SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — It is with profound sorrow that the Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party Supreme Council announce the news of the passing of Edmond Y. Azadian, one of the most prominent figures in Armenian life for more than half a century, on March 25 in Jupiter, Florida, following a brief illness.

A funeral service will take place on Saturday, April 22, at St. John Armenian Church of Southfield, Mich. (22001 Northwestern Hwy.), with visitations the prior evening. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made out to the TCA Edmond Y. Azadian Publications Fund.

Early Life and Work

Edmond Yervant Azadian was one of the most influential political and cultural leaders of the Armenian world for many decades. A journalist, editor, executive and activist, most recently he served as president of the Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada and a leader over several decades of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL).

Born on May 13, 1935 in Rayak, Lebanon, to parents from Adana, with the surname Godalazian, his family moved to Beirut, where he studied at the Sourp Krikor Lusavorich School of the Jesuit fathers and then developed a solid background in Armenian language and literature during secondary school at the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Hovagimian-Manoogian School.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut. In further pursuit of a literary career, he studied English and American literature at Northeastern University in Boston, and Near Eastern languages and history at Wayne State University, in Detroit, Mich.

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Five years after moving to the US, in 1972, he began his long work relationship with businessman and philanthropist Alex Manoogian, president of the AGBU Central Board of Directors, as his personal secretary. Azadian served many years as an executive administrator at the Alex and Marie Manoogian Cultural Fund, through which many Armenian books were published and Armenian newspapers and cultural activities supported.


Early in his life, he demonstrated a keen interest in journalism, and after being trained by celebrated editor and educator Kersam Aharonian at the Zartonk Armenian daily (1953-1958), he was invited to serve as the editor of the daily Arev in Cairo, Egypt, where he remained until 1967.

Coming to the United States, he assumed the position of executive director of the Baikar Association in Boston, while also serving as associate editor for the Baikar Armenian daily and the English-language weekly, The Armenian Mirror-Spectator (1967-1972). He also edited the Baikar literary quarterly in this period.

He later became one of the founders of the Abaka newspaper of Montreal and the Azg newspaper in Yerevan after Armenian independence. He played a key role in restarting the publication of Baikar as a weekly from 2017, and he served as its chief editor until his death.

He has written extensively on Armenian literature, arts, politics and history in Beirut’s Shirag literary monthly magazine, Abril monthly of Los Angeles, Nayiri weekly, Gragan Tert, Baikar, Abaka, Zartonk, Arev, the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, the Armenian Observer, Nor Geank and Ararat quarterly.


He became a member of the ADL after graduating high school and gradually rose in the ranks to come to hold various responsible positions. As an ADL leader, while in Egypt, Azadian played an important role in maintaining stability and preserving the connection of the local Armenian diocese with Echmiadzin during the Cold War period. In the US, he became a part of the ADL District Committee of the Eastern United States and Canada, and for many years was a member of the ADL Central Committee.

From 1982 to 1995, he was the head of the ADL Central Committee’s Press Bureau. He participated in various meetings to try to end internal divisions which began in the ADL in 1995.

He was involved at the early meetings of the Armenian Assembly of America (founded in 1972) and served on its Steering Committee. He also often acted on behalf of Alex Manoogian in relations with the Assembly, as the latter was a member of the Board of Trustees.

Tekeyan Cultural Association

He joined the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) at an early age in Beirut, contributing regularly to the organization’s literary magazine Shirag, and in Egypt was involved in sister associations of TCA, Kegharvestasirats of Cairo, and Dikran Yergat of Alexandria.

He was a founding member of the TCA of the United States and Canada, and was from the start a life member of its central board. He served as its president for several terms, starting in 1979, and most recently, from 2016 to the present.

He was a member of the committees of the TCA Haigashen Ouzounian Literary Award and the Vartkess and Rita Balian Press Award and played a fundamental role in the TCA Cultural Awards ceremonies which began in 1991 in Yerevan and continue in general on an annual basis to this day.

Through his work with TCA, Azadian supported the Vahan Tekeyan School of Beirut, the five Tekeyan schools of Armenia, and the TCA Arshag Dickranian School in Los Angeles, including through active fundraising efforts.


His Armenian-language books include Life and Dream in Armenia (1964), Essays on Arts and Literature (1988), Views and Judgements (2006), Vahan Tekeyan: Selected Poems (2012), With My Time and Contemporaries (2018), Lost and Unlost Pages (2019), and the two-volume In the National and Political Vortex (2021).

His first English-language volume was titled Portraits and Profiles (1995), edited by Hagop Hacikyan and Edward Franchuk, followed by History on the Move (1999). He served as editor of the English edition of Kersam Aharonian’s A Historical Survey of the Armenian Case (1989), executive editor of A Legacy of Armenian Treasures: The Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum (2013), and co-editor of the bilingual volume Vahan Tekeyan: Selected Poems (2014).

Service on Boards and Programs, Awards

Azadian was elected as a member of both the Armenian Writers Union and the Journalists Union and served as an advisor to the Minister of Culture in Armenia from 2005. He was an overseas member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and had been given honorary doctoral degrees by both Yerevan State University (1988) and the Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University. He was a founding member of the Friends of Yerevan State University association.

He served on the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School Board since 1972, supervising the Armenian Studies Program, and serving as director. Since 1978, he had served as a founding director of Detroit’s Heritage of Armenian Culture radio program.

He served on the board of trustees of the American Armenian International College of La Verne, California and the Wayne State University Press publications’ Armenian advisory board, and was an advisor to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Armenian Studies program. In 2016, he was appointed as a member of the Michigan Council for Genocide and Holocaust Education by the state’s governor, Rick Snyder.

Azadian was awarded the St. Sahak-St. Mesrop Medal by Catholicos of All Armenians Vasken I in 1989 for his journalistic and literary achievements. He is the recipient of the Movses Khorenatsi and the Serving Armenia (2009) presidential awards, the Hakob Meghapart Medal from the Armenian National Library in 1991, and the highest-level Diamond Studded Ararat Medal from the TCA of Armenia.

In his personal life, there is no doubt that his marriage to Nora Ipekian, which took place while he lived in Egypt, enriched his life greatly for many decades, until her passing less than two years ago. She was not only a gifted painter and teacher, but was erudite in literature, especially Armenian, and was an active leader of TCA in Detroit.

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