JERAIR NISHANIAN: UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO EMPOWER ARMENIA’S UNDERPRIVILEGED, TALENTED STUDENTS
Posted on February. 17. 2020
After over 25 years of
humanitarian activities, JNF continues to receive many accolades and
expressions of appreciation and gratitude.
Several years ago, Archpriest
Father Vertanes Kalayjian, Pastor Emeritus of St. Mary Armenian Church in Washington,
DC, wrote an article entitled “Another Point of Light.” The light that Der Hayr
was referring to was the OtherPointofLight that
had been shining over the darkest horizons of Armenia. Der Hayr wrote, “Simply put, there are those
among us, who are very few, who have been undeterred in their commitment to
continue to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness. I’m referring to
the quietly and steadily functioning JNF, the foundation named after its
primary and sole benefactor, Jirair Nishanian of Vienna, VA.”
Recently Dr. Takvor Nishanian,
Vice President and Treasurer of JNF, reported to a packed audience gathered to
honor Dr. Taner Akçam about the origins of the Foundation.
Dr. Nishanian said, “My father
established this Foundation because of a strong sense of duty to his homeland,
instilled in him by his parents’ past. Both were survivors of the Armenian
Genocide. His father died when he was a child, so his mother raised him and
four older siblings by herself. Her love of the Armenian culture- her Armenian
identity- was passed down to all of her children; and it is through her, that
my father ultimately decided to establish his foundation.”
“The overall mission of JNF is
very simple: to facilitate an opportunity for underprivileged, talented
Armenian students to attain higher education in various disciplines, and
achieve their inherent potentials and, in turn, contribute to the welfare of
their motherland and future generations. By doing so, they preserve their
Armenian heritage and build a strong generation of Armenians, armed with higher
“Through a collaboration with FAR
(Fund for Armenian Relief), our Foundation provides college scholarships for
approximately 60 students annually. We have focused on one of the more needy
regions of Armenia, Gavar – providing scholarships for students attending Gavar
State University. More recently, we have expanded our program to include
graduate students at the National University of Architecture and Construction
of Armenia in Yerevan.”
“In addition, the Foundation has
renovated portions of Gavar State University. Finally, our Foundation is
committed to supporting the translation and publication of literary projects
towards the advancement of Armenian education and cultural issues, including
those written about the Armenian Genocide. Many of these written documents
about the Armenian Genocide originated with Dr. Taner Akçam.”
Previously we have reported
success stories of our graduates. FAR’s
Executive Director, Garnik Nanagoulian proudly proclaims, “Scholarships Can
Change Lives.” The following is FAR’s
report about one very accomplished JFN Scholarship recipient whose life has
truly been changed.:
Silva Karapetyan, 24, earned her
bachelor’s degree in design from the Armenian National University of
Architecture and Construction in 2018. Her studies were made possible through
is a unique person in my heart and in my memory. I won’t ever forget him,” said
Silva. “My university life began thanks to Jerair Nishanian’s generous support.
It was filled with many happy moments.”
Silva is pleased
with her achievements, as well as with the knowledge and skills she acquired
over the course of four years at college. During her senior year, she decided
to design the interior of an apartment for physically disabled people
consisting of nonstandard elements like convertible tables, beds and sofas. “I
passed all my exams in May, then defended my thesis and got an excellent score.
With high aspirations, I entered the next phase,” she recollected.
In 2017, Silva
landed her first job as interior architect and designer at Unicus NTS. ‘The
company provides clients with an opportunity to experience their future
apartments in 3D; they can ‘walk in’ and enjoy future comfort. They can even
open and close the doors of their rooms,’ Silva said.
A few months later,
Silva, who was searching for a higher salary, decided to also plunge herself
into graphic design and marketing. Since March 2018, she has been working as a
constructor-designer at GAT cutting which is specialized in internal graphic
design, construction and installation, large format printing, laser and fraser
cuts, and 3D engraving. Silva has engrossed herself in this business and does
her best to enrich her skills and develop new projects.
Silva tries to
absorb everything around her; she likes reading, music and dance, which are all
built into her daily routine. “Recently, I realized that I am good at writing
poems. Now, I’m thinking about writing a series of poems,” she said.
Like many of our
scholars, Silva is full of dreams and motivation, which will undoubtedly lead
her to future success.”
Jerair Nishanian and his wife Anahid have committed to make a
difference in the lives of underprivileged children and their families. Indeed,
they have touched hundreds of families over the years: giving them power to
grow; giving them hope and inspiration; and creating a lifeline for their
Here is a letter from a scholarship recipient in appreciation for the
aid she received from JNF’s Scholarship Program.
“Dear Mr. Nishanian, It was in a great awe that I read your
biography! At the end each and every paragraph, I made important discoveries
about the paths of your life, and gleaned life-lessons for myself. I realized
what it means to have willpower and overcome challenges. I also realized the
importance of hard work in achieving great goals. You teach many of us lessons
of kindness and care, and thereby prove that education is the most important
priority for the Armenian nation. By means of your care, you provide us with
keys that will enable us to open many doors and fulfill our dreams.
I promise to be one of the best students by my tireless learning
and thus justify your hopes. Your support is quite decisive for my family and
myself. Not everyone gets to receive such a material aid and, therefore, I
express my gratefulness for your trust, and confidently say that, in my
studies, I will be purpose-driven and make the efforts to learn all it takes to
be professional and contribute to the development of the Armenian
architecture.”– by Lucine, first-year scholarship student at National
University of Architecture and Construction, Yerevan, Armenia
Jerair Nishanian, the philanthropist, in addition to the far-reaching
educational programs centered in Armenia, has extended his generosity to many
other worthy causes. He was one of 6 people who, in 2015, donated $100,000 each
to organize the commemoration in Washington, DC of the 100th
Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. He
also helped renovate the Central Altar of St. Mary’s Armenian Church in
Washington, DC. JNF supports and
sponsors churches, various organizations, and Armenian cultural and historical
events. One proposed project that JNF’s Board of Trustees is considering,
following the strong recommendation of Mr. Nishanian, is to institute seminars,
lectures/course in Gavar University on Ethics. We strongly feel this is important to help
strengthen the character of our graduates as they enter the business world.
A BIG SHOW OF GRATITUDE: Below is a letter by Rector of
Gavar State University (GSU).
EXPRESS OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE TO THE HONORABLE BENEFACTOR OF GSU,
PHILANTHROPIST MR. JERAIR NISHANIAN
On behalf of the
professors, administrative staff, students and their parents of the Gavor State
University, patriotic son of the Armenian nation, great philanthropist Mr. Jirayr Nishanian and to the Nishanian
family for providing students of the University with much needed material and
moral support and access to higher professional education.
In addition to
their tuitions and scholarship awards, we thank Mr. and Mrs. Jerair and Anahit
Nishanian for providing the students of the GSU also with financial awards
before the New Year.
congratulate the honorable philanthropists on the occasions of New Year and
Christmas, wish you good health, success, unimpeded implementation of all
programs and goals, and all the best.
blessed Jerair, Anahid, Takvor Nishanian and all members of the Nishanian
family, who are guided by the Tekeyan formula: “What is left for me from life?
Only that, what I gave to others…” – Ruzanna Hakobyan, GSU Rector
In conclusion, we pray for Mr. and Mrs. Jerair
Nishanian and their longevity and good health.