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At Annual Board Meeting, FAR Honors Legacies of Past 30 Years, Sets Goals for Future

Updated: Feb 12


The Fund for Armenian Relief held a meeting of its Board of Directors on January 29, at the Diocesan Center in New York. Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Diocesan Primate and the President of FAR, presided over the gathering.


The board members reflected on their visit to Armenia in 2019, to mark 30 years of FAR’s mission. On that occasion FAR was recognized at the highest levels of Armenia’s government and society for the humanitarian, charitable, and developmental work it has accomplished continuously since its establishment in the immediate aftermath of the 1988 earthquake.


For all these contributions—and particularly for FAR’s outreach to Armenia’s most vulnerable populations, and its efforts to empower the republic’s younger generation—the government of Armenia, bestowed FAR with the “Order of Honor”: its highest official award.


Gratitude for Service

At the January meeting, the Board reviewed FAR’s progress in 2019. It expressed particular satisfaction with the implementation of two flagship FAR programs: “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” in the Tavush province, and the development of the state-of-the-art Vocational Training Center for Children with Disabilities.


Members also conveyed their deep thanks and admiration for the outstanding service of longtime board member Dr. Aram Chobanian. Having completed his formal terms on the FAR Board, Dr. Chobanian will continue giving guidance and support to FAR, as it initiates new healthcare projects and expands existing ones.


The Board also welcomed two new members: Dr. Richard Babayan of Boston, and Lynn Barsamian from New Jersey. Dr. Babayan, an outstanding healthcare professional who is completing his term as President of American Urologists Association, will replace Dr. Chobanian in providing leadership to FAR’s efforts in healthcare development in Armenia. Ms. Barsamian, an attorney, joins the Board to support FAR’s landmark Children Center; she will fill the vacancy left by the late Annette Choolfaian.


On the Horizon

With an eye to the future, the Board approved several new projects. One addresses the main challenges of the Armenian healthcare in cardiovascular, stroke, and diabetes diseases. FAR will conduct major training programs for family doctors in Armenia’s rural regions to support early diagnosis and prevention of these critical problems. This multi-year program will be implemented in memory of distinguished FAR visionaries Dr. Edgar Housepian and Annette Choolfaian—two of its founders.


The Board also approved a proposal by the Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF) to name the fund in honor of the late Professor Yervant Terzian, ANSEF’s founder and longtime leader. In 2020, FAR will hold a major symposium in Armenia dedicated to Dr. Terzian’s life and accomplishments as a distinguished astronomer and humanitarian.

The Board established “Michael Aram Scholarship Program” to support aspiring young talents in Armenia’s art and design sector. The program will be implemented under the guidance of Michael Aram, an award-winning American artist who has dedicated his career to craft-based design.


Another scholarship program was approved for aspiring medical nurses of Armenia, named after the late Annette Choolfaian.


The Board also assigned its members to work with the FAR staff in developing strategic planning of the organization for the years to come.