For Immediate Release
November 28, 2005

Contact: Arpiné Kocharyan
Tel: (212) 689-5307


Calling upon donors, contributors and friends to raise funds for the Rebirth of Artsakh

NEW YORK, New York - On November 17-20, 2005 a group of Armenian volunteers from various shifts of life came to help Armenia Fund USA with its Annual Fundraising Phonathon 2005. Having such diverse backgrounds, all of them had something in common - eagerness to help Artsakh. The Phonathon lasted for 4 days and was intended to raise funds for the Agricultural Initiative of the Rebirth of Artsakh Regional Development Program. Among 19 volunteers there were high school and university students, as well as professionals, all of them taking time from their busy schedules to help with the Phonathon. Over 3,000 phone calls were made to Armenia Fund USA’s donors and supporters east of Mississippi.

Phonathon focused on two main purposes: raising awareness among the supporters and friends of Armenia Fund USA by introducing them to the new initiative the Fund is undertaking to bring hope to the people of Karabakh and Armenia by improving standards of life there, as well as raising funds for the Agricultural Initiative project that Armenia Fund USA is spearheading this year.

The volunteers were very enthusiastic and some ‘confessed’ that before coming to volunteer they did not know much about Artsakh and its history, and that the opportunity of being involved with Armenia Fund USA made them also very much aware of what is really going on there. “As a volunteer for the 2005 Armenia Fund Phonathon, it was exciting to come together with other volunteers and work as a group to contact and reach as many homes as we could in just a few short hours. With everyone contributing positive ideas and enthusiasm, the experience was definitely gratifying” said Linda Kalayjian, a student from NYU.

This was the first time Armenia Fund USA conducted a fundraising Phonathon of this kind, and the positive acceptance of the Armenian-American community will certainly encourage the organization to develop this fundraising initiative further.

Armenia Fund USA staff and its Board of Directors deeply appreciate volunteers’ support to make the Phonathon happen. Volunteers’ help is very valuable for the organization because of the enthusiasm this group of young people bring to the event, as well as the support they are able to provide through the gift of their time and talents. The organization would like to particularly thank the Armenian Club at Columbia University and the Armenian Club at New York University for combining their efforts to recruit volunteers. Among them were: Linda Kalayjian, Colette Seter, Lorig Setrakian, Alison Herdemian, Caroline Kahyaoglu, Christine Gemdjian, Eliz Agopian, Elizabeth Gemdjian, Mary Krispo, Laurie Dabaghian, Levon Baghramian, Levon Vrtanesian, Pierre Hagopian, Raele Sabounjian, Soupouhi Bedikian, Vatche Tchekmedjian, Tamar Mikaelyan, Yeva Jermakian and Alexandra Papazian.

All funds donated through the Phonathon this year will go directly towards the Agricultural Initiative, the economics underpinning of the Rebirth of Artsakh Regional Development Program. The Agricultural Initiative is a three-region project to develop the agricultural economy of Karabakh. Armenia Fund USA will share the agricultural component of the Regional Development Program - a strategic initiative that is expected to bring long-term sustainable development for the region. Funds raised will go towards establishing Agricultural Development Associations (ADAs) throughout the Mardakert region. These ADAs will set up facilities to own, maintain and operate various types of appropriate farm equipment and provide mechanized services to farmers, to work the land at affordable rates. The ADAs will provide a technology package including access to farm equipment (tractors, harvesters, haying) along with other support elements such as fertilizer, plus training in farm management and animal husbandry. The Agricultural Initiative for the Mardakert region alone requires $3.0 million funding to serve the region’s 17,000 population.

After Armenia’s secession from the USSR, a conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh followed. The liberation of the land and the 1995 ceasefire came at great cost: those years of political unrest and economic turmoil left the country in a vulnerable situation, in urgent need for economic reform. Nagorno-Karabakh became an internationally unrecognized territory having no rights to official statehood, and, thus, no access to international aid. Because of this, Nagorno-Karabakh has been left to fight for its survival alone in order to sustain the land that was liberated at great human cost. This is why the necessity of supporting the region has fallen on the shoulders of the newly independent Republic and the Armenian Diaspora.

The development support to Nagorno-Karabakh is a crucial humanitarian initiative. Thus, let us hope that events like Phonathon 2005 will become major fundraising initiatives in the future and give Armenia Fund USA the opportunity to bring hope to people who await it.

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 go to our website at or call us at 212-689-5307.
Armenia Fund USA, 152 Madison Ave., Suite 803,
New York, NY 10016