ANCA Fellowship Established in Memory of Hovig Apo Saghdejian

— Over $50,000 Donated for Innovative Fund to Open Doors to Public Service for Young Armenia’s

WASHINGTON–DC–The family of Hovig Apo Saghdejian–the 23-year-old student and Armenian community activist who lost his life this July in a car accident–has established a trust fund in his memory to advance the Armenian Cause by helping to bring promising young Armenian Americans to Washington–DC to pursue careers in public service.

Hovig’s sudden and tragic death has been a great loss for his family–friends–and the Armenian American community–in the Central Valley and around the nation. He was an exemplary son–brother–gran’son–nephew–and friend–who left a legacy of love for his family and friends–and of selfless devotion to his fellow Armenia’s and his cultural heritage. This proud son of the Armenian nation was laid to rest at Fresno’s historic Ararat Masis Cemetery–in the shadow of Armenian national hero Soghomon Tehlirian.

In his memory–Hovig’s father Apo–his mother Rosine–and sister–Nayiri have asked that donations be made to the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellowship of the ANCA Capital Gateway Program. These funds will be held in perpetuity–with all the income from fund using to finance the participation of young Armenian Americans in the ANCA Capital Gateway Program (CGP). This innovative program provides qualified college students and graduates the opportunity to secure part-time internship and full-time government–public policy–and media-related job opportunities in the nation’s capital.

The Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellowship fund–which has already collected over $50,000–will on an ongoing basis–sponsor a Fellow–covering his/her housing and providing a full range of support services–from improving the design of their resumes and sharpening their interview skills–to making the right introductions and integrating them into the growing network of Armenian American public policy professionals in the nation’s capital. As one Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellow secures a full-time public policy job and graduates from the program–another will be brought to Washington–DC to take his or her place–ensuring a succession of fellowships that will–over the years–place dozens of Armenian American youth in the key positions from which they can support issues of concern to Armenian Americans. Typically–a Fellow is able to secure a full-time position within three months.

For detailed information about the Capital Gateway Program–visit: www.anca.org/gateway/gateway_overview.asp.

"The ANCA is deeply grateful that Hovig’s family has chosen to honor their son’s memory–and to mark the loss of this exceptional young man–by opening doors for the youth of our community to the new opportunities we are creating here in Washington–DC to advance the sacred cause of our ancient nation," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "We are deeply appreciative of the outpouring of support for the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellowship–and invite Armenian Americans–in Fresno and around the nation–to continue building this fund in the service of coming generations."

Hovig Apo Saghdejian was born on December 31–1980 in Fresno–California. He completed his elementary education at the Armenian Community School of Fresno. After graduation from the Armenian school–Hovig attended Kastner Intermediate and later Clovis West High School–where he received his high school diploma–as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honors.

Early in life–Hovig became a member of the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts–and he joined the ran’s of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF). These were the stepping-stones on which Hovig continued to live his life.

After graduating from Clovis West in 1998–Hovig attended Fresno City College–California State University of Fresno–and the University of California–Berkeley–where he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies–with an emphasis on economics–philosophy and film studies. While attending college–Hovig was active in the Armenian Student’s Association. He also received numerous honors–such as the Armenian Relief Society Merit Scholarship and Foundation West Merit Scholarship. Hovig had a passion for his Armenian culture that was instilled by his family. As an active member of AYF and Homenetmen–as both a Scout and athlete–he contributed to the welfare of the Armenian American community and reinforced his commitment to his Homeland. He visited Armenia with the Land and Culture Organization–and traveled to Beirut–Lebanon with the Hamazkayin Cultural Society to broaden his cultural understanding.

As a devoted son of the Saghdejian family–Hovig lived a life of commitment to the Armenian Cause and his ancient Armenian homeland. He breathed life into the ideals of his youth by working to preserve and reinvent Armenian identity in America–while bringing a sense of optimism to the people of Armenia for a better future. As a volunteer with the Land and Culture organization–Hovig traveled to Armenia during the summer of 2003 to work as a volunteer in Ayroum–developing infrastructure and self-sustainability for the impoverished population of this village. Beyond the value of the hard work that contributed significantly to the well being of the villagers–Hovig’s efforts helped bring hope to all he came in contact with that the future held better things for the people of Armenia. Commenting on his time in Ayroum–in a testimonial on the Land and Culture website–Hovig explained that–"I know that when I reflect back on this experience I will feel ecstatic about the work we accomplished–the things we saw–and the bonds we forged."

Hovig performed his civic duties by being politically involved–not only with the ANCA–but also with Congressman George Radanovich and State Assemblymember Steve Samuelian on campaign and public policy projects.

Hovig enjoyed life–family–and friends. He had a very special bond with his parents–Apo and Rosine–and sister–Nayiri. He spent his spare time helping his mother at the Adult Day Care Center–and his father with the family business.

Besides being confident–intelligent–and a driven young man–Hovig was also lovable–caring–witty–comical–laid back and very–very charming. He was a fine young man who always wore a smile on his face and somehow always managed to brighten up a room.

Those who would like to contribute to this effort should make checks payable to the ANCA Endowment Fund–with "Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellowship" in the memo section–and addressed to:

ANCA Endowment Fund
Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellowship
888 17th St. NW–Suite 904
Washington–DC 20006-3307

A Word of Thanks

On the sad occasion of the passing of Hovig Apo Saghdejian–his parents Apo and Rosine Saghdejian and sister–Nayiri Saghdejian would like to express their deepest thanks to His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–the Board of Trustees of the Holy Trinity Mother Church–Fr. and Yeretzgin Vahan Gosdanian–Fr. Hrant Yeretzian–Archpriest Nareg Shrikian–Fr. Hrant Arabian–Fr. Yeghia Hairabedian–Very Reverend Bernard Geokezian–Very Reverend Mgrdich Melkonian–Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau–ARF Central Committee Western USA–Fresno ARF Soghomon Tehlirian Gomidehoutiun–Fresno AYF Kevork Chavoush Chapter–Fresno ARF Krisdapor Badanegan Chapter–ANCA Western Region–ANC Fresno Chapter–ARS Western Region Central Executive–Fresno ARS Mayr and Sophia Chapters Executives and Members–Homenetmen Western Region Central Executive–Fresno Homenetmen Sassoun and San Francisco Homenetmen Executives and Members–Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Association Western Region Central Executive–Fresno Hamazkayin Taniel Varoujan Chapter Executive and Members–Land and Culture–Yerkir-USA–Kessab Research Association–Dr. Ara Soghomonian–and to all those who personally–through letters–phone calls–flowers and in-lieu-of-flowers donations–shared in their deep sorrow.

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