Lifelong ANC of Merrimack Valley Activist Joseph Dagdigian to receive Cardashian Award at Gala

BOSTON, Mass.—The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) will be honoring long-time ANC of Merrimack Valley activist Joseph Dagdigian with the ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award at its 17th Annual Gala on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at the Royal Sonesta Boston Hotel. 

The annual Vahan Cardashian Award is given to an ANCA-ER activist(s) who demonstrates long-standing leadership and success on behalf of the Armenian Cause. The award is named in honor of the late Vahan Cardashian, who led the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA), the precursor to the Armenian National Committee of America. 

“We are honored to present the ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award to Mr. Joseph Dagdigian – Unger Joe – an extremely deserving individual whose dedication to the Armenian community and cause is admirable. He will join a long list of deserving activists whose work has been the backbone of our efforts for decades. We look forward to recognizing him and the other deserving activists at our gala in Boston on October 7,” said gala chair Ara Nazarian.

Dagdigian, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from the Kharpert region of Western Armenia, grew up in the Lowell, Massachusetts Armenian community. After high school, he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in computer engineering from UMass Lowell. While in college, he joined the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and has been engaged in Armenian issues ever since. Shortly after graduating from college, he received an Armenian Relief Society (ARS) scholarship to study Armenian at the Palandjian Djemaran in Beirut for a year.

In the 1960s, he became a member of the AYF Central Executive, serving first as educational director and then as chairperson. Later, he served as co-chair of the ANC of Merrimack Valley with the late Unger Bill Mesrobian.

After Armenia’s independence, Dagdigian and his wife Lisa visited Armenia nearly every year, eventually purchasing an apartment there. In January 2000, he joined forces with California physicist Anahid Yeremian to co-found a committee to support the physicists and students at the Cosmic Ray Division of the Yerevan Physics Institute. Dagdigian and his wife, in partnership with the Cambridge Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA), organized support for the Shengavit Archaeological Preserve in Yerevan. Other projects in which he has an interest include Engineering City and Student Home, an affordable residence for students from remote villages studying in Yerevan. 

During his stays in Armenia, which typically last several months, he and his colleague from Yerevan visit “unseen” historical and archeological sites and remote villages that seldom receive visitors. Photos are collected in a database, and occasional articles are published in the Armenian press. The images are available at no charge for qualified institutions. For more information about this project, please contact the Hairenik Association

Dagdigian is a proud member of several Armenian organizations, including the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, in which he has been a member for over 50 years. He shares his love for the Armenian nation with his daughter and two granddaughters, who recently visited Armenia. 

Dagdigian will join other deserving individuals at the gala who will be awarded the ANCA Eastern Region Freedom Award, the ANCA Eastern Region Advocacy Award and the inaugural Excellence in Education Award, to name a few. 

Tickets for the gala, which include a cocktail reception, silent auction and seated dinner can be purchased at

For more information about this year’s gala, visit or contact

ANCA-Eastern Region
The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region is part of the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots organization, the ANCA. Working in coordination with the ANCA in Washington, DC, and a network of chapters and supporters throughout the Eastern United States, the ANCA-ER actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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