Building A Republic
Building A Republic

Recognizing Excellence

AGBU Honors Distinguished Leaders and Volunteers

For over a century, AGBU has enjoyed the support of tens of thousands of members and volunteers in carrying out its mission. Eight members of the Union, along with three individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service to Armenia, were honored during AGBU’s 87th General Assembly.


Gabriel Djambardji

As a noted philanthropist and the president of the Pyunik Foundation, which focuses on education in Armenia, Mr. Djambardji has contributed generously to various projects in the homeland, including financial assistance to schools to modernize their facilities and to the recent refurbishment of the Matenadaran. He and his wife Kohar, who are Syrian Armenians, have also been generous patrons of their local community, as well as of various religious endeavors within the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Smbat Lputian

Mr. Lputian, who holds the world’s highest chess title of Grandmaster, has used his expertise for years to cultivate the talents of Armenian youth and ensure that Armenia maintains its strong foothold in the world of chess. As the Vice President of the Armenian Chess Federation, which is headed by President Serzh Sargsyan, he cooperates closely with AGBU to organize the annual Interschool Republican Chess Tournament, which brings together over 5,000 students from Armenia, Karabakh and the Armenian schools in the Javakh region of Georgia—many of whom have followed in his footsteps—rising to the professional level.

Ralph Yirikian

A Lebanese diasporan and General Manager of one of Armenia’s largest companies, Viva-Cell-MTS, Mr. Yirikian is dedicated to advancing Armenia’s well-being through corporate social responsibility initiatives. Viva-Cell is often recognized as a leader in sponsoring social and educational programs and events. He has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Shield from the President of Lebanon, the Movses Khorenatsi Medal from the President of the Republic of Armenia and the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Medal from His Holiness Karekin II.


Jacques and Florine Deyirmendjian

For four decades, Mr. and Mrs. Jacques and Florine Deyirmendjian of Paris, France, have worked tirelessly in the French Armenian community and committed themselves to serving AGBU. Mr. Deyirmendjian holds degrees from France’s most important grandes écoles, has held important leadership posts at Gaz de France SA, one of the country’s top energy companies, and currently serves as president of Deynergies, a joint stock company, which he founded. He has volunteered within the Union as the chair of both the Paris Youth Group and later the Paris Chapter; he also and served on the France District Committee. In addition, Mr. Deyirmendjian has been bestowed with the order of knighthood in both France and Germany. Mrs. Deyirmendjian, a CPA and a graduate of the School of Management of Lyon serves on the Paris Chapter Committee and has been active within the local AGBU Alex Manoogian Center, which offers courses in language and culture to scores of youth and adults.

Denis Ketchedjian

Mr. Ketchedjian served as the France District Chairman from 2002 until 2008. Most notably, in 2006, he oversaw the four-day AGBU Centennial Celebrations, which culminated with a gala at Versailles. A prominent lawyer who, for decades, also contributed his services as the organization’s counsel in France, he is currently the Secretary General of the AGBU France District.

Panos Titizian

A pharmacist by profession and a graduate of the American University of Beirut, Mr. Titizian was bestowed with both AGBU Honor Membership and the Outstanding AGBU Volunteer Medal. He has been an AGBU member for more than eight decades, over the course of which he has used his talents to benefit the organization, particularly throughout Lebanon’s civil war. Mr. Titizian served for many years on both the Education and District Committees of Lebanon, and continues today to serve the organization from Southern California, attending to special assignments.

Sona Yacoubian

Mrs. Yacoubian is the founder of AGBU Hye Geen (est. 1994), an initiative dedicated to the promotion of the rights and well-being of Armenian women. In 2002, under her leadership, Hye Geen established the first of its five Pregnant Women’s Centers in Gyumri, Vanadzor, Talin, Yeghvart and Yerevan in response to Armenia’s rising infant mortality rates and the country’s general decline in maternal health. The AGBU Hye Geen Pregnant Women’s Centers celebrated their tenth anniversary in 2012—a decade of helping deliver over 1,400 healthy babies. In addition to its Armenia-based initiatives, Hye Geen’s activities in California raise awareness of a host of issues that affect the broader Armenian community.


Sonia Avakian-Bedrossian

Instrumental in reviving AGBU’s activities in the Bulgarian capital in the post-Communism years, Mrs. Avakian-Bedrossian has been the Sofia Chapter Chair for over a decade. A true leader with a vision to attract the new generation, she energized the Chapter’s base through various activities and programs, in particular the Mothers’ Committee and the Nur Dance Ensemble. She was responsible for initiating Camp Unger, a Chapter program designed to bond AGBU Sofia’s youngest members, and most recently, in collaboration with the Plovdiv Chapter, for initiating Camp Hayler, which unites youth from across Bulgaria. In 2007, she established the AGBU Sofia Chamber Orchestra, which consistently draws scores of Armenian and non-Armenian music lovers alike to several concerts each year.

Roupen Chavoushian

Mr. Chavoushian was one of the key individuals who re-established the Plovdiv Chapter after the fall of Communism in Bulgaria. He has played a great role in perpetuating the Armenian heritage in the city, which is home to the country’s largest Armenian population. As the current and longtime Chair of the AGBU Plovdiv Chapter, he administers a number of Associated Chapters in Burgas, Dobrich, Haskovo, Russe, Silistra, Sliven and Yambol, and initiated AGBU Saturday Schools in each of these towns, ensuring the organization’s strong presence across the country. On a bimonthly basis, over 800 readers receive the publication AGBU Voice, which Chavoushian founded. His numerous contributions to the community were acknowledged with a medal awarded by the Mayor of Plovdiv.

Gustavo Zulamian

Considered one of AGBU’s most talented young leaders in South America, Dr. Zulamian has served in the past as General Secretary of the AGBU Montevideo board and as Chair of the Montevideo Chapter and the AGBU Nubarian-Manoogian School, of which he is an alumnus. A dentist by profession, he has been involved with the organization since childhood; as a young athlete, he brought his active involvement to the Chapter’s Liga de Jóvenes (Youth League) and South American Regional Games. He continues to assume special assignments on behalf of the organization.

Originally published in the December 2012 ​issue of AGBU Magazine. Archived content may appear distorted on your screen. end character

About the AGBU Magazine

AGBU Magazine is one of the most widely circulated English language Armenian magazines in the world, available in print and digital format. Each issue delivers insights and perspective on subjects and themes relating to the Armenian world, accompanied by original photography, exclusive high-profile interviews, fun facts and more.