BELMONT, Mass. — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) held its 62nd Assembly of Members on Saturday, May 14, and welcomed five new members to its 27-member Board of Directors. The newly elected Board members are: philanthropist Edward Avedisian of Lexington, Mass.; author and activist Nancy Kricorian of New York City; co-organizer of the first Armenian Genealogy conference George Aghjayan of Westminster, Mass.; engineer and community activist Jirair Balayan of Auburn, Mass.; and distinguished scholar Dr. Bedross Der Matossian of Lincoln, Neb.
“We are honored to welcome Board members of this caliber as we set our course for the next 60 years,” said the new Chairman of the Board Yervant Chekijian, of Watertown. Chekijian replaces Raffi Yeghiayan, who is stepping down after six years of leadership as Chairman. Yeghiayan will remain active as an advisor on NAASR’s Executive Committee.
Engaging Talk by Amb. Rouben Shougarian
Preceding the Board elections were remarks from former Ambassador Rouben Shougarian of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Armenia’s first Ambassador to the United States (1993-99). Shougarian acknowledged the fruitful cooperation he has enjoyed with NAASR as he began his talk titled, “Building a New Generation of Armenian Leaders through the Tavitian Scholarship Program at the Fletcher School.”
All 15 of the current Tavitian scholars from Armenia, as well as alumna Olya Yordanyan, were present as NAASR’s guests, and introduced themselves. This is the 17th group of Tavitian scholars, who now number over 250, most in key leadership positions in Armenia, as Shougarian pointed out. While detailing several major crises Armenia has faced recently, he found cause for hope in Armenia’s strong response and in the talent of the first generation of scholars born in independent Armenia.