BOSTON — Immigrants and their unique and vital contributions to the success of the US economy since the nation’s founding were the dominant themes of a program paying tribute to Dr. Noubar Afeyan, biotech innovator and philanthropist, on Wednesday, September 18, at the InterContinental Hotel.
The program also was a fundraiser for the maintenance of Boston’s Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway and it did not disappoint; the roughly 500 people gathered there raised $700,000.
Throughout the evening, the phrase “coming together on common ground” was stressed. The immigrant theme goes to the heart of the park, which has become a gathering place not only for Armenian commemorations, but also the site of the annual welcome reception for new US citizens who are sworn in at nearby Faneuil Hall, as well as other creative programs.
In his remarks, honoree Afeyan singled out for praise his Swedish-born wife, Anna, his partner in his philanthropic endeavors, and expressed his hopes for his four children.
“My kids are descendants of an Armenian father and a Swedish mother. They are 100 percent Armenian, 100 percent Swedish and 100 percent American,” he said.
A special guest at the program was Dr. Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Afeyan’s partner at the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, as well as an immigrant himself. Gregorian is the former president of Brown University as well as the New York Public Library.