In November 2015, the AGBU Marie Manoogian School in Buenos Aires mounted an exhibition entitled “100 Reasons to Live.” The initiative was spearheaded by the English Department within the framework of the commemorative events surrounding the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. The project had two objectives: to honor life and those who helped the Armenian people as well as to contribute to the students’ understanding of ethical citizenship and English as a second language.
The content of the exhibition was based on 100 LIVES, where students had the opportunity to read about the origins of the Near East Relief organization and those non-Armenian missionaries who unselfishly saved so many lives. Miriam Bogossian Tabakian, the head of English Department at the school and the promoter of the program, explains: “I wanted to raise awareness about the importance of the commemoration. One hundred years have passed without justice and the denial on the part of the Turkish authorities still continues.”
The twelfth graders worked throughout the year in the classroom, in the computer room and, towards the end of the academic year, decided to exhibit the results of their research at the AGBU Center: “I concluded that the message I wanted to pass on to the new generation had to be positive and inspiring; a message that taught them that a better world is possible without leaving aside the world’s collective memory. Then, I found the heroes of this story, the foreign missionaries, who, risking their own lives, provided help to refugees. I was deeply moved. I said to myself, ‘This is what I’m looking for; these are the heroes of the genocide who very few people know about,’” Mrs. Tabakian emphasizes.
In July 2015, the seniors went to Armenia on their graduation trip and Mrs. Tabakian was one of their chaperones. Among the many activities on the schedule, the seniors visited the Terchoonian Home Orphanage in Gyumri. “When we crossed the threshold, just in front of us there it was, hanging on the wall, the well known photo of Thank You America. We were standing at the very place that the Near East Relief had founded in 1920. We were speechless. All of us felt that the project we had started was meant to be finished and it was up to us to introduce it in our community,” concluded Mrs. Bogossian Tabakian.