AGBU President Participates in Visit of Armenian Catholicos’ Vatican Visit

Vatican_Visit_01 (Small) From May 6 – 12, 2008, and at the invitation of Roman Catholic Pope
Benedict XVI, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, made
his first official visit to Rome since the Catholic Pope’s election in
2005. He was accompanied by Armenian Apostolic archbishops from around
the world, AGBU President Berge Setrakian and major benefactors for the
Holy See of Etchmiadzin. The visit to Italy was composed of three parts:
a four-day visit to the Vatican, a one-day visit to the Armenian
community of Milan and a two-day visit to the Mekhitarian Congregation
on the Island of San Lazzaro in Venice.
In addition to the official events throughout the course of the week,
His Holiness and the church hierarchs also visited a number of Armenian
and Catholic churches and shrines. His Holiness and the high-ranking
clergymen departed Rome for Milan on Saturday, May 10, 2008.
Accompanying AGBU President Berge Setrakian to the Vatican were AGBU
Trustee Karnig Yacoubian, AGBU Central Board Members Sinan Sinanian and
Sam Simonian, as well as leading members of AGBU Milan.


Charles Aznavour Performs In Buenos Aires, Received At French Embassy

Aznavour_Performance_01 (Small) The world-renowned French singer Charles Aznavour visited Buenos Aires from May 2-4, 2008 and gave a performance at the Gran Rex Theatre in the Argentinean capital. On May 2, he attended a cocktail reception at the city’s French Embassy, which was hosted by French Ambassador Frédéric Baleine du Laurens and included special guests, Armenian Ambassador Vladimir Karmirshalian, Buenos Aires Minister of Culture Hernan Lombardi, and AGBU Central Board member Ruben Kechichian.
During his brief remarks, Ambassador du Laurens welcomed Aznavour to Argentina and thanked AGBU for its part in organizing the event. Minister Lombardi took to the podium to bestow Aznavour with the city’s “Honorary Guest” distinction.
On behalf of AGBU, Kechichian spoke of the singer’s importance and how he has become an icon to Armenians worldwide. General Secretary of AGBU Argentina, Antonio Sarafian, presented Aznavour with a sculpture made by artist Milena Sahakian. Aznavour was very moved by the honors and thanked everyone present.

AGBU E-Newsletter No.29



Talented Syrian-Armenian Violinist Mher Davoudian Gives Recital at AGBU Center in Damascus

2008-04-28 mher Dawoudian

Talented Syrian-Armenian Violinist Mher Davoudian Gives Recital at AGBU
Center in Damascus

AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School Goes Green

MDS_Panels_02 (Small)

With international attention focused on environmentalism, AGBU
Manoogian-Demirdjian School (MDS) of Canoga Park, California is doing
its part to stop global warming with its recent installation of solar
panels on the rooftop of the school. The brainchild of AGBU Central
Board member Sinan Sinanian, this bold environmental move makes MDS the
first private school in the Los Angeles area to incorporate solar power
into its energy needs.
Last year, the Board of Trustees contracted California Green Designs, a
company that designs and installs renewable energy sources, to provide
the school with sun-powered electricity. The solar panels were installed
on the roof of the high school building and the gym to eventually
provide the school with 40% of its energy needs.
Not only does the solar energy decrease the energy costs, but the school
will also be decreasing harmful emissions to the air by using this
environmentally friendly energy option.
“We believe we have made the right choice, pioneering for the sake of
our environment by providing a great example for other schools to
follow,” MDS announced in a press release.
The panels were installed on the rooftop of the school so space would
not be taken away from the playground. The primary advantage is
increased student awareness of environmental and economic benefits
through alternative energy. Through this project, the students have
become more environmentally aware and, in turn, can educate other
students in the same vein.
Sinan Sinanian knew solar power was a good fit for the school. “The
solar panels helped the institution save on energy costs while promoting
the values of conservation and environmental awareness.
Manoogian-Demirdjian is dedicated to the goals of excellence, which
extends beyond the classroom. We hope our students learn to become not
only good students but also good citizens,” he says.
The cost of the project was $1.2 million (USD). The Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power gave a rebate for almost half the amount
and the energy cost savings will pay for the rest of the project in
about 7 to 8 years. “As of today, we are saving thirty percent on our
electricity bill,” said Levon Keshishian, MDS’ Director of Business
To keep students, parents and the public informed about MDS’ ambitious
program, the school has created a solar power page on the MDS website,
which keeps track of the amount of greenhouse gases that have been
avoided since installation last year. Since August 29, 2007, the MDS
solar panels have generated enough energy to power 1,539 American homes
for one day. For more information, please visit and
click on the red “Solar Power Meter” button for a full report on the
energy savings.