Noted Journalist, Activist Dr. Nubar Berberian Passes Away

Dr. Nubar Berberian
Dr. Nubar Berberian

Dr. Nubar Berberian

WATERTOWN, Mass. – After a brief illness, noted journalist and Armenian activist Dr. Nubar Berberian passed away on November 23. He was 94.

He was born in Cairo, Egypt, on September 25, 1922 to Kevork and Areknaz Berberian. After receiving an Armenian education in the Nubarian School of Heliopolis, he studied in the French lyceum for the French baccalaureate. He received his law degree in 1944 and registered at the Egyptian Mixed Tribunal.

With an unquenchable thirst for education, he left for France, where he received a doctoral degree in jurisprudence in 1947 from the University of Paris School of Law. Full of Armenian patriotic fervor, he entered Armenian public life, putting aside other career possibilities.

Most probably, he was unable to form a family due to his nomadic existence. Instead, the Armenian nation and homeland constituted his family. He also dedicated himself to the care of his elderly mother, until her final advanced years.

His life consisted wholly of labor in the service of the Armenian nation, working as a talented journalist, an articulate and compassionate orator and a principled leader. Nearly all the main contemporary organs of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) became part of his life. Thus, in 1947 he accepted the editorship of the newspaper Abaka in Paris, after which he edited the following organs: the daily Arev in Cairo (1948-1958), the thrice-weekly Nor Or of Fresno (1958-1960) and Boston’s Baikar daily (1961-82). During the same period, he published short stories and poetry in the Baikar yearbook under the penname Piuragn.

After retiring in 1982, he still prolifically published articles in the newspapers Zartonk of Beirut, Abaka of Montreal, Azg of Yerevan and Nor Or of Los Angeles.  

He became a member of the ADL in 1941, and as a young intellectual, he collaborated with the great Armenian leaders of the time, including Mihran Damadian, Vahan Tekeyan, Eugene Papasian and Alexander Sarukhan. Simultaneously, he became a member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, and enjoyed the confidence and affection of the benefactor and president of this organization, Alex Manoogian.

Dr. Berberian became one of the founders of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada, and as its lifetime member, served in its executive as secretary until the last day of his life.

His rich legacy includes thousands of editorials on Armenian national, political, and international issues, as well as memorable pages of fiction and poetry.

 From left, Dr. Nubar Berberian, with Dr. Arshavir Gundjian and President Serzh Sargsyan of the Republic of Armenia at the Baikar Building in March 2016 (Photo: Jirair Hovsepian)

From left, Dr. Nubar Berberian, with Dr. Arshavir Gundjian and President Serzh Sargsyan of the Republic of Armenia at the Baikar Building in March 2016 (Photo: Jirair Hovsepian)

On numerous occasions, he earned accolades from the organizations to which he belonged as well as from pan-Armenian bodies. For example, in 2012 he received the Movses Khorenatsi Medal bestowed by the president of the Republic of Armenia in Boston from Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian. In turn, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II conferred on him the St. Sahag St. Mesrob medal.

In recognition of his unending service, the Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association has named the archival and research center of the Baikar building, which is being newly renovated, in honor of Dr. Nubar Berberian. On the very day that this room was to be inaugurated, Dr. Berberian unexpectedly fell ill and was transported to a hospital, never to return. His archival materials, together with other archival compilations and periodical collections, will be held forever in this center.

TCA President Edmond Y. Azadian described Dr. Berberian’s loss with the following words: “Armenians lost a dynamic editor of the old school who never seemed to grow old, a fighter who never retreated, a friend of indomitable humor, and a worthy apostle carrying the weight of history on his shoulders.

Funeral services were held at St. James Armenian Church in Watertown on November 26 presided by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) with the participation of V. Rev. Fr. Krikor Maksoudian and Fr. Arakel Aljalian. The archbishop delivered an eloquent eulogy, and conveyed a message from Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

Many other messages of condolence were sent from around the world from officials and notables, including Minister of the Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranoush Hakobyan, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party Supreme Council Vartan Nazerian, the Tekeyan Cultural Association Founders Body, ADL Central Committee chairman Sergio Nahabedian, and ADL Central Committee former chairman Dr. Arshavir Gundjian.

Letters were received from Daniel Yousefian, Kevork Keushkerian, Panig Keshishian, the TCA New York chapter, Maro Bedrosian, Arto Manoukian, the ADL Montreal chapter, Baydzig Kalaydjian, Sonig Vayejian Kradjian, Vahe Artinian (Australia), Zarmine Boghosian, Dr. Hagop Gulekjian, Dr. Hratch Kouyoumjian (England) and many others.

Dr. Berberian was buried in Mount Feake Cemetery of Waltham, and a memorial meal was held afterwards at St. James Armenian Church. He leaves behind his nieces Arouss Darpinian of New Milford, New Jersey and Diane Yazedjian of Gainesville, Florida, and a great-niece, Dr. Ani Hendleigh of Bloomington, Illinois.

Those who wish to express their sympathy can in lieu of flowers send their donations to either the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the US and Canada (755 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472) or St. James Armenian Church (465 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472).

On this occasion, the Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association expresses its sorrow and condolences to the relatives of the deceased, his friends, and all those who felt close to him.

The Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada

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