Posts Tagged ‘diaspora’


[FAR New York]: ACYOA and FAR Partner for 2010 Armenia Service Program

October 30, 2009

On Tuesday, October 27, members of the Fund for Armenian Relief staff met with Diocesan Vicar Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Najarian and ACYOA Executive Secretary Nancy Basmajian to formalize plans for the 2010 ACYOA Armenia Service Program (ASP), which will now focus volunteering efforts on FAR projects in Gyumri.

Since 1995, the ASP, which is organized by the ACYOA Central Council, has included a service component, allowing participants to volunteer at children’s summer camps in Yeghegnadzor and Vanadzor, Armenia. Recently, the ACYOA Central Council decided to offer assistance to FAR programs in Gyumri.

“We wanted to go in a different direction with our service next summer and, at the Primate’s suggestion, we turned to FAR,” said Nancy Basmajian. “They are doing extraordinary work in Armenia. We’re very pleased with the partnership and the possibilities.”

After spending a few days in Yerevan, the ASP group will travel to Gyumri, where they will work at FAR’s Ounjian School, which is undergoing renovations, and the FAR Soup Kitchen, which serves the city’s senior citizens. After a week in Gyumri, the group will travel to Vanadzor and Sevan before returning to Yerevan for the last leg of their journey.

The ASP is scheduled for June 29 to July 20, 2010. Additional details will be available next month. For information, contact Nancy Basmajian at

Arto Vorperian, FAR Projects Director;
Nancy Basmajian,  ACYOA Executive Secretary;
Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Najarian,  Diocesan Vicar;
Bagrat Sargsyan,  FAR’s Country Director;
Karen Sargsyan, FAR/USAID Project Chief of Party;
and Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr, FAR Project Coordinator


Credit: FAR Staff


[FAR New York]: FAR Board Member Michael Haratounian Visits Armenia

October 28, 2009

This September, FAR’s Armenia office was proud to welcome FAR Board member Michael Haratounian, who visited Armenia with his wife Mrs. Mary Haratounian.

Michael and Mary Haratounian
With Gulamerian Students

With Gulamerian students

Credit: FAR Staff

During their visit, the Haratounians were entertained at the Armenian Ministry of Social and Labor Issues as well as the Ministry of Education and Science.  On behalf FAR, the Haratounians accepted the honors awarded to the national benefactor Harold Gulamerian. Later in their visit, Mr. and Mrs. Haratounian visited the Nubarashen Special School to admire the playroom and hallway, as well as the electricity and hot water supply systems, all renovated thanks to the Haratounian’s financial contributions to FAR.

Michael and Mary Haratounian
with Armen Ashotian, RA Minister of Education

Mr. & Mrs. Haratounians with Minister of Education Armen Ashotian

Credit: FAR Staff

The Haratounians were extremely impressed during their visit to GTech in Gyumri, and they admired the modern condition of the educational center.   Last but not least, the couple had an unforgettable visit with the Gulamerian Scholarship Program beneficiaries at Vanadzor Orphanage. A special concert had been organized for the guests, and the children presented them with a handicraft picture created from of silk thread.

Michael and Mary Haratounian at GTech

Mr. & Mrs. Haratounians at GITC

Credit: FAR Staff


Hayastani Kidak Society Met at St. Leon’s Church

October 8, 2009

While summer just ended, it doesn’t feel too early to start thinking about traveling to Armenia next summer! At St. Leon’s Church in Fair Lawn, NJ, the Fund for Armenian Relief (“FAR”) had its Hayastani Kidak Society kick-off event with St. Leon’s ACYOA Seniors a couple weeks ago. Alumni from FAR’s recent Armenia trips came to meet and mingle with ACYOA members from throughout New Jersey. As those new to FAR’s offerings showed interest in next year’s journey to Hayastan, the get together also provided a wonderful opportunity to socialize across the Hudson, keep in touch with friends, and make a few new ones, too. The Hayastani Kidak Society will host more events with parishes in the upcoming months. Contact Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr at for more information or join us on Facebook.

St. Leon’s ACYOA and Hayastani Kidak Kick Off

DSC_1755 - Version 3

Credit: FAR Staff


[FAR New York]: In Memoriam: Kevork S. Hovnanian (1923-2009)

October 2, 2009

Kevork Hovnanian and the Mayor of Stepanavan
laying the foundation stone for
a new construction in the earthquake rattled area,
donated and managed by Hovnanian Enterprises.


Credit: FAR Staff


[FAR New York]: In Memoriam: Kevork S. Hovnanian (1923-2009)

October 1, 2009

Kevork Hovnanian arriving in Stepanavan shortly after the 1988 earthquake
to start construction of a whole village for the victims of the quake.
Here with Archbishop Manoogian, the Mayor of Stepanavan,
and the Minister of Construction of Armenia.


Credit: FAR Staff


[FAR New York]: Kevork S. Hovnanian Memorial Service

September 30, 2009

Dear Friends,

A memorial service will be held for Kevork Hovnanian at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City, on Saturday, October 3, 2009, at 2:00 p.m.

We will mourn the loss of an outstanding American Armenian and a founder of the Fund for Armenian Relief.

– The FAR Family


[FAR New York]: In Memoriam: Kevork S. Hovnanian (1923-2009)

September 30, 2009

[FAR New York]: In Memoriam: Kevork S. Hovnanian (1923-2009)

September 29, 2009

With great sorrow, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America mourns the death of Mr. Kevork S. Hovnanian, who passed away on September 24, 2009, at New York Presbyterian Hospital.  He was 86.

It would be impossible in a few words to pay proper tribute to Mr. Hovnanian, or to convey what he has meant to the Armenian Church, to the Republic of Armenia, and to the cause of our people.  Our own Diocese was blessed to have his active presence, his wise counsel, and his bold, imaginative leadership, as part of its daily experience for many years.  His influence over our leadership bodies—principally the Fund for Armenian Relief, the Armenian Church Endowment Fund, and the Diocesan Board of Directors—has been incalculable.  Indeed, were it not for Kevork Hovnanian, our Diocese would be a vastly different institution today.

Mr. Hovnanian was also a great supporter of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.  Among his many benefactions was the renovation of the 130-year-old Kevorkian Seminary.

Certainly, he was one of the great men of his generation; a giant not only in Armenian affairs, but in the worlds of industry, international commerce, and philanthropy.  He felt at ease among great dignitaries and world leaders.  Yet he was equally at home among people of every station and walk of life.

It has been my privilege to witness the great faith and piety which animated his actions, and filled his heart—a quality which he shared with his loving wife, Sirvart, their children Sossi, Esto, Ara, Lucy, and Nadia, and their many grandchildren.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

He was above all a family man, the patriarch of a vibrant, noble, and loving family, in whose intense embrace he spent his final days.  On Monday, September 28, the family held a private funeral, over which I presided, at the St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, N.J., which Mr. Hovnanian had built in honor of his mother.

We wish to inform the public that a memorial service will be held for Kevork Hovnanian at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City, on Saturday, October 3, 2009, at 2:00 p.m.

The family has asked that in-lieu-of-flowers donations in memory of Kevork Hovnanian be made to the Fund for Armenian Relief (630 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016), or to the St. Stepanos Armenian Church endowment trust fund (1184 Ocean Avenue, Elberon, N.J. 07740).

A brief film produced by the Fund for Armenian Relief in 2006, honoring Mr. Hovnanian’s remarkable contributions to our church and to the Republic of Armenia, is available on our Diocesan website, at

May our risen Lord remember his faithful servant on the day of His judgment.

With prayers,
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian


[FAR New York]: Founder and Honorary Chairman of the Fund for Armenian Relief, Kevork Hovnanian Passed Away

September 28, 2009

Beloved founder and Honorary Chairman of the Fund for Armenian Relief, Kevork Hovnanian passed away last Thursday.

A loving father and a successful businessman, Mr. Hovnanian was a pioneering advocate for the Armenian people. He did not hesitate a moment to help his fellow brethern in need when, in 1988, he travel to the earthquake ravaged regions of Gyumri and Spitak. Following that journey, FAR was born from his vision and that of his two colleagues, Dr. Edgar Housepian and Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, who also traveled with him to Armenia in this dark time of our Nation.

For the past 20 years Mr. Hovnanian’s dedication, strength, and support helped FAR to become one of the leading development organizations in Armenia. FAR is devastated by the news of his passing. His example and his vision will always serve as an inspiration to this organization and to the Armenian people.

Kevork Hovnanian



[Why do we visit Armenia?]: Teni Hovanissian

September 2, 2009

By Talene Baroyan

“I didn’t know I could experience such an intense love for something that was not living and breathing.”  These were the words Teni Hovanissian used to describe Karabakh.

Teni first traveled to Armenia in 1998, on a Homenetmen (Armenian Diaspora sports and scouting league) camping trip.   Why did Teni go to Armenian?  After attending Armenian school in Los Angeles for most of her youth, she had read a great deal about the culture and monuments of her ancestral land, and she was curious to see them firsthand.

During that first trip to Armenia, Teni developed what she herself described as “a deep love and appreciation” for the Armenian culture in its purest form.  Although the culture is rich and the country beautiful, Teni saw a lot of poverty in Yerevan in 1998, especially in children. Since then, organizations like the FAR’s Children’s Support Center were established as a direct response to the problem. The situation has improved greatly but although FAR has made great progress with respect to targeting child poverty, there is still much work to be done, especially outside of Yerevan.

Teni visited Lake Sevan on that trip in 1998.  While she was on the beach, she filled an empty sprite bottle with water from the lake, and kept it on her desk at home in Los Angeles for seven years, to serve as a reminder that she would have to visit Armenia again.

Beach at lake Sevan


Credit : Celine Kaladjian

In the summer of 2006, Teni decided to go for it.  She organized a young professional’s trip to Armenia through the Armenian National Committee (ANC).  Teni shared many thoughts with me about this second trip to Armenia.  What sticks out in my mind, however, is her description of her trip to Karabakh as “life-altering.” When Teni was eleven years old, she remembers hearing about the Karabakh war on television, but it seemed like something taking place on the other side of the world.  But when she visited Karabakh in 2006, she saw the poor Armenians living in the region and thought “how did these people fight?”  The terrain was unforgivably mountainous. In Shushi, there were still bullet holes everywhere, and it appeared as though the war ended yesterday (although by most accounts it ended in May 1994).   In the midst of this miserable post-war scenery, Teni found the people of Karabakh to have such hope, optimism, and a sense of resolve.  They had a clear vision for Karabakh, and Teni was thrilled that they shared it with her.

Teni first visited Armenia to see the things she had learned about in childhood textbooks.  She later returned to the country in order to continue her discovery of this foreign place she had fallen in love with.  Teni is an executive at a large pharmaceuticals company in Los Angeles, however outside of work, she is very involved in the Armenian community.  I was proud to introduce her to FAR (though she first met us through Facebook!), and she was excited about FAR’s programs in Karabakh, and FAR’s effort to help those still recovering from scars left by Karabakh war.