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Jinishian Memorial Program celebrates 50 years of service

Armenian relief and support fund looks to the future

by Holly Sarkissian | Special to Presbyterian News Service

José Luis Casal, director of Presbyterian World Mission, presents an award at the Jinishian Memorial Program 50th anniversary celebration. (Photo provided)

YEREVAN, Armenia — On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, long-time partners, supporters, current and former staff, and donors gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP).

JMP is the legacy of Vartan H. Jinishian who created the endowment fund in honor of his parents, emigrants to America during the Armenian Genocide in the early 20th century. Administered by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), JMP benefits Armenians in poverty and need who live outside the United States.

The celebration took place at the Gabriel Sundukyan National Academic Theatre. The reception opened with remarks from JMP’s executive director, Eliza Minasyan, and chair of the United States Advisory Committee, Victoria Chopourian Gehrt. Recognizing the importance of JMP initiatives in Armenia, the Minister of Diaspora spoke about the many years of dedicated and continuous service that JMP has provided to Armenian communities and, in honor of these accomplishments, gave presidential awards to JMP, JMP Syria and Victoria Gehrt.

The Rev. José Luis Casal, director of Presbyterian World Mission, also praised JMP’s excellent work. Participants enjoyed presentations from the country directors of Jinishian’s largest programs in Armenia, Lebanon and Syria. More than 30 current and former staff members from Armenia, the United States, Lebanon and Syria were honored for their valuable contributions, including Zabel Yirikian, the longest-serving JMP employee who has worked for Jinishian for more than 40 years.

After the reception, participants enjoyed selections from The Honourable Beggars, a new musical performance dedicated to the 50th anniversary of JMP.

The Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, expressed deep gratitude for JMP’s work toward community development and preservation of cultural and spiritual national values.

“More than 15 years ago we prioritized the development approach and envisioned a gradual shift from direct relief programs to effective programs that stimulate self-sustainability and growth addressing the root causes of poverty,” said Minasyan.

“We are flexible to adjust our strategy and projects to address current country needs and provide long-term support if needed,” said JMP Armenia Country Director, Armen Hakobyan.

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Donations to the Jinishian Endowment Fund can be made at this link.


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