Jerair and Anahid Nishanian

Jirair and Anahid Nishanian Honorary Co-Chairs at Soorp Khatch


WASHINGTON — Soorp Khatch Church of Bethesda, Md. recently celebrated its 53rd anniversary gala dinner, which was attended by nearly 200 parishioners. Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan presided over this truly special event, and was recognized for his 50 years of service to the Armenian Church.

Jerair and Anahid Nishanian served as the honorary co-chairs for the evening.

Also speaking at the event were Deputy Chief of Mission of the Republic of Armenia to the United States Hrachia Tashchian as well as the Representative of the Republic of Artsakh to the US Robert Avetisyan.

Choloyan presented Letters of Recognition to Arsen Sayan, Ara Sahagian, Rose Balian and Hinazant Arabian.

One of the highlights for the evening was a medley of traditional Armenian Songs performed by Emma Soghomonian and Pamela Tossounian. They were accompanied by Armik Khachatourians on drums and Mihran Kochyan on oud. The national anthems, Star Spangled Banner and Mer Hairenik, were performed by Sareen Balian and Arya Balian.

Anto Tossounian was master of ceremonies.

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The anniversary dinner was co-chaired by Elda Hacopian and Jemma Simonian.

Jirair Nishanian is the founder and president of the Jirair Nishanian Foundation (JNF). The JNF came to be through Jerair Nishanian’s profound sense of duty inherited from his parents, who were the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and a deep desire to assist the underprivileged young Armenians, in particular, the ones talented, so they can achieve their potential so that they can contribute to the advancement of their motherland, Armenia.

The Primary Mission of JNF is to facilitate an opportunity for underprivileged, talented young Armenian students in Armenia to receive higher education and achieve their inherent potentials, and in turn, contribute to the welfare of their motherland and the future generations.

JNF is also committed to religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, translations, publications, and educational endeavors, and grants scholarships and financial aid to the talented underprivileged young Armenians to attain higher education in various disciplines in liberal arts, law, sciences, engineering and architecture; therefore, exclusively preserve their Armenian heritage, and build a strong generation of Armenians armed with higher education. These are the Special Programs undertaken by the Foundation:

The foundation awards scholarships on an annual basis to attending Gavar State University in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia and the State Engineering University in Yerevan.

Since its formation in 1993, JNF has been granting scholarships to undergraduate students in Gavar State University in Gavar, Armenia, but since 2011, JNF expanded its scholarship program to include students majoring in engineering and architecture in National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, located in Yerevan. To secure the continuity of the JNF scholarship program, Nishanian on May 2013, donated $1,000,000 to establish an endowment fund.

Since 2007, the JNF scholarship program in Armenia has been managed by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America’s Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) in New York and its branch office in Yerevan. The JNF currently provides scholarships to more than 70 college students in Armenia, and is anticipated to increase the number of the students to 80 within the next two years.

The Jerair Nishanian Foundation was one of the six major donors in the US for the Centennial Memoriam of the Armenian Genocide which took place in Washington D.C. in May 2015.

The foundation has also funded several special projects, including the remodeling and construction of the Main Altar of Saint Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Washington DC.; the translation of the book from Turkish into English by Dr. Taner Akçam, titled The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity,  as well as The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity.

Nishanian is the recipient of several medals, certificates of appreciation and commendations from universities in Armenia and different organizations which include: St. Nersess Shnorhali Medal from Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians; Erakhtagitutyan Medal (The Medal of Gratitude) from the president of the Republic of Armenia; Medal of Recognition and Gratitude from the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Armenia; the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Appreciation Medal from St. Nersess Seminary; Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Gavar State University in Armenia and St. Nersess Shnorhali medal from the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

Jerair Nishanian is married to Anahid Nishanian and they have three children and five grandchildren.

  • Diramayr Anahid

JNF Board member



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