<%@ Language=VBScript%> Armenia Fund USA





News -  Armenia Fund USA's Telethon 2003 Raises Over $6 Million To Build Karabakh's North-South Highway.

November 14, 2003

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 Bulgaria.

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 Ghoukassian.

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 a success.

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.

Armenia Fund USA is a non-profit, 501(3)(c) organization.

All donations are 100% tax-deductible.