YEREVAN—On September 24, the AGBU Vahe Karapetian Center was officially inaugurated in Yerevan. In attendance at the ceremony was the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian, Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan, Mayor of Yerevan Taron Margaryan, AGBU President Berge Setrakian, Armenian American philanthropist Vahe Karapetian, AGBU Council of Trustees member Karnig Yacoubian and AGBU Central Board members Sinan Sinanian, Vasken Yacoubian and Yervant Zorian, as well as more than 200 guests.
In 2014, Karapetian donated a 5500-square-meter building at 1 Zakaria Kanakertsi Street to AGBU. The center is a residence hall designed to foster closer ties between Armenia and diasporan youth from around the world, who stay at the center while participating in AGBU summer programs, such as Discover Armenia, the Yerevan Summer Internship Program (YSIP) and the Musical Armenia Program (MAP). The center also provides a venue for cultural and educational programs along with conferences and meetings. “This center will serve to strengthen ties between the youth of Armenia and the diaspora. Our main purpose is to bring students from various communities of the diaspora to their homeland, show them what it is like to live in Armenia and ensure their future communication and friendship with their Armenia-based peers. To serve this purpose, we intend to hold various educational, cultural and networking initiatives inside the walls of this center,” said Mr. Setrakian.
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, primate of the Tavush Diocese, opened the event by delivering a blessing by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians. Mr. Setrakian then bestowed on Vahe Karapetian the title of AGBU Benefactor Member and presented him with an AGBU Gold Medal in appreciation of his benevolence: “I have never been an AGBU member, but the organization has always been very close to my heart. For years, in the United States, whether on TV or elsewhere, I have always followed the activities carried out by AGBU, as an organization with a distinct policy and mechanism of national unity. I am familiar with the biography and activities of Boghos Nubar Pasha. We didn’t intend to build this into such a center. We worked very hard and I was very meticulous about this building. And then, when everything was ready, we just realized we didn’t want to use it, nor did we want to rent it or sell it. And I thought that I can only give it to AGBU: the organization that has always thought about the unity of our nation,” said Karapetian.
Accompanied by Mr. Setrakian, Mr. Karapetian, Mr. Yacoubian and others, President Sargsyan toured the center, became acquainted with the facilities as well as the programs to be implemented at the center. Sargsyan also visited the office of the Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center, which already operates in the AGBU Vahe Karapetian Center.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.