Armenian Heritage Park Gala to Honor Dr. Noubar Afeyan

Armenian Heritage Park (Photo: Peter Vanderwarker)

Exciting things are in store at Celebrating Contributions of Our Nation’s Immigrants on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. The gala event at Boston’s InterContinental Hotel will raise support for the Endowed Fund for the Care of the Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, ensuring that the Park is impeccably cared for and maintained year-round in perpetuity.

The Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway was an extraordinary gift to the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts from the Armenian-American community. This “gem of The Greenway” (Boston Globe, 2012) engages people from all nations, all ethnicities, all ages, to unite and come together on common ground.

The September benefit celebrates the immigrant experience and all who have come to our Massachusetts shores, reestablishing themselves in new and different ways and contributing to American life and culture.

Dr. Noubar Afeyan (Photo: Flagship Pioneering)

We are delighted to be able to name Dr. Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, as the evening’s honoree. Dr. Afeyan is a remarkable citizen, leader and philanthropist, whose life’s journey has positively impacted individuals, businesses and institutions in the U.S, in Armenia and around the world.

Benefactors of the Park from the outset, Dr. Afeyan and his wife Anna have endowed the Park’s Fund for Programs.  In addition to supporting the annual genocide commemoration, the Afeyans’ generosity makes possible the Armenian Heritage Park Welcome Reception for new citizens and their families & friends following their naturalization ceremonies at historic Faneuil Hall.

The evening will also shine a light on the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, the philanthropic vision of founders Dr. Afeyan, Dr. Vartan Gregorian and Ruben Vardanyan, and its Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, presented annually to an individual for the exceptional impact their actions have had on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.

During the evening, at Dr. Afeyan’s suggestion, organizations serving immigrants and refugees will be recognized. These organizations include the City of Boston Immigrant Defense Fund, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, International Institute of New England, Irish International Immigrant Center and RefugePoint.

Dr. Noubar Afeyan’s 32-year career as an inventor, entrepreneur and CEO has been extraordinary. He has dedicated his professional life to improving the human condition by systematically creating science-based innovations that serve as the foundation for startup companies. At Flagship Pioneering, which he founded in 1999, Noubar has created an enterprise where entrepreneurially-minded scientists invent seemingly unreasonable solutions to challenges facing human health and sustainability. They begin by asking “What if?” and iterate toward the unexpected answer “It turns out,” resulting in the creation of first-in-category companies with significant impact. Flagship has fostered the development of more than 100 scientific ventures resulting in $30 billion in aggregate value, thousands of patents and patent applications, and several dozen drugs in clinical development.

Noubar has co-founded and helped build over 40 life science and technology startups. Prior to founding Flagship Pioneering, Noubar was the founder and CEO of PerSeptive Biosystems, a leader in bio-instrumentation that grew to $100 million in annual revenues. After PerSeptive’s acquisition by Perkin Elmer/Applera Corporation in 1998, he became senior vice president and chief business officer of Applera, where he initiated and oversaw the creation of Celera Genomics.

Currently Dr. Afeyan serves on a number of public and private company boards including Moderna and Evelo Biosciences, where he is chairman, Rubius Therapeutics and Seres Therapeutics. Previously, he was a member of the founding team, director and investor in highly successful ventures including Chemgenics Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Millennium Pharmaceuticals), Color Kinetics (acquired by Philips), Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb) and Affinnova (acquired by AC Nielsen).

Noubar became fascinated by biotechnology during its emergence as a new academic field and industrial sector, completing his doctoral work in biochemical engineering at MIT in 1987. He has written numerous scientific publications and is the inventor of more than 80 patents. He is a lecturer at Harvard Business School and from 2000 to 2016 was a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He teaches and speaks around the world on topics ranging from entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development to biological engineering, new medicines and renewable energy.

Noubar’s commitment to improving the human condition through science and business goes hand in hand with social investments and global humanitarian initiatives. Together with his partners, he has launched philanthropic projects including the IDeA Foundation, UWC Dilijan School100 LIVES and the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity to raise awareness of the world’s most pressing humanitarian problems. Noubar is a member of the Corporation of MIT (the Institute’s governing body) and a member of the board of trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Noubar was born in Beirut to Armenian parents in 1962. He did his undergraduate work at McGill University in Montreal and completed his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering at MIT in 1987. A passionate advocate of the contributions of immigrants to economic and scientific progress, Noubar received the Golden Door Award in 2017 from the International Institute of New England in recognition of his outstanding contributions to American society as a U.S citizen of foreign birth. He was also awarded a Great Immigrant honor from the Carnegie Corporation in 2016, received a Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum in 2012 and was presented with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2008.

Advance reservations for Celebrating Contributions! are required. To receive an invitation, please email or call 617.803.8785.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


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