Throughout the General Assembly, in addition to AGBU-funded sites, the Union's delegates had the opportunity to tour new projects sponsored by AGBU benefactors in Armenia. One such inauguration took place for the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Library (Matenadaran), located on the grounds of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The consecration ceremony for this major complex was presided over by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians and attended by numerous dignitaries who gathered to celebrate the ongoing flourishment of Armenia's spiritual capital. Special guests included Armenia's President Serge Sargsyan and First Lady Rita Sargsyan, AGBU Presdient Berger Setrakian and his Vera, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian, Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan, Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan and President of the Constitutional Court Gagig Harutyunyan. Also present was Armenia's former Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian, who travelled from London for the occasion.
By financing the construction of the new Matenadaran, the Manoukians have given life to a site that both preserves the nation's treasured past and holds promise for its bright future. Its unveiling came after three years of careful planning and execution, and the building now stands two stories tall in the heart of Holy Etchmiadzin's expansive grounds, housing three libraries, along with reading, exhibition and conference halls. Home to 80,000 books and 3,000 manuscripts chronicling Armenian history, it will be a destination for clergy, theologians, scholars and students from around the world who will share knowledge and ideas for generations to come.
During the inauguration, Mr. Vatche Manoukian was bestowed with the Knight of Holy Etchmiadzin Pontifical Medal by the Catholicos, acknowledging his utmost dedication and munificence to numerous initiatives across the homeland and the Armenian diaspora. That evening, during a Gala banquet co-sponsored by AGBU and the Manoukian Foundation, Mr. Manoukian was also presented with the AGBU Gold Medal by President Berge Setrakian. The award highlighted the Manoukians' longtime, generous support of AGBU, notably its educational programs. The couple's 2009 donation of $11 million to the AGBU Pasadena High School and Center in Southern California, which was named in their honor enhanced the quality of education for local Armenian American students.