By Gohar Palyan
“If your plan for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Confucius.
The saying is what exemplifies the work of the Knights of Vartan since its inception103 years ago. The very first scholarships were for the American Armenian communities in the Middle East (Vahan Tekeyan school in Beirut, Haygazian National School in Halep and others) as well as in the USA to encourage Armenian youth to return to school after the memories of the horrible genocide of our people.
Since 1982 a new fund was established to give scholarships each year to 5 – 6 deserving students throughout the USA. This enabled over 160 Armenian students to have a better opportunity to attain an education.
After 1988 Earthquake the Knights of Vartan moved its support to Armenia as well and education was on the top of the list. Various programs were created and supported. Since 1997 the Knights of Vartan have been giving scholarships to 12 students in two major universities in Armenia – Yerevan State University and National Polytechnic University of Armenia.
From 2018 another major university American University of Armenia (AUA) was added to the list of Knights of Vartan supported schools and for the past two years have been fully sponsoring students from the AUA. As Lilit Avetisyan, Knights and Daughters of Vartan 2019 Scholarship recipient mentioned, she aims to create a Transparent Legal System.
“I am very grateful to Knights and Daughters of Vartan for making my education possible at AUA. By choosing to study at AUA, I wanted to be part of the great AUA community and take advantage of the opportunities and network that the university offers. I am very proud that in my country there are institutions like AUA. This University has become a real hub for not only education, but also connecting enthusiastic students to a larger community, which in turn will be the new generation of Armenian professionals and leaders – the backbone of our Armenia!
KV leadership constantly is looking for new educational opportunities and funds. Hopefully more exciting scholarship opportunity will emerge in 2020.
Grand Commander Steven Adams, himself an educator, stated, “Education is the foundation on which the future of Armenia will be built”.
To provide fellowships and support scholarly research and publication in the field of Armenian studies the Knights of Vartan established the Fund for Armenian Studies (FAS) in 1986. Since 2007 Knights of Vartan partners with NAASR (National Association for Armenian Studies and Research) to select, evaluate and monitor these grants and/or fellowships to qualified scholars in Armenian studies.
The Center for Armenian Research and Publication (Armenian Research Center) was initiated by then Knight, now Past Grand Commander Dr. Dennis Papazian in 1986 at the University of Michigan, Dearborn and it quickly became one of the largest Knights of Vartan projects. Since then has published books, research materials and reports; hosted speakers, organized database, produced radio and TV programs and maintains the most comprehensive collection of Armenian genocide resource materials available for researchers.
Not only has the Knights of Vartan supported education but since 1995 has also enabled students to have a better environment in which to study by renovating and building over 250 schools and kindergartens in Armenia. This was implemented through various projects such as the Adopt-A-School and Armenian Schools Support Project via (World Bank ASIF (Armenian Social Investment Fund) and ATDF (Armenian Territorial Development Fund.)
The Knights of Vartan Inc. is a fraternal leadership and service organization of Armenian men dedicated to safeguarding and perpetuating the Armenian heritage and cultural traditions. Its membership represents the spectrum of the leadership of the Armenian community. It was founded in 1916 in Philadelphia and is based the United States with 23 local chapters which support Armenian causes around the world.
For more information about the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, visit http://kofv.org.