Syria-born Mihran “Miro” Egavian has been a mover and shaker ever since childhood. Growing up, he lived in both the Middle East and North America, traveling between Aleppo and Montreal. Then he attended university in Ottawa, interned in Germany, and settled in Toronto where he currently works as the international sales director of a manufacturing company, overseeing markets in Canada and Latin America. Throughout his travels, he has always found a sense of belonging through his association with AGBU. Whether as a student of both the AGBU Lazar Najarian School in Aleppo and Ècole Alex Manoogian in Montreal, as an AYA-AGBU scout, a Camp Kessab camper, chair of YP Toronto, or now co-chair of AGBU Toronto, Egavian’s AGBU connections run as deep as they extend far and wide.
As young people grow, we don’t want to lose them. We want to find the right formula to keep them engaged. AGBU is a one-stop shop for such opportunities.
Q How would you best describe your involvement in so many AGBU programs? I would say “global” best describes my experience with AGBU. In every country, there is an AGBU base. Whenever my family and I travel, we always try to find our AGBU peers in the local community. Because of that connection, we have a chance to make new ones—connect with someone’s relatives, even roommates. I may be living in Canada now, but, thanks to Camp Kessab back in Syria, the memories keep me connected to fellow campers on so many levels. We were just with friends a couple of weeks back. The same goes for my classmates from AGBU school days. We’re still friends; we see each other, attend each other’s weddings. The bonds are everlasting. And the AGBU YPs provide the biggest platform to bring people together and open opportunities for the next generation to make those connections. That is very important for us.
We want the future generation to see what we’re doing. As young people grow, we don’t want to lose them. We want to find the right formula to keep them engaged. AGBU is a one-stop shop for such opportunities. There’s something for everyone.
Q What fulfills you most about volunteering with AGBU? It’s really above and beyond any satisfaction. It’s a way of life. It’s the smaller things, such as when you have a successful event or a scholarship recipient gets to pursue and attain a certain height. But the big moments are when they come back and give back to AGBU and the community. Those moments are huge.
Back in 2015, AGBU Focus was in Toronto and it was a big thing for us. The fundraising campaign results were great, but it’s the connecting, making friends, making memories. Those are the things you can’t put into words. You’re on an emotional high, basically.
Just last year, I was down in Buenos Aires and the AGBU YP chair and chapter were so welcoming. Going there felt like I was back in Aleppo, when the kids were playing basketball while the parents were having dinner. It shows you just how much impact AGBU has on a child’s life.
Q Today, AGBU Toronto faces an exciting new chapter ahead, after the decision to move to a new location. What is your vision for the chapter going forward? We are thrilled with the potential that lies ahead for AGBU Toronto. With this move, we can continue focusing on creating new programs to add value to the Toronto Armenian community while maintaining our core initiatives and global vision. Even as we maintain and strengthen our existing programs, we are especially interested in developing new programs for a new generation of youth and young professionals.
This more centralized location of our new offices will make it even more convenient for us to meet the needs and interests of the Toronto community. The move reflects our understanding that as the needs of our community change, our means of addressing them must adapt, as well.
With an organization as vast and global as AGBU, our Toronto chapter puts front and center the AGBU motto that “in unity, is strength.” That has been the secret to AGBU’s longevity: how we adapt to changing times.
Banner Illustration by Luis Tinoco