Ani & Narod Memorial Foundation Hosts Reception Honoring Abelian’s Leadership in UNICEF

Evening Raises $100,000 for Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund

NEW YORK, December 6, 2001 – The Ani & Narod Memorial Foundation (ANMF) hosted a special cocktail reception on December 6th at New York’s prestigious University Club honoring Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Movses Abelian, for his leadership as President of the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The evening also raised $100,000 benefiting the Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund (MACVF), in celebration of a three-year campaign by ANMF to help move Armenia into self-reliance for its immunization needs. The evening’s major donors included the Izmirlian Family Foundation with a generous donation of $20,000 and the Pagoumian Family Foundation that donated $50,000 toward vaccines for the children of Karabagh. As well, Anoushka Izmirlian joined her family with a pledge of $10,000 from her newly formed foundation in support of MACVF. The reception brought together more than 200 community leaders, supporters of children’s causes in Armenia, and friends of ANMF. Honored guests included Dr. Vartan Gregorian from the Carnegie Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. Kevork Hovnanian, Edele Hovnanian, Alex & Haig Dadourian, Branislav Jekic from UNICEF Armenia, Paul Kazarian from the Kazarian Family Foundation and previous strategic donors to MACVF including Nazareth Festekjian who donated $11,000 with his brother Raffi & Nina Festekjian, Walter Bandazian & Louis Najarian from the Howard Karagheusian Commemorative Corporation that donated $25,000 and John Waters from the Cafesjian Family Foundation that previously donated $100,000.

“We are proud of Ambassador Abelian’s valuable efforts in championing children’s causes. In that spirit we thank our friends and supporters whose generous donations will help secure the basic right of every child in Armenia to be immunized against vaccine preventable diseases,” commented Raffy Ardhaldjian, Chief Volunteer Officer of ANMF.

In a speech highlighting the immunization needs of Armenia’s children, Ardhadjian expressed enthusiasm for the momentum of support garnered in the past year from international donor organizations like USAID, philanthropic foundations, and Diasporan communities, for the MACVF to raise a $1.4 million lump-sum investment to finance Armenia’s vaccine costs for the next 15 years and beyond.

The evening’s guest of honor was introduced by Anouschka Izmirlian, Counselor to the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, who highlighted the Ambassador’s outspoken advocacy of children’s rights in his prominent role in the UNICEF Annual Executive Board meetings as well as the UN Special Session on Children. “We honor Ambassador Abelian tonight not only to share our pride in an Armenian professional who now serves at the highest level of a global humanitarian organization, but also, much more significantly, to salute a quintessential activist who embodies a modern spirit of altruism, by advocating and advancing the well-being of entire societies, among them the Armenian nation,” stated Izmirlian.

In his acceptance speech, Abelian expressed his gratitude for the honors, including words of support for ANMF’s recently launched Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund, recognizing the fund’s vital health mandate in Armenia.

The evening’s enthusiasm culminated when noted New Jersey philanthropist George Pagoumian acted on his passion towards children’s causes in Nagorno Karabagh and made an unexpected challenge pledge of $50,000. “It is a privilege to share our successes with our less fortunate brothers and sisters especially the elderly and the children. The children are the future of Armenia. Through our generosity we will also be honoring our fathers and mothers and those who suffered so much over the years in order for all of us to be born and to become who we are today,” said Pagoumian in the name of the Pagoumian Family Foundation. The Nina Shahrik Memorial Fund for Shushi, The Armenian Relief Society of Canada & New Jersey, The Cafesjian Family Foundation, The Naregatsi Art Institute, and the ANMF subsequently met the challenge pledge.

“This evening was a unique opportunity for Armenians from the Tri-state area and beyond to do their part in protecting Armenia’s most precious asset – its children,” noted master of ceremonies for the evening, Chris Parnagian, a founding member of the Manhattan law firm O’Hare Parnagian LLP.

The evening was topped off by a festive performance of jazz music by celebrity musician Datevig Hovannessian, singing to an enthusiastic audience, whose heartfelt support and donations made the evening a successful benefit for Armenia’s children.

For more information about the Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund, or to find out how you can support this initiative, email

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