November 14, 2003
ARMENIA FUND USA'S TELETHON 2003 RAISES OVER $6 MILLION
TO BUILD KARABAKH'S NORTH-SOUTH HIGHWAY
Armenia Fund’s Telethon 2003 was a success, both in support
and spirit. Armenians from around the world called in to pledge
there support for Karabakh’s North-South Highway. A dedicated
group of volunteers devoted their Thanksgiving holiday to the
collaborative efforts of Armenia Fund’s international offices,
which raised over $6 million to build 26 miles of new highway
and new opportunity for Karabakh. Internet broadcasts and exposure
on international Armenia Public TV via satellite inspired contributions
from countries such as Canada, France, Iran, Syria, Russia, and
Armenia Fund USA Chairman, Kevork Toroyan highlighted the importance
of the Diaspora’s support for Karabakh. “It is vital Armenians
in America and elsewhere in the Diaspora understand they are the
source to help Karabakh. Since Karabakh is not an internationally
recognized country,” said Toroyan, “organizations such as the
World Bank and International Monetary Fund do not provide support.
The responsibility of developing the country lies with Diaspora
organizations, like Armenia Fund USA, which is why Telethon donations
are so important.”
Produced in California by Armenia Fund since 1996, the Telethon
was broadcast on the east coast from 2:00–6:00 PM on Comcast cable
in Massachusetts and on WMBC in New York and New Jersey. The Telethon
featured performances, documentaries, updates on the Highway project,
and messages from continuing donors such as George Pagoumian and
Hratch Kaprielian. The complete program was broadcast on Armenia
Fund USA’s website at www.armeniafundusa.org.
Throughout the broadcast, the name of each donor, regardless of
contribution size, was displayed on the screen.
Participation from the Armenian-Massachusetts community was noticeably
higher during this year’s Telethon. Organizers credit local organizations
in Massachusetts, which worked to promote the Telethon and hosted
several fall events to welcome Nagorno-Karabakh’s president, Arkady
This was the first year the New York City office rounded up volunteers
to work the long hours on Thanksgiving needed to make the Telethon
a success. “On Thanksgiving I wanted to remember that there are
people who are less fortunate than we. Armenia is a great place
and I’ve learned a lot about it.” said Stodolak, a new volunteer.
“We are all working for the betterment of Nagorno-Karabakh. During
the Telethon, we all got to know each other as friends because
of the Thanksgiving dinner we shared,” Irina Lazarian of Armenia
Fund USA said of the supporters. Caterer, Krichian Foods of Paterson,
New Jersey, donated a Thanksgiving Day dinner complete with special
Armenian delicacies for the volunteers, who helped make the project
The North-South Highway, linking more than 100 towns and villages,
from Mardakert to Hadrout, will allow merchants and farmers to
bring their goods to market, give children a means of attending
schools in neighboring villages, and will provide a channel for
fluid travel in the region.
International investment in Karabakh has been spurred by the
Highway’s construction and the employment of modern construction
will cut vehicle depreciation by 50 percent and gas costs by 20
percent. The Highway will also enhance the security of Karabakh
by serving as a deterrent against possible future aggression from
Azerbaijan. At a total cost of $25 million, the Highway will span
106 miles. More than 25 miles have been built to date and completion
is scheduled for 2006.
Each $150 pledged to the project translates to 3.4 feet of highway.
The money raised by the global Thanksgiving Day Telethon meant
Armenians in America helped build 26 miles of new highway and
new hope for Karabakh. Pledges are being accepted for the North-South
Highway project in Nagorno-Karabakh. You can donate online or
call (212) 689-5307 for more information.
ABOUT ARMENIA FUND USA: ARMENIA FUND USA, founded in 1992,
was the first of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 18 international affiliates and serves constituents in all states east of the Mississippi.
As a non-profit, non-governmental, nonsectarian organization,
the Fund represents all Armenian constituents.
Armenia Fund USA is the largest contributor among the 18 international affiliates – supporting strategic infrastructure projects in Armenia
and Karabakh, and having helped build 138 miles of roads, 100
miles of waterways, 36 schools, 3 electric transmission networks,
210 residential buildings and 15 healthcare institutions.
Armenia Fund USA’s Mission is the development of strategic
socio-economic infrastructure in Armenia and Karabakh, focusing
on major projects such as major highways, schools, drinking water
to communities and humanitarian programs in education, training
and medical facilities. The Fund has adopted a policy to go “Beyond
Bricks and Mortar” to provide sustainability for projects it sponsors.
To learn more about Armenia Fund USA, please visit
our website at
or call us at 201-639-3985.