Among the guests and participants of the live Telethon were Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakyan, Primate of Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Pargev Mardirossian, Armenia Fund USA Chairman Raffi Festekjian, Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region Chairperson Maria Mehranian, Philantropist Levon Hairapetian of Moscow, and Los Angeles based Armenia Fund benefactor Vahe Karapetian and many outstanding business and community leaders.
A significant number of contributions came from Armenia and Russia, with the youngest among them 12 year-old Janik Simonyan from Yerevan. “We all have to participate, don’t we?” he said, explaining his wish to contribute $10. The final tally included funds raised during phonathons in Armenia, Karabakh, Europe and a special fundraising effort in Argentina.
“This is a broad effort to be able to say very soon that there is no poverty in Armenia” announced Foreign Minister Oskanian, who is the Armenia Fund International Board’s appointed coordinator of the Village Development Program. “It is a question of national security, because to be secure we need secure borders. Our villages need to feel secure”. The Village Development Program, approved by the Armenia Fund Board of Trustees in summer of 2007, aims at creating economic opportunities in the villages of Armenia and Karabakh through the revitalization of basic infrastructure, among other humanitarian needs.
“What we are trying to do” announced Armenia Fund USA Chairman Raffi Festekjian during his live address at the Telethon, “is restoring confidence in our citizens, giving them the opportunity to believe in themselves, to believe in the idea that hard work pays off, to believe in the ‘Armenian Dream’. With the Village Development Program, we hope to end despair and hopelessness in some of the most underserved communities throughout Armenia and Karabakh. This is a task that requires pulling together all of our resources.”
“We can make the Rural Development an unprecedented success only if we unite,” said Armenia Fund Executive Director in Yerevan Vahe Aghabegians. “We want Armenians to regain pride in their schools, hospitals, sports and cultural facilities that they were formerly so proud of, but which have fallen into a sad state of disrepair. We want people to be better off than before: materially and morally. We want a quality and secure life for our citizens,” he added.
Since 1996, funds raised at the Armenia Fund Telethon were directed toward vital projects that improved socio-economic conditions in Armenia and Karabakh through the construction of roads, water and gas distribution networks, schools and hospitals. In addition to this, within the Village Development Program, activities will be carried out towards development of agriculture and establishment of sound market economy. “The Armenia Fund is going from infrastructure development to sustainable development,” said Maria Mehranian, the Fund’s U.S. Western Region chairperson, during the telethon.
Among the major donors of this year’s telethon were: Levon Hairapetian ($2.5 million), Vahe Karapetian ($1 million), Project Cure ($700,000), Louise Simone Manoogian ($500,000), Hirair Hovnanian ($500,000), Varaz Samvelyan ($500,000), Armenia Fund - France ($1.6 million), Armenia ($1.2 million), Nagorno Karabakh ($1 million), George Pagoumian ($260,000), Feed the Children ($280,000), Armenia Fund - Argentina ($250,000), Eduardo Eurnekian ($125,000), Armen Ekserdjian ($200,000), Armenia Fund – United Kingdom ($200,000), Armenian Community of Switzerland ($150,000), AGBU ($150,000), Joe Yalkezian ($100,000), Armenia Fund – Toronto, Canada ($200,000), Armenia Fund - Lebanon ($100,000), New York Life Insurance Settlement Fund ($200,000), AXA Insurance Settlement Fund ($200,000), Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Los Angeles ($50,000), K-Telecom (AMD 45 million), Karabakh Telecom (AMD 32 million), Ardshininvestbank Bank (AMD 15 million), Armenian Railway CJSC (AMD 15 million), Central Bank (AMD 10.5 million), Ministry of Defense (AMD 10 million), Armenian Molybdenum Production CJSC ($20,000) and Yerevan Fund (AMD 5 million).
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
Armenia Fund USA