FRESNO — The Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) has received a $25,000 donation from Mr. Dean Vahan Shahinian. The donation will be used to create the position of SAS Executive Secretary. As the activities of the Society have multiplied in the past three years, the Executive Council has decided to establish a part-time position to enhance the efficiency of the Society and its activities, both on the national and international levels.

Dean Shahinian, Esq. worked for the Chairmen of the United States Senate Banking Committee as Senior Counsel and Chief Securities Policy Advisor to staff over one hundred hearings and negotiate and draft numerous bills and laws. He has contributed to the Armenian community by serving on the National Ecclesiastical Assembly (to elect the Catholicos) in 1995 and 1999, on the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Auditing Committee, on the Boards of St. Nersess Seminary and the Armenian Students Association, by emceeing the annual Alexandria Armenian Festival, by giving talks on Armenian manuscript illuminations, and in many other activities.

Shahinian expressed his gratitude to the work done by SAS saying: “We rely on Armenian scholars to learn and to inform others about Armenian culture and history. We appreciate the scholarship of Professors Kevork Bardakjian, Richard Hovannisian, Dickran Kouymjian, Christina Maranci, Bedross Der Matossian, Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Helen Evans, Sylvie Merian, and others and revere the work and enthusiasm of the late Lucy Der Manuelian and George Bournoutian.” He praised the mission of the Society saying “SAS promotes a community for our scholars to enhance the quality and scope of Armenian Studies. I am pleased to contribute towards its mission.”

“We are deeply touched by Mr. Shahinian’s generous donation,” said SAS President Prof. Bedross Der Matossian. “We are very appreciative of his unconditional support which comes at a time in which SAS is embarking on additional projects and will need a part-time staff person more than ever. I hope other individuals who appreciate the work carried out by the Society will help us financially to implement our various projects. The aim of these projects is to elevate the profile and standards of Armenian Studies throughout the world.

Since 2018, SAS has embarked on major projects which include but are not limited to the SAS Podcast Series which are available on platforms like Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Google Play; SAS Graduate Research and Travel Grants; The Society for Armenian Studies Publication Series published through the Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno, e-SAS (Entries of the Society for Armenian Studies), and the Journal Society for Armenian Studies (JSAS) published by Brill. Recently the Society began expanding its activities in Armenia and Artsakh by implementing agreements academic institutions in both republics.

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