BELMONT, Mass. — Manoog Soghomon Young of Belmont, the founding chairman of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and its chairman until 2001, died on Tuesday, July 3, at the age of 94.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years Barbara (Johnson) Young, children Armen Young of Littleton, Mass., and Adrina Young Gobbi of North Billerica, Mass., and grandchildren Jake and Mariah Gobbi and Christopher and Lauren Young.
Prof. Gerard J. Libaridian has aptly called Young “the father of the Armenian Studies movement,” and this begins to give a sense of Young’s role in ushering into existence the field of Armenian Studies in America and his half-century working to advance it. One of the founders of NAASR, which led the effort in the 1950s and 1960s to establish permanent programs in Armenian Studies at American institutions of higher learning, starting with Harvard University, Young served as chairman of the Board of Directors from its inception in 1955 until 2001. During these decades both NAASR and the field of Armenian Studies continued to evolve and expand.
After stepping down as chairman, Young remained on the NAASR Board and maintained a keen interest in the development of the organization he had led and the field he helped bring into being. On the occasion of his 90th birthday in 2007, he stated that the Armenian community must take pride in the creation and advancement of Armenian Studies, “because you are responsible for it. I was one small cog in the whole thing. I’d like to be here a hundred years from now and see all that has transpired.”
His successor as NAASR chairman, Nancy R. Kolligian, remarked that “the Armenian community, not only in this country, but worldwide, will always be indebted to Manoog Young as the driving force behind the creation of an organization in the US that was essential in order to promote our rich Armenian culture and history. He and his colleagues worked tirelessly to advance this virtually non-existent field at the university level and the first chair in Armenian Studies was established [at Harvard] in 1959, a mere four years after the establishment of NAASR. That achievement would not have been possible were it not for the vision and endless devotion and energy of Manoog S. Young.”