Tribute: Nubar Dorian
Aleppo, January 1, 1923 – New Jersey, February 28, 2015
By Hagop Vartivarian
“In America, there is nothing such as neutral. You are either an adherent of the [Armenian Revolutionary] Federation, or of the [Armenian] Democratic [Liberals]. Instead of creating a neutrality which is meaningless, it is necessary to join one or the other, as is the case in America, where you are either Republican or Democrat. It was in this way that I decided to join the [Armenian] D[emocratic]. L[iberal]. Party.” – Nubar Dorian
Nubar was born in Aleppo to Manuel and Negdar Khachadurian, both of Aintab, on January 1, 1923. He received his elementary education at the Usumnasirats [“Lovers of Education”] School, and in 1944 attended the American University of Beirut, from which he received his bachelor’s of arts degree in business.
He came to New York in 1947 and worked until his retirement as a businessman and advisor to large institutions.
He married Sirarpi Nurian, and was blessed with two sons and one daughter. After coming to the United States, he shortened his last name to Dorian, while his brother Dr. Avedis Khachadurian kept his surname, despite being a chief physician first at Beirut’s American University, and then at Princeton University.
From a young age, Nubar showed great interest in Armenian national developments and, in particular, the life of the church. This interest originated during his visit to America in the period when Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, originally of Aintab, was Primate. Aintab Armenians also were well represented in the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADLP), with leaders like A. N. Nazar, Prof. Kevork Sarafian and Garabed Sulahian.
Nubar quickly became a member of Holy Cross Armenian Church in New Jersey, which in a way was the church of the first Dikranagerd Armenians who had come to America. For long periods of time at different stretches he served as the chairman of its Parish Council. He often represented his parish in the Diocesan Assembly of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). He was elected as a member of the Diocesan Council for two terms. He was elected for 10 years as member of the Board of Trustees of the same diocese. This board administers the Diocese’s real estate and other property as their legal titleholder.
A “Unity Committee” composed of representatives of the traditional lawful Diocese (accepting the authority of Echmiadzin) and of the separatist Prelacy (under the authority of Antilias) was formed in order to supervise and further efforts in the 1960s and 1970s at union of the Armenian Church in America. Nubar Dorian was appointed as the co-chairman of this committee by the Diocese. Unfortunately those standing behind the separatists continued their secessionist policies and served as an obstacle to the establishment of unity, contrary to the desire of many Armenians affiliated with Antilias. Every attempt failed. Of course, although the Cold War had not yet reached its end, some warming of relations was evident.
Dorian was invited in this connection by Catholicos of All Armenians Vasken I to Echmiadzin to serve as a member of a seven-man committee created by the catholicoi of the two Armenian sees. At its meeting, the See of Sis was represented by Archbishop Aram Keshishian (today sitting on the throne of the Great House of Cilicia). The meetings, which lasted four days, did not reach any conclusions or agreements. The participants returned discouraged to their dioceses, and in this way ended the efforts which had begun with such good intentions.
He joined the Knights of Vartan and became commander of the Yerevan Lodge. He held important positions within the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and became a member of the AGBU of America’s Central Committee.
At the same time, he played an important role in the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington DC. As an ADLP member he was one of the triumvirate of chairmen together with Aram Kaloosdian of Boston (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) and Mihran Aghbabian of Los Angeles (independent). He participated in White House meetings with American Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan concerning the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The ARF decided to separate from the Armenian Assembly and form the Armenian National Committee in order to more easily pursue its political party objectives. It could thus reserve for itself the financial donations which Armenian Americans gave for the Armenian Cause. The Armenian Assembly meanwhile continued its lobbying efforts in this vein, primarily with the support of Hrair Hovnanian and some other American-Armenian philanthropists.
After the earthquake and independence of Armenia, the Assembly assured the intervention of congressmen and senators on behalf of Armenia and Karabagh. Later, Annie Simonian-Totah, as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Assembly, continued participation in the Assembly’s activities on behalf of the ADLP.
Armenian Rights Council
In the beginning of the 1970s, the ADLP maintained the Armenian Rights Movement led by Manoog Young and Dicran Simsarian with the participation of party members as well as sympathizers from the Boston Armenian community. However, in order to meet the challenges of new times, and not allow the ARF alone in the American political arena to pursue the Armenian cause, the ADLP District Committee of the Eastern United States and Canada reorganized this body into the Armenian Rights Council of America (ARCA). Nubar Dorian was appointed its chairman.
The central committee included the following ADLP members: Irma der Stepanian (treasurer), Arpi Vartivarian (secretary), Missak Haigentz, Bedros Piandarian, Vartan Abdo, Yervant Azadian, Berge Setrakian, Garo Ayaltin, Hagop Vartivarian, Haig Messerlian and Antranig Poladian.
Local councils were formed in Los Angeles, Montreal, Detroit and Chicago. ARCA organized meetings with representatives of the American government. During election seasons it raised money for political figures friendly to the Armenians. It held lectures and issued publications on various Armenian national anniversaries.
After several years of energetic broad-based activity, it temporarily halted its actions due to insufficient finances as well as the desire not to interfere with the similar work of the Armenian Assembly, an ADLP ally. ADLP members joined the Assembly and, while Van Krikorian was chairman of the latter, the Assembly and the ADLP worked together in a coordinated and gracious manner, most particularly in New York thanks to the constant efforts of Krikor Salbashian.
Dorian was a member of the ADLP District Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Kevork Keshishian, but after becoming disgusted with the party’s internal crises, he lost his interest in the ADLP. He remained, however, a faithful member of greater New York’s Armenagan-Housepian chapter.
Dorian, who only contributed to the Armenian Reporter weekly newspaper published by Edward Bogosian in New York, after becoming an ADLP member began to write for the ADLP’s Boston-based weekly, the Armenian Mirror-Spectator. He continued to submit his editorial articles to the Mirror as a columnist as long as he was able to continue to write.
Nubar Dorian passed away in New Jersey on February 28, 2015. His funeral services took place on March 5 at Union City’s Holy Cross Armenian Church.
(Translated from the Armenian)