Khanjian reviewed the education and learning process at both the Kindergarten and the Day Care Center, praised the work and reiterated AMAA’s support of continued improvements at the Kindergarten and Center to cope with the implemented programs.
Mr. Khanjian next visited AMAA’s Stepanakert office as well as the Baghdikian Kindergarten next to the Center. At the Baghdikian Kindergarten, the children are nourished, educated, take naps in comfortable beds and have playtime in the adjacent playground.
On May 23, Mr. Khanjian visited the Honorable Ashot Ghulyan, Speaker of Artsakh’s National Assembly. Mr. Ghulyan warmly welcomed the ED and highly commended the humanitarian mission the AMAA carries in Artsakh. Mr. Khanjian expressed his delight witnessing the continuous developments in the economic and social life of the people of Artsakh. He confirmed AMAA’s commitment to continue its humanitarian projects in improved facilities and expanded services where needed. They also discussed the current situation on Artsakh’s Eastern border and relations with the Diaspora.
On the same day, Mr. Khanjian met with Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Prelate of the Diocese of Artsakh. Mr. Khanjian thanked the Archbishop for his spiritual leadership of the people of Artsakh and expressed confidence in the strengthening of the continued cordial and brotherly relations between the Armenian Apostolic and Evangelical churches.
In the evening, Mr. Khanjian, accompanied by AMAA representatives in Armenia and Artsakh, visited the President of Artsakh Republic, HE Bako Sahakyan. The President noted with satisfaction AMAA’s historic presence in Artsakh and the different educational, social, youth support and humanitarian aid programs that it implements. Mr. Khanjian reiterated AMAA’s commitment of continued and elevated support of the people of Artsakh through its various programs.
The following message was delivered by Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO on the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey at St. Sahag Armenian Church in Minneapolis, MN, on April 24, 2017
Pursuit of the Iron Ladle
Two years ago and on April 24, 2015, the world, well, the world that orbits around us, commemorated the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
Today is April 24, 2017
Collectively, humanity has surrendered two more years to the whirlpool of history.
It was a solemn occasion, a distinct anniversary. An occasion to relive the anguish and yet rejoice the miracle of survival. An anniversary that stirred both sorrow and pride in our collective soul.
Justifiably, and following the poet’s example, we can and ought to ask ourselves.
Յաշուեյարդար, ին՞չ մնաց, կեանքէն ինծի ին՞չ մնաց:
‘To sum it up, what remains? From the Centennial, what remains?”
I want to start sharing a personal story, which will be a prelude to our expectations, aspirations and dreams emanating from our struggle for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and quest for justice.
You have probably heard of Armen Aroyan, a prominent member of the Southern California Armenian community. Armen Aroyan earned his fame during the past three decades since he pioneered to lead hundreds of Armenians from all over the world and in particular, the United States to visit their ancestral homeland in occupied historic Armenia.
Two of my sisters and brother took this pilgrimage back to their roots in the early 90s.
At the time, I was not yet ready. For a long time I did not have the predisposition and psychological maturity to confront the people and the country which stopped the clock on the lives of my two grandfathers, half my nation and most of my historical fatherland in their attempted Genocide of 1915.
My sister Laura took her trip to her ancestral home in September 1994. On a hillside in Agin, a village in the outskirts of Arapkir sit two homes one across the other. They belong to my paternal and maternal grandfathers. My father was born in one of these homes a few years before the ‘Yeghern’ started. Aroyan has taken many of his guests who visit the area to drive by the street and has talked to them about the Khanjian heritage. Not everyone is privileged to enter the house. My sister however, not only had the opportunity but the right to be there and she was not deprived. During the tour, the matriarch of the family, a woman of my father’s age and generation, who personally knew my father and had hosted him in the house on two occasions in the 50s and 60s, points to a room in the house and invites my sister in.
My father was born in that room.
Entering the room, praying, sobbing, touching and talking to the walls, my sister would have thought her pilgrimage had culminated.
However, there was more in store for her.
As she gets ready to leave, the matriarch gathers her family around her and instructs.
‘Anytime this lady or one of her siblings visit the house, you welcome them with dignity and respect and treat them like the owners of the house”In 2006, it was my turn.
My wife and I took our pilgrimage to our roots.
Before taking the trip, Sona and I wondered as to how we could make the pilgrimage to the land, to the parental home, significant and memorable. How can we honor and memorialize my two grandfathers, brutally killed on this soil; my father, resting in a foreign soil with the longing and love of Agin and all those who were martyred for the sin of having been born Armenian. We contemplated, concluded and planned to plant a tree, a walnut tree, in the backyard of my paternal grandfather’s home where my father was born. A walnut tree will live long, develop, grow and flourish. It will provide shade and shelter to those living under it. It will be strong, firm and a long-lived providing fruit for years unknown. All that to immortalize the sacred sacrament of the renowned poet Levon Zaven Surmelian who penned
«Մեռելներուս իբրեւ խաչ՝ ես այս ծառը տնկեցի»
“As a cross for my departed, I planted this tree”
Walking up a hill, Aroyan leads us to the house. In my haste, I find myself leading the group with the walnut sapling in my hand. I notice an adult man on the balcony who is the son of the matriarch my sister had met earlier. I salute him in my broken Turkish and without waiting for his welcoming words enter the house and walk up the stairs to the upper floor. Restless and uncomfortable, I introduce myself to the ‘owner’ and immediately realize that he knows me well, he knows my father and the whole Khanjian clan. He describes in detail my father’s second visit to Agin in 1969 when he was a boy of thirteen. He talks about the Khanjians, Armenian Turkish relationship, the ‘exodus’ of the Armenians. He talks about his profession, his father and recites how his father had acquired the house. He talks about his mother my sister had met in 1994 and says she died in 1998. Evidently, faithful to her mother’s commandment, Hussain, that was his name, affirms that we could be his guests in the house anytime and for as long as we desire. All the while, he is following me in my emotional walk through the house. Suddenly, he approaches me, and throwing an arm on my shoulder, I wonder out of guilt or anxiety, asks me in an easily understood Turkish.
“Now tell me, IS THIS YOUR HOUSE OR MINE?”
I feel a blow on my head. A cold sweat covers my face. I did not answer. Instead, with a forced smile and pointing to the walnut sapling placed on the table, I said:
I have a gift for you where shall we plant it.
Hussain and I plant the tree; the late Serpazan Arch. Datev Gharibian of Brazil blesses it following Surmelian’s prayer.
“Lord, bless this tender tree. Here I plant it
In the crumbly and black soil where my ancestors are lain”
We leave with Hussain’s question lingering in my head. “Is This Your House or Mine?”
I wrote a book about our pilgrimage and you guessed it the title was.
“Is This House Yours or Mine?”
Dr. Taner Akcam, the Turkish Historian who currently holds the Kaloosdian – Mugar Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, is one of the foremost proponents of dialogue between Armenians and Turks. At a lecture in Toronto on May 25, 2001, where the Zoryan Institute launched Akcam’s publication titled, “Dialogue Across International Divide: Essays Towards a Turkish-Armenian Dialogue” (He has since published several books covering the Armenian Genocide) he explains:
“Someone looking at me sees only one person, but I represent the tip of the iceberg of those involved in the process, who are seeking an open society in Turkey. I am a product of this process in Turkey and I am not alone” “Civil society in Turkey knows that without coming to terms with history, we cannot build a democracy in Turkey” “Not only we should remember history, but actually to institutionalize remembering is essential for the process of democratization”
Two years after the Centennial, we are gathered here tonight to commemorate the anniversary of the Genocide.
What do we want today?
Two years ago, we poured in our hearts and commemorated the Centennial.
So going back to Vahan Tekeyan, we ask ourselves:
‘To sum it up, what remains? From the Centennial, what remains?”
It should be jubilantly acknowledged that we worked hard and can confidently claim a degree of reward and victory. The Centennial raised our national struggle to an unprecedented plateau of universal awareness, respect and recognition that was worthy of the cause and powerful in its impact. Intangible victories may be, but nevertheless a firm foundation upon which we can (and should) continuously build.
The inevitable and hard question to ask is – what comes next?
The path is still long and thorny, the obstacles and hindrances many. However, the collective will and determination is in place and our resolute faith in our just struggle is unshakable. God is the foundation of our quest for justice and the recognition of the truth. We need not sit idle in acquiescence. The struggle continues.
Despite the many achievements and victories, we have not gained much on the road of reparations, restitutions and recognition from the heirs of the perpetrators. All recognition, sympathy and acknowledgment in the civilized world have come with impunity without legal muscle. The heirs of the perpetrators still lie in a deep coma of self-denial. Adding insult to injury, the ‘civilized’ world, with total acquiescence, turned a blind eye to the continuing crime committed by the same perpetrator in Syria. The institutionalization of remembrance and the move towards democratization in Turkey that Taner Akcam was talking about in 2001 remains hostage in 2017 to the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish penal code which criminalizes any and all remembrance of the Genocide. And despite the goodwill of a mountain of Turkish or Kurdish intellectuals involved in the process and seeking an open society in Turkey, Hrant Dink was murdered by the Deep State in Turkey and ten years after his martyrdom his trial has still not exposed the masters behind the hired assassin, 17 year old Ogun Samast. Erdogan remains on a fast pace of amending the constitution pulling Turkey behind and creating an autocratic regime with most powers centralized in the hands of ‘sultan’ Erdogan.
In the face of all these challenges from the East and the hegemony, hypocrisy and double standards of the West we can only depend on ourselves. The realization of our quest for justice remains solely on our selfless and sacrificial devotion and commitment to the application of Khrimian Hayrig’s ‘iron ladle’. Երկաթէ Շերեփ
Over the span of time and under the effect of various conditions and circumstances, which influence our national path, our priorities, focus and agendas, should justifiably remain flexible and malleable. Our collective psyche cannot and should not remain hostage to the fetters of the Genocide. Therefore, until that promised dawn when our collective national soul is able to bring the iron ladle home without any impediment or procrastination we have to focus on the following essential priorities.
In 2016, Armenia celebrated the 25th anniversary of independence. Despite the fact that we had no input in the realization of our collective dream; despite the fact that we were even confused for a while; we were jubilant. We had our place in the league of nations. We raised our heads in dignity and pride and saluted the tricolor. We built a nation and created a country from the ashes of the Soviet system. We bore the shock therapy of moving from a very centralized socialist economy to a radical capitalist system, from an atheist system that persecuted believers, to a society, which created an unprecedented opportunity to resurrect the faith of our fathers in the land of a nation, which embraced Christianity in 301 AD. We fought a liberation war in Artsakh, and at the cost of thousands of martyred lives, enormous economic sacrifices and a faithful and supportive diaspora we were able to win the war.
Twenty-five years after independence, we are not where we wanted to be. The road has not been rosy as our homeland continues to face the challenges of tumultuous times. Having won a liberation war, we failed to win the peace and continue to face an aggressive enemy whose consistent breaches of a shaky ceasefire has reaped the lives of hundreds of young conscripts defending our borders, and countless civilians peacefully living on their land. An enemy, whose behavior continues to obstruct scores of development projects so vital for the economy of the area. Our Homeland continues to experience skyrocketing unemployment, extreme poverty, economic paralysis, mass migration, the rise of oligarchs and widespread corruption.
We have not and should not lose faith. Our vision of the new citizen in the Homeland is one of indelible integrity, who upholds the highest values and earns an unblemished reputation. One who advocates social justice, freedom of conscience, expression or speech; a citizen who exercises voluntarism, sustains society, respects human rights and sacrifices for the Homeland; a citizen who respects the law and equal rights of others under the law; a citizen who loves the Lord and reflects His love. These are fundamental prerequisites of the concrete foundation of a strong, self-sustained, proud developing democracy, ripe for a growing economy that will create a new, creative and happy society and a strong army capable to defend its borders. There lies the hope of the promised ‘iron ladle’ in the Homeland.
Centuries of persecution, invasion, aggression, discrimination, usurpation and successive massacres have created waves of exodus from our historic homeland resulting in the Armenian Diaspora. The 1915 Genocide was the culmination of all, dispersing the remnants of the survivors all over the world. Independence brought the hope of a shrinking Diaspora but the reality on the ground came to expand the Armenian Diaspora because of the exodus from the Homeland. The story of the Diaspora is not the subject of the day. However, it is essential to recognize the realities of an expanding Diaspora in terms of its struggle to perpetuate (գոյատեւում կամ ազգապահպանում) and enormous potential to assist the Homeland.
In order to achieve that desired role we have to attain a healthy and prosperous Diaspora. The reality on the ground here too seems to be short of the aspired.
For many decades after the Genocide, the throbbing heart of the Armenian Diaspora remained to be the communities of the Middle East. Active, thriving, energetic, industrious and spirited communities remained the beehive of Armenian culture and education, exporting able leadership in all realms of Armenian community life all over the globe. No more. The Achilles’s Heel of the Armenia Diaspora remains the tragic situation in Syria. Five years of death and destruction has devastated the Mother Diaspora Community of Syria, dispersing its masses across the region and beyond and diminishing its role and power potential. It is hard to shape an ‘iron ladle’ in the region.
Despite all the difficulties described above I see a new dawn rising on the horizon of the new Armenian Diaspora. What we came to witness on the Genocide Centennial and since then, has anchored an unwavering confidence in our youth, making us proud of their alertness, accomplishments, creativity, sense of belonging and sense of responsibility. A mental survey of our youth around the globe reveals that never before in the history of our nation have we had such an army of students in higher education who constitute contingents of potential professionals, scientists, educators, and prominent stars in the fields of science, art and public service ready to take charge of our communities. Are we molding an iron ladle? I do not know but I am optimistic.
With the strength gathered thru the legendary Kirk Kerkorian’s “Promise”; Near East Foundation’s “They Shall Not Perish” just aired on PBS; and the baby steps of the recently conceived Armenian American Museum in Glendale, California to give a few examples, we seem to be on the right path.
With a strong and truly democratic Homeland and a new Diaspora taking shape we vow to perpetuate the faith, the language, the culture and overcome evil with song and dance, hope and prayer, smiles and joy all for the Glory of God who said in Romans 12:19 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”
Erdogan can dream of an Empire and hold tight to Article 301. However, the heirs of the Matriarch of Agin, her son Hussain, Taner Akcam and his fellow intellectuals will multiply and prevail.
God is faithful; He will deliver the Iron ladle.
April 24, 2017
Bear Grylls, the British adventurer and television presenter, once said, “The rules of survival never change, whether you’re in a desert or an arena.”
These are words that Alik Sarian, Haigazian University freshman and HU’s Future Armenian Leadership Fund (FALF) scholarship recipient lives by. Coming straight out of war-torn Aleppo with her family last summer, Alik has emerged on campus with a clear direction and focus. Life and hope have emerged from a wilderness. In the words of the prophet, “The desert… shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 35:1) But behind her sweet shyness and pleasant demeanor is an inner determination and resolution to be her best and to make an impact on society as she prepares her future to help those in greatest need.
Besides being honored on the President’s List, Fall 2017, Alik has also become a rising star as the starting point guard on the Haigazian University Women’s basketball team. Just recently she earned her personal best, with twenty-seven points in a 51-28 win against the University of Balamand, topping her twenty-three points against LAU (Byblos) only days before.
But Alik’s drive to excel is nothing new. Under constant danger in Aleppo, Alik managed to play basketball and take piano lessons while also pursuing her high school career. A stellar student, she represented the Karen Jeppe Armenian College well, winning first place in the (All) Syrian Science Olympiad four years straight. When the fighting intensified, with daily bombings in her neighborhood, the school moved to the safer, smaller Gulbenkian Middle School, and her studies were never disrupted.
With Alik’s diploma and her acceptance to Haigazian University in hand, the entire family (father, mother, and younger sister) uprooted themselves and moved to Lebanon in August, where years earlier her grandfather had wisely invested in property in Jounieh. Though safe and secure, Alik and her family’s transition and experiences have not been unaccompanied by challenges. Alik has been met with some unfounded biases: distrust, prejudice and misinterpreting her to be uneducated because of her Syrian Arabic dialect.
But true to form and undeterred, Alik keeps her eyes on the horizon. She is fascinated by science, but is more interested in entering a field where she can help people. That is why she has chosen Biology as her major, with the intent to practice medicine. Her favorite professor at Haigazian University is Dr. Nadim Hassoun, who serves as Pre-Med advisor. She is amazed at his experience, knowledge and perspective.
Alik expresses enormous gratitude for the FALF Scholarship as “simply AMAZING!” She realizes that with the scholarship, new doors have appeared and her future intentions have a chance for being realized. She could have easily received a Merit-based Scholarship or a Scholarship for Syrian students. But FALF has extra meaning in the word “Leadership.” Supporters of FALF can rest assured that their investment in students like Alik and the 7 other recipients is a strong investment for the future.
WAYS TO GIVE
For more information on how you can support students like Alik and invest in students who will follow Alik’s lead and make an impact on their world in the future, you may contact Dro Abrahamian, Executive Counsel for Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Haigazian University’s Ways to Give Page at http://www.haigazian.edu.lb/Giving To HU/Pages/WaysToGive.aspx
To download a copy of Haigazian University’s Case for Support, click on http://www.haigazian.edu.lb/Giving%20To%20HU/Documents/Caseforsupport.pdf
Armenian organizations in North America band together to ensure the success of the film through grassroots efforts
For the first time, a big budget, wide-release feature film—complete with a-list, Hollywood celebrities and a renowned, Academy Award-winning director—will depict the Armenian Genocide. This monumental film, The Promise, will be released in mainstream theaters across the United States and Canada on April 21, marking a major triumph for the Armenian community. Due to the exceptional caliber of the film, it will not be screened privately at community events. Instead, groups are strongly encouraged to go en masse to their local theaters to support the film and help it reach the highest possible box-office sales. For exact dates of the film’s international release, please see the end of this release and continue to check social media.
All Armenians and non-Armenians are urged to support the grassroots efforts leading up to the premiere of the film to ensure its success and encourage the film industry to produce more films about Armenian history. (1) Bring friends and family to the film during its opening weekend. (2) Spread the word about The Promise on social media with the hashtags #KeepThePromise and #ThePromiseTheFilm and invite friends and family to join the campaign. (3) Go to daytime and night screenings of The Promise during its opening week. (4) Review the film online at www.rottentomatoes.com and www.imdb.com as honestly as you see fit.
Produced by the legendary Kirk Kerkorian’s Survival Pictures and directed by Academy Award winner Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), The Promise features an outstanding international cast, including Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, and many more. All proceeds from the film will be donated to non-profit organizations, the first time for a film of this scale.
In the film, it is 1914. As the Great War looms, the vast Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople (Istanbul)—its once vibrant, multicultural capital—is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine to Siroun, his ancestral village in southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. Photo-journalist Chris Meyers (Christian Bale) has come only partly to cover geo-political news. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men, even as Michael hangs on to a promise from his past. After the Turks join the war on the German side, the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities. Despite their conflicts, everyone must find a way to survive—even as monumental events envelope their lives.
In addition to the all-star cast, acclaimed musician and activist Serj Tankian served as the film’s executive music consultant and contributed a modern rendition of the Armenian folk song, “Sari Siroun Yar,” to the soundtrack. “It’s been an honor to be an impartial ear and eye to the film,” said Tankian. “The best way to counter high budget disinformation campaigns by the Turkish government is to move people with the truth via the arts. I’ve been doing it for years with music and wanted to help do it through film somehow.” The original title song for the film was written and performed by Chris Cornell of the band Soundgarden and the original score was composed by Academy Award winner Gabriel Yared (The English Patient).
In addition to the release in the United States and Canada on April 21, The Promise will also be released in the Middle East (Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, UAE, Yemen) on April 20; in Armenia and Russia on April 27; in the United Kingdom on April 28; in Poland on May 5; in Australia on May 25; in Thailand on June 1; in Spain on June 2; in Belgium on June 14; in the Netherlands on June 15; in Singapore on June 22; in South Africa on June 23 and in Italy on August 24. Please continue to check social media for updates on the film’s release in more countries.
The grassroots campaign to ensure the box-office success of The Promise has been a worldwide effort supported by a joint coalition of Armenian organizations in North America, including: All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA), Armenia Fund, Armenia Tree Project, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, Armenian Catholic Eparchy in the United States & Canada, Armenian Film Foundation, Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY), Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA), Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), Armenian Missionary Association of Canada (AMAC), Armenian National Committee (ANC), Armenian National Institute (ANI), Armenian Network of America, Armenian Prelacy of Canada, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of the United States, Armenian Students’ Association of America, Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA), Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Constantinople Armenian Relief Society (CARS), Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada, Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Canada, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States, Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society (GALAS), Hamazkayin Educational & Cultural Society of the United States, Hayastan Foundation Canada, Knights and Daughters of Vartan, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), Office of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the United States, ONEArmenia, Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA), Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada, Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR), Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Zoryan Institute.
To join the joint effort in North America, please contact email@example.com
To find out more about The Promise, please visit www.survivalpictures.org/the-promise/
To book a local theater to host a large group showing of the film, please email KeepThePromise@agbu.org
While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ Luke 24:36
The year 2017 is going by ever so quickly and both Easter and Spring are suddenly upon us. Easter, the most important date on our religious calendar, means that He has risen. Alleluia!
The power of resurrection is the spring of peace for all Christians. Now more than ever we look to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for peace in the world and for peace in our own lives. If we have faith in His victory over death, we can overcome our troubles, doubts, worries and concerns.
Heeding the call and trusting the power of His resurrection, the Armenian Missionary Association of America continues to spread His peace and love in 24 countries all over the world. We are doing this by helping our brothers and sisters throughout the Middle East who have lost memory of what living in peace is like. We are spreading hope and love to our precious children by providing them with an education and vital health care. We are building churches, community centers and camps where our people can find a little peace, practice their faith and experience fellowship and love.
We hope that you will join us this Easter and support our call to love and serve our God by caring for our brothers and sisters. Your gift, no matter how large or how small, will help us support so many who are in desperate need of our help.
May the victorious Savior continue to bless you and your family throughout this Easter Season. Please join us to spread the words of Jesus and may “Peace be with you.”
Քրիստոս Յարեաւ ի Մեռելոց!