FAR Board Preparing Transition Plan

Fund for Armenian Relief
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Edina NG Bobelian
Tel: (212) 889-5150; Fax: (212) 889-4849
E-mail: [email protected]

March 10, 2004


New York, (March 10, 2004): The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR)
Executive Director, Simon Y. Balian, informed the Board of Directors
that he intends to step down this year and requested that a process
begin to appoint a successor. According to Archbishop Khajag Barsamian
and Mr. Kevork Hovnanian, respectively the President and the Chairman of
the FAR Board, Mr. Balian will stay on until the successor is named and
will help the new Executive Director through a transition period to
ensure the continued smooth operation of the organization and its many

Mr. Balian explained that it was a difficult decision because of his
profound attachment to FAR and to the people of Armenia. “I have been
very fortunate to have had this opportunity and feel honored to have
worked with a distinguished and dedicated Board of Directors. I am
grateful for the support and guidance I have received during my tenure
as Executive Director,” stated Mr. Balian, who also praised and thanked
the staff in New York and Armenia for their passionate commitment and
constant source of inspiration, making FAR a successful institution.

He explained that unlike most Diaspora-based Armenian organizations, FAR
has grown exponentially since its birth, which arose from the tragic
earthquake of 1988. The organization has completed every project it has
undertaken in Armenia. “I believe,” said Mr. Balian, “that this is a
good time to make a transition to a new Executive Director. It is also
a good time for me personally after 11 years at the helm of the
organization to move on to new challenges that, I hope, will continue to
be focused on Armenia in different ways.”

Archbishop Barsamian expressed his appreciation to Mr. Balian for
“guiding the organization through its tremendous expansion in the past
decade” and acknowledged Mr. Hovnanian’s extraordinary leadership and
the Board’s instrumental role in the growth of the organization.
Echoing the Archbishop’s sentiment, the Board also thanked Mr. Balian
for working to provide the necessary transition to a new Executive
Director. Understanding Mr. Balian’s reasons to step down, the Board
wished him the best and assured him of its continued support for
whatever he decides to do.

Mr. Hovnanian, one of FAR’s key founders, said of Mr. Balian, “he is an
outstanding person who turned FAR into the pre-eminent organization in
Armenia through hard work and by fostering a culture of integrity in the
operations of the organization.” Then he revealed, “I have enjoyed
working with him. Along with the rest of the Board, I will miss him.”

The Board appointed a Search Committee led by Mr. Hovnanian to seek and
review potential candidates for the position. The Search Committee will
be assisted by Randolph S. Gulian, President of InSearch Worldwide, an
executive recruitment firm. Mr. Gulian is volunteering his services to
the organization.

The organization’s administration and projects will continue without any
slowdown during the period of the search for a new Executive Director
and during the transition period. The Board will remain fully engaged
and Mr. Balian will continue to manage the daily affairs of the
organization. The Board, once again, expressed its gratitude to the
thousands of donors and supporters who have entrusted FAR with carrying
out their mission of helping the people of Armenia.

— 03/10/04

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