GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region and the Near East Foundation, the descendent of Near East Relief, announced that they will collaborate closely on a broad range of activities to mark the centennial of US efforts to aid over one million Genocide survivors in the immediate aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.
ANCA-WR Board representatives and members of “America We Thank You: An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief” recently met with Shant Mardirossian, the chairman of the Near East Foundation, to discuss mutual efforts and identify areas where both organizations can collaborate.
Mardirossian commended the ANCA-WR for kicking off the “America We Thank You” initiative and for emphasizing the critical role Near East Relief played in the lives of countless survivors, refugees and orphans of the Armenian Genocide.
Mardirossian also noted that “While the collaboration will focus on the 15 formative years of Near East Relief (1915-1930), which provided relief to Armenian Genocide survivors, the efforts had a far-reaching impact by serving as a model for philanthropy around the world. Its successor organization, the Near East Foundation, continues to provide development and relief support to vulnerable people in need in Armenia as well as the Middle East and North Africa.” Mardirossian went on to further say “We are pleased to be working with the ANCA-WR to make sure that this important chapter in American history is proudly remembered and that we continue to honor its legacy through the work we do today.”
The Near East Foundation will commemorate the centennial of the organization next year while collaborating on various events and activities with ANCA-WR’s “America We Thank You” initiative – as well as with Armenian partner organizations on the East Coast – to pay tribute to Near East Relief.
“We would like to thank Mr. Mardirossian and Near East Foundation for an enlightening meeting about the scope of their activities for the centennial,” said Nora Hovsepian, Esq., chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region. “We are looking forward to our collaborative efforts to ensure that this massive effort to assist refugees and orphans receives a tribute worthy of its magnitude.”
“While this is just the beginning of our journey at ‘America We Thank You,’ our meeting with Mr. Mardirossian brought to light some critical elements of the monumental role Near East Relief played in galvanizing the American people specifically to aid in the plight of Armenians,” said Vanna Kitsinian, Esq., co-chairwoman of the “America We Thank You” initiative.
“We are looking forward to working with the Near East Foundation. The key to the success of this collaboration will be how well we can share resources and engage the Armenian and non-Armenian communities for this fitting tribute,” added Hermineh Pakhanians, co-chairwoman of “America We Thank You.”
Mardirossian was accompanied by Dr. Charlie Benjamin, President of the Near East Foundation and Stacia Van Dyne, Director of External Affairs each of whom briefed the ANCA-WR representatives on specific initiatives being undertaken currently or planned for the future by Near East Foundation.
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The ANCA-WR launched the campaign in March, timed for the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, to honor Near East Relief, an organization that mobilized Americans and rescued more than 132,000 orphans and nearly 1 million survivors of the Genocide.
The campaign, called “America We Thank You: An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief,” is a movement to recognize the outpouring of generosity by the American people in the immediate aftermath of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1930) and to highlight the efforts of Near East Relief in reining more than $117 million (over $2 billion in present day value) to feed, clothe, house, train, educate and provide medical care to hundreds of thousands of survivors of the Genocide.
ANCA-WR officials said that the campaign is committed to promoting the role Near East Relief played in providing assistance to those less fortunate and for its groundbreaking ability to bring the American people together under one cause—the aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide for an unprecedented period of 15 years from 1915 to 1930.
In April, the California State Assembly unanimously approved AJR 41, a resolution honoring and commemorating the extraordinary service of Near East Relief and the American people for salvaging the Armenian and Assyrian people from annihilation. A similar measure unanimously passed the California State Senate on June 5.
Through various events and programs, such as the ones in Sacramento and Los Angeles, “America We Thank You: An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief,” will mark the centennial of the Near East Relief efforts and express its gratitude to the American people for establishing and continuing the tradition of being the most generous nation. Countless Armenian-Americans are direct descendants of those rescued by Near East Relief.