“Studying [Mahatma Gandhi] teaches that consistency and endurance are fundamental components of being human. It also teaches us to be humble, because behind every role there is a human being, and that as long as we respect all human beings, that’s probably the most important thing that we can do for each other.”
New-York based attorney Anahid Ugurlayan runs a marathon to support a charity each year. This year, she raised funds for two charities at the Hamptons Marathon: the Armenian Relief Society and the Fund for Armenian Relief.
Anahid has been a supporter of FAR for many years. She first witnessed its deep investment in Armenia’s vulnerable population and promotion of individual rights during her first trip in Armenia in 2002 with the Young Professionals. In 2005 she ran the NYC Marathon to benefit the FAR Children’s Center. This year, she ran for FAR’s soup kitchens.
On the unusually humid and damp fall morning of September 29, Anahid braved the poor running conditions of her 8th marathon to proudly support ARS and FAR. She reflects, “I simply ignored the pain and the weather and focused on two things — the charities I was running for and running the best race I could. I remembered the beautiful faces of the elderly men and women I met when I visited the FAR Soup Kitchen in Gyumri in 2002 and 2010 and the children in Hadrut for whom the ARS Sosse Kindergarten is a second home.”
Anahid’s high spirits, as well as encouragement and generous donations from her friends and family saw her through to the finish line in 5:17.45.
Anahid remarks that “we can all make a difference in the lives of others and it need not be on a big scale.” Indeed, we wholeheartedly thank her and her fans for raising funds for FAR’s nutritional programs. Together, we will help disadvantaged families and the elderly of Armenia lead a life of dignity and respect.
The final days of the FAR Board Members’ visit have been full of exciting travels.
Certain Board Members journeyed to the Zangakatun village, which is famed as the birthplace of the legendary poet Paruyr Sevak and known for its multitude of apple varieties. Members had lengthy discussions with the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) Foundation officials about advancing the financing of the agricultural economy in Armenia. FAR Board Member Greg Toufayan was especially moved to visit Zangakatun, as his family has generously financed the construction of a cooling complex for many fruits, as well as the reconstruction of the Zangakatun kindergarten.
The Board also enjoyed touring various sightseeing locations around Dilijan and Lake Sevan.
Board Members left Armenia with a myriad of powerful impressions that will remind them of a future purpose to return to the motherland with new ideas and projects.
Being on the same page about FAR’s mission is something that is guaranteed by their benevolent consciousness, wherever they may live and work as individuals; however, being together on Armenian land is a rare and unique occasion for all of them to see that mission reflected in reality.
For the past few days, the FAR Board of Directors have been traveling together in Armenia as part of a week-long trip to witness first-hand the outcomes of their most noble efforts. They have already visited various locations in the country that receive their support through a number of programs implemented by the Fund for Armenian Relief.
Official meetings are mixed with short trips and stopovers at sightseeing landmarks. This event proves to be very effective as each of the BoD members has the chance to get to know the others members of the BoD, whom they may only know through electronic correspondence. Some of them have come to Armenia for the very first time in their lives, while others have had the opportunity to travel back and forth with their ideas and projects from the US Armenian community.
After a meeting with His Holiness Karekin II Surpreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians at the Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin on September 23 the members of the BoD made a small pilgrimage to the Noravank monastery with still a very busy and fruitful schedule ahead of them for the coming days.
On September 24 BoD outstanding member Dr. Aram V. Chobanian acted as chairman of the ANSEF forum at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. Meanwhile, the rest of the BoD members toured the facilities of the FAR Children’s Center in the Zeytun district of Yerevan. Here, they had the opportunity to socialize with the children, who perceived a benevolent feeling of care and affection each moment that the BoD members interacted with them. To conclude the day’s activities, the group visited the Genocide Memorial of Tsitsernakaberd.
Today, the Board was in Gyumri for a special visit to the Gyumri Information Technologies Center where Mr. Patrick Sarkissian, GTech’s main donor and contributor, was delighted to see the progress of GTech’s Business Development Unit.
Afterwards, the group headed towards the Atinizian Senior Center in Gyumri where they received a warm welcome and heard many heartfelt words of gratitude for their constant charitable support. FAR BoD member and passionate benefactor Mr. Nishan Atinizian received an intensely warm welcome, as he was greeted by a group of elderly women, beneficiaries of the kitchen, all lit up by what might be described as a proud motherly feeling, rather than mere thankfulness.
The next stop was the construction site of Gyumri’s Octet School of Music, where the BoD led the construction commencement ceremony, together with RA Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan and Governor of Shirak province Ashot Giziryan. His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, who is also President of the Fund for Armenian Relief, performed a beautiful ceremony to bless the construction site with the Primate of Shirak Diocese His Grace Bishop Mikayel Ajapahyan and deacons. The incense filled the site as the Board members among many other guests sang along to the chants.
After returning to Yerevan, FAR Board members had an official meeting with RA President Serzh Sargsyan.
The Board of Directors’ visit to Armenia has been full of gripping and memorable events that will remain in our diary as a page to be read and re-read in the future. Stay tuned for more updates from the BoD Armenia Trip 2012.
(Slideshow photos N1-5 contributed by Felix Arustamyan)
New York —The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) is pleased to announce that Mr. Armen A. Avanessians, a partner at Goldman Sachs & Co. and a member of Columbia University’s Board of Trustees, has joined the organization as the newest member of its Board of Directors.
St. John the Divine on May 1st will be hosting a concert of Armenian music, which will include folk music and the Divine Liturgy. The show will be preceded by a lecture from ethnomusicologist Sahan Arzruni. For more information, go to stjohndivine.org or click here to download the flyer in PDF.
“Loving a child is a circular business… the more you give, the more you get, the more you get, the more you give.” -Penelope Leach
Children are the most vulnerable population in society. Because they cannot protect themselves, their care is everyone’s responsibility. In Armenia, poor socio-economic conditions and underdeveloped infrastructure make child protection one of the most critical issues in the country. Many children in Armenia experience violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and exclusion each and every day. Such violations limit their chances of surviving, growing, developing and pursuing their dreams. FAR Children’s Center works to prevent these violations and empowers families and children to live healthy and productive lives.
FAR Children’s Center is a unique place with professional staff, which includes social workers, psychologists and nurses. The staff provides individual care and support to children between the ages of three and 18 years, as well as their families, by addressing the core problem of each child. With the help they receive at the Center, most children return to school and reunite with their families. The Center also tries to find foster parents for children who would otherwise end up at an orphanages or “special schools” for disabled children.
Children’s Center Director Doctor Mira Antonyan will travel to the U.S. to attend the event on May 18th. She will talk about the state of child protection in Armenia. Dr. Antonyan will also show event attendees how critical donor support is for the Center. The institution would not be able to carry out its life-changing programs for at-risk youngsters without the kind contributions from its generous supporters.
Under the auspices of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate and President of FAR, and together with Honorary Chairperson Mrs. Sirvart Hovnanian, FAR invites everyone to join this important cause to benefit Armenia’s most vulnerable children.
Please purchase your tickets for the Banquet – Barahandes in honor of Armenia’s Children at www.farusa.org or by calling 212.889.5150.