By Sara Janjigian Trifiro
SAN FRANCISCO — How do we honor our Armenian history while celebrating the global resilience of the Armenian spirit that has thrived for 106 years? That is what Christine Soussa asked the Armenian International Women’s Association San Francisco Chapter (AIWA-SF) four years ago. From there, AIWA Thrive was born, an April venture to share stories of individuals from around the world who are positively impacting our community as they lead with purpose.
“It’s all about building, honoring and elevating community. We are incredibly inspired by the profound talent and wisdom of our International community. There are so many amazing individuals and teams who enrich their societies in endless ways; we wanted to share these stories” remarks Christine. “When I joined the international board, I shared this vision with the team and they were delighted to support taking Thrive to the next level.”
Like seeds from a flower blowing in the wind, Armenians were scattered all over the world and found fertile ground to regrow and Thrive. Some incredible features include Alexandra Narine Kaprielian, head of US distribution for Takri Wines. Kaprielian is working with the team at Takri to rebuild after the loss of several employees and their vineyards as a result of the 2020 war.
Sadly, the story is all too familiar to her. “Our family had vineyards in 1915 which were also taken by the Turks during the genocide so it was very painful to see history repeating itself. But we also decided that we would not allow that to stop us from producing Armenian wine and we have already secured new lands to continue.”
On April 2, Thrive honored Lena Gasparyan, president of the Armenian Cultural Association, South Australia, who works for the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia, the state’s top organization for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She states that the Armenian fedayi or freedom fighter Sose Mayrik was and is her superhero and she wanted to be just like her, “serving and saving my people.” She is clearly following in her footsteps!