AGBU New York internship program to mark 25th anniversary
Published: Wednesday July 11, 2012
New York - On July 21 alumni, friends, and supporters of the AGBU New York Summer Internship Program (NYSIP) will gather in New York City's Battery Gardens to celebrate its silver jubilee and honor the individuals who made it a successful and flagship Program.
First and foremost on the list of honorees are the Program's Founders and Emeritus Life Chairpersons - Rita and Vartkess† Balian. As their brainchild, the New York Summer Internship Program has provided career and life enhancing opportunities for 25 years to Armenian university students from 21 countries throughout the world. Mr. & Mrs. Balian set the course for NYSIP's vision, volunteered countless hours over 20 years to manage its direction and implementation, and raised and contributed funds needed to run the operations and provide scholarships to deserving students. The renowned reputation that the Internship Program enjoys is a testament to their long-standing dedication and commitment.
The Program has also achieved an important goal of energizing Armenian youth and bringing them closer to both their community and AGBU. There are over 800 accomplished alumni to date, many of whom have stayed engaged in AGBU by forming Young Professionals groups and other initiatives, as well as giving back to their respective communities.
Mr. and Mrs. Balian's tireless commitment to Armenian youth has been complemented by the dedication of individuals at the AGBU Central Office - led especially by the Director of Central Board Programs, Anita Anserian. Though she prefers to stay behind the scenes, Mrs. Anserian has served AGBU for 25 years, as well, and put her heart and soul into helping the Internship Programs - and all AGBU programs - succeed and bear fruit. At the urging of many friends and colleagues, Mrs. Anserian will be recognized for two and a half decades of devoted service to AGBU and for her unwavering support of the Internship Program, which now includes sister programs in Moscow and Yerevan, and its mission to help lift our youth to success.
NYSIP places high achieving Armenian students at New York's top institutions so that they gain insights in the field of their choice and build their professional skills and resumes. These placements would not be possible without the support of a core group of supervisors at host organizations, who provide individual guidance to ensure that the interns have a rewarding experience and gain the knowledge and expertise needed to succeed in their chosen profession. Supervisors meet with interns on a regular basis to orient them to their industry and prepare them to compete effectively in the workforce.
Time and time again, NYSIP has relied on a particular circle of supervisors who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to fostering the talents and professional ambitions of the interns. During the gala, AGBU will honor the following individuals who have either directly supervised or secured placements for NYSIP interns for seven years or more: Gregory Amerkanian (Merrill Lynch Senior Vice President), Anna Bruno (AXA Advisors Financial Consultant), Ted Candella (Merrill Lynch Senior Financial Advisor), Yervant Demirjian (InterAudi Bank USA Managing Director), Dr. James Giglio (Columbia University Medical Center Emergency Room Associate Clinical Professor), Dr. Edgar Housepian (Columbia University Medical Center former professor of Neurological Surgery), Movses Hovsepian (New York University Langone Medical Center Pharmacy Supervisor), Patrick Sarkissian (SarkissianMason Founder/CEO), and Emmanuel Tchividjian (Ruder Finn Ethics Officer).
The generosity of these supervisors with their time and expertise has been a critical component of the NYSIP's success. Patrick Sarkissian, who himself is an alumnus (1995), credits the program with giving him the resources he needed to succeed as an entrepreneur, noting that his first day in New York City was the day his internship began, and the seeds were planted for developing his own business. Praising the endeavor, Sarkissian states, "This program rewires the brains of our youth to open to a world of possibilities," and also noted his eagerness to give back to today's participants.
Supervisor Gregory Amerkanian gives a simple reason for why he chooses to remain involved all these years: "This is the way we will grow stronger as a nation: by helping each other. And that's really what it boils down to," a belief that underlies the work of all the supervisors, whose efforts have been a driving force in the professional development of the interns, many of whom become leaders in Armenia and the diaspora. Anna Bruno echoes those thoughts, stating, "When I first started out years ago, I was fortunate to have the support of so many mentors in the Armenian community, who helped me get where I am today. For me, NYSIP is about paying it forward, and I have always felt lucky to have exceptionally bright interns who come in eager to learn and contribute much to our team - it has been a tremendous opportunity for both." Like most supervisors, Bruno keeps in touch with her interns and enjoys learning about the great careers they later pursue.
The gala is one of two events being organized that weekend by the 25th Anniversary Gala Committee. On Friday, July 20, the AGBU Young Professionals of Greater New York will co-host an evening mixer. Tickets for the Saturday gala are now on sale for $175 and tickets for the mixer are available for $25. Both can be purchased via http://agbuinternship25thanniversary.eventbrite.com/, where information about accommodations at the W Hotel - Union Square is also available.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 400,000 Armenians around the world.