Established in 1910, AGBU Lebanon was one of the earliest outposts of the flagship AGBU, formed in 1906 in Cairo, Egypt. The chapter found its footing out of a necessity to serve the urgent needs of a growing Armenian community made up of destitute genocide survivors and orphans suffering from malnutrition and disease, poor sanitation and other adversities such as lack of education and employment opportunities. Fortunately, AGBU was in a position to help change the trajectory of their broken lives with practical solutions that would yield positive long-term results.
These efforts set the stage for what has become an exemplary model of organization, motivation, innovation and versatility among Armenian non-profits in the Middle East, and to a large degree, the Diaspora writ large.
AGBU Lebanon’s capacity to help transform a forsaken people into proud Armenians and productive Lebanese citizens has touched every generation. Whether an AGBU scout, athlete, teammate, student or scholarship recipient, player in a band, theater or dance troupe, Lebanese Armenian youth come away with a greater sense of Armenian identity, purpose and confidence. They continue to rise to the top of their classes and professions, and most important, give back to the community and country that helped restore their humanity and dignity.
As the years progressed, AGBU Lebanon developed the resources and know-how to respond to national crises that demanded swift action to deliver public health services through its dispensaries, make up for shortfalls in government services with safety-net assistance, and equally valuable, be the face of optimism and hope in dark and troubled times. Stories abound about how AGBU Lebanon served the community tirelessly by day but found the energy to organize benefit galas and performances by night, lifting spirits and emphasizing the beauty in life that togetherness and mutual support bring.
Many of the sprawling modern AGBU community centers and accredited schools that thrive with creative energy speak to the trust shown by their namesake benefactors in choosing AGBU as a worthy custodian of the rich Western Armenian culture—preserving, promoting and advancing Armenian scholarship, arts and traditions in relevant and meaningful ways.
In recent years, AGBU Lebanon has taken the lead in organizing cross cultural, international events in support of human rights, genocide prevention and women’s issues, showcasing the intellectual talents in the community and sharing it with peers and audiences regionally and worldwide.
Today, the AGBU Lebanon legacy drives hundreds of volunteers, committee members, Asbeds, Ladies Guild members and thousands of beneficiaries to prove that self-reliance, hard work, team spirit, bold enterprise, inventive daring, and a can-do outlook can make all things possible. And for every hurdle and hardship overcome, the community becomes all the stronger and more resilient for the effort.
The illustrious story of AGBU Lebanon is captured in the images and commentary curated from the AGBU Archives.