AIWA Plans Expansion of Its Scholarship Program to Address Growing Student Needs

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BOSTON — Emerging international trends are making a higher education more essential for young people building their careers. At the same time recent conditions have increased the difficulties of obtaining that needed higher education and training.

The coronavirus epidemic of the past two years has forced colleges and universities everywhere to close or to restrict operations, creating obstacles for students to attend classes, apply for admission, or arrange for their support. Armenian students face additional problems, whether it be in the homeland where the Azerbaijani/Armenian conflict has adversely affected all segments of the population in many different ways, or in the Middle East, where deteriorating economic and social conditions create constant hazards. All students everywhere are affected by the high and steeply rising costs of a higher education.

Faced with an ever increasing number of scholarship applications, from needy and talented students from all over the world, the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) is looking into means of expanding its scholarship support. An initial $15,000 grant from the John Mirak Foundation, to expand scholarships in memory of the late Alice Kanlian Mirak, has spearheaded this effort.

Over $70,000 was awarded this year in scholarship aid by the AIWA Central Board and Affiliates to graduate and undergraduate students from the United States, Canada, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and other countries in fields ranging from mathematics and architecture to government, public administration, medicine, art, and design.

The scholarships are funded by endowments as well as annual donations. They may be earmarked to students from a particular area, to those in certain fields of study, or to particular colleges or universities. Many donors have found scholarships a meaningful way to assist and encourage talented students or to remember a loved one through a named scholarship. Every year the need for support far outweighs available funds, and AIWA encourages donations for this important means of encouraging and supporting our young women.

AIWA’s scholarship program was initiated with the Agnes K. Missirian Scholarship, established in 1996 in memory of the professor of management at Bentley University who was an early AIWA member and a strong advocate for women’s rights. Over the years grants have been added in the names of Ethel Jaferian Duffett, Lucy Kasparian Aharonian (for students in the sciences), Nshan and Margrit Atinizian, Dr. Carolann S. Najarian, Hripsime Parsekian (for a student in the field of International Relations), Mary V. Toumayan, Azniv Melidonian Renjilian,and Rose A. Hovannesian. Last year the Eva and Jack Medzorian Scholarship was endowed, specifically to benefit annually applicants from Armenia, specifically from the Tavush region.

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The AIWA-Los Angeles Affiliate awards annually five to six Hasmik Mgrdichian Scholarships of $5,000 each to California residents, and the New England affiliate has established the Olga Proudian Scholarship of $1,000 annually to a student in the field of diplomacy.

AIWA scholarships ranging in value from $500 to $5,000 are awarded to full-time female students of Armenian descent attending accredited colleges or universities. Students from the United States or abroad entering their junior or senior year in college, as well as graduate students, are eligible to apply for the awards, which are based on merit as well as financial need.

The application for all of these awards is now available through AIWA’s digital scholarship portal whose link can be found on the AIWA website: www.aiwainternational.org.

General information about AIWA and its network of Armenian women who come together to connect and elevate women globally can be found on the website or by contacting AIWA at: info@aiwainternational.org.

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