NEW YORK — In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) awarded nearly $800,000 in scholarships to students in 28 countries. For almost a century, the AGBU Scholarship Program has helped further the educational pursuits of tens of thousands of promising young Armenian students enrolled at some of the world’s top-ranked universities.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, 72 students enrolled in professional, masters and doctoral degree programs in the United States were awarded nearly $262,000 in the form of US Graduate Scholarships. The recipients represented a variety of fields, including law, architecture and medicine. Many hope to use their education to benefit Armenia and Armenians.

Lara Markarian, a first-year law student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2013 where she was encouraged to examine how laws can be improved to address complex issues, such as the Armenian Genocide. “Now, by getting my law degree at Berkeley, I hope to gather the tools I need to further achieve my goal of helping the Armenian community as well as other groups who seek justice in the face of international conflict, war, genocide, and displacement,” says Markarian.

Karen Berberyan, a master’s student in architectural design at Columbia University, has already begun to apply his education to benefit his native Armenia. Before coming to the United States, Berberyan worked at the Yerevan office of the London-based Tim Flynn Architects, during which time he was part of a team that brought sustainable architecture and design to the towns of Dilijan and Tatev. “It is my firm aim to become a high-level professional and a leader in my field, to manage important local and international projects, and to transform the culture of architecture in Armenia into a modern and progressive environment. I aim to make serious contributions to the development of a more attractive, sustainable, livable, and modern environment for Armenia,” says Berberyan.

From the architectural to the medical, Hayk Barseghyan a doctoral student in the Human Genetics Department at the University of California, Los Angeles-decided to work towards his doctorate before going to medical school because he saw that many well-known disorders had little or no treatment available and was inspired to provide personalized treatment based on genotype. A disease he hopes to investigate is one that afflicts Armenians in particular: “I plan to work closely with the Armenian Human Genome Project to map the Armenian genome to potentially identify alleles segregating with diseases more common to Armenians, such as Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF),” said Barseghyan

AGBU awarded over $380,000 to 230 students in the form of AGBU International Scholarships to those studying outside the United States. Like AGBU US Graduate Scholarship recipients, many recipients of the AGBU International Scholarships were also driven to pursue their course of study by their Armenian heritage.

Gohar Grigoryan is a doctoral student at the Department of Medieval Art History at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. There she carries out research on Cilician Armenian art in the context of intercultural exchange in the medieval Mediterranean. “During my undergraduate studies, I discovered for myself the symbolic and cosmopolitan nature of medieval Armenian culture, which inspired me to pursue this field in my doctoral work,” said Grigoryan.

Antonios Tashejian also has a love for history. A second-year student at the Sorbonne in Paris, Antonios-originally from Lebanon-studies all periods in history as well as German and Persian. “After my bachelor’s degree, I plan on pursuing a postgraduate degree in politics and Middle Eastern history, or genocide studies. I have always been passionate about these subjects and I thank AGBU for helping me to become the historian, political scientist and polyglot I want to be,” says Tashejian.

Also in Europe, Victor Tarjan is studying at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands for his bachelor of science in International Business Administration in Emerging Markets. After participating in the AGBU Discover Armenia program in 2014, donating mattresses and blankets to an orphanage in rural Armenia, Victor continued to ask himself how he could do more for the country: “I believe that my program in emerging markets will provide me with the tools that could help me make a long lasting impact in emerging markets, such as Armenia, by helping stimulate the economy through viable business opportunities,” said Tarjan.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, a total of $113,000 was awarded to 41 recipients of the AGBU Performing Arts Scholarship. The recipients are musicians and artists of all types from Armenia and throughout the diaspora.

Narek Arutyunian, a clarinetist, is a first-year master’s student at the Manhattan School of Music. Inspired to play the clarinet by his father, an Armenian folk clarinetist, Arutyunian has big aspirations for the future: “I am hoping to become a distinguished clarinet professor and teach the next generations of clarinet players.”

Also originally from Armenia, Hasmik Vardanyan is a cellist working toward her artist diploma at the University of Houston’s Moore’s School of Music. As a student new to the United States, she is thankful for her AGBU scholarship, which has allowed her to immerse herself in her program: “I’m in this program to discover new ways of musical interpretation, to find new ideas and new feelings. A musician must be an artist, painter, philosopher and psychologist. The more I see, the more I live, the more I travel, the more I read, the more it will all have an effect on my understanding of life and it will definitely impact my personality as a musician.”

Financed through endowment funds established by AGBU donors since the 1920s, the AGBU Scholarship Program has proudly contributed to the academic achievements of gifted young Armenians, offering financial assistance to full-time students of Armenian descent from close to 40 countries across six continents. Today, through added specialized initiatives, the AGBU Scholarship Program offers financial assistance to a broader range of Armenian students across the globe.

AGBU accepts applications for five categories of scholarships: Heritage Scholar Grants for high-achieving high school seniors at the three AGBU high schools in the United States; US Graduate Fellowships for students in professional, master’s and doctoral programs in the United States; International Scholarships for students studying outside the United States with special funds for the United Kingdom, France and Syria; Performing Arts Fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students in music, drama and film; and Religious Studies Fellowships for graduate students pursuing theology and youth ministry.

The AGBU Scholarship Program is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 academic year. To learn more about the program and to apply, please visit

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