FAR Board member Michael Haratunian and his wife Marie recently visited Armenia to review the progress of the Gulamerian Vocational Training and Education Program*. The Haratunians are longtime FAR supporters and caretakers of the Harold and Josephine Gulamerian Foundation. They met with the beneficiaries of the program, which provides tuition and monthly stipends to orphanage children who have chosen to continue their education in colleges and vocational schools.
During their trip, the Haratunian also visited the Vanadzor orphanage, which is involved in the Gulamerian Vocational Training and Education program and the Gyumri orphanage, which is supported by FAR. The children were delighted to see the couple who are dedicated supporters of the most underprivileged children of Armenia and of children with special needs .
*The Gulamerian Vocational Training and Education Program was established in 1998 and has been successfully implemented by FAR thanks to the continuous support of the Harold and Josephine Gulamerian Foundation. The program enables children who have grown up in orphanages of Armenia to receive higher education and obtain special trades/skills to help them become integrated into society and live on their own. Since the program’s inception, it has helped more than 280 graduates find their place in life. There are currently 80 participants in the program from the Gavar, Vanadzor and Zatik orphanages.
In July, the chair of the FAR Board of Directors Mr. Randy Sapah-Gulian spent a week in Armenia with his family. During the trip, they visited numerous FAR projects and met a number of FAR beneficiaries to witness first-hand the outcomes of their noble efforts in Armenia.
During their visit, the Sapah-Gulian family spent a great deal of time at the FAR Children’s Center, one of the leading entities serving the cause of child protection in Armenia. Mr. Sapah-Gulian’s daughters Gabrielle and Olivia and niece Ariana volunteered at the Center throughout their stay, leading English, math, and dance classes, and simply enjoying their time with the children.
As this was the family’s, though not Mr. Sapah-Gulian’s, first visit to Armenia, they had the pleasure of touring the country’s beautiful landmarks. During their visit to Etchmiadzin, the family met with His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
On Wednesday, February 13, the exhibition of artist Arthur Pinajian was opened at the Antiquorum, in the Fuller Building. More than 150 guests, including personnel from various museums and galleries, art dealers, and art lovers, attended the opening, which was sponsored by FAR. Entitled Lost and Found: The Pinajian Discovery, the exhibition features 34 of Pinajian’s abstract paintings, and will run through March 10, 2013. Also available are a catalog of his works and essays by prominent art luminaries, edited by scholar Peter Hastings Falk.
Yerevan, Moscow, Providence, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Brussels. Those are the cities that she has been blessed to call home. She hasn’t resided in her birthplace since her family emigrated from Armenia 18 years ago. Each time she has visited, whether to see family, perform, or conduct research for her master’s thesis, she’s been inspired by the strength and vigor of an ambitious people.
After graduating from the Peabody Institute this past spring, Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan travelled to FAR’s New York office for an internship in communications. She was soon accepted as a new member of the FAR team and basks in the afterglow of that achievement as she looks back: “Personally, I was curious to better gauge the potential role of someone with a passion for music, as well as for social change, in our increasingly dynamic homeland. I strove to absorb everything I could about FAR’s endeavors, relationships with partner organizations, and strategies within existing infrastructures. Today, I’m thrilled to say that I’m a Communications Officer for FAR.”
As a Communications Officer, Tatevik works with an exceptionally talented and creative team to keep the public up-to-date with FAR’s activities on its website and daily blog. Among other responsibilities, she interacts with the enthusiastic supporters of FAR on social media platforms.
Tatevik recalls the story of how she became a member of the FAR family. In the summer of 2011, she traveled to Yerevan with the support of ACYOA and Birthright Armenia to volunteer at the FAR Children’s Center. In addition to teaching music, she carried out a number of administrative and interpretative duties. She attended forums regarding social issues in Armenia and visited numerous FAR project sites with fellow volunteers. “We were awed by the scope of FAR’s reach and inspired by the staff who work tirelessly to provide excellent services and enrichment opportunities for the most motivated, as well as most vulnerable, populations in promoting the development of our young state.”
Upon returning to the US, Tatevik spent her final two semesters of graduate musical studies anticipating weekly video chat sessions with a child from the Children’s Center who, she says, taught her “much more about strength, compassion, and optimism than I could ever hope to teach her as her mentor.” In the US, Tatevik remained curious to learn more about FAR‘s programs and eager to continue her involvement in its mission to nurture a brighter future for all Armenians. She feverishly read the FAR blog, followed Armenian news, and supported the ventures of fellow Birthright volunteers.
As a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Tatevik holds degrees in percussion performance and musicology. In the past, she has taught at community music schools and music camps, mentored young musicians in outreach programs, served as a writing consultant at the Peabody Institute, participated in choir leadership development programs, and acted as assistant director of the NAREK Bell Choir. She first began to cultivate her involvement in civic engagement initiatives while attending the Civic Leadership Institute of the Johns Hopkins University as a high school student.
Apart from performing, teaching, or connecting with progressive minds eager to contribute to the prosperity of Armenia and the world at large, Tatevik often enjoys Skype dance parties with her 5-year-old brother and enjoys exploring Belgium.
“All the while, I strive to live as courageously as the young souls from the Children’s Center who are quite honestly the bravest and brightest children I’ve ever met.”
It is with deep sorrow that we inform our readers that beloved humanitarian, mother, and educator Armine Zambak has passed away. May her soul rest in peace.
Armine Zambak was a woman who strived to strengthen Armenia and inspire its future generation of political leaders. She created the Armine and Garabed Zambak Scholarship Fund in 2010 in honor of her husband, the late Garabed Zambak, a successful entrepreneur and business leader in Istanbul who was especially dedicated to preserving Armenian heritage. After Garabed Zambak’s death in 1977, she continued his legacy.
Like her husband, Mrs. Zambak believed strongly in furthering educational opportunities. Through this particular scholarship she hoped to strengthen Armenia’s future by providing support and greater opportunity for young Armenians with dreams of becoming strong and dedicated future leaders in politics, international relations and public administration. Each fall the program provides full scholarships to four outstanding graduate students at Armenian universities.
“Now, I am not just another member of the civil service community. I will have to work very hard to serve my country,” said Tamara Ghalayan, one of the first recipients of the scholarship who is now working in Armenia’s Ministry of Finance.
Mrs. Zambak shall remain a great role model to all young Armenians. She was born Armine Tahtalyan in Ankara in 1916, shortly after her father was taken during the genocide. Despite numerous hardships, she graduated at the top of her class from Uskudar American College in Istanbul and excelled as a top employee in a bank. She later supported her husband, in business and volunteer work, often serving as his translator. Following her move to the U.S. in 1984, Mrs. Zambak remained a devoted supporter of the Armenian community.
Pontish Yeramyan, Armine Zambak’s eldest daughter, has been a member of FAR’s Board of Directors since 2006. She, too, continues in her parents’ footsteps to strengthen Armenia’s future through a commitment to continuing this scholarship program. According to her, “[FAR’s] purpose, to ‘Create a Bright Future for People in Armenia,’ is a perfect match with my parents’ purpose.”
When establishing the endowment fund in 2010 , Mrs. Zambak noted that “It is important that fresh, new approaches to leadership and progressive ideas in governance be brought to Armenia while honoring our precious culture and our people’s history.” Indeed, the Armine and Garabed Zambak Scholarship will continue to stimulate young Armenian students’ achievements through which they will benefit their communities for years to come.
With great sadness we want to inform that a great humanitarian, mother and educator passed away…
Armine Zambak 1916-2012
Armine Zambak was born Armine Tahtalyan in 1916 in Ankara, Turkey, the youngest of three children. Her father was taken in the genocide before she was born. Her sister went to live in an orphanage and their uncle took care of the rest of the family.
Armine attended Uskudar American College in Istanbul where she graduated first in her class. As a young woman she worked in a bank – unprecedented for an Armenian at that time – and excelled as a top employee.
She married Garabed Zambak in 1944, a successful business man and an influential leader in the Armenian community in Istanbul. He served as treasurer and as the financial backbone of Tibrevank seminary as well as the Sourp Pirgich Armenian Hospital. Armine had a large part to play in her husband’s success. She supported him in his business and volunteer work and traveled extensively with him, sometimes serving as his translator. She was also a worldly and gracious hostess, entertaining with elegance. The couple had two daughters, Agavni Pontish and Marie.
Garabed Zambak died in 1977 and in 1984 Mrs. Zambak moved to the United States where she remained a committed and passionate supporter of the Armenian community. She was a regular attendee of the St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church in Wynnewood, PA and an active supporter of the Armenian Sisters Academy in Radnor, PA. She followed politics closely and was committed to the development of strong national leaders. She funded a scholarship program in the early 1990’s for Armenian graduate students in the United States. She then transferred the fund to the Fund for Armenian Relief, dedicating it to supporting graduate students in political science and public administration at Armenian Universities.
At home, Mrs. Zambak enjoyed entertaining. An avid bridge player, she had a keen eye for the cards and a delightful demeanor. People loved to play cards with her. She enjoyed knitting and teaching the craft to boys and girls alike, and was fond of reading biographies of great leaders.
To all who knew her, Mrs. Zambak was the gentle teacher of life lessons. People around her were always left learning something valuable, about being graceful, about how to be in relationship with others, about being a lady. She was filled with practical wisdom.
Throughout her life, Armine Zambak was a constant source of strength for her family, always praying and always standing for everyone’s success. She is survived by daughters Agavni Pontish and her husband Ara Yeramyan and Marie Zambak Gregory; by granddaughters Araks Yeramyan and Ani and her husband Daniel Speirs, and by five great-grandchildren. She will be deeply missed.
“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.”