Archive for January, 2010

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[Beneficiary Potraits]: Araz Pirumyan

January 29, 2010

Sometimes, FAR beneficiaries are able to take advantage of more than one of our programs.  Araz Pirumyan is a student at the Hovhannes Hintliyan school which is operated by FAR and funded by CARS (Constantinople Armenian Relief Society).  Araz is thirteen years old, and a particularly bright ninth grader.  He began school when he was five, and though he is from a family of modest means (his father became handicapped during the Nagorno-Karabagh war), his family has always prioritized the children’s education.  Araz’s three sisters also attended Hovhannes Hintliyan and then continued to pursue higher education at various institutions.

Araz and his Mother Prepare to Enter the Hospital

Credit: FAR Staff

Unfortunately, Araz recently discovered that he had a disorder of the lower and upper jaw (known as Prognathism).  The Pirumyan family lacked the financial means to cure Araz’s illness.  However, CARS and FAR were able to provide the family with some support.  CARS paid for the family to travel to Yerevan and also covered the X-ray expenses. FAR Health Program Coordinator Hambardzum Simonyan arranged appointments for Araz to see the appropriate medical specialists, and these physicians will provide the assistance needed to treat Araz’s condition.  We are happy to report that Araz Pirumyan will receive health care in time to avoid further complications from the illness, and he will be back in school in no time!

Araz Receives a Medical Exam from a Specialist

Credit: FAR Staff

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[FAR Media Release]: Fund for Armenian Relief celebrates its 20th anniversary, honors one of its Founders, and raises close to $1 Million

January 28, 2010

Some 450 people gathered at Cipriani Wall Street in downtown Manhattan on January 15 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) — an organization that has provided strength and opportunity to the Armenian people — and pay tribute to a true humanitarian and co-founder of FAR, Dr. Edgar M. Housepian.

Many guests traveled hundreds of miles to attend the regal gala, which helped to raise close to $1 million to support FAR operations.

His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided over the event and addressed attendees.

Other notable speakers included Tribute Committee Chair Dr. Tavit Najarian; Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) and President of FAR Archbishop Khajag Barsamian; Chair of FAR’s Board of Directors Mr. Randy Sapah-Gulian; President Emeritus of Boston University and FAR Board member Dr. Aram Chobanian; and Dr. Housepian’s son Dr. David Hovsepian.

President Barack Obama sent a congratulatory letter on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Fund for Armenian Relief.

Please click here to read the whole article.

Dr. Edgar Housepian,
His Holiness Karekin II,
the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian,
Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
and President of FAR.

Credit: Julie Dermansky

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[Beneficiary Potraits]: Rafik Armaghanyan of the Vanadzor Old Age Home

January 28, 2010

At 83 years old, Mr. Rafik Armaghanyan is the oldest resident of the Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH).  He found peace and love in the confines of the Vanadzor Home, where he has lived since 1994.  Like many residents of VOAH, Mr. Armaghanyan has had a difficult life.  Born in the Shahali (Gugark) village of the Lori Region in 1927, he graduated from the Tbilisi Railway Transport Institute in 1946, and found work in the Gyumri railway depot.  Though Rafik married and had three daughters, his wife passed away at a young age, and only one daughter remained in Armenia.  Left alone, Rafik remarried, only to lose his second wife at an early age.

Left with no one to turn to, Mr. Armaghanyan went to VOAH.  There, he met Sofia Pavlovna, a Russian woman with kind blue eyes, who had been evacuated to Armenia after World War II.  When Rafik and Sofia fell in love, they married in the local church.  Members of the FAR staff have witnessed the great love with which the old couple lived their everyday life. Mr. Rafik chivalrously took care of his wife until her recent passing.  “This woman presented me peacefulness of soul. Finally I understood what real love is,” said Mr. Rafik Armaghanyan.  FAR is happy to be able to provide peace and happiness to the aging members of our Armenian community.

Mr. Rafik Armaghanyan Lives Happily at VOAH

Credit: FAR Staff

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[CME]: Christmas Celebration!

January 27, 2010

At the end of December, FAR’s CME (Continuing Medical Education) program trainers, as well as the FAR FAA (Fellows Alumni Association) members gathered together to celebrate the closing of another year.  As part of the Christmas reception, medical professionals from various institutions in Yerevan participated in a tour of the Yerevan Brandy Company.  After the tour, the group convened to recap the year’s accomplishments for FAR’s CME Program, and to discuss action items for 2010 and beyond.  FAR’s Bagrat Sargsyan was happy to attend, and expressed his gratitude, on behalf of FAR, to all physicians involved in the program for their hard work and devotion to training a new generation of medical professionals in Armenia.

CME Trainers Tour the Yerevan Medical Factory

Credit: FAR Staff

CME Trainers Pose for a Group Photo

Credit: FAR Staff

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[Beneficiary Potraits]: ANSEF 2009 Beneficiary, Armen Trchounian

January 26, 2010

Armen Trchounian pursues laboratory work at the Biophysics Laboratory of Yerevan State University under the ANSEF grant program. Dr. Trchounian’s project deals with regulating issues of bacterial growth, survival, and activity – namely for use in biotechnology, medicines, and alternative energy. This 2009 project, entitled “Electromagnetic radiation of extremely high frequency effects on bacterial sensitivity to antibiotics” is jointly implemented with lab research partner, Hasmik Tadevosyan.

Research Partners Armen Trchounian and Hasmik Tadevosyan

Credit: FAR Staff

Dr. Trchounian is already quite well-known in Armenian scientific circles. Since 2002 he has been Head of the High Quality Attestation Committee, which awards scientific degrees to Armenian scientists. His achievements include such accolades as Doctor of Science degree (1990), Professor of Science degree (2002), and RA President’s Prize for Biological Science (2003). He has also authored numerous articles published in international magazines and recently participated in the Bioelectromagnetics Congress in Switzerland.

Dr. Trchounian greatly appreciates the role of international grant programs promoting the sustainability of Armenian scientific traditions, and is thankful to ANSEF for his grant. He expressed that “the most important aspect is not so much the amount of the grant but rather the attention focused on the science of Armenia, the international expertise, and the responsibility it takes in achieving results.”

At Work in the Lab

Credit: FAR Staff

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Donation Made for Vanadzor Orphanage and Nubarashen Special School

January 18, 2010

This Christmas, FAR was happy to accept the generous donations of Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Mary Haratounian.   As a result of their generosity, FAR was able to implement some initiatives in the Vanadzor Orphanage as well as the Nubarashen Special School.  Gas Pressure Regulation equipment was purchased for the Vanadzor Orphanage, which should lead to a significant cost savings as well as an improvement in the natural gas supply.  Additionally, a water tank was installed to temporarily supply water to the orphanage kitchen.  At the Nubarashen Special School, FAR purchased  warm winter shoes for the children, and a vacuum cleaner for the school.  These incremental improvements in FAR’s facilities help to keep more children happy and healthy, and we greatly appreciate the support of our benefactors.

Presentation of Shoes and Vaccum at Nubarashen

Credit: FAR Staff

Children Trying on their New Shoes

Credit: FAR Staff

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[FAR New York]: Helping the Victims of the Haitian Earthquake

January 13, 2010

You can contribute through our secure FAR Donation Page, please designate the money to “Wherever Most Needed” and write “HAITI” in the comment line.

It has been 21 years now since the earthquake that destroyed large areas of Armenia—and 21 years since the world’s beautiful outpouring of goodwill towards Armenia and its people. It was then that the Fund for Armenian Relief came to existence and with your help and support we reached out to provide relief to hundreds of thousands Armenians.

Over these past two decades, the memory of our sorrow in 1988 has been re-awakened several times, when natural disasters have struck our fellow human beings in other corners of the world. A sense of solidarity in suffering has inspired FAR family, our compassionate people to provide aid to these fellow victims of devastation.

This week, another such tragedy has taken its toll—this time on the island nation of Haiti. In a region already beset by difficulties, this natural disaster has been especially destructive, and the images coming out of the news have been terribly disheartening.

Today, we are appealing to you to donate to the relief of this disaster. The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), will be contributing to the effort to assist the earthquake victims, working through the National Council of Churches.

All proceeds collected—100 percent—will go to the relief effort in Haiti, to be distributed through Church World Service, the humanitarian aid arm of the National Council of Churches.

You can contribute through our secure FAR Donation Page, please designate the money to “Wherever Most Needed” and write “HAITI” in the comment line.

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[Beneficiary Potraits]: John Thomas Gift Distribution Beneficiary – Sevan Poghosyan

January 13, 2010

By Margarita Piliposyan

Sevan Poghosyan is 4 years old, and he lives in the Tavush region with his family.  His family, consisting of his mother and grandparents, lives in a house which has been built only halfway.  The family owns one cow, but does not even have a small plot of land to farm.  The family’s main income is the grandparents’ pension.  Stories like these display how John Thomas’ contributions (see January 5th Story) are much needed in the targeted region.  The Christmas gift pack made Sevan very happy, and FAR is very thankful to donors who give us the opportunity to improve the lives of less fortunate children who live in the more remote regions of Armenia.

Sevan with his Mother and Grandmother

Credit: FAR Staff

Father Aram at Home with Sevan and his Mother

Credit: FAR Staff

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[Beneficiary Potraits]: John Thomas Gift Distribution Beneficiary – Suren Grigoryan

January 12, 2010

By Margarita Piliposyan

During a recent distribution of Christmas gifts to children in the Shamshadin region (please see January 5th story), the FAR staff had a chance to visit the homes of two of the beneficiaries, both living in the Tavush region, situated close to the Azeri border.  The conditions in these children’s homes was quite poor.  Today, we will highlight Suren Grigoryan, and tomorrow, we will post a story on another beneficiary, Sevan Poghosyan.

Suren Grigoryan is nine years old, and he lives with his mother and grandparents.  He attends school, and is in the fifth grade.  When he is not in school, he enjoys drawing and singing.  He relies on his grandmother to teach him Armenian folk songs.  The family makes ends meet by raising a cow for milk and tending to a small plot of land upon which they grow vegetables for their own consumption.

Suren Gathers Wood for the Family Stove

Credit: FAR Staff

Suren’s grandparents are retired, and their small pension is the main source of income for the family.  Despite his young age, Suren helps the family: he works on the plot and tends to the cow.  Of course, Suren does these tasks while maintaining his studies.  Suren was two when his father passed away.  He does not remember his father, but he maintains a loving idea of him and keeps his father’s photo on his desk.  Suren dreams of becoming a soldier in the Armenian Army, defending our nation’s borders.

Suren at Home with his Mother and Grandparents

Credit: FAR Staff

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[Listening to Armenia]: A Musical Friendship

January 11, 2010

By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

“Going deep into each other’s past…is the best beginning for a friendship.” – Tigran Mansurian, Composer

A friendship in music can begin from a common past, but it lends itself even more beautifully to discovering that past together and fostering an engaging present. Tigran Mansurian, composer from Armenia, and Kim Kashkashian, violist born in Detroit, have cultivated such a relationship with the hearty ingredients, shared between them, of cultural connection, cultural passion, and cultural creativity.

Tigran Mansurian

Credit: Florian Schulte

Recently, these two collaborators brought their friendship to the stage, playing the historically influenced yet emotionally present works Mansurian wrote for Kashkashian’s famously lucid and receptive viola repertoire. They were joined by percussionist (or  “texture expert,” more aptly put), Robyn Schulkowsky, and traveled three cities, Boston, New York, and Washington, to feature works from two ECM New Series releases – Hayren (2003) and Neharot (2009).

Kim Kashkashian

Credit: Florian Schulte

I caught them at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. The music-club setting invites an inevitable clank of glasses and plates. But, undistracted, the audience was gripped by the mystically hypnotic creations on stage: Mansurian, at the piano, humbly offering his compositions and voice; Kashkashian, a narrator-like violist, spinning lyrically a silk melodic thread from one piece to another, reaching out to the listener while embracing her fellow musicians; and Schulkowsky, exploring the spaces in between, like a wizard in a percussionist’s lab mixing one element of sound with another.

The Hayren Ensemble on Tour

Credit: Florian Schulte

The Mansurian and Kashkashian musical friendship has initiated an extraordinary dichotomy of preserving while creating. His compositions in tandem with her fresh timely interpretations not only transport one back to Armenian lands and memories but bring them rushing forward to find us, here and now. The work Three Medieval Taghs inspired by ancient Armenian songs does not sound like a modern reinterpretation but instead plays like a discovery, as if having come across an exquisite manuscript illuminated centuries ago but unearthed by a set of 21st century hands.

Watching this kind of relationship unfold between two friends – two musicians – gives the listener a privileged place in experiencing a rich intimacy. Kashkashian and Mansurian do not lose this secret subtlety by infusing it with generosity towards an audience. Listening to their rendition of Gomidas’ “Hoy, Nazan” with Mansurian’s transparent voice, quiet, beside Kashkashian’s honest earthly tone, we feel like the beloved Nazan, ourselves:

“Nazan, you are welcome here
You have come from the green mountains
You have come from the deep valleys”