NEW YORK — The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) recently announced the selection of its first five Margaret Ajemian Ahnert Scholars, who now have the chance to continue their education in journalism and become future leaders in the Armenian press.
Established in July, this scholarship aims to specifically support and empower aspiring female journalists by providing the opportunity to receive the education and training they need. Margaret Ajemian Ahnert established this scholarship fund in memory of her mother Ester Ajemian. The fund, administered by FAR, provides full tuition and monthly stipends to female graduate students in Armenia. Ahnert, herself a media specialist, worked for years as a television producer and a teacher before publishing her first book, The Knock at the Door: A Journey Through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide, which is based on her mother’s memories of the 1915 genocide, its unprecedented horrors and her escape.
Twenty-three people applied for the scholarship. The five winners are working toward their master’s degrees in journalism at Yerevan State University and the Armenian State Pedagogical University. Only one student is from Yerevan; the rest are from various regions of Armenia and neighboring republics. Students are required to maintain excellent grades and must agree to work in Armenia or Karabagh for the same number of years that they are supported by the scholarship.
This year’s scholars are:
•Anna Aghvanyan was born in 1989 in Alaverdi in the Lori region. Along with her studies, she works at ArmenPress News Agency, filing anywhere between five and 10 news stories per day. She has also written interesting articles about everyday student life, which have been published in the newspaper, Hayastani Zrutsakits. While she realizes that she has chosen a challenging field, Aghvanyan believes every journalist has an important mission to deliver the truth. With determination to develop her professional skills, She will study in France for six months next year on scholarship at the Université de Versaille. Her father works as a driver’s assistant in Sanahin’s Locomotive Depot. Her mother is unemployed. She can only afford to pay her university’s dormitory fees.
•Naira Hambardzumyan was born in 1990 and has written for newspapers since the age of 12. As a child, she learned painting in the Center for Fine Arts Education. Today, she successfully manages the “Youth Page” of the Eter Weekly (http://www.eter.tv/). She also works as a press secretary in the Hay Aspet (Armenian Knight) Educational Philanthropic Fund. Her undergraduate thesis was devoted to issues regarding the press and the military. She also wants to create a journalism handbook for beginners.