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A Special Message from AMAA Executive Director-CEO

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Friends,

As you may be aware, this April 24th marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  Between 1915 and 1923, two million Christian Armenians were forcibly uprooted from their homeland with 1.5 million of that number systematically slaughtered by the Ottoman Turkish government under the cover of World War I, effectively eliminating the 5,000-year presence of Armenians in our historic homeland.  This mass murder is considered the first documented genocide of modern times.

As someone of Armenian ancestry, the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the genocide is bittersweet:  it is an opportunity to remember our ancestors and those lost, but also celebrate the survival of our people.

What you might be shocked to learn is that Turkey not only denies the Armenian Genocide occurred -they pay DC lobbyists millions each year to make sure America doesn’t join the 22 countries (including France, Germany, and Canada), the Holy See, and former U.S. Presidents like Ronald Reagan who recognized the Armenian Genocide as “genocide.”

I’m asking you to join me and the entire Armenian American community in signing a petition at Change.org (http://chn.ge/1L7G1tn) to demand President Obama and Congress reaffirm former U.S. policy of labeling the Armenian Genocide as a “genocide.”

It’s worth noting that we’re simply asking President Obama to keep a promise he made to our community when running for President in 2008.  That promise has been thwarted by the Turkish government, which has built a powerful coalition of lobbyists in the United States who use their political influence to prevent international recognition of the genocide.  But I’m convinced that together our voices can speak louder than their lobbyist’s dollars.

If you would like to join us, sign the petition now.  Click on the link below.

When you have added your voice to the growing chorus of those who demand recognition of this genocide, I kindly ask you to forward this email to friends and family and encourage them to do the same.  Together, we can demand our elected officials stand on the right side of justice and morality, and put America on the right side of history.

Best,

Zaven Khanjian

AMAA Executive Director/CEO

Armenian Missionary Association of America

TEDx2With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Armenia, the TEDxYerevan Team organized a salon event in Armenia on March 7th in the auditorium of AMAA’s new Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School and Community Center in Yerevan.

As the guests walked toward the School, they immediately appreciated the modern structure and its design and layout. The Avedisian School student volunteers eagerly awaited, to help and answer questions in their well-spoken English, and gave the guests a quick tour of the “green school” and tell them of its efficiency. The solar panels outside and the grass covered roofs all made for a fine specimen. Room after room TEDx1the guests were amazed at the high technology in the classes and the potential to teach the upcoming generation. Chemistry labs, smart boards, projectors, computers sat ready for the upcoming week and the students who were ready to learn.

The theme of this first-time TEDx event was “Time and Space,” which focused on environmental issues facing Armenia.

International and local speakers included:  Diana Harutyunyan, Ph.D., Karen Aghababyan, Ph.D., Vardan Urutyan, Ph.D., Deputy minister for Energy and Natural Resources, Hayk Harutyunyan and Deputy Representative of UNDP in Armenia, Claire Medina as Host, with a performance by the MIHR Theater group.

The AMAA was honored to have the Avedisian School host and be a part of the world famous TEDx events. All attendees were encouraged to bring new or used books to donate to the Avedisian School Library.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short powerful talks.  TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics.

TEDx is an independently run program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.  At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event.  To learn more about Ted programs you may visit www.tedx.com.

Founded in 1918 in Worcester, MA, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) serves the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities around the world.  AMAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For additional information, visit www.amaa.org.

The AMAA is pleased to announce a $10,000 matching gift challenge extended to all supporters and friends by a very generous anonymous donor. Gifts received for the Armenian Children’s Milk Fund through April 30th will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000.

Your gift will effectively be doubled!

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Armenia Tour flyer 2015The AMAA is organizing a tour to Armenia in April.  In addition to visiting various sites in Armenia, the tour will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Spaces are still available! Please contact the AMAA by March 5, 2015 if you are interested in joining the group.  For more information, please contact AMAA at 201.265.2607 or e-mail: info@amaa.org

Land cost for the tour is $1650, contact Sidon Travel for airfare from your city – 428 South Central Avenue, Glendale, CA 91204 – Tel: (818) 553-0777; Toll-free:  (800) 826-7960; Fax: (818) 553-0779; Email: Info@sidontravel.com

Please mention “AMAA Tour” when you contact

By Gilda Buchakjian (Kupelian) 

AMAA-HU1The Seasons banquet hall was abuzz with guests at the AMAA/HAIGAZIAN UNIVERSITY FRIENDSHIP DINNER graciously hosted by Serge and Anita Buchakjian on February 7, 2015. Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) Board members from near and far, Haigazian University (HU)Trustees, alumni, and friends were delighted to help celebrate the only Armenian University in the Diaspora in high spirits, camaraderie, and philanthropy.

In his welcome address and words of thanks to the attendees, Serge Buchakjian, member of the Haigazian Board of Trustees offered a few heartfelt words about his first alma mater on the occasion of its 60th anniversary this year. How fortuitous that Haigazian University was the launching pad for his education and career in the aerospace industry, only two decades after the production of the first rocket ever in the Mideast led by Manoug Manougian and his Haigazian University team. Buchakjian underscored the fact that in addition to preserving the Armenian heritage, Haigazian University “impacts lives beyond just education. It teaches tolerance and fosters a culture of understanding through the open exchange of ideas across ethnic and religious backgrounds.” He was proud to call Haigazian University “a jewel of a university” hoping that it will prosper well over its 60th anniversary.

AMAAHU5 AMAA-HU4 Rev. Berj Gulleyan, pastor of the Armenian Presbyterian Church of Paramus, NJ was invited to say grace, with an inspirational invocation.

The new Executive Director and CEO of the AMAA, Zaven Khanjian was pleased to ascertain that education was the legacy contributed by the Armenian Evangelical Community to the nation and our people. Khanjian spoke of the pioneering work in creating ”a colossal network of educational institutions from kindergartens to elementary and secondary schools, institutions of higher education – colleges and schools of theology. We have pioneered in the education of women, introduced music and physical education and raised the level of literacy, education, enlightenment and culture within our people.” The Genocide “severed the trunk of our existence. It wiped out innumerable dreams and the unlimited potential of a nation.” Still, continued Khanjian “out of the ashes the Phoenix rose again, the AMAA was born in 1918. Education took precedence. Schools were built again and spread wherever our remnants took refuge. Visionaries were active again and so in collaboration with the AMAA, Haigazian was born.” Mr. Khanjian concluded his remarks by praising the spirit of philanthropy that has supported the efforts of all those who stood steadfast behind this institution.

As a token of appreciation, Mr. Khanjian offered the hosts, Serge and Anita Buchakjian, whose wedding anniversary coincided on that day, a sculptural artifact of the ark on Mt. Ararat, by Michael Aram, symbolizing overcoming adversity and reaching new heights.

AMAA-HU6The dynamic president of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidotsian thanked the hosts, the AMAA, and its Board members for their support. Dr. Haidotsian pointed out that “2015 coincides with the 60th anniversary of Haigazian University and that many events and celebrations will be planned in Beirut, Dubai, and the USA. But more meaningfully, our institution is named after a famous educator, Armenag Haigazian, who fell victim to the Genocide, and we are honoring and paying homage to his legacy as well.”

“How can one tell whether Haigazian University is still true to its mission and successful at that?” was president Haidotsian’s leading question. “Our graduates are doing very well in graduate programs around the globe; they are successful in the job market; our financial aid office is one of the most central functions at HU, and the support of the Syrian Armenian students was yet another testimony about that.  Our community outreach, research and publication efforts are bearing fruit and we are regularly organizing conferences and educational events.  We are still preparing leaders for the community, and acting as bridge-builders among all parties. What will sustain these efforts is the need for ongoing and generous support of everyone in more significant ways than before.”

Joyce Philibosian Stein, staunch supporter of Haigazian University for decades, following in her parents Stephen and Sirpuhi Philibosian’s footsteps was happy to herald the call for continued philanthropic efforts to help sustain the level of excellence achieved by Haigazian University, over the years, for its students. Tina Siegel, the apple that has not fallen far from the tree, continues her commitment for this institution of higher learning, that has remained a solid beacon of erudition despite years of trials and tribulations.  Tina’s journey with HU began when she overheard her mother and uncle repeatedly use the words AMAA and Haigazian in their household. That piqued her interest and after visiting the University with her parents, embarked on her philanthropic work following in her parents Joseph and Joyce’s footsteps.

Friends and alumni in good spirits including AMAA President and HU Trustees Chair, Dr. Nazareth & Dr. Ani Darakjian, Haigazian University Board members Gary Phillips and his wife Arsine, Hasmig Baran and her husband Arsen, Harry Najarian and his wife Cheryl, Robert Kurkjian, AMAA Past President Andy Torigian, West Coast Executive Director Levon Filian, Dr. Raffy and Shoghag Hovanessian, Khoren and Seta Nalbandian, Maurice and Berjouhi Gulesserian and many more enjoyed a cheerful evening replete with “joyful noise,” good food, music and dancing, and all for a good cause. After all, as Serge Buchakjian so aptly put it “heat warms the body, but friendship warms the heart.”

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