“Near East Relief was at the forefront of America’s efforts to respond to the human suffering that occurred in the wake of the Armenian Genocide,” Krikorian said. “Armenians in the United States and all over the world benefited directly or indirectly from this monumental undertaking.”
According to NEF records, from 1915 to 1930 the NEF administered $117 million worth of assistance and is credited with saving a million lives and providing vocational training to 132,000 Armenian orphan children.
“Millions of dollars were raised through appeals in the media, at public rallies, in churches and synagogues, and in schools,” Mardirossian said. “Not only were funds raised, but hundreds of Near East Relief volunteers were on the ground ministering to the suffering survivors of the Genocide, delivering food, clothing and materials, but most of all comfort and hope. Many risked their lives and several gave their lives for this noble cause. Their stories and memories should be preserved as an example of the American spirit.”
This agreement with the NEF is the second cooperative agreement AGMA has forged in recent months. In April, the museum entered into a partnership with the Armenian Genocide Museum- Institute at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex in Yerevan.
The resources and expertise from the Genocide museum in Armenia and the valuable archival materials from NEF will complement other artifacts and documents to be incorporated in the AGMA exhibits, which are being designed by the Washington area firm of Gallagher & Associates.
The museum will be housed in the historic National Bank Building in Washington, at 14th and G Streets, NW, just blocks from the White House. When completed, it will be the first international class museum in the Armenian Diaspora dedicated to preserving and honoring the memory of the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
Today, the NEF operates development projects in seven countries in the Middle East and Africa and is planning a project in Armenia. Current projects include agricultural innovation to combat climate change in Mali and Egypt, reforming primary education to include girls in Morocco, and assisting Iraqi refugees to support themselves in new communities in Syria and Jordan. The 100- member field staff all work in their own countries, so the NEF supports local professionalism while helping the region’s poorest people.
“We are proud to continue the tradition of American assistance to communities in peril in the Middle East and Africa,” said NEF President Papachristou. “We rely fully on the expertise and dedication of our colleagues who know best how to organize these communities to solve their own challenges.”