Four bright and intelligent Armenian young professionals have joined the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) as volunteers and are assisting the organization in many noteworthy ways.
Robin Barone, Lucy Hayrabedian, Celine Kaladjian, and Talene Najarian are all working in the development sector at FAR, with Barone working as the development director for FAR’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) program, and Hayrabedian, Kaladjian, and Najarian as development officers.
In her position as development director, Robin Barone raises awareness of the CME program that provides unique on-the-job-training to Armenia’s young doctors from remote provinces; organizes fundraising events to maintain and expand the program; and recruits a team of professionals for the program’s leadership committee.
Barone’s involvement with FAR dates back to 2002, when she was a participant in FAR’s Young Professional Trip to Armenia and left impressed with FAR and the significant impact it makes in Armenia. When she was awarded the ability to take a sabbatical for a year she thought of FAR. “I decided that I wanted to apply my business skills to organizations where I would add value during a time in which my industry suffered from a recession,” said Barone, who has over 10 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and NYU. “After several trips to Armenia, I was searching for a way to help Armenia with my time and talent, and I think I have found it.”
Lucy Hayrabedian’s main responsibilities are to research and identify donor prospects and to actively seek funding for FAR projects from private foundations. Her professional background is in bank compliance and real estate investment. She is a graduate of Hunter College and Cass Business School in London. With some free time on her hands due to the banking crisis, Lucy wanted to use her time constructively. “When I lost my job a few months ago, I realized that the best and most efficient way to utilize my free time is to volunteer for an organization which would benefit from my skills,” said Hayrabedian, who was introduced to FAR by Barone. “I choose to work for the Fund for Armenian Relief because of their ambition to redevelop Armenia. I wanted to be part of their mission and make a difference.”
Celine Kaladjian is working on several projects with a special emphasis on communication in new media outlets, the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program, and Young Professionals Trip projects. She is currently studying international solidarity project engineering, which involves project methodology and coordination. An undergraduate student in Marseilles, France, Kaladjian is volunteering with FAR for four months as part of her university studies, which includes plans to pursue refugee studies. “Since my Armenian great-grandparents were refugees themselves, I strongly wanted to support an Armenian NGO with my work,” she said. “While researching for an internship, FAR seemed to fulfill my desires both on personal and professional perspectives. Indeed, it did!”
Talene Najarian will support FAR in a variety of tasks aiming to enhance donor communication and raise awareness for FAR programs. Since receiving her MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management last June, Najarian has been pursuing various volunteering opportunities. Regarding her volunteering with FAR, she said, “I hope to contribute to an organization currently making a tangible impact on the wellbeing of people in Armenia.” She has positive impressions of FAR, noting that the organization manages a variety of successful programs that are diverse in their goals. “Under the FAR umbrella, there are programs aimed at improving the social welfare of the Armenian people, and also helping Armenia achieve long-term economic sustainability,” said Najarian, who spent three years working at an investment bank on Wall Street and one year working in the finance department of her family’s business (an environmental engineering firm) prior to attending business school. She will also support FAR educational projects.
“For years, FAR has been blessed with support from volunteers, both in the U.S. and in Armenia. We have seen all of them grow personally and professionally. The “class of 2009″ is very special to us. These young professionals have already brought so much talent, enthusiasm, and innovation to FAR in just a few short weeks,” said Garnik Nanagoulian, FAR’s executive director. “Joining the FAR family and becoming part of our mission in the homeland, and supporting underprivileged and vulnerable people will eventually, I am sure, turn into a fulfilling and gratifying experience for all of them,” he said.
For more information on FAR and its programs, visit www.farusa.org.