WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Armenian Cultural Association of America (ACAA) recently held its Annual Board Meeting, resulting in the announcement of its new Board of Directors. The elected officers include Ari Killian, Managing Trustee; James Sahagian, Trustee; and Joshua Tevekelian, Trustee.
After more than 20 years of ongoing dedicated and steadfast service as the ACAA’s Managing Trustee, Bedros Bandazian will be transitioning to an advisory role, passing on the torch to Ari Killian. Bandazian will continue to serve the non-profit as a Senior Adviser.
“As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ACAA, we are excited to welcome our new Board, the members of which bring a wealth of experience and expertise across various industries,” said outgoing Managing Trustee, Bedros Bandazian. “Looking ahead to the next 50 years of work, the Trustees’ new ideas will reinvigorate the ACAA—bringing in new energy and prospective for our ever-expanding mission.”
Since its establishment in 1969, the ACAA has supported a number of projects in the Republic of Armenia as well as throughout the Armenian Diaspora.
“There are number of different ways to give to the mission of the ACAA,” said the Association’s new Managing Trustee, Ari Killian. “Such opportunities include bequests, securities and IRA donations, donor advised funds, life income agreements, and life insurance,” he added.
One area, which the newly elected Board hopes to bolster, is the ACAA’s Endowment Funds. In 1992, the ACAA Board created a format, which formalized the establishment and management of the non-profit’s endowments. “An ACAA Endowment Fund be created for a specific purpose or for general use by the Association, according to the benefactor’s wish,” said Trustee James Sahagian.
ACAA Endowment Funds include the Kevork and Vergine Seroonian Fund, the Hairenik Endowment Fund, the Gosdan Bozajian Hairenik Fund, the Harry and Alice Sachaklian Armenian Review Fund, and the Alice Norian Hairenik and ACAA Fund. Beneficiaries of these funds include the Hairenik Weekly (Armenian) and the Armenian Weekly (English) newspapers (print and online); the Armenian Review academic journal; as well as the Armenian Historical Archives.
“There are a number of causes in need of support, which we hope to help fund with the creation of new funds,” noted Trustee Joshua Tevekelian. “These include the creation of new student internships and practicums, historical archive documentation and digitization, Armenian historical research, as well as programs aimed at Armenian anti-defamation.”
The ACAA welcomes the opportunity to discuss the creation of an ACAA Endowment Fund in the name of a donor, the donor’s family, or any other name. “Donors can be assured that the operations and management of the ACAA are in complete compliance with all laws and regulations, both federal and state,” Killian added. “We invite the members of the community to join in our Endowment Fund Program and to help enhance the growth of our mission.”
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Ari Killian, Managing Trustee
Born and raised in Chicago, Ill., Ari Killian has been a Project Executive with Summit Design + Build, a general contracting and construction management firm, since 2013. Killian also builds and develops commercial and residential properties throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Chicago and a Masters in Civil Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Killian has been active in the Armenian community for more than 35 years, since his earliest days in the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF). He has been a member of the AYF Central Executive; Co-Chair of the AYF Senior Olympics (1991, 2004, and 2019); a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee (six terms); a member and Chair of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Eastern Region Board of Directors; and Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. Killian currently serves as a delegate of Armenian All Saints Apostolic Church to the National Representative Assembly of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
As part of his local community, Ari was a member of former Senator Mark Kirk’s finance committee. He also actively participates in Habit for Humanity Building Projects.
Ari Killian is married to the former Stephanie Mesrobian, and they have two children. They live in Glenview, Ill.
James Sahagian, Trustee
James Sahagian grew up in northern New Jersey and has been a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors since 2009. His professional work focuses on working with individuals and institutional clients on wealth and risk management and financial planning strategies, with more than 19 years of professional experience in the field.
Sahagian earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting from Rutgers University and has an MBA in finance from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management. At Rutgers, he was involved in establishing and promoting the Armenian Studies Program and has continued to lead this effort for more than 25 years. The program has sponsored Armenian language and history courses; it has partnered with the University’s Center for Genocide Studies and Human Rights in teaching about the Armenian Genocide. He has served as an Elder for the Armenian Presbyterian Church of Paramus, N.J., and is a past board member ANCA Eastern Region. He remains active in local community affairs.
Sahagian lives in Mahway, N.J with his wife Maral and their two children—Ari and Seta.
Joshua A. Tevekelian, Trustee
Joshua A. Tevekelian is a native of Boston, Mass. A cum laude graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Joshua earned his degree in Accounting and a minor in Political Science. He was a Travelli Scholar at Northeastern University and served as a Resident Adviser for four years. Additionally, he was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Student Court and participated in the University’s Co-op program. While at Northeastern University and shortly thereafter, Tevekelian was also Big Brother to a child in need within Massachusetts.
After graduating, Tevekelian spent a summer as an ANCA Intern in Washington before returning home and finding his way into the real estate business. He has worked at Colony Capital for the past 12 years.
Tevekelian is also an active member of the Armenian community of Greater Boston. He has been a camper, counselor, and Board member of AYF Camp Haiastan; the General Manager, Treasurer, and dancer of the Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston; held several leadership positions within the AYF Boston/Watertown chapters; a member of the Armenia Fund Board; Chair and Trustee member of the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center of Watertown, Board Member of the St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Watertown; and has served as a Sunday School a number of Armenian Prelacy and Diocese Churches. Most recently, he served as the Chair of the Boston Sardarabad ARF.
He currently lives in West Roxbury, Mass. with his wife Diana and their dog Meli.
Bedros Bandazian, Trustee Emeritus; Senior Adviser
Bedros Bandazian was born and raised in Richmond, Va. and grew-up in the small but tight-knit Armenian community there. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Business and Accounting, he entered into the accounting profession. In 1974, he established the Bandazian & Co. real estate firm, which specializes in property management and commercial investment in Richmond’s urban real estate market.
Bedros is the former Managing Trustee of the ACAA Endowment Fund and has served as Treasurer of the ACAA Armenian Heritage Cruise Committee since its inception more than two decades ago. He has been active in the Democratic Party of Virginia and is a former member of the ANCA National Board of Directors. He is a member of the St. James Armenian Church of Richmond and former Parish Council Chairman, Diocesan Delegate, and Managing Trustee for the St. James Armenian Church and its Endowment Funds.
He is married to the former Stella Georges and they have three sons: Khoren II, Raffi, and Diran.