For Immediate Release
June 15, 2007
ARMENIA FUND IS 15 YEARS OLD
Celebrating 15 years of nation-building
in Armenia and Karabakh
YORK, New York — The year 2007 marks the 15th Anniversary of Armenia
Fund — a pillar organization created after Armenia’s independence
and mandated with the vital task of uniting all Armenians around
the world to direct efforts toward development and revival of
the nation. For 15 years the Fund, with its 19 affiliates across
the globe, has touched countless lives in Armenia and Karabakh.
Combining aid, development and direct investment, Armenia Fund
has engaged Armenia’s leaders, its people and the worldwide Diaspora
to promote education, create jobs, improve public health and develop
infrastructure, among other critical humanitarian needs. Today,
Armenia Fund’s contributions to social and economic prosperity
of Armenia and Karabakh are unprecedented.
The 15th Anniversary of Armenia Fund is a celebration of the
past, present and future of the Armenian people. It is a celebration
of overcoming challenges by working together. Above all, it is
a celebration of humanity, courage and hope.
BEGINNINGS: ARMENIA FUND 1992
In 1991, after refusing to participate in Gorbachev’s planned
referendum on preserving the Soviet Union, the Armenian people
went to a national referendum with over 99 percent of the population
approving the republic’s commitment to independence. A declaration
of independence followed the vote.
With that courageous choice, our people fulfilled a historic
dream – the Republic of Armenia, an independent state with all
the privileges of official statehood bestowed upon its citizens.
Armenians in Armenia and around the world, united in a historic
mission of nation-building, pledged to support the newborn Republic.
Despite widespread expectations for a smooth road to development
and balanced transfer to an open market economy, harsh days awaited
the Armenian people. The disintegration of the Soviet Union not
only changed the geopolitical landscape of the region, but posed
serious security issues for Armenia. The armed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh,
which has not found a peaceful solution up to this date, triggered
a war in 1992 between the two neighbors - Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The recovery from the disastrous 6.9 magnitude earthquake of
1988 that had left over 40% of Armenia’s territory devastated
and taken more than 25,000 lives was still a day-to-day reality.
With more than half a million people left homeless, the political
instability both internally and externally, the economic blockade
from the east and west and an on-going war made recovery almost
grind to a halt. The situation was further aggravated by a deep
socio-economic crisis when, as a result of the transportation
blockade, most of the industrial activity within the country was
shut down, factories liquidated and basic energy supplies disrupted.
These and other devastating factors imposed a widespread impoverishment
throughout the country, leaving many of its people with little
hope and desperate for help. A time of trial began for Armenia,
propelling the nation through intense growing pains as it fought
It was under these harsh circumstances that, by a special decree
from the first President of the independent Armenian Republic,
“Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund was founded in April of 1992. Armenia
needed to combine all efforts and means of the Diaspora and direct
them toward rebuilding and strengthening the very foundations
This mission was entrusted to Armenia Fund.
Initially mandated to meet basic humanitarian needs, Armenia
Fund soon became the united voice of the Armenian Diaspora around
the world. The aim was one – to correctly assess the core area
needs for development and help Armenia stand on its feet at a
historical juncture of nation-building.
The Fund’s first major initiative was the $22 million Winter Humanitarian
Project, which alleviated pressing social needs, particularly
providing heating and preventing a humanitarian crisis as a result
of electricity and gas supplies disruption across the country.
At the same time, the Fund initiated a house-building program
following the Spitak 1988 earthquake, providing accommodation
to those left without shelter in Gyumri, Vanadzor, Stepanavan
The Diaspora’s help to Armenia was not restricted only to humanitarian
aid, but soon began to draw on major investments and a comprehensive
strategy to implement grassroots development projects. A moral
responsibility emerged, and many caught the vision - they could
and would make a difference. Many non-governmental organizations
were created with specific missions to address concrete issues.
Armenia Fund USA, with its international affiliates around the
world and with All-Armenian Fund in Yerevan, focused its efforts
on providing sustainable socio-economic development through large-scale
infrastructure such as healthcare centers and clinics, major roads
and highways, schools and cultural centers, drinking and irrigation
water systems, housing and more. Further initiatives of the Fund
started to include more of capacity-building programs with a special
emphasis on rural development and economic revitalization.
Over the past 15 years, Armenia Fund has invested more than
$160 million in sustainable development in Armenia and Karabakh.
This makes the Fund the largest contributor to critical infrastructure
projects in all aspects of social and economic activity. Securing
long-term development solutions, the Fund has had an outstanding
impact on the lives of countless citizens of Armenia and Karabakh.
Armenia Fund has evolved over the years into an organization that
has an unprecedented track record of affecting change. In recognition
to its development work, Armenia Fund was accredited to the United
Nations in spring of 2006, as one of the most credible international
organizations working in Armenia and Karabakh.
To recognize and thank the Diaspora for its 15 years of continuous
support to Armenia and Karabakh, Armenia Fund will hold a 15th
Anniversary Gala Banquet at the United Nations on October
6, 2007. Join Armenia Fund as it celebrates the tenacity of the
Armenian people and strength of the Armenian Diaspora!
ARMENIA FUND USA LEADERSHIP
Board of Trustees: H.H. Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch
and Catholicos of All Armenians represented by Archbishop Khajag
Barsamian, Primate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America;
H.H. Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia represented
by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate, Prelacy of the Armenian
Apostolic Church of America; Hon. Gagik G. Haroutiunian, President,
Constitutional Court Republic of Armenia; Hirair Hovnanian, Chairman
of the Board of Trustees of Armenian Assembly of America.
Chairman Emeritus: Hagop Kouyoumdjian.
Board of Directors: Raffi Festekjian, Chairman; Khoren
Bandazian, Esq. Secretary; Gregory Amerkanian; Linda Chirinian;
Jean-Jacques Hajjar, M.D.; Sarkis Jebejian, Esq.; Barkev Kalayjian;
Hilda Melconian; Kharen Musaelian; Artemis Nazerian; Tro Piliguian;
Zaven Tachdjian; Kevork Toroyan.
ABOUT ARMENIA FUND USA: founded in 1992, was
one of the first of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 19 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 19 international affiliates
– supporting strategic infrastructure projects in Armenia and
Karabakh. 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 212-689-5307.
Armenia Fund USA
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 301
New York, NY 10038