BEIRUT, Lebanon (Armenian Weekly)—The Central Executive of the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society recently announced that the Hamazkayin Melankton and Haig Arslanian School (Djemaran) has received a nearly $1.3 million (USD) bequest from longtime Hamazkayin members and benefactors Kourken and Margaret Asadourian of the United States—who both passed away in 2011.
The Hamazkayin Central Executive said in a statement that it has decided to put $1.2 million of the donation into the school’s endowment. In the statement, the Central Executive praised the Asadourian siblings for their generosity.
Margaret and Kourken Asadourian were born in Istanbul—in 1923 and 1924, respectively. In 1924, the Asadourian family fled Turkey for Armenia, then Tehran, Iran. After attending the Forough Girls American Missionary School, Margaret began working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran as a translator, and later for Voice of America. In 1953, she moved to the U.S. and settled in McLean, Va. There, she worked as a translator at the Indian Supply Mission and continued her studies at George Washington University’s Department of Linguistics.
Through her work as a translator, Margaret traveled extensively and was instrumental in securing U.S. aid for Armenia and raising the issue of Armenian Genocide recognition in the U.S. She was an active Hamazakayin member and served on several boards within the organization.
Kourken Asadourian was a founding member of the Armenian Cultural Junior Organization of Tehran. After moving to the U.S. in 1948 and receiving higher education in Washington D.C., he began working at the Voice of America’s newly established Armenian service in New York. He later moved to Washington and worked as an editor, commentator, and reporter at the Voice of America, until retiring in 1987.
Kourken was an active member of the Armenian-American community, working closely with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian-American media, and many other community organizations and institutions.
Kourken Asadourian passed away on March 21, 2011, and his sister Margaret passed away less than nine months later, on December 13, 2011.