Ribbon cutting ceremony of Avedisian School. L to R: AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and Pamela & Edward Avedisian

AMAA 104th Annual Meeting Banquet to Celebrate Armenian Evangelical Education And Honor Legacy of Benefactor Edward Avedisian

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By Phyllis Dohanian

The Armenian Missionary Association of America this fall will celebrate the legacy of the late Edward Avedisian, who created so much good here in the US as well as in Armenia, with the support of his wife, Pamela.

His dedication will be marked at the AMAA’s Annual Banquet on October 21 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront in San Francisco.

Born in Pawtucket, RI, Edward Avedisian embarked upon a lifetime of helping others. Through many years of helping his own community, Avedisian developed a vision of how best to impact the well-being of Armenians into an action plan which would play a pivotal role for the future of Armenia. By providing the poorest and most deprived of children in Yerevan with the highest quality education from pre-kindergarten through secondary school at no cost, he wished to empower them to lift themselves to a level where they could not only obtain a good job, but also raise their own families within Armenia, assist other neighbors in need, and uplift their community and country.

A drafty and derelict building in Yerevan was the perfect place for Edward Avedisian and his wife, Pamela, to make his dream a reality. In Melanya Geghamyan, principal of the Avedisian School from its inception, he found the perfect partner. Melanya listened as Ed told anyone who was within earshot that a true Armenian patriot should see the future of Armenia in an educated generation and should give the nation educated children. Melanya worked diligently day and night to make this shared mantra a reality.

Beginning in 1999 with kindergarten, adding one grade with each successive year with a middle school and a high school to follow and then, in conjunction with AUA, a university education for those eager children with the drive and skills to work hard to capture the future, the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School came to be.

Pamela Avedisian delivering her message at the 2023 Graduation Ceremony of Avedisian School

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Providing the highest quality education to these young people was only one part of Ed’s vision. Ed’s dream also included working tirelessly to build the first LEED building in Armenia, introducing a more ecologically sound construction standard by finding and educating Armenia’s construction leaders as they built a facility with significantly reduced operating costs. The Avedisian School continues its growth with a greenhouse, each of which provides a strong future for Armenia.

Ed walked the school grounds, listened to the teachers, met with the students, and observed the needs of the community and Armenia on every visit. Quietly, humbly, but tenaciously, he continued to expand upon his original vision, considering what the next project should be to continue addressing vital needs of Armenia and be an inspiration for young people currently pondering what their own dreams will be for the benefit of all Armenians.

Armenian Evangelicals have a long tradition supporting education. In the Near East, wherever our ancestors settled in Diaspora, we have planted schools near our churches to help our Armenian community grow ever stronger which has proved to be a blessing to us all.

Speaking at the Avedisian School graduation this June, Pamela Avedisian reminded everyone of the pride she and her late husband shared in celebrating the personal successes of each Avedisian student and graduate. “It is deeply gratifying knowing all Ed and I have contributed has impacted the lives of so many…, and our projects will further impact Armenia for decades to come. I hope that all of you get to the point where you can give back, as enriching the lives of others is what it is all about.”

Berj Karazian, a distinguished and Honored Artist of Armenia, a soloist with the Yerevan National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, will perform musical selections during the banquet. This celebrated outstanding tenor has performed all over the world. Karazian will be accompanied by Soprano Armine Vardanyan, an artist who recently made her debut in Carnegie Hall, and in the opera “Magic Flute” as the Queen of Night in Opera America of New York.

For more information may visit the AMAA website at amaa.org.

 

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