BELMONT, MA — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) is sponsoring an essay contest for undergraduate students centering around the transformative power of education at the core of NAASR’s mission and the life of Dr. Vartan Gregorian, after whom NAASR’s new world headquarters building in Belmont, MA will be named when it opens in November 2019.

“Have you had an extraordinary relationship with a professor that changed your life? We want to hear from you,” said Sarah Ignatius, NAASR Executive Director, in encouraging undergraduates from all over the country to participate.

“Central to Dr. Gregorian’s life is his dedication to educational advancement and the pursuit of knowledge, just as these principles are central to NAASR’s mission,” said Yervant Chekijian, Chairman of NAASR’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to hearing from students how they have felt inspired in the same way.”

Contest Guidelines.
The contest is open to any full-time undergraduate student in the United States, whether or not of Armenian descent. Entrants must compose an original essay in the English language of 750 to 1,000 words about an important relationship he or she forged with a teacher or professor and how that relationship served to inspire and to make a fundamental difference in his or her life. The essay need not specifically mention NAASR or Vartan Gregorian.

The entry deadline is June 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Submissions must be by email to [email protected], with the subject line “Essay Submission.” In the body of the email, entrants must include name, age, degree program, and school as well as the essay. Entrants should attach proof of undergraduate enrollment, such as a dated photo of a current student ID.

The winners will be announced in the fall of 2019. The first place winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, plus travel and lodging in the Cambridge, MA area on November 2, 2019, where he or she will read his or her essay at NAASR’s 65th Anniversary Gala and Grand Opening of NAASR’s world headquarters, to be named the NAASR Vartan Gregorian Building, in Belmont, MA, fulfilling the request of the building’s principal benefactors, Edward and Pamela Avedisian of Lexington, MA. The new building’s official name will be the NAASR Vartan Gregorian Building. The second place winner will receive a $500 prize, and the third place winner will receive a $250 prize.

Founded in 1955, NAASR is one of the world’s leading resources for advancing Armenian Studies and building community worldwide to preserve and enrich Armenian culture, history, and identity for future generations. NAASR supports scholars with research grants, academic programming, and research assistance in its 28,000-volume rare book Armenian Studies library, connects their scholarly findings with a broad general public, worked to found the first chairs of Armenian Studies at Harvard and UCLA, and has gone on to support other endowed positions, which now exist at 13 universities in the United States.

Dr. Gregorian, who is currently President of the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York, was born in Tabriz, Iran, receiving his elementary education in Iran and his secondary education at Collège Arménian in Beirut, Lebanon. He graduated with honors from Stanford University and was awarded a PhD in history and humanities from Stanford. He was appointed the Tarzian Professor of Armenian and Caucasian History and professor of South Asian History at the University of Pennsylvania, and then served as president of The New York Public Library, which includes a network of four research libraries and 83 branch libraries. He was then appointed the 16th president of Brown University.

For questions regarding the essay contest, please email [email protected]. Learn more about NAASR at

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