AGBU works very hard to maintain that connection with the community and keep that Armenian-ness alive. That touchpoint is really important and you see it in the charitable work AGBU does in other countries.
Written for AGBU Impact Magazine 2022 by Carolina Gazal. Photos by Doug Levy.
To Talinn Demirjian, AGBU was a birthright. Her father Dr. Zareh N. Demirjian was heavily involved in AGBU while living in his native Beirut thanks to his mother’s directive. After escaping the civil war in the 1970s and finding refuge in Boston, he carried over this dedication to Armenian unification. He eventually became the president of the AGBU New England Chapter—all while excelling as a hematologist and blood clot expert at Massachusetts General Hospital.
For the Demirjian family, attending Armenian events was not optional. The children were raised to be proud Armenians entrenched in every community service, sports team, and activity they could squeeze into their schedules. From serving meals at functions to joining AGBU Scouts to soccer matches and everything in between, Demirjian was deeply involved and even recalls feeling a bit of resentment for this. But now, Demirjian cherishes and deeply values her time participating in the Armenian community—which serves as her vocation to give back to AGBU, inspired by her late father’s dedication to the advancement of Armenian unity.
“My Armenian-ness is a big thread that runs through my family,” she explains. “It’s much of the memories I have with my dad and his parents—it’s all those evocative memories that have a personal connection,” Demirjian says fondly, intent on keeping this very thread reinforced throughout the AGBU community.
Now an expert in risk assessment as the managing director of State Street Bank, she keeps her conviction fortified through the Dr. Zareh Demirjian Memorial endowment. Her contributions are matched by her company annually, doubling its impact. The endowment was set up in her father’s name after he passed nearly ten years ago, just as his own parents had set up a fund for AGBU. She has also contributed to the AGBU Global Relief Fund, in addition to the New England Chapter’s local initiatives.
“AGBU works very hard to maintain that connection with the community and keep that Armenian-ness alive,” she says. “That touchpoint is really important and you see it in the charitable work AGBU does in other countries.”
Though her philanthropy focuses on supporting Armenians throughout the Diaspora, she knows her father would have hoped to narrow in on Armenians in Armenia, especially after one of his last visits there. “Going to Armenia, for him, was like Nirvana. It was like returning to the place for his people and homeland.”
Demirjian hopes to expand the endowment to focus on medical care in Armenia as a tribute to her father’s profession. The wheels are still turning, but she is certainly building a better road ahead for Armenians throughout the world, following in her father’s footsteps.
This article was featured in the 2022 release of AGBU Impact Magazine. For more information on the AGBU Global Relief Fund, click here.