WATERTOWN – The one-time flourishing Lebanese-Armenian community today faces a serious crisis of survival. Our communities are duty-bound to help the Lebanese-Armenians, based on the principle of mutual assistance of Armenian diasporan communities, especially since the latter for decades provided intellectual and educational sustenance and leadership to the communities of the West facing assimilation.
The Lebanese Armenians experienced extraordinary crises in recent decades which accelerated emigration and debilitated their community. As a consequence of these crises, their educational system suffered greatly. A number of schools were closed, while the Armenian General Benevolent Union merged its five schools into a single one. The same fate befell the Prelacy schools.
The Vahan Tekeyan School of Beirut, which for 70 years has operated in the heavily Armenian-populated Bourj Hammoud area, in its turn suffered greatly as a result of the decline in its student population. However, thanks to the heroic efforts of parents and its board of trustees, as well as the sponsorship of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Founders Body in Lebanon, it managed to maintain its existence. The TCA family in North America also contributed its significant assistance in the preservation of the school, which educated successive generations for the Armenians of the diaspora.
Now, the coronavirus pandemic, combined with the political and economic turmoil in Lebanon, has crippled completely the Armenian community there. Under these serious conditions, the TCA Founders Body has issued an urgent plea for help to the Central Board of the TCA of the United States and Canada, and to all Armenians, to save the school from inevitable closure.
In response, the TCA Central Board is immediately allocating a sum of $50,000 (US dollars) and had already sent $10,000 earlier this year to the school. Further assistance is also under consideration as conditions evolve.
This is the time to also call upon the former students and alumni of the Beirut Tekeyan School to remember the heart and soul of their early education and to rush to help extend the school’s existence and carry out its mission for as long as is feasible.