Babayan Foundation Support for Zoryan Institute Surpasses $40,000

255 Duncan Mill Rd., Suite 310
Toronto, ON, Canada M3B 3H9
Tel: 416-250-9807 Fax: 416-512-1736 E-mail: [email protected]


CONTACT: George Shirinian

DATE: October 28, 2004
Tel: 416-250-9807

Babayan Foundation Support for Zoryan Institute Surpasses $40,000

Toronto, Canada – For the fifth year in a row, the Levon Perouz
Babayan Foundation continues to make a significant contribution in
support of the Zoryan Institute. Over the course of the five years,
the Babayan Foundation has provided over $40,000 to assist Zoryan in
fulfilling its mission, with an emphasis on its innovative Genocide
and Human Rights University Program.

Mr. Haig Selian, the President of the Babayan Foundation, said,
“The Zoryan Institute goes beyond meeting our basic criteria of
being a non-political Armenian cultural and educational organization
in Ontario. The fundamental nature of their work, dealing with our
modern history, especially the Genocide, its impact on our identity,
and our experience in the Diaspora, are all conducted at the highest
academic level. We see that they engage world renowned scholars,
specialized in their respective fields, to conduct their University
Program. We are very happy to see a program such as this bring a
unique perspective to the teaching of modern Armenian history to
senior and talented students from around the world. This is what
propels our board to support to continue its mission. In short,
there is not another organization like it.”

The Levon Perouz Babayan Foundation was established in Toronto by
Mrs. Perouz Babayan, in 1971. The Foundation’s mission is to provide
financial support to Armenian religious, language, cultural and
charitable organizations within the Province of Ontario.

Levon Babayan was born in Bursa, Turkey and arrived in Canada in the
mid-1890s. He established himself in the rug business in Toronto and
married Perouz Benlian, who came to Canada from England. She was born
in Kayseri, Turkey. The business was very successful and the Babayan
name was held in great esteem in Canadian high society, which was
remarkable at a time when immigrants were not readily embraced by
the establishment.

The Babayans could be described as the patriarch and matriarch of the
early Armenian community in Toronto. They were always helpful towards
those less fortunate than themselves by providing employment in their
business. When the Genocide took place, they were instrumental in
arranging the passage and admission into Canada of some 120 Armenian
orphans, the Georgetown Boys, who were so named after the location
of the orphanage in Ontario. Mr. Babayan kept close touch with the
orphans and visited their foster homes periodically, to make sure
that the youngsters were well cared for. Mrs. Babayan was active in
organizing, with the help of the Canadian Red Cross, fund raising
in the streets of downtown Toronto to aid Armenian refugees in the
various camps in Egypt, Greece, and other countries in the Middle East.

The Babayans prospered over the years and when Mrs. Babayan passed
on in 1975, she bequeathed substantial assets to the Foundation. The
Foundation is administered by a Board of Trustees: Haig Selian,
Ani Eudemishlian, Gregory Kasparian, Mgrditch Meras, and Ara Selyan.

The Foundation began supporting Zoryan with general operating funds
in 2000. However, in 2002, an additional sum was added specifically
for the Genocide and Human Rights University Program, totaling to
date $42,000.

Gregory Kasparian, Trustee, whose father was also associated with the
Georgetown Boys, explained the motivation of the Trustees to begin
their support of Zoryan. “We were regularly witnessing cases of denial
of the Armenian Genocide and saw the need for an organization that
could inform the public about what happened during the Genocide and
why it happened. We saw in Zoryan an organization that is dedicated,
scholarly, well researched, dispassionate, and sound, which gave it
the expertise and credibility to confront denial.”

Mr. Barry Papazian, Legal Advisor to the Zoryan Institute, expressed
his deep gratitude to the Trustees of the Babayan Foundation. “Apart
from the financial boost, it gives tremendous encouragement and
motivation to the directors, scholars, volunteers, and staff at Zoryan
when a venerable organization like the Babayan Foundation provides
such staunch support.”

The Zoryan Institute is the first diasporan center devoted to the
research and documentation of contemporary issues related to the
history, politics, society, and culture of Armenia, the Diaspora and
the Armenian Genocide, with offices in Cambridge, MA and Toronto,