On Sunday, September 28, 2008, hundreds of individuals gathered in
Yerevan, Armenia’s Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall to watch the
presentation of AGBU’s highly anticipated educational resource, the AGBU
Armenian Virtual College (AVC), which is slated to launch in January 2009.
The AVC presentation was attended by various high-ranking members of the
Armenian government, including Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Education
and Science Minister Spartak Seyranian, Culture Minister Hasmik
Poghossian, AGBU President Berge Setrakian, and various AGBU donors,
including London-based Armenian benefactor Vatche Manoukian,
American-Armenian philanthropist Albert Boyadjian, and members of the
AGBU Central Board Vasken Yacoubian and Ruben Keshishian. The event was
also attended by a host of local Armenian intellectuals and academics
with a particular interest in scientific and educational innovation.
The AVC presentation was jointly organized by AGBU and Public Television
of Armenia and the event was hosted by commentator and spokesman Artak
Alexanian. During various breaks in the evening’s presentation, audience
members were treated to performances by various renowned Armenian pop
stars, including Lilit Pipoyan, Arsen Grikorian, Hayko, Shushan
Petrossian and the Empiray rock group.
AVC Coordinator and AGBU Silicon Valley Chairman Yervant Zorian was on
hand to make an extensive presentation about the online program about
its significance for AGBU’s educational mission.
AVC is an Internet-based accredited distance learning program that aims
to facilitate Armenian studies through new technologies. AVC provides
Armenian courses in history, language and culture (architecture,
geography, fine arts and music) and allows participating students to
choose from six languages of instruction: Western and Eastern Armenian,
English, Russian, French and Spanish. AVC will tailor lessons to suit
each student’s needs, thus ensuring that Armenians from around the
world, regardless of their age, country of residence or knowledge level,
will benefit from the resource.
During the presentation, the audience was treated to live online chats
with potential AVC students in Moscow, San Francisco and Damascus, which
demonstrated the program’s remarkable potential to serve the global
In addition to AGBU’s extensive support of AVC, the program was also
made possible through the involvement of computer programmers and
Internet specialists from Yerevan State University and the National
Academy of Sciences of Armenia. For more information about AVC, please
October 2008–On September 13, over 200 guests from several generations
gathered in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood to celebrate Camp Nubar’s
45th anniversary. The affair was held at the trendy downtown
Mediterranean restaurant, Thalassa, where guests enjoyed time with camp
friends while they sampled an array of Greek delicacies and European wines.
Pictures from 1963 down to the present were scattered about the room in
displays specially prepared for the event. A wide array of silent
auction prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, designer
couture, a flat-screen television, a diamond ring and sports tickets,
were available for bidding by guests. Various camp alumni even created
artwork in honor of the event to be raffled as prizes. For many, it is
said, once the Camp Nubar spirit is part of you it never leaves.
For most guests, the highlight of the evening was time spent with
friends both old and new, while reliving memories from summers at camp.
“The 45th-anniversary event was a great success! It gave me a chance to
reconnect with my ‘Camp Nubar family,'” said former camper and counselor
Rob Eden. “There were many people I hadn’t seen in over 10 years, and we
had a chance to relive memories which I’ve never forgotten.”
Campers and counselors, both young and old, told stories, remembered the
past and talked with excitement about the camp’s future. Some families
were represented at the event with three generations of Camp Nubar
“The event spanned generations–grandparents, baby-boomers and the
younger set—all came together to celebrate our beautiful camp,” said
Andrea Halejian, whose mother, mother-in-law, husband and children all
attended the anniversary celebration. “Many memories were recalled
because for so many of us, our early camp days established friendships
we still enjoy today.”
As friends gathered, the evening proved to be a great success and the
money raised from the silent auction and commemorative booklet will go
towards purchasing a new motor boat and making repairs on several cabins
in time for the 2009 season.
“For many people, their closest and dearest friendships began at Camp
Nubar and have lasted four decades,” said committee chairman Mardi
Merjian. “It is a pleasure for all of us to give back to the same place
where it started and we take pride knowing that it is still going strong
and constantly improving.”
The next Camp Nubar event will be a winter reunion (details to follow).
Pictures from Thalassa are available for viewing online at
An unprecedented international forum “Armenia – Arab World: Past and
Present” took place at the Faculty of Arts of the Cairo University on
Tuesday, April 29, 2008. The forum was held under the auspices of
Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr. Hani
Hilal, and it was sponsored by the Center for Armenian Studies at Cairo
University, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Egypt, as well as
various Egyptian-Armenian civic and cultural organizations, including
AGBU. AGBU Cairo contributed to the event by inviting three lecturers
The forum gathered approximately 20 prominent lecturers from Egypt,
Armenia, Syria and Lebanon, who specialize in various domains of
Armeno-Arab relations, including politics, history, culture and
literature. It was a distinctive gathering of the Arab world’s top
historians, researchers and experts of Armeno-Arab relations and
The event, which can be described as unique in the Arab world, included
various presentations that demonstrated the breadth and prominence of
Armenians through the centuries. The history of the Armenian communities
in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon was presented respectively by Drs. Mohamed
Refaat Al Imam, Nora Arisian and Arda Arsenian.
Other notable presentations were by Egyptian academic Dr. Gamal Mohamed,
who spoke about “The Armenians during the Ottoman Period,” the Lebanese
academic Dr. Hana El Haj who discussed “The Armenians and Islam,” Dr.
Nezar Khalili of Syria who addressed “Armenians & Arabs through
Translation,” Dr. Adonis El Ekra of Lebanon who presented on “The
Position of Arabs in Welcoming Armenian Refugees in Various Arab
Countries (1915-1923),” Dr. Saad El Din Kolayeb of Syria who delved into
a little-known topic, “The Role of Armenian Intellectuals in the Arab
Renaissance,” and Dr. Nicolai Hohanessian of Armenia who spoke about
“Armenia as Center of Arab Studies.”
The following academics also participated in the event: Dr. Shawkat
Youssef (Syria), Dr. Varoujan Kazandjian, Fayez Iskandar, Mohamed El
Beyaly, Abou El Yosr Farah and Fouad Raslan (Egypt), Venera Markarian &
Hayk Kotcharian (Armenia), Fouad El Marei, Shawkat Youssef & Samir
An exhibition of books on Armenian Studies was also held on this
The only Armenian network of its kind spanning five continents, the AGBU Young Professionals (YP) make Armenian communities around the world thriving, better places in which to live, through civic involvement and international cooperation bound by one common mission – to promote the Armenian identity and heritage.
Inspiring their peers to get involved and stay involved, the open-door policy of the AGBU Young Professionals has garnered them a worldwide reputation for promoting a sense of community and belonging for young Armenians ages 22 to 40.
Proof positive, the AGBU YP Network swelled to 22 groups with welcome additions abroad in Brazil, Australia, and Germany, while stateside, Washington, D.C. and Fresno, California joined the fold. Discussions are also underway to establish even more groups in South America and the Middle East by year’s end.
Substantive and impactful, the YP Network sponsored over 90 cultural, educational and social events in 2007 with over 5300 YPs in attendance, representing 20% of AGBU worldwide activity. Sharing the fruits of their labor, the groups also donated nearly $41,000 back to the community, with 70% of the funds earmarked for worthwhile AGBU projects in Armenia and Karabakh. The total amount of funds raised since the network’s inception has surpassed $135,000, of which over $60,000 was brought in by the fundraising powerhouse, the Young Professionals of Greater New York.
As the AGBU Young Professionals continue to build momentum around the world, groups are identifying novel ways to mobilize and attract their peers by promoting their professional lives and interests. Some key examples include the professional development seminar series organized by YP Toronto on contemporary topics such as identity theft, real estate and retirement planning, and the establishment of professional Special Interest Groups by YP Paris and YP Yerevan.
Other YP Groups elect to give back by contributing towards the good work of their AGBU Chapters and the well-being of their communities-at-large, as witnessed by YP Plovdiv’s administrative support of the local AGBU student scholarship program, the sponsoring of a fundraiser by YP Los Angeles and YP Orange County in California to benefit the AGBU Generation Next Mentoring Program, and YP Tehran’s visit to the Akunk Center, a facility for Armenian children with mental and physical diseases.
Additionally, the YP Network is exploring ways to harness its collective power through the release of a new logo and web platform on Meetup and Meetup Alliance (www.meetupalliance.com/agbu), adoption of a project to support the career development needs of youth in Armenia and promotion of international cooperation and understanding through a videoconferencing series with the largest Armenian diaspora in the world – Russia.
Los Angeles & Moscow Connect in Cyberspace
On July 19, 2008, the AGBU Young Professionals of Los Angeles (YP LA) collaborated with SIVAM, a peer organization based in Moscow, Russia, on a ground-breaking Internet videoconference.
With participants from the two largest Armenian diasporas assembled, the YP LA Publicity Chair Narine Zardarian based in Pasadena, California and SIVAM Coordinator Isabella Gushchyan based in Moscow, Russia facilitated the online videoconference exchange that compared and contrasted the Armenian-American and Russian-Armenian experiences, stimulating inquiries about key cultural differences and the sharing of anecdotal accounts.
“Videoconferencing with professionals in Moscow made me realize that there is an emerging global Armenian identity,” said Zardarian. “It is an identity that transcends geographic boundaries, dialects and other affiliations, but simply appeals to one’s inner core as an Armenian.