Kerkorian To Build More Schools In Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Kirk Kerkorian, a U.S. billionaire of Armenian descent, will provide $12 million for building and refurbishing more schools in Armenia, a Yerevan-based representative of his Lincy Foundation said on Wednesday.

The Nevada-based charity has already spent $22 million on financing the first phase of a school infrastructure project launched by it in 2007. Ten public schools in Yerevan and other parts of the country were reconstructed or built from scratch by the end of last year.

According to Hrayr Sargsian, the head of the project implementation unit in Yerevan, the fresh Lincy funding will be channeled into six schools in the northern Shirak and Lori regions.

“We started the works one month ago and, naturally, will not be able to finish them in time for the start of the new academic year [in September,]” Sargsian told a news conference. “According to the construction schedule, they will take between 12 and 16 months.”

Sargsian said Lincy had planned to set aside nearly twice as much for the second phase of the scheme but eventually cut the sum because of the global economic crisis. But he said the charity may still increase it later on.

The Lincy executive estimated that about half of Armenia’s 1,400 or so secondary schools are in need of capital repairs. Some of them are being renovated by the Armenian government.

Kerkorian, 93, is Armenia’s largest Diaspora benefactor, having donated, through the Lincy Foundation, at least $240 million since its independence. The bulk of the money has been allocated and spent since 2001 on various infrastructure projects.

Those included the repair of 420 kilometers of major highways and the construction of 3,700 new apartments in Shirak and Lori. The two regions were devastated by a catastrophic earthquake that hit Armenia in 1988.

Kerkorian, who ranked 41st on the “Forbes” magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest individuals before the global recession, was given Armenia’s highest state award, the title of “national hero,” during a rare visit to Yerevan in 2004. Then President Robert Kocharian cited the reclusive tycoon’s “exceptional services” to the country of his ancestors.

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8 Comments

  1. zohrab said:

    i thank him from the bottom of my heart thank you mr krikorian

  2. Satenik said:

    Building schools is one of the best things that anyone can do for Armenia. Investment in education is of paramount importance. I wish Mr. Kerkorian a very long and healthy life.

    • Vanessa Kachadurian said:

      Satenik,
      Ha’me zi em! Education is the only way out of poverty and despair. Education makes your population strong and prepared.

    • Vanessa Kachadurian said:

      Krikor you bring a good point, everyone should be involved with the Armenian schools worldwide! In the USA we have many struggles and it has been a diffiult 3 years. If any of you cannot give monetary, please donate your services; landscaping, cooking, teacher aides, anything! They are our schools and we must keep them open.

  3. Mazod said:

    As a public school employee and university professor, I welcome and applaud the work of the Lincy Foundation and Mr. Kirk Kerkorian for his investment in Armenia’s educational system. With a 99% literacy rate, the highest in the region and in most parts of the world, education will be the salvation of Armenia. Engineering, medicine, business, politics, arts and more–we need and must educate Armenians so they strengthen the economy, produce jobs, create businesses and other enterprises, and be the envy of the region. Through an educated citizenry will Armenia survive.

  4. vahe said:

    Bravo Mr. Krekorian ! If only all wealthy Armenians helped that would be even better ! There are so many wealthy armenian businessmen all over the world who have helped tremendously, but there are many who have not. I think it is EVERY single armenians DUTY to help our nation in anyway we can. Thank you Mr. krekorian !

  5. Vanessa Kachadurian said:

    Thank your Krikor Kerkorian for never forgeting that education is important. Lets not forget the Lincy Foundations generous contributions to American Armenian private schools. Our next generation will be more educated and prepared in global international business and relations.

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