Gulbenkian Foundation Reaches out to Aleppo Armenians

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By Hagop Vartivarian

NEW YORK — At a recent Board of Directors meeting, in New York, Edward Gulbenkian Jr., the president of the Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation, announced that the maternity hospital in Aleppo, which had been established by his family, will temporarily be used to help the Armenian seniors of Aleppo.

Gulbenkian also made the following announcement on October 19:“For decades, the Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation, established in New York, in general has supported the educational needs of Syrian Armenians and especially the medical and health-related needs of the Aleppo Armenians. The Verjin Gulbenkian Maternity of Nor Kyugh turned out to be a blessing for the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, which kept its doors open until recently, when because of the civil unrest in Syria and the need of administrative reorganization, it was forced to shut down its doors temporarily. But especially, because of the ongoing fighting which now has reached to the Armenian sections of Aleppo, and to give a safe refuge to the residence of the Armenian Old Age Home, we kept the doors of our maternity hospital [open.]”

“In this way, the Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation commits to reach out to our elderly Aleppo Armenians and joins its efforts to the pan-Armenian efforts, which are coming from Armenia and from each corner of the Armenian Diaspora, to help our Syrian Armenian community. It is our prayer that the interior political crisis end soon and the country once again finds its peace and the Syrian Armenians return to their exemplary glorious past, so that we in our turn, continue our mission by reopening the maternity hospital for our expecting mothers.”

Gulbenkian noted that henceforth, the director of the maternity hospital will be Hovhanes Hovhanessian, from Aleppo.

Gullabi Gulbenkian, being impacted by the loss of his daughter during childbirth, decided to establish the Verjin Gulbenkian Maternity Hospital in 1935 to help other Armenian families avoid similar suffering and loss. He also established two schools in Syria to meet the demands of the Armenian community there.

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