The 12th Annual Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) Holiday Gala held on December 11th at New York City’s Cipriani 42nd Street raised over $3.7 million to fund the organization’s first SMART Center being launched in Armenia’s Lori region. The COAF SMART initiative will consist of a SMART Campus currently being built on the outskirts of the Debet village. The SMART Campus will feature a state-of-the-art SMART Center which will offer the rural population of Lori a wide variety of educational programs such as English language, technology, art, music, organic agriculture, health, and athletics. There will also be 40 technology-enhanced SMART Rooms established in the cluster of villages surrounding the SMART Campus.
Attending the event were COAF Founder Dr. Garo Armen, Co-Chair Tony Shafrazi, Co-Chairs Khajak and Maryam Keledjian. Special guests included Paul Kaloustian, Henry and Patricia Hay, Giora Rachiminov, Dan Liebrovici, Urs Fischer, Fab Five Freddy Brathwaite, Michael Holman, Sara Lundgren, George Pagoumian, Dorinda Medley, John Mahdesian, Lauren Taschen, Larry Feinberg, Ambassador John Evans and Donna Evans, Patricia Field, Scooter LaForge, Loris Diron.
The evening was emceed by actress Caroline Rhea and featured performances by Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole, Harvard University’s a capella group The Harvard Callbacks, and a special performance by the Rakiem Walker Project. Clips of Conan O’Brien and Andrea Martin welcoming guests were shown during the program. This year, Martin Short, John Stamos and Sean Hayes had pre-filmed messages in support of the Gala which were posted on COAF’s social media outlets.
Philanthropist and biotechnology entrepreneur Noubar Afeyan received this year’s Save a Generation Award for his continuous support for COAF and many other projects in Armenia.
COAF’s SMART initiative will engage villages with professionals of national and international experts in multiple locations synchronously to inspire and propel dialogue and learning. SMART will offer world-class programs from global influencers through interconnected virtual classrooms; meeting areas for student and youth clubs, an auditorium for performances and presentations, a library, and studios for language, arts and music.
The official blessing and ground breaking ceremony of COAF’s first Smart Center was held on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 in the Debet community located in the region of Lori in northern Armenia.
The COAF Smart Center will be a modern, scalable, self-sustaining learning center, offering COAF innovative educational programs to a cluster of surrounding villages in the Tumanyan region of Lori. The high-technology hub will serve as an epicenter for knowledge acquisition and idea exchange with a diverse curriculum of classes.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Garo Armen, COAF Founder and Board Chairman stated: “The construction of this Smart Center is an experimental and novel concept for COAF, which is outrageous and exceptional in all aspects, including the exterior look of the building. Our main goal is to integrate new world-wide methods with local approaches and make our development experience known to the world. This innovative concept will eventually lead to the advancement of rural communities in Armenia and around the world.”
Attending the ceremony were Mr. Arthur Nalbandyan, Governor of Lori province (marz), Dr. Garo Armen, COAF Founder and Board Chairman, COAF Board members, friends and supporters from the US and Armenia, representative of partner organizations and local residents from the surrounding COAF-supported communities. The Ground breaking Blessing Ceremony was performed by Archbishop Sepuh Chuljyan, Primate of the Gugark Diocese.
The COAF Smart Center in Lori is expected to open its doors in the summer of 2016. The inscription below was placed in a time capsule during the ground breaking ceremony:
“The present declaration will serve as an eternal reflection of COAF’s vision and mission as a basis for the Smart Center, and will be a testimony to this memorable day for further generations to cherish."
Dr. Garo Armen, founder and chairman of COAF, was joined by special guests Tony Shafrazi, Paul Kaloustian and Dr. Paul Boghossian on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 for a special panel held at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.
Entitled “How One May Achieve Excellence in Arts, Sciences, and Reasoning in Ways that Address Today’s Societal Needs,” the discussion touched upon the significance of arts, science and technology in society, especially with regard to Armenia’s future.
The guest panel featured celebrated artist/art dealer Tony Shafrazi of New York City, who was born in Iran to Armenian parents. The second panelist was prominent architect Paul Kaloustian of Beirut, who is the recipient of various awards in the field of architecture and engineering. Dr. Paul Boghossian, Silver Professor of Philosophy at the New York University, Director of the New York Institute of Philosophy and Director of NYU's Global Institute for Advanced Study also joined the panel discussion via video conferencing.
Each panelist had his own distinct formula for success and excellence, yet all of them shared three commonalities - the willingness to be outrageous at times, the strive for innovation and novelty, and the desire to turn the unthinkable into reality. Audience members interacted with the panelists in between talks, addressing topics such as specific tools for achieving success, ways and means of transforming societies, healthy lifestyle habits, and confidence toward modern technologies.
Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan received COAF Founder/Chairman Dr. Garo Armen and COAF Executive Director Anoush Yedigaryan on Monday, July 6, 2015. The Prime Minister was briefed on COAF’s current undertakings and future plans in Armenia. A special focus of the meeting was the opening of the first COAF Smart Center in the region of Lori.
Hovik Abrahamyan was informed of the numerous programs in technology, language instruction, arts and crafts, and vocational studies that will be offered to schoolchildren, youth and professionals residing in the Smart Center’s surrounding cluster of villages. COAF is committed to building Smart Centers throughout Armenia’s provinces (marzes).
The Prime Minister greatly appreciated the vital work being carried out by COAF with regard to rural development and the rehabilitation of infrastructure. Hovik Abrahamyan also highlighted ways in which the government has lent support to COAF throughout the years on various joint projects and assured continued support for the organization’s future endeavors.
COAF Annual Summer Soiree Raises Over $50,000 in Support of Entrepreneurship Programs in Lori, Armenia
On June 16, 2015, COAF held it's 5th Annual Summer Soiree at the chic PH-D Rooftop Lounge of the Dream Hotel Downtown in New York City. 300 COAF friends and supporters gathered to celebrate the organization’s recent accomplishments and raise funds for vital entrepreneurship programs that will be offered to rural youth at the first state-of-the-art COAF Smart Center currently being built in the Lori region of Armenia.
The evening was graciously hosted by COAF Board member Diron Jebejian and Andrea Montalbano. Host Committee members included Zarig Baghdadlian, Loris Diran, Alecko Eskandarian, Lara Eurdolian, Monica Ghailian, Sebouh and Michelle Nahabedian, Alex Sarkesian and Chris Sarkesian. Guests included Tony Shafrazi, Patricia Field, Nancy Kricorian, Scout Tufankjian, Dorinda Medley and John Mahdessian. Event sponsors were Baked by Melissa, Couturier De Cardboard Inc., and Shake + Share Media NYC.
On April 26, 2015, over 50 people participated in COAF's first-ever SoulCycle Charity ride and raised over $22,000 for health programs and sports equipment in the organization's expanded region of Lori marz. The 45 minute spinning class in New York City's West Village area was led by SoulCycle star instructor Chad Stringfellow. In the front row of the studio were athletes Arman Serebrakian and Andrea Montalbano, along with COAF supporter and gala host Andrea Martin. Toufayan Bakeries generously sponsored the event.
The Michael Aram flagship store in New York was packed the evening of Tuesday February 10 for a Valentine’s Day benefit for the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF). Partial proceeds from the sale of Michael Aram’s entire collection and new jewelry line was donated to COAF in support of the vital programs being carried out in villages throughout Armenia. Guests enjoyed complimentary hors d'oeuvres with wine and champagne throughout the evening. Michael Aram is a longtime Executive Board Member of COAF who is deeply committed to the organization’s mission to secure a future for children in Armenia’s impoverished rural villages through improved education, healthcare, community life and economic conditions. In his welcoming remarks, Michael highlighted how dear COAF is to him and how he has been to the villages in Armenia and witnessed the enthusiasm of the children and the sustainable opportunities for growth and progress being provided to them.
Children Of Armenia Fund Annual Gala Raises $2.4 Million for Expansion into Rural Armenia
The eleventh annual Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) Holiday Gala took place at Cipriani 42nd Street on December 12, 2014, in New York City. Over 450 guests attended the gala fundraiser, including honorary chairs Victor Garber, Susan Kendall Newman and Tony Shafrazi. Special guests included Michael Aram, Donald Baechler Eric Bogosian, Peter M. Brant, Patricia Field, Henry Hay, Peter Marino, and Stephanie Seymour.
This year’s honorees were longtime COAF supporter Ara Arslanian, who was given the Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic work, and Alexis Ohanian, who received the Save the Generation Award as a pioneering internet entrepreneur and activist. Both awards were presented by COAF Executive Board member Michael Aram. For the eighth year in a row, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Andrea Martin entertained guests throughout the evening as Master of Ceremonies.
The evening featured exclusive performances by renowned soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and “The Voice” finalist Will Champlin. As a special highlight, child musicians from Armenia delivered spectacular performances, including on traditional Armenian folk instruments.
The program featured highlights of COAF’s recent accomplishments, as well the organization’s ambitious plans to expand into new village communities throughout Armenia. The $2.4 million raised this year will go toward a state-of-the-art smart center to be built in Armenia which will act as a hub to surrounding villages. Funds will also be allocated to infrastructure improvements and projects in COAF-supported villages.
The Children of Armenia Fund held its Fourth Annual Summer Soiree on Tuesday, June 24, at the PH-D Rooftop Lounge in New York City. Close to 300 COAF friends and supporters attended the event, which raised over $50,000 for renovation of a dilapidated and unsafe school auditorium in the village of Aragatsavan.
Thanks to our generous donors, COAF will now launch the renovation process so that the auditorium is ready when children are back from holidays. Over 350 schoolchildren will directly benefit from this fundraiser event, which will allow them to have a beautiful space for staging performances and hosting school events.
The evening was graciously sponsored by Michael Aram, Fancy Face Photobooth, The Squeeze, Cupcakes by Sonia, Baked by Melissa, Gourmet Dourmé and Armoir Fashion.
We are truly grateful for having so many friends and supporters join us for our 10th Annual Gala, which was held at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan on December 13, 2013. The night was an amazing success and allowed COAF to raise nearly $3 million for programs on improving living conditions for children in Armenia.
The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and longtime friend of COAF, Andrea Martin, entertained guests throughout the evening as the master of ceremonies. Award-winning film and television actor Victor Garber served as the Honorary Chair for the evening. It was COAF’s pleasure to have bestselling author Chris Bohjalian and internationally-renowned photographer Scout Tufankjian as guest speakers. Special guests in attendance included Michael Aram, Patricia Field, Kerry Butler, and Benjamin McKenzie.
The children from Armenia wowed guests with their talents and performances. The generosity demonstrated that evening was a tremendous step forward with our goal: COAF’s expansion into 100 new villages in the next 10 years.
The event was graciously sponsored by Michael Aram, MLV and Co, Jack Vartanian, Intermix, The Starr Foundation, AmeriaBank, Beeline, HSBC, Orange, Newman`s Own Foundation, VivaCell.
We are enormously grateful to our valued board member Michael Aram for hosting a shopping event on November 14, 2013 at the Michael Aram store on 136 West 18th Street. The evening was a huge success! 30% of all proceeds were generously donated to COAF programs benefiting underprivileged children in neglected communities of Armenia.
Held at the beautiful PH-D Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown on June 25, 2013, the Children of Armenia Fund’s third Summer Soiree gathered COAF friends committed to improving lives of children in the villages of Armenia. Thanks to the funds raised at this event and in parternship with local farmers and the United Nations Development Fund, COAF installed a new 1,100 meter-long irrigation pipeline in the village of Aragatsavan. This will improve farming for over 320 acres of land, greatly improving the quality of life.
Over 250 value-aligned supporters of COAF, including our longtime friends Patricia Field and Khalil Barrage, made this evening truly special and unforgettable!
Over 300 of our longtime friends and supporters gathered on December 13, 2012 at the marvelous Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to make our Ninth Annual Holiday Gala a resounding success! Close to $1.3 million was raised to support the expansion efforts of COAF to include additional villages to its education and healthcare programs.
For the sixth year in a row, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress, Andrea Martin, was the master of ceremonies for the evening. For her longtime commitment to the organization, she was honored with the COAF Humanitarian Award. Both Sam and Sylva Simonian and Nathan Lane were also honored for their philanthropic accomplishments. The Gala was co-hosted by celebrated artist Michael Aram.
The highlight of the evening was performance by children who traveled to New York all the way from the villages of Armenia where COAF works. They played traditional Armenian musical instruments and shared their success stories with the guests.
The event also featured both silent and live auctions conducted by Sotheby’s celebrity auctioneer C. Hugh Hildesley.
For the fifth year in a row, Emmy and Tony award winning star of the screen and stage, Andrea Martin was the master of ceremonies at our traditional annual Holiday Gala. It is no surprise that the evening was such a success! More than 300 of our supporters gathered on December 15, 2011 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing to participate in the evening which raised more than $1.4 million. The money will be spent on renovation of a dilapidated school in the Armenian village of Karakert.
Multiple Tony and Emmy Award Nominee Victor Garber was honored with the 2011 COAF Humanitarian Award. Garber's longtime friend, Tony Award Winner Matthew Broderick presented him with the award. In addition to the evening's performers and the presenters, the gala featured a long list of celebrity attendees including Twilight's Angela Sarafyan, the Food Network's Geoffrey Zakarian, Logo's Robert Verdi and producer and director, David Alexanian.
The gala featured a number of musical performances by children from COAF-sponsored villages in Armenia, as well as a charity auction conducted by Sotheby's celebrity auctioneer C. Hugh Hildelsey.
On June 22, 2011, hosts Michael Aram, Khajak Keledjian and Andrea Martin entertained over 230 guests at New York's chic Standard Hotel. In attendance were special guests Gregory & Kelley Badishkanian, Lena & Daniel Baranovsky, Khalil Barrage, The Feinberg Family and Alex Witt who gathered to support COAF's education programs in rural Armenia.
Over the course of the evening, guests contributed to a "Wall of Children" in total raising over $25,000 and enabling COAF to complete the final wing in the reconstruction of the school in Myasnikyan, COAF's 16th infrastructure rehabilitation project to date.
On December 16, 2010, supporters of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) gathered for the organization’s seventh annual gala, held at the spectacular Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The nearly 300 guests in attendance enthusiastically demonstrated their continuing commitment to COAF’s cause, raising more than $1.5 million which will go to support the second phase of a school renovation in the village of Myasnikyan as well as ongoing programs in education, health and economic development in the ten villages in which COAF has worked over the past six years.
Emmy and Tony Award winning actress Andrea Martin, a longtime COAF supporter, again entertained the audience as the master of ceremonies. The evening’s guest speakers were Dr. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Mr. Michael Aram, artist and entrepreneur, and Dr. Helen Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Dr. Garo Armen, Founder & Chairman of COAF, expressed his deep gratitude to the attendees for their ongoing support and updated them on COAF’s most recent achievements.
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