NAASR Chairman announces retirement of respected Executive Director

Sarah Ignatius at the NAASR 65th anniversary gala, November 2019. (Photo: Kenneth Martin)

BELMONT, Mass.—Yervant Chekijian, the chairman of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) has announced that executive director Sarah Ignatius is retiring this year, now that she is turning 70. Ignatius has served as executive director since January 2016, as NAASR’s first full-time person in this role. NAASR has opened a search for a new candidate to fill the position.

“Sarah is an extraordinary person who has brought a high level of professionalism to our organization and done an exceptional job,” said Chekijian. “She played a major role as the project manager for the development of our spectacular new headquarters and as an integral part of the fundraising effort. She also ably led us through the pandemic, working with Marc Mamigonian, and helped us to reach an expanded global audience. With the support of her team, Sarah launched our first ever virtual gala and helped close the funding gap for our building so that we will soon be able to pay off our loan to the bank. It has been a pleasure to work with her, and we are grateful for her hard work and devotion to NAASR. We look forward to continuing to work with her as we search for a highly qualified successor to build on our achievements and continue our progress.”

NAASR Director of Academic Affairs Marc Mamigonian said, “Sarah has been instrumental to the great progress NAASR has made in the past five years. She has great respect for the history and mission of NAASR while always propelling us forward. It’s been a privilege and also a joy to work with her every day.”

“The past five and a half years at NAASR have been the most fulfilling of my career,” said Ignatius. “NAASR is an inspiring organization with a long history of integrity to its mission as one of the foremost organizations in the world advancing Armenian Studies. I am profoundly grateful to NAASR for giving me this opportunity. The challenges were exhilarating, and the remarkable successes we achieved together are intensely rewarding, not to mention the deep friendships that will stay with me forever.”

NAASR has created a search and hiring committee and is commencing a nationwide search for qualified, dynamic candidates. To ease the transition, Ignatius will serve as executive advisor to the new executive director.

The executive director position is located at NAASR’s new Vartan Gregorian Building in Belmont, MA. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by September 30, 2021, although the application process may remain open beyond that date until the position is filled.

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Founded in 1955, NAASR is one of the world’s leading resources for advancing Armenian Studies, supporting scholars, and building a global community to preserve and enrich Armenian culture, history, and identity for future generations.
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