As a successful attorney at Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, María Sol Torosian is recognized around the country for her dedicated legal work focused on forestry, protecting environmental rights while sustaining a robust agroindustry. When she is not traveling through Argentina’s provinces for business or representing the nation abroad at global conferences, Torosian chairs YP Buenos Aires with her inspiring leadership and innovative approach to community engagement. Raised in a family with an impressive legacy in the Argentine-Armenian diaspora, she has grown up to weave her dual identities into both her personal and professional life.
To work in a group, to support one another—that’s what I know empowers us as individuals and as a community. As we say at AGBU, in unity is strength.
How has your Armenian background influenced your life and world view? Both of my parents are Armenian, so I grew up with my family being very involved in the community. In fact, my maternal grandfather, who came to Buenos Aires when he was 14 years-old, was educated as a lawyer and was the first Armenian language translator in the country. With his education, he helped translate the birth certificates and immigration papers of some of the thousands of Armenian refugees coming to Argentina. Because of that migration, the Armenian community is quite large today—we have many Armenian churches, dance ensembles, performance troupes and schools. This tradition of service to community has helped shape my values, as an Armenian and an Argentine.
How did your early experiences with AGBU help shape the course of your life? I attended AGBU’s Instituto Marie Manoogian before I pursued my law degree at the University of Buenos Aires. When I was 17-years-old, I worked at the AGBU Marie Manoogian Restaurant, which is well-known and beloved throughout the city, to raise money for our trip to Armenia; it was that year, working with my classmates in that restaurant, that I truly learned the importance of teamwork. Through my involvement with both Liga de Jóvenes and the Young Professionals of Buenos Aires, teamwork has been at the crux of my success both personally and professionally. Volunteering in the AGBU community made me grow as a person and develop my definition of leadership.
As Chair of YP Buenos Aires, how do keep your community active and engaged? Unity. I have always chosen to lead within the group, not outside of it. I try to cultivate unity so that every person on our team has ownership of some part of each event and everyone feels valuable. To work in a group, to support one another—that’s what I know empowers us as individuals and as a community. As we say at AGBU, in unity is strength.
In the same spirit, my goal has always been to make sure we, as Armenians, are well represented in our broader Argentine community and are welcoming to all. We invite everyone to the events we plan—lectures, workshops, mixers—and have many non-Armenian friends participate alongside us. In this way, we also try to give back to Argentina, the country that had been so accepting of our ancestors in the greatest hour of need, the country that gave us a home.
How have your leadership positions in the Armenian community impacted your professional endeavors? In 2012, I received my certification to practice law from the University of Buenos Aires. Now, I am a lawyer for Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture. I focus on forestry, balancing developments in environmental rights in a burgeoning agroindustry. My work takes me to provinces all over Argentina and beyond, giving me an opportunity to nurture relationships with so many different communities. My own foundation in organizing within the Armenian community for years allows me to work collaboratively with confidence.
What lies ahead in your work with the Armenian community? I want to continue to work toward recognition of the Armenian community, not just in Argentina, but around the world, inviting more people to learn about our history and our heritage. I strive for our communities to be open and welcoming to all. I also hope to continue to foster relationships through the programs and activities I have a hand in creating.
Banner Illustration by Luis Tinoco