BOSTON — John and Artemis Mirak met each other and were married in the Boston area after having lost their respective families and becoming orphans of the Armenian Genocide.
“They were rescued in Turkey and brought to America by women relatives, so our family’s debt to women is profound,” said their granddaughter Julia Mirak Kew. “The Mirak family, through the John Mirak Foundation, supports this campaign in the belief that the roles of women are critical to a new Armenia.”
The donation of a scholarship in perpetuity specifically honors the memory of Alice Kanlian Mirak, the daughter-in-law of John and Artemis Mirak, who worked to connect Armenian women throughout the Diaspora by co-founding the Armenian International Women’s Association in Boston over 25 years ago. A graduate of Wellesley College, Alice was very active in her hometown of Winchester, Mass., through local politics, philanthropy, the public- school system, and serving as a volunteer to numerous charitable organizations in addition to being an avid athlete, artist, mother and wife. By making this donation, the Mirak family, now in its fourth generation, “seeks to follow in the noteworthy tradition of their ancestors.”
The John Mirak Foundation symbolizes the strength of Julia’s grandparents, who not only survived the massacres, but went on to become successful individuals in their own right, while consistently giving back to their Boston society, and never forgetting their roots. They instilled lessons in their family about the importance of upholding the Armenian arts, education and culture, among them the Armenian Cultural Foundation of Arlington, the oldest non-political institution of its kind in the United States, established in 1945.
“By educating women, a country harvests the capacity of its population,” said Julia Mirak Kew, who notes that women and men engage in and contribute to society in different ways. “Educated women will set an excellent example for generations to come and encourage young women to stay in Armenia and contribute to their society.”
The goal of the American University of Armenia’s “Yes, Armenian Women Can!” campaign is to raise a $2.5-million endowment in order to support up to 100 female students at AUA each year, in perpetuity, who are studying science, engineering or technology. To learn more about the “Yes, Armenian Women Can!” campaign, visit http://yawc.aua.am/ or contact the Development Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.