HARTFORD, Conn.—The Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Connecticut recently announced that it will conduct its annual program honoring the Holy Martyrs and the survivors of the genocide on Sat., April 23. The commemoration of the 101st anniversary of this tragic event will take place at the Connecticut State Legislature in the magnificent Hall of the House of Representatives at 11:30 a.m., and will be preceded by the raising of the Armenian flag over the Capitol building at 11 a.m.
The keynote speaker will be Shant Mardirossian, chairman emeritus and a member of the board of the Near East Foundation (NEF). Mardirossian will give a presentation on the unprecedented humanitarian role played by the then-Near East Relief (NER) in connection with the genocide.
NEF began in 1915 when a group of American political, business, and philanthropic leaders came together to provide critical relief to those affected by the Armenian Genocide.
The organization mobilized thousands of Americans to work toward its humanitarian goals and raised more than $116 million dollars for direct relief. As the first mass American non-governmental movement to send humanitarian aid overseas, NEF has since defined the American tradition of international relief and development.
Near East Relief is credited with having saved the lives of over 1 million people from 1915-30. It built 40 hospitals and cared for and educated 132,000 orphans in its orphanages.
Based in Syracuse, N.Y., the Near East Foundation is a non-profit international development organization that works to build inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable societies in the Middle East and Africa by providing vulnerable and disenfranchised people with skills, training, and resources to fully engage and prosper in their own communities and economies. NEF’s headquarters consist of 15 people who oversee operations across 9 countries, which include Armenia, Egypt, Jordon, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, the West Bank, Senegal, and Sudan, where it employs 170 people in the field.
Many Connecticut Armenian Americans had parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and other relatives whose lives were deeply and positively impacted by the humanitarian efforts of Near East Relief.
NEF recently celebrated its centennial and continues to lead programs that strengthen resilience and create economic opportunity through small business creation, agricultural development, peacebuilding, and civic engagement, working together with community leaders and local partners.
In his professional life, Mardirossian is a partner and the COO at Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C., a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm. He is a graduate of the Lubin School of Business at Pace University and holds a B.B.A. in public accounting and an M.B.A. with dual concentration in investment management and strategic management.
Also participating in the presentation will be Molly Sullivan, Esq., director and curator of the Near East Relief Historical Society.
A number of Connecticut governmental, religious, and civic leaders are expected to be in attendance.
Following the ceremonies, there will be a reception and an opportunity to view NEF materials.
Source: Armenian Weekly