Anna Hakobyan Visits Boston Area, ARF Archives

Last week, Anna Hakobyan, a prominent Armenian journalist and the wife of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, took a two-day visit to the Boston area as part of a larger US tour. While visiting, she enjoyed a packed schedule, which included speaking at a sold-out gala on Friday for the City of Smile charitable foundation, which raised nearly $150,000 to fund cancer treatments for children in Armenia. Her trip also included several pit stops in Watertown to visit several landmark establishments of the Armenian community, including the Hairenik building and St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School.

Anna Hakobyan, spouse of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan pictured with George Aghjayan, ARF-ER Central Committee Chair, Watertown, Mass.

At the Hairenik offices, George Aghjayan, Chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Eastern Region Central Committee, led Hakobyan on an informative tour of the ARF’s archives. Hakobyan viewed some of the Eastern Region’s items on display, including the original copy of Armenia’s declaration of independence from 1918. Hakobyan made it a rather multi-sensorial experience as she seemed particularly interested in the bound and historic papers of the newspaper archives, even smelling the old books that contain Hairenik and Armenian Weekly pages, dating back to 1899.   

Ahead of her visit to Hairenik office, Hakobyan was warmly-received at St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary school on Friday morning, where she and her delegation visited the classrooms and interacted with the students, who asked insightful questions and displayed impressive knowledge of the Armenian language and poetry.

Later that the evening, she ventured to the Westin Hotel in Waltham, where she was the keynote speaker for the City of Smile fundraiser, an organization whose board she heads. “In wealthy and developed countries, cancer is just a disease,” she told the audience, “but in many less-developed countries, it is equal to a death sentence.”

“I dream to establish . . . a hospital in Armenia which has all of the necessary drugs and techniques so no parent has to take their child to Europe, Russia, or the United States. My dream is that our children stay at home in Armenia and receive treatment in close proximity of their houses.”

While in Boston, she also met with medical professionals and students at Harvard and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also visited the Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway.

Hakobyan’s entire trip to the United States will span 17 days and five cities; it is primarily devoted to fundraising for City of Smile Foundation and the My Step Foundation. In addition, there will be meetings with the Armenian community.


  1. This tour demonstrates that the Diaspora is still viewed and used as a cash cow. Did anyone say “Anna, let’s talk about Diaspora involvement in more than just funding your projects and foundations? How about some mutuality to our relations? Let’s talk about relaxed citizenship regulations for Armenians who do not have Apostolic baptismal certificates or who cannot write or read in Armenian.” Why are we still behaving like a loyal millet from Ottoman days?

    • Peter, I got my citizenship 2 years ago very easily. I didn’t need to prove neither religious affiliation nor knowledge of the language. I’m not sure where you got such idea. I don’t know how things are working in post “revolution” Armenia, but before they were working very well.

      I do agree with your sentiment, that Diaspora is very much viewed as a “cash cow” and an utterly naive one on all levels. The amount of cheap circus show put on for the public and all sorts of destructive initiatives that have taken place in Armenia since April 2018 is depressing, and yet Diaspora is celebrating “new Armenia” without asking any critical questions or even just carefully following what’s been going on. Armenians in Armenia are slowly losing the euphoria though, which is too slow but progress nevertheless …

  2. Peter,
    Well, according to Armenia’s government,funding charity groups, projects and foundations by the Diasporans is an INVOLVEMENT itself in Armenia’s affair, and that is where the buck stops period. However, if any of you Diasporans, including Armenia Weekly, truly wishes to get involved, then let start demanding the release from jail of Armenia’s second president, Mr. Kocaryan. He’s been locked up for almost four months for ,” overthrowing Armenia’s Constitution”. WHAT’S THAT? ” Overthrowing Constitution”. Never heard of such a bullcrap in my entire life. Can someone from, Tuxov Tetoum Keloukhov , inexperienced wannabe politicians, who are in charge of Armenia, explain to us, what the heck that means? There seems to be hardly any coverage, by Armenian Weekly or any other Armenian news media for that matter, about the former Artsakh war veteran. Just yesterday, Armenia’s KANGAROO court extended Kocharyan’s stay in jail by another two months pending trial. This is an outrage, locking up a president without trial. Democracy, my foot. I suggest every Diasporans stop funding or doing business with current Armenia’s ‘regime’ until Mr. Kocharyan is released and Pashinyan and LTP stand for trial for their March 2008 involvemen.

  3. Armenia and its government really need to work a lot harder on establishing truly good relations with the Diaspora instead of just seeing Diasporans as a wheelbarrow of cash.

    The Diaspora needs help in its own right to maintain itself and to be able to continue to help Armenia.

    The Diaspora has pumped many billions of Dollars, Euros, etc. into Armenia that could have been used to maintain the Diaspora.

    I am not saying to not aid Armenia.

    But one gets the impression that this relationship goes in one direction only in terms of understanding and help.

    Reversing this needs action and a change in attitude from the TOP of the Armenian government.

    The Diaspora is not “garbage”. Get it?

  4. There will never be a change in attitude unless Diasporan and Armenia’s nor serount emerge together and form a unified government. And I am not talking about this thing called, Tuxov, which they are out to get revenge.

  5. I am born Armenian, baptized Armenian,speak, read & write Armenian but unfortunately
    never understood Armenia politics except constantlyhearing about government corruption ,
    diaspora aid of millions of euros & dollars being squandered, not reaching the actual needs
    and change in the country. Visiting Armenia someday is on my bucket list but not until
    things improve for the people just as I would for Cuba…

  6. Kocharyan is a criminal? Actually, George Soros’ lapdog, Pashinyan ,is the real criminal here, for instigating and motivating the crowd to attack the law enforcement officers with deadly weapons. He should be tried and locked back up for his irresponsible actions. Here in the United States, you show up with deadly weapon to express your frustration during protest, I guarantee you the police will blow your lil’ numbskull up and ask questions later. No joke.

  7. Michelle, they can’t find one legitimate accusation for Kocharyan, so they made up a laughable one that makes Armenian legal system look like a joke inside and outside Armenia. If a man commits a crime, a legal system should be able to formulate a legitimate accusation and prove his fault in court, which isn’t happening, because it’s a pure political vendetta. If you have facts that show otherwise, why don’t you submit them to court and let the judge make a decision instead of spreading misinformation online.

  8. We really need to redefine the words “revenge” and “vendetta” to be able to use them in the context of what is currently going on in Armenia. Former president Serj Sarkisyan has been busy looking for a nice mansion for himself the last few months for the state to buy it for him as his official residence. Mind you, he is not happy with what the state has so far been offering him, asking for more. His crook brother who had 30 million dollar in only one bank account, a fact that has never been denied by himself or his associates, is right now having fun in freedom. If that is the “revenge” and “vendetta”, then I need some revenge, please!
    For those who are unaware or simply pretend that they are unaware, Kocharyan is in pretrial detention for overthrowing the constitutional order. That is a very legitimate and serious crime. The president, in no circumstances, can go against the constitution by using military force against demonstrators, even if those demonstrators were violent. Needless to say that the demonstrators were super peaceful up to the point when brutal force was used against them and there is no evidence, I repeat zero evidence, that they possessed any kind of weapons.
    His defense minister is right now at large in Russia since he is apparently a Russian citizen. Yes, we had a “defense minister” who is a Russian citizen. Nothing should surprise us when it comes to Kocharyan, I guess. Imagine the Indian defense minister being a Japanese or the Russian defense minister being a Chinese!
    And one last suggestion for those who are so concerned about their beloved president Kocharyan. An entire team of the best lawyers in Armenia and some top lawyers in London are now working on his case. Maybe you consider launching a crowdfunding for him. I wonder how can poor Kocharyan pay for all that with his modest salary!

  9. I agree with Jay completely, they see Diaspora as a ‘milk cow’ and there is no transparency to the funds spent ever. Professionals are being replaced with relatives and friends who are close to the prime minister only. Government is trying to push on social media that do not promote their ideology.The criminal stats have been increased to almost 40% since last year! They destroy museums and fired over 2000 workers, which have families behind them. The capital is full of garbage!! It seems that our homeland is now in chaos and law is not working either. Fake news, fake promises, fake bribes, all FAKE FAKE FAKE. No professionals in his team and majority of them Soros grant receivers, including top officials. Those are the same people who have been involved in March 2008 loss of innocent people. They all have to be in jail!

  10. Maybe 2 years ago, as Karina said, it was easy to get a citizenship since Armenian roots have been considered, but no any more. People who never got a chance to learn Armenian are now struggling to fill out application and pass the exam, but they are considered Armenians when it comes to the money, right??!!

  11. Now Anna said that all our children in Artsakh died for NOTHING! they died for our HOMELAND, for OUR PEOPLE, for OUR SAFETY, for YOU and YOUR KIDS!! After 10th minute of her speech, she repeated it multiple times!!! so she mean it!! Sometimes i think that they are not Armenians, the whole family is not baptized in Armenian Church, destroy Armenian traditions, faith and morale. Anything is possible in this world. Very sad and very bad for Armenia and Armenians.

  12. Karina,
    This citizenship thing is entirely dependant on the Armenian consul of the respective country that you live in. It took nearly 7 months for my application to be accepted & without the baptismal certificate no chance. The consul wanted me to go to my birth country, Iran and get the documents certified (wouldn’t accept the Iranian Embassy’s certification). Yet the American government does accept it. Go Figure.The previous consul didn’t require this nonsense.
    Unfortunately the Armenians in Armenia still have the Soviet mindset (rigid, unbending)and are very proud semi “Russians”. Even some Syrian refugees regret settling there.

  13. Evidently ritooli is experiencing a slight case of amnesia, this person seems to forget that after the March 2008’s ‘peceful protest’, Pasinyan went into hiding for two years then resurfaced and surrendered to the authorities, after trial he served two years behind bars out of seven. Pashinyan was charged with article 300 and 301 of the Armenia’s Constitution; Usurping state power, seizure of state power with violence, public calls to seizing state power by force. Talking about serious crime it Can’t get any serious. Mr. Hayg Alumyan, one of kocharyan’s defense team, just recently announced that he will make public the names of the seven culprits in 2008’s riots. Pashinyan, LTP and Alexander Arzoumanyan ( Ambassador to Denmark ) are those involved. Also, he mentions the illegal activities being practiced by the judicial system, ” for the sole purpose to keep Mr. Kocharyan in captivity “. Unrelated, on April 11, 2019, the law enfoecement of Armenia launched a criminal case against Pashinyan’s cousin for faking a college degree in order to land a position as a deputy head of Engineering Mechanics department at the national park. Investigation still continues.

    • Don’t worry about my health, save your energy for Kocharyan. So Pashinyan was convicted and was in prison. Great, in that case why are you mad that Kocharyan is now in detention? The courts are the same courts, the judges are the same judges. Almost, all the judges are those who were appointed by Kocharyan and his ally Sarkisayn. If they were good at the time and Kocharyan was such great president then they must be good now?! Good that you mentioned Alumyan. Isn’t he the same guy who received money from Soros fund? Oh, I thought you hate those who get money from Soros or maybe you only suffer from Sorosphobia when it comes to making up false accusations about the new government? And regarding that unrelated issue. Are you serious?! The fact that a close relative of Pashinyan is under investigation only goes to show that, unlike the previous corrupt governments, the new administration is committed to fight against corruption and nepotism even if that involves the close relatives of the PM. If only we had a similar law enforcement when Kocharyan was president, maybe Kocharyan’s useless sons would do something with their lives instead of stashing millions in their bank accounts and participating in amateur fitness contests in Europe, God knows who pays for that one!

  14. i cant believe there are people actually defending kocharyan. is this some kind of stockholm syndrome type thing? you dont have to like pashinyan and maybe the courts are doing a bad job but defending these bloodsuckers makes no sense. are you guys secretly in love with this guy? what is it? do you just like to argue and be contrarian? is he a relative? are you working for him? do you want to sit on his lap?

    *this message was approved my george soros*

  15. John,
    Well anyone without a goldfish memory and some little understanding of Armenian politics since independence can criticize Pashinyan vs Kocharyan, without being ‘in love’ with Rob. IE those who remember the disastrous ultra liberal economic policy of his mentor LTP under which corruption became the norm and Armenia collapsed, those who remember the political vendettas done by this authoritarian regime, those who remember that he never was journalist, only a political activist writting unsubstantiated articles against LTP opponents (as already underlined by former US ambassador and US state dpt.),those who remember that in 2008 Pashinyan was vehemently calling for violent removal of the power thus bearing a legal responsibility in those deads which he refused to face for 2 years when hidding, while Kocharyan immediatly turned himself in… those who realised that the charges K. is facing makes no legal sense whatsoever….
    In short, those who knows the country and have a minimum critical and common sense, those one are not surprised that present gvt is as authoritarian as the previous one, but more pervert and dangerous since highly demagogic and mostly incompetent.
    We in Armenia are still waiting for the hundreds of millions from ‘corrupted blood suckers’ promised by him. Alas, it shall rather be several dozens of millions only, despite moving heaven and earth.
    Some are just less gullible than others, John.

  16. John,
    they are mainly 2 types.

    Kocharyan’s minions who are being paid for this sort of things. I have seen it with my own eyes how the “likes” for one of Kocharyan’s youtube interviews to a Russian TV channel was jumping by thousands. Apparently, they were using bots. They spend quite lot of money on this. From bots on YouTube to fakes on Facebook.

    Some others are the rightists who constantly look for some sort of conspiracy theory in everything. They just can’t believe it that a revolution could have succeeded without Soros funding it.

    I personally, enjoy reading them. Isn’t it amazing that after almost a year of revolution and months of wiretapping his phone conversations, these people have nothing to criticize him for except some bs about LTP being Nikols mentor or him not being journalist but activist, as if that is a crime!

  17. micheal,
    very disingenuous. complete strawman. what does this have to do with what i said? i dont know why you guys are doing this but it was so absurd that i had to comment. i guess ritooli is right. i never said you have to like pashinyan. i dont even like pashinyan as much as you like your precious kocharyan. but im gullible right? nonsense. you shamelessly defend kocharyan and then claim to have critical and common sense? oh and you are upset that pahinyan is not getting enough stolen money back from kocharyans friends? are you serious man? well good job defending corruption.

  18. I just read ravioli’s last post and lost just about 60 IQ points; no substance; all lies; and 7th grade comments. Mr. Kocharyan’s unlawful detainment by Pashinyan regime is a product of sheer vendetta, simple as that, and in the event Armenia’s second president is released from prison , Mr. Kocharyan will hold Pashinyan and his cronies to account before the people of Armenia, and Pashinyan the rat is well aware of this. He is responsible for unlawfully keeping Mr. Kocharyan in detainment awaiting for trial, for what, no idea. Mr. Kocharyan is stripped of presidential immunity, something that is guaranteed by Armenia’s constitution; deprived of his fundamental rights; prevented from exercising his civil rights; and is being denigrated in public statements by Nikol the rat. This is that same Pashinyan, the protest RINGLEADER of the March 2008 , who encouraged and motivated the crowd to carry weapons of all kinds and attack the law enforcement officers in Yerevan. This is that same Pashinyan who fomented mass riots in streets of Yerevan where two officers lost their lives. Kocharyan is charged, by Pashinyan appointed judges and prosecutors, allegedly ” Overthrowing Armenia’s Constitutional order” ? WTH is that mean? He exercised his presidential responsibilities and ordered the army into the streets of Yerevan to keep law and order. What’s wrong with that? This entire riot was all about to bring down the state by violent means, led by Pashinyan and his gang. This rat will have his day in court, I GUARANTEE YOU. Unrelated, on November 28th, 2018, then Vice Chairman of RPA , Mr. Vigen Sargsyan, invited Pashinyan to take part in a live TV debate but the proposal was turned down by “democracy loving” rebel Pashinyan, now go figure. Interestingly enough, leaders of all ten participating parties took part in a live debate but Nicole,and the reason is very obvious. Lastly, Thanks to Sofya for posting the video, please Keep it coming.

  19. @ritooli : let me try to understand, you see Kocharian “bots” everywhere but laughing at “conspirationnists”? I would enjoy reading you too, if we werent talking about my country.
    @john : If you dont see what it has to do, I ll rephrase it. If you want to see Kocharyan condemned because he is a blood sucker, fair enough. But is he charged for corruption? Because if he is charged with a phony motive that make no sense legally, your hero is no better than the previous ones.

    And to both, I dont remember who said “the one who sees conspiration everywhere is a fool, the one that see them nowhere is even fooler”. Poor paraphrase but I think you got the idea, not sure though.

  20. Michael,
    Talking about your country? Well, your country is our country as well. So, it is your problem if you can’t enjoy reading comments.

    I never said I see bots everywhere. Don’t twist what people say, if you want a normal conversation. I said I have seen enough to reach the conclusion that quite a lot of money is being spent on pro-Kocharyan propaganda. If you are not a part of it, then you don’t really have to take it personally. In any case, that comment wasn’t directed to you.

    In your first comment you use every single ugly adjective in the book to describe the current PM. Your initial comment goes far beyond Kocharyan’s trial. So your problem with Pashinyan is certainly not just Kocharyan’s case. Let me make this crystal clear, that I don’t believe in anyone’s infallibility. Pashinyan is not perfect. No one is perfect. But the person you are trying to defend here is undoubtedly the worst leader Armenia has ever had. someone who should be classified as the Lukashenko or Nazarbayev of Armenia. If you are going to set the bar high for Pashinyan, then maybe you should start with condemning Kocharyan, instead of trivializing his misdeeds. When it comes to Kocharyan’s case, maybe what is going on is “phony” in your eyes but it is certainly not phony in the eyes of those 10 families who lost their sons on that day. Kocharyan was the president of the Republic of Armenia. He was responsible for every single life lost that day. He could have called another election, instead he decided to lower Armenia to the level of countries such as Zimbabwe. The consequences of what he did continued to have its impact on Armenia for years to come from being deprived of US millennium challenge Corporation assistance to tarnishing Armenia’s image in Europe.

    If you still insist that Kocharyan has something to do in Armenia’s politics then I have nothing to discuss with you.

  21. michael,
    he’s my hero now huh? well at least you have enough brain cells not to pretend that kocharyan isnt corrupt. surprising i must say. and thanks for that random quote. you should be a comedian.

  22. Sargsyan won Feb 19th 2008 election by 58.2% to LTP’s 21.8%. Levon should’ve conceded his defeat and moved on, instead, him and his side kick,Poashinyan, resorted to violence, to bring down the state by creating chaos and mayhem in the capital, Yerevan. You LOSERS cannot be CHOSERS. Mr. Kocharyan, with the APPROVAL of Armenian Parliament members, declared 20-day state of emergency to calm the situation down. Hoqwever, under the strict orders of LTP, with Pashinyan energizing the ‘Peacenik Protesters’ Over 10,000 radical elements carried on their duties with the hope of toppling the Kocharyan government, where two innocent police officers lost their lives. RIP. So far not a single person has been able to provide a clear answer as to WHY Kocharyan’s being detained other than to hear the same lame excuse- overthrowing Armenia’s Constitution.

  23. @ John : maybe he is corrupt, Maybe not. In the “new democratic and corruption free Armenia”, we need more than rumors and “hearsays”. Corruption charges maybe? Oups…
    @ Ritooli : dont lose yourself in assumptions about me, you ll just lose time and fail to get the whole picture. As for the 2008 deaths, Kocharyan is as responsible than… say French president Macron (10 deaths in France following the yellow vests movement) or the US president if riots occurs and national guard have to interfere. Try to have Macron and Obama/Trump condemned for that.

    Im just playful when it comes to put Pashynian supporters in front of their own contradictions. Double standards about democracy, double standards about corruption, double standards about the deaths… Sanazaryan and the abusively fired custom officer would surely agree.

  24. Michael
    I don’t really need to assume anything, your comments speak for themselves. If opposing Rob makes me a Nikol supporter then I am proud of it. Your French yellow vest analogy couldn’t have been more baseless. It really takes quite a lot of intellectual gymnastics to compare what happened in Yerevan with the death of people mostly as a result of accidents in the course of months. Again, criticizing Pashinyan for his actions and policies is one thing, justifying Kocharyan’s tyranny and corruption is a totally different thing. Your arguments reminds me the stuff you will see on Russian TV channels. Since Western democracies are not perfect then we are happy with our dictatorship.
    Have fun playing!

  25. In NY it ywas a major disappointment to discover that Ms. Hakobyan’s visits were intended to gather diaspora monies for her projects in Armenia and that she spoke of her charities at the town hall meetings. Town hall meetings are meant for the airing of political issues affecting the populace. While she did answer audience questions, the ones posed in Eastern Armenian and answered in the same language did not get translated into English. And Ms. Hakobyan preferred speaking in Armenian though agreed to answer in English those questions posed in English. Heads of state must try harder to do as the Romans do when addressing their various audiences- especially if the they plan to collect money from them. I would also advise her to refer to Armenia as “our country” rather than “my country” when addressing Diasporans. She made clear of how proud she was that America was impressed by the Velvet Revolution and how pleased she was that the U.S. is eager to get closer to Armenia. Too bad she didn’t Express that same sort of pride towards American-Armenians. It was just another cash cow milking trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.