AIWA Luncheon to Honor Elizabeth Agbabian’s Ellis Island Medal

LOS ANGELES–The Armenian International Women’s Association pays tribute to 2006 Ellis Island Medal of Honor winner Elizabeth Agbabian at a luncheon on Jan. 21, 2007, at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was created in 1986 to honor remarkable Americans who exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives, while continuing to preserve the richness of their particular heritage, according to the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, which selected Agbabian and 97 other Medal of Honor winners in 2006. "We are so proud that Elizabeth was chosen to receive this very high honor," says Cindy Norian, president of AIWA’s Los Angeles affiliate. "She has worked tirelessly on behalf of Armenia’s and people in need for 50 years and she hasn’t stopped for a minute." Born in Beirut, Lebanon, to Reverend Hovannes and Mrs. Aznive Apkarian, Agbabian has a B.A. degree in Social Work and has worked as a humanitarian, activist, community leader, professional volunteer and trained social worker, briefly in Cleveland, then in Los Angeles, where she has lived since her marriage to Mihran Agbabian in 1953. Agbabian has been an active volunteer as Director of Christian Education in her church, and she has served on the Boards of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center, and the Development Services for Armenia. She was one of the founding members of Haigazian University Women’s Auxiliary, the Merdinian School Women’s Auxiliary, and the Armenian International Women’s Association affiliate in Los Angeles. After the December 7, 1988, earthquake in Armenia, she accepted the chairmanship of the Orphan Care Committee of the AMAA on the West Coast and threw herself into the drive to provide food, medicine, clothing and eventually foster homes for orphans, visiting Armenia frequently to view firsthand the living conditions of the children. She also worked closely with her husband, a 1995 Ellis Island Medal recipient, and his colleagues in the establishment of the American University of Armenia. She has been active as a fund-raiser and volunteer member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates for more than 25 years. She co-chaired a gala banquet with the theme of Armenia for the Consular Corps of Los Angeles and friends of the Philharmonic. Most recently she also co-chaired the two fund-raising events for the establishment of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. Her honors include the Humanitarian Award of Ararat Home of Los Angeles in 1994, the Medal of Appreciation of the American University of Armenia in 2001, the proclamation of Pontifical Blessings from His Holines Karekin II in 2003, and Certificate of Appreciation by the Armenian Missionary Association in 2004.

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