July 10 through 13
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May 9, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Committed to their mission to promote awareness of and gain U.S. recognition for the first genocide of the 20th century, a local group of Armenian-American activists hosted the sixth educator’s workshop in Michigan on the Armenian Genocide.
Times Square on Sunday, April 21 from 2–4 p.m.
We are the proud sponsors of Adopt A School Project (AASP)
Passes Resolution Making Genocide Denial a Crime!
Knights and Daughters of Vartan are involved in numerous programs for the Armenian community in local, national and international levels. Major programs are as follows:
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DEARBORN
KNIGHTS OF VARTAN SUPPORTED ARMENIAN RESEARCH CENTER
The Armenian Research Center (ARC) at The University of Michigan-Dearborn continues – for its twenty-second year – its work of research, education, publication, and public service locally, nationally, and internationally.
It has become a “virtual” Center, taking advantage of modern communication–printing, travel, mail, telephone, fax, and the Internet–to work with a large number of people beyond its modest physical boundaries, to reach out literally to the whole world. It not only has a respectable collection of books, articles, newspapers and documents on Armenia and the Armenian people–in hard copy, microfilm and microfiche–but it also has access to a lot of other research materials available on compact disk and the Internet, which tie it to many major libraries and databases around the world.
The Center continues to offer information and research facilities to students, faculty, and the general public, as well as to the press, television, radio, and the local, national, and international research communities.
Armenian Schools Support Project – World Bank ASIF 90/10 Program
In 1993, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, Inc. initiated to financially assist the public schools in the Republic of Armenia. It was known as the “Adopt A School Project”. (AASP) During those early years of independence, the Republic of Armenia did not have the resources to adequately fund the needs of its public school system. With inadequate teacher salaries, deteriorated conditions of school facilities and lack of school supplies, helping schools in Armenia was a very worthwhile endeavor for the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
Past Commander Jack Medzorian of Ararat Lodge #1, Boston, Massachusetts, was appointed as the first chairman of the AASP. A minimum of $500 per year for a three (3) year commitment was required for sponsorship of a school. In the next five (5) years, over $150,000 was raised from the Knights and Daughters of Vartan and friends of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan and over 100 schools throughout Armenia were assisted.
In the fall of 1997, Past Commander Jack Medzorian resigned as chairman to devote more time to the new programs assisting Armenia initiated by the Sister Cities Program of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Past Commander Levon Karakashian of Yeprad Lodge #9, Fresno, California, was appointed as the succeeding chairman of the AASP.
All administrative costs for the AASP Program were borne by its committee members so that 100% of monies contributed to the program went to the school of the sponsor’s choice. This program proved successful for the ensuing five years. In 1998, due to inflation and the devaluing of the currency of Armenia, $500 had less purchasing power than it did in 1993 when the program began. It was determined that the committee members who were traveling to Armenia to disperse the funds were spending more of their money for travel, lodging and transportation then they were distributing.
Realizing the growing dilemma, members of the AASP Committee began investigating the possibility of other ways to continue assisting the schools in Armenia that would have a greater impact. In the fall of 1998, Grand Commander Simon Javizian, Past Grand Commander Charles Tateosian and AASP Chairman Past Commander Levon Karakashian traveled to Armenia and contacted Mr. Ashot Kirakosyan, Executive Director of the Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF) and inquired about a forth-coming program involving the World Bank. The ASIF is an entity funded by the World Bank, operating in conjunction with the government of the Republic of Armenia to conduct the oversight work necessary in the construction and supervision of a variety of projects.One year later, the World Bank announced a program for Armenia. The World Bank designated $30 million dollars for use in school rehabilitation and water projects throughout the communities of Armenia. The World Bank program matches each dollar raised by the community with nine (9) additional dollars toward a specific project, through the ASIF. This constitutes a nominal 10% contribution from each community or school. Thus, our involvement with the World Bank ASIF 90/10 Program began.
In April of 2000, the AASP Committee pledged to the ASIF that the Knights and Daughters of Vartan would raise $500,000 over the next five years to rebuild and renovate as many schools in Armenia as possible. The funds would be utilized to meet the 10% Community Contribution requirement for the ASIF Program. It was understood at that time that our involvement would be only for the rehabilitation of the schools and not water projects. And in conjunction with the Adopt A School Project, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Armenian Schools Support Project (ASSP) World Bank ASIF 90/10 Program was established with Past Commander Levon Karakashian as its first chairman, a position he still retains. In 2001, the ASIF recommended to the Government of Armenia that Past Commander Levon Karakashian, representing the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, Inc. should occupy the only non-resident seat on the Board of Directors of the Armenian Social Investment Fund. It was proposed to the Parliament and ratified by the President of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Robert Kocharian.
Fund raising toward the $500,000 began by the Lodges and their corresponding Daughters of Vartan Chapters. Foundations, corporations and individuals other then members of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood have also participated in the program.
In six years (6) years, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan have transferred over one million dollars ($1,000,000) in the support of the new construction or the renovation of 135 school projects throughout Armenia. This is double what our original commitment was to the ASIF in the year 2000. We have presently committed to an additional 11 school projects with projected construction costs of $175,000.
It must be noted here for clarity in how the funds designated for the 90/10 Program are managed. ALL monies are forwarded to the Knights of Vartan Grand Council, where they in turn deposit the funds in a separate account for the ASSP. When we commit to a school project in the ASIF 90/10 Program, we wait until all of the preliminary plan checks have been made, plans finalized, contracts issued and construction is to begin before the Knights of Vartan Grand Treasurer transfers the required funds into an account that has been established in Yerevan, Armenia by the ASIF. At no time are there any administrative costs applied to the ASSP money received other than the nominal transfer fee required by the banks transferring the money from the United States to the ASIF account in Yerevan, Armenia. All costs incurred in the administration of the ASSP, as well as travel to and from Armenia, lodging, travel within Armenia, meals and other expenses by the ASSP Committee, is absorbed by each ASSP Committee Member.
Members of the ASSP Committee are continually traveling to Armenia to review the progress of the 90/10 Program and attend the dedications of completed school projects that we have supported. (The World Bank is considered the Sponsor of a project with their 90% contribution, and we, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, are considered the Supporter of the project with our 10% contribution)
In September of 2005, the World Bank announced that Phase I and Phase II of their initial plan has been completed and due to the success of the program in Armenia, the World Bank was committing to continue the 90/10 Program from 2006 through 2001 for Phase III. The funding for Phase III will be transferred to the ASIF in Armenia in the third quarter of 2006.
For the 2007/2008 Year, the Avak Tivan has received $154,830.22 in contributions. The Avak Tivan has transferred to the World Bank ASIF Account in the HSBC Bank in Yerevan, $405,527.88, in support of 24 school projects. To date, a total of $1,545,473.37 has been transferred to the World Bank ASIF Account in the HSBC Bank in Yerevan by the Avak Tivans in office. This calculates to $15,454,733.70 of construction work performed, in the financial support of 171 School Projects. According to ASIF enrollment figures, as of September 2007, 84,348 students are now learning in a more comfortable environment in those 171 schools.
The Knights and Daughters of Vartan remain committed to our participation in the World Bank ASIF 90/10 Program in the building of new or the rehabilitation of schools in Armenia.
Knights of Vartan Notebook Project
Notebook Project was initiated in September of 2007 to administer the distribution of the Notebooks to the students in the two schools that carry the name of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
Recent funds contributed to the Notebook project are used for printing notebooks for a two-year distribution to the students to the two schools that carry Knights of Vartan name, but also to the students enrolled in the first school that was built by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan in the ASSP Program.
KNIGHTS OF VARTAN FUND FOR ARMENIAN STUDIES
A Fund for Armenian Studies (FAS) was established by a bequest from an anonymous donor in 1986. In 1996, after the fund reached its goal amount, it was turned over to the Knights of Vartan for administration and management and was named the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies (FAS). The purpose of the FAS is to support Armenian studies, including academic fellowships, scholarly research and publications (history, music, literature, language, etc.) and to fund lectures, seminars and conferences in Armenian studies.
Godfathers to the Church in Armavir, Armenia
His Holiness, Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians, has requested the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, to serve as the 16 Godfathers to Church in the City of Armavir, State of Armavir, Armenia. Request is to raise funds in the form of 16 Godfathers for the Church in Armavir. The Church will be named Saint Vartanantz. Knights and Daughters of Vartan are actively supporting this effort.
Adopt-A School Project
Independence of Armenia in September 1991 was followed by a breakdown of support for schools in Armenia. Government budgets were meager or non-existing and schools began to suffer with non-functioning toilets, leaky roofs, broken windows and furniture, and even lack of electricity and water. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan launched a program in 1995 to enable lodges, individual Knights, Daughters and even non members to sponsor a school in Armenia with a minimum donation of $500 annually for a period of three years. Many donations that were made were far in excess of the minimum. The program was extremely successful in the first two years of adoption with over $100,000 raised from 1995-1997 from donations and given to over 75 schools. The schools that have received money from the Adopt-A-School Project have new bathrooms, running water, blackboards, new charis, and computers. Three schools in Nor Kharpert, for instance, have 100% heat and new windows, doors and roofs.
Today, the Adopt-A-School Project accepts donations of any amount and guarantees that 100% of all donations are given to a needy schools in Armenia where real change occurs. Contributors can select the particular school to which the dontation is hand-delivered, or can elect to have the Adopt-A-School committee designate a worthy school.
Contact your local lodge or Otyag or the Avak Tivan for more information or to make donations.