PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) will honor local Philadelphia activist Andrew Kzirian with the ANCA-ER Vahan Cardashian Award at its 15th annual gala on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. The gala, which will comply with all COVID-19 safety protocols, will feature a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and awards program. Tickets can be purchased online.
Michigan State Representative Mari Manoogian will preside over the evening’s event that will honor Kzirian with the Vahan Cardashian Award and other deserving honorees with the ANCA-ER Freedom Award, as well as the region’s summer interns and the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program participants.
“On behalf of the ANCA Eastern Region, I’d like to congratulate this year’s ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award recipient Mr. Andrew Kzirian – an extremely deserving individual whose dedication to the Armenian community and Cause is admirable,” said Steve Mesrobian, ANCA Eastern Region Board member. “He will join a long list of deserving activists whose work has been the backbone of our efforts for decades. We look forward to celebrating him and the other deserving activists at our gala in Philadelphia this October.”
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Kzirian has been a lifelong activist in the Armenian community wherever he has lived. He credits his family and community for inspiring him to be an advocate for Armenian-American issues. In particular, his late mother Sara Yasaian Kzirian helped instill in him a feeling of pride in his Armenian heritage and identity.
Mr. Kzirian received his bachelor’s degree in education from Temple University in 1971, majoring in history and social studies, and his master’s degree in near eastern history and Armenian studies from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1975.
He started his career as an educator, first as an instructor at Bucks County Community College, then notably serving as the first principal at Hovnanian Armenian School in New Milford, New Jersey and director of the Armenian Bilingual Project for the Watertown School Department in Massachusetts for five years. He then went on to pursue a successful career in sales for the next 40 years, including Interstate Lift, the family business.
In his community, Mr. Kzirian has served in multiple positions spanning over 50 years. They include being the chairman of the Philadelphia Armenian Intercommunal Committee, a proud member and leader of Hai Tahd activities for the Philadelphia Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Gomideh, and serving on the St. Gregory Armenian Church Board of Trustees and as National Representative Assembly delegate for Philadelphia. He also spent a memorable summer as the director of Camp Haiastan, where his children followed in his footsteps as counselors many years later. He also wrote numerous articles in the Armenian and American press on Armenian issues, particularly the Armenian Genocide. He was invited by the Armenian Committee for Cultural Relations to attend a summer institute for Armenian teachers from the Diaspora. He was also awarded a scholarship by the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) to study Armenian at the Nishan Palandjian Djemaran in Beirut. A highlight of his involvement in Armenian activities was being selected as a World Delegate to attend a recent World Assembly at the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias.
He currently lives near Philadelphia in Burlington, New Jersey, with his wife, Madonna. He is the proud father of Antranig and Jim Kzirian, father-in-law of Nora and Lianna and grandfather of Tavit, Summer, Ara and Alexandra. The Kzirians are active members of St. Gregory’s Armenian Church, the ANCA, the ARF and the ARS. They credit the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) for its role in each of their stories. Mr. Kzirian and his two sons are all proud former AYF Central Executive members.
“I feel tremendous pride to learn that the ANCA Eastern Region has selected Andrew Kzirian as the recipient of this year’s prestigious ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award,” said Nora Kzirian, ANC of Philadelphia activist. “He has dedicated his life to raising awareness of Armenian issues as an educator and active member of our community in Philadelphia. On behalf of the ANC of Pennsylvania, I’d like to congratulate him on this accolade and thank him for always making time for anyone who simply wished to learn more.”