WASHINGTON, D.C. (ANCA) – Longtime community leader Apo Saghdejian and his daughter Nayiri presented a generous donation last week to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) in honor of their late son and brother Hovig Apo Saghdejian, whose legacy has inspired the expansion of a unique career development program that has, to date, helped over 300 young professionals start careers in policy, politics, and media in the nation’s capital.
“My brother’s legacy lives on through the work of the ANCA and the investments we are making in a new generation of Armenian American professionals,” remarked Nayiri Saghdejian. “Hovig loved the Armenian Nation and he loved the Armenian Cause – which is why we are committed to working with the ANCA to realize his vision of a free, safe, and prosperous Armenian homeland,” she added.
Cornerstones of the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program (CGP) include a three-month free-housing grant, access to the ANCA network of contacts and resources, and hands-on training on how to find work in the governmental, political, policy, and media worlds. Alumni give back through the CGP Advisory Committee, which works with Program Director Tereza Yerimyan to leverage the ANCA’s influential political network to assist program fellows. Mentorship, enrichment seminars, and networking events featuring alumni and Washington DC’s seasoned public policy professionals are staples of the program.
“The ANCA is grateful for the vision and generosity of the Saghdejian family,” remarked ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian after visiting with the family at their home in Fresno, California. “The Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program is a signature achievement of the ANCA. We are proud that this distinguished program is only getting stronger year after year – serving more young Armenian American professionals and, in the process, strengthening our community and common cause – which Hovig believed in so deeply,” Hamparian added.
The Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fund was created in 2004 and raised over $50,000 for the Capital Gateway Program in just a few short months. Since then, family and friends have honored the memory of Hovig’s late mother, Rosine Saghdejian, who passed away in 2006, and Apo’s mother, Sona Saghdejian, who died in 2010, through additional contributions to the fund. These funds will be held in perpetuity, with only the income being used to finance the participation of young Armenian Americans in the ANCA’s Capital Gateway Program.
For detailed information about the Capital Gateway Program, visit: www.anca.org/gateway.
About the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway House Program
The Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway House Program was established in honor of Hovig Apo Saghdejian, the 23-year-old student from Fresno, California whose life of community leadership and public service was cut short, in July of 2004, by a tragic car accident. Hovig Apo Saghdejian was born on December 31, 1980 in Fresno, California. Early in life, Hovig became a member of the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, and he joined the ranks of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), contributing to the welfare of the Armenian American community and reinforcing his commitment to his Homeland.
He breathed life into the ideals of his youth by working to preserve and reinvent Armenian identity in America, while bringing a sense of optimism to the people of Armenia for a better future. As a volunteer with the Land and Culture organization, Hovig traveled to Armenia during the summer of 2003 to work as a volunteer in Ayroum, developing infrastructure and self-sustainability for the impoverished population of this village. Beyond the value of the hard work that contributed significantly to the well being of the villagers, Hovig’s efforts helped bring hope to all he came in contact with that the future held better things for the people of Armenia. Commenting on his time in Ayroum, in a testimonial on the Land and Culture website, Hovig explained that, “I know that when I reflect back on this experience I will feel ecstatic about the work we accomplished, the things we saw, and the bonds we forged.”
Hovig attended Fresno City College, California State University of Fresno, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on economics, philosophy and film studies. He performed his civic duties by being politically involved, not only with the ANCA, but also with former Congressman George Radanovich on campaign and public policy projects. Hovig enjoyed life, family, and friends. He had a very special bond with his parents, Apo and Rosine, and sister, Nayiri.