Spiritual Rebirth

Recognizing Outstanding Achievement

Medals and honorary memberships awarded to AGBU members and supporters during the 88th General Assembly


For well over a century, AGBU has enjoyed the support of tens of thousands of members and volunteers in carrying out its mission of preserving and promoting Armenian identity. During the General Assembly, the organization honored the dedication of its members and recognized individuals for their contributions. 

The presentation of the AGBU Garbis Papazian Award to former Ambassador Alexander Bojko was a particular highlight of the assembly. Razmik Tamrazian, Papazian’s representative, thanked AGBU and the General Assembly for providing the forum for the award. He briefly described the purpose of the award and listed all 26 of its previous recipients. Established in 1988, the AGBU Garbis Papazian Award is presented each year to a non-Armenian scholar or intellectual, who, through his or her research and publications, contributes to the dissemination and understanding of Armenian history and culture to his or her own people and to the international community. In past years, recipients of the AGBU Garbis Papazian Award have included Baroness Caroline Cox of London, England; Dr. Yves Ternon of Paris, France; Dr. Mohamed Refaat El Imam of Cairo, Egypt; and Dr. Wolfgang Gust of Hamburg, Germany.

In addition to his diplomatic services, Bojko, who served as the Ukrainian ambassador to Armenia from 1996 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2010, cultivated a closer relationship between the two countries through his scholarship and was awarded several medals of honor from state institutions in Armenia. Bojko is a graduate of the Taras Shevshenko University in Kiev, studied Armenian language and literature at Yerevan State University and is a member of the Writers’ Union of Armenia and Ukraine. He has also authored numerous articles, studies and books dedicated to Armenian culture and literature and translated into Ukrainian the works of many Armenian writers. He has been a proponent of Armenian issues, especially international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. 

Speaking in Armenian, Bojko thanked Garbis Papazian and the founders of the award for having recognized his contributions. He noted that it was significant that the award was presented on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: “I have written extensively in Ukrainian about the terrible events of the Armenian Genocide and would like to assure my Armenian brothers and sisters that I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that my government in Ukraine will officially recognize this horrific crime against humanity,” said Bojko. He added that the award would help him compile and publish a book of chronicles of Armenians in Ukraine from the 14th to 17th centuries, which he has recently translated from classical Armenian and published as a series of articles in Kiev Magazine

On the occasion, President Setrakian recognized Garbis Papazian for his noteworthy initiative in establishing the award and a substantial endowment. Setrakian awarded him the AGBU Gold Medal and the title of AGBU Honorary Member in recognition of his benevolence and contributions to the organization. He also thanked Razmik Tamrazian for his continued efforts in the success of this initiative. Garbis Papazian, a successful businessman and benefactor currently residing in Vienna, was the longtime chairman of the AGBU Vienna chapter and is the recipient of numerous honorary awards. 

The assembly also recognized the achievements and service of Hayk Demoyan, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, for his advocacy with respect to the Armenian Genocide and his leadership in organizing numerous academic forums worldwide on the 100th anniversary of the genocide. Demoyan is the author of several books and articles on the Armenian Genocide, Turkish foreign policy and Turkish involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He was awarded the AGBU Silver Medal and the title of AGBU Honorary Member. Demoyan thanked AGBU for the recognition and said that final preparations are being made for the extension of the Genocide Museum, which comprises pictures of thousands of orphans who were sheltered in AGBU-sponsored orphanages: “AGBU is no more a silent presence,” he said. “It shines through many heroic initiatives that have helped rebuild the nation over the past 100 years.” 

During the assembly, Haig Messerlian and Nerses Nersoyan were also awarded AGBU honorary memberships and silver medals.

Messerlian was recognized for his lifelong commitment to AGBU and Armenian cultural heritage. Messerlian was appointed executive director of the AGBU Central Office in New York in 1988. From 2010 to 2012, he also served as chairman of the AGBU Western District Committee. He was instrumental in major fundraising efforts for AGBU programs through large art exhibitions, commemorations and special events.

Nersoyan, chairman of the AGBU Syria District, was recognized for the critical role he has played in coordinating AGBU Syrian relief efforts. Throughout the crisis in Syria, Nersoyan has demonstrated exceptional leadership in organizing and administering relief services to the Armenian community. 

AGBU also presented three members of the AGBU chapter and school leadership with AGBU President’s Awards for their commitment and dedication. This year’s recipients were Knar Basmadjian, Toros Boghossian and Serpouhi Sarkissian.  

Basmadjian served as the AGBU Toronto chapter chairwoman from 2004 to 2005 and from 2008 to the present. She was also the director of the chapter from 2006 to 2007, during which she was critical in raising funds for AGBU humanitarian programs. 

Boghossian has been the AGBU Sydney chairman since 2010. He has distinguished himself through his involvement with AGBU programs in Sydney, including the AGBU Alexander School and the Vahram Papazian Theatre Group.

Sarkissian is a longtime educator at the Gullabi Gulbenkian School in Damascus, Syria. From 1954 to 2013, she contributed to the development of the school and its curriculum as both a teacher and an administrator, particularly in the fields of Armenian language, arts and culture.

As a special tribute to her twenty-five years of dedicated service to AGBU, Anita Anserian—director of the AGBU Central Office in New York—was awarded the Saint Nerses Shnorhali Medal on behalf of His Holiness Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians. Representing His Holiness was Bishop Bagrat Galsdanian, who read the Pontifical Encyclical on this occasion and presented the medal, while the delegates at the assembly expressed their appreciation with a long standing ovation. 

Originally published in the 2015-09-01​ issue of AGBU Magazine. Archived content may appear distorted on your screen. end character

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