Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) welcomes dedicated new board members

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

February 23, 2007


The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), one of the preeminent international aid
organization operating in Armenia, recently welcomed five gifted and
dedicated members to its energetic Board of Directors.

Answering the call to serve on the board of FAR are long-time community
leaders from throughout the Eastern United States: Archbishop Vicken
Aykazian, Marta Batmasian, Dr. Aram Chobanian, Dennis Tarzian, and Pontish

"Our new members bring unique skills and experiences that will allow us as a
team to continually strengthen our programs and initiatives," said Randy
Sapah-Gulian, chairman of the FAR board. "I join the other current members
of the board in welcoming them to the FAR family and look forward to having
our organization benefit from their ideas and advice."


Born in Siirt, Turkey, in 1951, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian completed
theological studies at the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem and was
ordained a priest in 1971. He was ordained a bishop in 1992 by His Holiness
Vasken I, Catholicos of All Armenians at Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia. He
was elevated to the rank of Archbishop by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin
II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in February, 2007.

In addition to his responsibilities as legate and ecumenical officer for the
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Archbishop Aykazian is
the president-elect of the National Council of Churches and a member of the
Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches. He also serves on the
board of Habitat for Humanity International.

Previously, he served as FAR’s country director in Yerevan from 997 to 1999.
He was pastor and then Primate of the Armenian Church of Switzerland from
1980 to 1992. He has a doctorate degree in history from the Armenian Academy
of Sciences and a doctorate in theology from the Fribourg Catholic
University in Switzerland.


Marta Batmasian, of Boca Raton, Florida, holds a master’s degree and has
completed a doctorate from Brandeis University and an MBA from Barry
University. She recently completed Harvard Business School’s flagship
executive program: Governing for Nonprofit Excellence (GNE): Critical Issues
for Board Leadership.

She served as superintendent of the Sahag Mesrob Armenian School in
Watertown, MA, and was a full-time professor at the University of
Massachusetts for eight years. She also owned and operated Mar-Tel Travel,
Insurance, and Real Estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for several years.

Since moving to Boca Raton 24 years ago, she has joined her husband Jim in a
variety of philanthropic efforts, serving on more than 30 boards and
committees for organizations such as the Children’s Science Explorium,
Children’s Museum of Boca Raton, Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern
University/School of Business, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, and
the Boca Raton Literary Society, among many other organizations.

She has been honored as the "Volunteer Woman of the Year" by the Junior
League of Boca Raton and as the "Bridge Builder of the Year" by LEAH, the
League for Educational Awareness of the Holocaust.


One of the nation’s preeminent educators, Dr. Aram V. Chobanian has served
as president of Boston University, dean of the BU School of Medicine, and
provost of the Boston University Medical Campus. He founded the Whitaker
Cardiovascular Institute at the Boston University School of Medicine in
1973, and oversaw its rapid development into a center for pioneering
research into cardiovascular disease.

His outstanding leadership was instrumental in several major initiatives:
the merger of Boston City Hospital with Boston University Medical Center
Hospital, which created Boston Medical Center; the development of the
BioSquare Research Park; and in securing a $128 million federal grant for
Boston University to build a national biocontainment laboratory.

A world-renowned scientist, Dr. Chobanian has published more than 250 papers
and two books.

He has also been involved in several programs to improve health care in
Armenia, including projects to train health care professionals and the
creation of a medical student elective program that allows U.S. medical
students to spend one to two months in Armenian hospitals and clinics. He
was elected as a foreign member of the Armenian National Academy of Science
and was presented with both the "Gold Medal" from the Yerevan Medical


A resident of Ridgewood, NJ, Dennis Tarzian has served as the chief
operating officer of National Registered Agents, Inc., of Princeton, NJ,
since 2002. He was a co-founder of the company, which is one of the fastest
growing providers of legal, financial, and compliance services to corporate
law departments and financial institutions.

For a decade he was a high-level executive with the computer information
publishing subsidiary of Viacom/Paramount Communications, where he led the
organization through a period of rapid expansion and profitability. Before
that, he held several positions at Revlon, including that of vice president
of corporate development.

Mr. Tarzian has an MBA from Columbia University and has been chairman of the
Board of Trustees of the St. Leon Church in Fair Lawn, NJ.

He served in the private equity community, as the CEO of an e-learning
provider that developed and sold educational technology and test preparation
programs to K-12 students across the United States. Concurrent with his
private equity experience, he also served on the Board of Directors for an
international mutual fund.


Pontish Yeramyan founded Gap International, Inc. in 1978. Under her
leadership, Gap International has grown into a global consulting
organization known by its clients as a reliable partner for the development
and execution of breakthrough strategy and for causing extraordinary
business and leadership growth. Ms. Yeramyan has personally worked with
thousands of executives to measurably and dramatically impact their
financial, market and organizational performance.

Before starting her company, Ms. Yeramyan served as the academic director of
Temple University’s Intensive English Language Program. She designed
cross-cultural programs for U.S. executives relocating overseas. She also
co-designed and led programs for family-held corporations for the Wharton
School of Business Applied Research Center at the University of
Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and
linguistics from Barnard College of Colombia University and a master’s
degree in linguistics from Michigan State University.

In 2002, Ms. Yeramyan was named one of Pennsylvania’s "Best 50 Women in
Business." In 2006, she received the "Corporate Vision Award" from Girls
Inc, a national organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and
bold. Ms. Yeramyan’s commitment to making a difference has extended to pro
bono consulting with the Diocese of the Armenian Church, and her strong
support for the Hunger Project, a global organization committed to ending

The new board members join the current FAR Board of Directors: Archbishop
Khajag Barsamian, president; Kevork Hovnanian, honorary chairman and
founder; Randy Sapah-Gulian, chairman; Dr. Edgar Housepian, vice chairman;
Carl Bazarian, vice chairman; Dr. Annette Choolfaian, vice chairperson;
Hagop Kouyoumdjian, treasurer; Nishan Atinizian, Michael Haratunian,
secretary; and Oscar Tatosian.

"The FAR Board of Directors is a wonderful group, full of dedicated and
professional individuals who want to make a difference in the life of
Armenia," said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese
and President of FAR. "They are bringing their diverse skills and talents
to assure that the people of Armenia are given lives of hope, opportunity,
and empowerment."

For complete biographies on all members of the FAR Board of Directors, visit
the FAR website:

Since its founding in response to the 1988 earthquake, FAR has served
millions of people through more than 220 relief and development programs in
Armenia and Karabagh. It has channeled more than $265 million in
humanitarian assistance by implementing a wide range of projects including
emergency relief, construction, education, medical aid, and economic

FAR, one of the preeminent relief and development organization operating
there, is dedicated to realizing the dream of a free, democratic,
prosperous, and culturally rich Armenia. It works towards a brighter future
by partnering with donors to make life a little better for our people. By
offering hope and more promising prospects in Armenia, Karabagh, and
Javakhk, FAR binds the Diaspora and the Armenian family together around the

For more information on FAR or to send donations, contact us at 630 Second
Avenue, New York, NY 10016; telephone (212) 889-5150; fax (212) 889-4849;
web ; e-mail [email protected]

— 2/23/07

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