BELMONT, Mass.—On Friday, November 1, 2019, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will host the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of its spectacular, new, state-of-the-art global headquarters, named after Vartan Gregorian, President of the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York. The new building’s official name will be the NAASR Vartan Gregorian Building, fulfilling the request of the building’s principal benefactors, Edward and Pamela Avedisian of Lexington, MA.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony from 4 to 7 pm, at 395 Concord Avenue, Belmont, MA. This historic event is the result of a national campaign to build a prosperous future for Armenian Studies and will celebrate NAASR’s 65 years of achievement and mark a new era as NAASR looks toward the future and welcomes the next generation.
Featured at the Grand Opening will be the unveiling of a site-specific sculpture that was donated by world-renowned Armenian-American artist, Michael Aram. His sculpture is an interpretation of a traditional Armenian symbol of eternity, or “Arevakhatch.”
Gregorian will be present along with the Avedisians and David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and novelist, who will be the master of ceremonies for the NAASR Gala the following evening on November 2, which is already sold out.
Also featured at the Grand Opening will be Ara Krafian, CEO of Symmes, Maini & McKee Associates of Cambridge, the architectural, design and engineering firm for the project; as well as Janet Ceddia, President of Altair Construction of Newton, the general contractor.
“We invite everyone to attend our Grand Opening,” said NAASR Chairman of the Board Yervant Chekijian, who will serve as master of ceremonies at the opening, which will also include a blessing of the building from local clergy. Many other local and national people of note will be in attendance; Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has been invited to speak.
“We are sincerely grateful to all of the extremely generous and talented people who made our vision a reality. This building is NAASR’s gift to future generations,” said Chekijian.
The ribbon cutting will be followed by tours of the building through many of its public spaces, as well as NAASR’s rare book Mardigian Library, one of the top five Armenian libraries open to the public in the diaspora, with some holdings dating to the 1600s, and rare periodicals dating to the 1800s, as well as the unique personal archives of prominent scholars, early Armenian-Americans, and religious leaders.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has given full support with a capital grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural Facilities Fund and MassDevelopment of $225,000 awarded in 2017, for installation of an elevator, other accessibility features, and fire suppression.
Founded in 1955, NAASR is a world leader advancing Armenian Studies, connecting scholars of Armenian Studies with the public, and building community worldwide. To date, NAASR has financial commitments for $6.2 million of the $7 million project. To learn more about NAASR, contact Sarah Ignatius, Executive Director, at [email protected] or call 617-489-1610.