The 90th Annual Meeting of AMAA Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Armenian Children’s Milk Fund

By Ani A. Janbazian, DMD
andy and Phillips

Andy Torigian, AMAA Executive Director presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to Dr. & Mrs. Albert & Sue Phillips

The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) held its 90th annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island from October 16-18 marking a significant milestone not just for the missionary organization, but also for the Armenian

Children’s Milk Fund, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  The Armenian Children’s Milk Fund, an all-volunteer organization, which works in partnership with the AMAA, has been sending life-saving infant formula to Armenia since 1989 and was AMAA’s highlighted affiliated organization at their annual banquet this year.

Over 100 people attended the AMAA meeting, including AMAA board members, Armenian Evangelical ministers, church representatives, chapter delegates, worldwide mission partners and friends from all over the world.  On Friday, October 16, all were welcomed by Rev. Mgo Mekredijian, pastor of the host church, The Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church of Providence, R.I. with introductory greetings by Dr. H. Steven Aharonian, President of the AMAA.  A seminar Investing and Financial Stewardship was presented by speakers Harold Nahigian, President of Nationwide Investments & Insurance, Inc. as well as Todd Polyniak, CPA, Principal and Director of accounting and auditing at Sax, Macy, Fromm & Co., AMAA’s independent auditors. Following the seminar, the AMAA Board of Directors meeting began where all who were present heard the updates and reports of the activities as well as a discussion of future plans. 

andy & Joyce

Andy Torigian, AMAA Executive Director presenting to Joyce Philibosian Stein a letter from Mr. Henry Morganthau to Mr. Stephen Philibosian from 1916 and picture of Mr. Morganthau beautifully mounted, in honor of the generosity of her father, Mr. Stephen Philibosian, in both time and finances to assist needy Armenians

The 90th annual meeting began on Saturday, at 9:30 am at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, R.I., with reports from officers and administrators as well as from the numerous committees, affiliated boards, organizations, churches and chapters.  The names of the newly elected members were announced as follows:  H. Steven Aharonian M.D., Charles Bilezikian, Rev. Ara Guekguezian, Berjouhy Gulesserian, Lucy Janjigian, Aram R. Minnetian, Robert Messerlian, Carol Bezirganian Perez, M.D., and Michael Voskian, D.M.D. 
The annual meeting banquet was held that evening in The Bristol Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza where all members and guests were welcomed by Andrew Torigian, Executive Director of AMAA, followed by an invocation by Rev. Mgo Mekredijian.  Guests of the evening and the participants in the program were introduced by the Master of Ceremonies, Melanie Zeitounian of the host church.  Warm greetings were given by H. Steven Aharonian, M.D. (AMAA President), Rev. Joseph Matossian (Minister to Armenian Evangelical Union of North America), Rev. Joel Mikaelian (Armenian Evangelical Union of France President), Rev. Harout Selimian (Armenian Evangelical  World Council President) and Rev. Dr. René Leonian (AMAA Armenia Representative).  The highlight of the evening was the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Armenian Children’s Milk Fund, where the organization’s chair Jeanmarie Papelian,  Esq. acknowledged the fund’s milestone with a video presentation that depicted the 20 years of bringing life-saving infant formula to the children of Armenia.  In addition to the video presentation a special
Jeanmarie & Lilit

Lility Galstyan of Vanadzor, Armenia with Jeanmarie Papelian, chair of the Armenian Children's Milk Fund

guest, Lilit Galstyan, from Vanadzor, Armenia was introduced. Lilit was one of the thousands of infants from Armenia who received the infant formula during the first few years of her life when she was unable to breast feed because she and her mother were both suffering a life threatening infection from tainted well water. Without the formula, she may not have been alive today. Now 17 years old and healthy, Lilit gave an emotional testimony and a word of gratitude and thanked the AMAA and the Milk Fund for their support.  A beautiful musical program followed with soloist Gohar Manjelikian and pianist Levon Hovsepian.  Andy Torigian presented to Dr. Albert Phillips and his wife Sue a certificate of appreciation for all their work in coordinating and leading a medical team to Armenia in July 2009.  They gave a presentation of the work accomplished there and shared their appreciation for the hard work of their entire team.  Also, a letter from Mr. Henry Morganthau to Mr. Stephen Philibosian from 1916 and picture of Mr. Morganthau were beautifully mounted and presented by Andy Torigian to Mrs. Joyce Stein in honor of the generosity of her father, Mr. Stephen Philibosian, in both time and finances to assist needy Armenians. A benediction by the Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian concluded the evening’s banquet.

The 90th Annual Meeting Worship Service and Installation of AMAA officers were held the next morning at The Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church.  Rev. Avedis Boynerian, moderator of the AEUNA, presented the Armenian sermon with Rev. Greg Haroutunian delivering the English sermon.  Executive Director Andy Torigian gave a service of remembrance “to those AMAA members who concluded their earthly pilgrimage during the past year and joined the heavenly audience.”  The service was concluded with the installation of the newly elected AMAA Board members by the Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian, Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.  

The entire weekend would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the AMAA staff, The Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church, their minister Rev. Mgo Mekredijian and the Church Council for hosting the meeting and the ladies of the church for preparing the lunches and dinners, as well as Carlos and Nancy Taraktzian of the host church for playing a key role in handling the weekend’s logistics.

This year’s 90th annual meeting was once again a success, bringing all participants together in fellowship to praise God for AMAA and its services in 24 countries around the world. 

The AMAA serves the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities around the world.  The AMAA was founded in 1918 in Worcester, MA and was incorporated in New York in 1920.  AMAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


AMAA Summer Camp/Christmas Committee Celebrates 10th Anniversary of CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER

Summer Camp/Christmas Committee Members with some of the AMAA staf

Summer Camp & Christmas Committee members with some of the AMAA staff: (seated L to R) Marie Alberian, Elbiz Baghdikian (Committee Chairperson), Lucy Janjigian (National Chairperson), Lucienne Aynilian (past Co-Chairperson), (standing L to R) Rev. Dr. René Léonian (AMAA Representative in Armenia), Dikran Youmshakian (AMAA Field Director), Magda Poulos (AMAA Development Director), Seta Nalbandian, Louisa Janbazian (Committee member and AMAA Publications/Public Relations Supervisor), Janet Avakian, Andrew Torigian (AMAA Executive Director), Adrienne Talanian, Rosemarie Goulian, Carol Goulian Stewart, Elizabeth Aynilian, Rose Torigian, Lily Anne Babigian and Ida Gueyikian

By Ani A. Janbazian, DMD

Paramus, NJ – Every year, 25,000 needy children in 50 different towns and villages throughout Armenia, Karabagh and Georgia eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Christmas season. For these children and their families, the coming of Christmas means one time out of the year when they can look forward to a joyous celebration where they can come together and glorify Christ’s birth with each other. The AMAA Summer Camp and Christmas Committee’s mission each October is to raise monetary support to provide their underprivileged Armenian little brothers and sisters an annual Christmas Program where they can hear the miracle of the Nativity Story in a theatrical presentation, worship with songs and receive a Christmas Joy Package, which for many of them is the only gift they receive for Christmas.

This year, the AMAA Summer Camp and Christmas Committee celebrated their “Christmas in October” fundraiser on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at the elegant Seasons restaurant in Washington Township, N.J. Over 80 guests who attended were seated at tables with a Christmas wreath in the center, adorned with red and white Christmas ball ornaments tied with strings to donation cards. Guests generously donated and wrote their names on the cards and had them hung on a Christmas tree in the center of the ballroom.
The luncheon began with a word of welcome from Summer Camp/Christmas Committee Chairperson, Elbiz Baghdikian, who introduced Rev. Dr. René Leonian, AMAA Armenia Representative, to give the luncheon prayer. Rev. Leonian then introduced a special guest, Ms. Lilit Galstyan from Armenia. Ms. Galstyan was a recipient of AMAA’s help in many ways; one of them was the receipt of infant formula from the AMAA’s Armenian Children’s Milk Fund during the first few years of her life when she was unable to receive her mother’s milk. Without the formula, she may not have been alive today. Now 17 years old and healthy, Ms. Galstyan thanked the AMAA and recited an Armenian poem. Greetings were given by Lucy Janjigian, National Chairperson of the Summer Camp and Christmas Committee, followed by a moving video presentation that portrayed impoverished families throughout villages in Armenia and children receiving necessary care packages and Christmas gifts from AMAA.

Decorating the Christmas Tree with Donation Card Ornaments

Some of the guests decorating the Christmas Tree with Donation Card Ornaments

The Armenia Summer Camp and Christmas Committee members each year have volunteered their time and efforts to organize the annual fundraiser luncheon to help raise funds to bring some joy into each Christmas season for Armenian children. It was for that reason that during this year’s luncheon, Mr. Andrew Torigian, AMAA Executive Director, gave a word of appreciation to the chairpersons Lucy Janjigian and Elbiz Baghdikian, past co-chairperson Lucienne Aynilian, and present and past committee members for their hard work on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the formation of this committee. Each committee member received a plaque and came together on stage for a round of applause of great thanks. Following the plaque presentation, the guests enjoyed a musical performance by the Harmonia Chamber Players ensemble. The closing prayer was given by AMAA Field Director, Dikran Youmshakian.

Prior to the arrival of the guests at the luncheon, an empty, lone Christmas tree stood in the center of the ballroom. Shortly after the luncheon program began, the tree was overwhelmingly filled with ornaments of donation cards. Each ornament symbolized at least one child who will receive a gift of joy this coming Christmas season. So far, about $20,000 is raised towards this year’s Christmas Joy Packages. If you wish to be part of this fundraising event, you may send your donations to the AMAA at 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652, earmarked for Christmas Joy Packages, or donate on-line by visiting Each child’s Christmas package costs $10.00 and includes the Christmas celebration and a Christmas gift. May God continue to bless us, so that we may be a blessing to others who are in need of love and joy.