Lifelong ANC of Eastern Massachusetts activist Barkev Kaligian to receive Cardashian Award at Gala

BOSTON–Lifelong Hai Tahd and ANC of Eastern Massachusetts activist Barkev Kaligian will be honored by the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) with the ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award at the 17th Annual ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund’s Gala on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at the Royal Sonesta Boston Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Kaligian will be joined by hundreds of supporters and activists as he is presented with the Vahan Cardashian Award at the awards ceremony, which includes a cocktail reception, silent auction and seated dinner. Kaligian will be joined by another lifelong Hai Tahd activist Joseph Dagdgian from the ANC of Merrimack Valley, who will also be presented with the Vahan Cardashian Award. 

The ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award is given to ANCA-ER activist(s) who demonstrate longstanding commitment, leadership and success on behalf of the Armenian cause. The award is named in honor of the founder of the precursor to the ANCA, Vahan Cardashian, who founded the Armenian Committee for the Independence of Armenia in 1919.

“It brings me great pleasure to honor Unger Kaligian with this award. As a lifelong activist, he is an embodiment of the sacrifices that one must make to wholeheartedly serve the Armenian nation and an example to activists throughout the region. His contributions to the Armenian cause and its people inspire all of us. We are beyond grateful and excited to celebrate him and other deserving activists next month,” said Ani Zargarian, gala committee member.

A native of Boston, Kaligian was one of the founding members of the ARF Roupen Gomidehutune in Boston, where he also served on several AYF Central Executives in the 1950s. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1956, he worked as a civil engineer for 38 years with the federal government, in which he mostly served the National Park Service. It was at AYF Camp Haiastan where he would meet his future wife Seta in 1960. They married the same year in California and would raise four sons, Dikran, Zohrab, Aram and Garin.

Keeping the Armenian nation at heart, Kaligian would serve his community by participating in a broad range of local and regional community organizations. For nearly three decades, he served on the Board of Directors for AYF Camp Haiastan and contributed to its development as a mainstay of Armenian community life in the Eastern United States. During this period, he also sang in the choir at St. Stephen’s Armenian Church for over 50 years and was a member of the ARS Javo Chapter. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the Armenian Cultural & Educational Center in Watertown for 20 years.

However, Kaligian’s greatest passion was reserved for promoting Hai Tahd. He would be found in the front row of lectures conducted by denialists and by representatives of Turkey and Azerbaijan, prepared with a tape recorder to disprove false statements and to be a voice for honesty and transparency. Whether at Harvard, Tufts Fletcher School, the World Affairs Council or any other venue, Kaligian was determined to break the silence and confront the speakers and the moderators with the truth. He has also been a prolific letter writer, addressing U.S. policy in letters to executive branch officials and members of Congress, pointing out the pernicious influence of Turkey.

Activism was a cornerstone of the Kaligian family, as Seta Kaligian served for several years on the Central Executive of the Armenian Relief Society and with the Armenian National Education Council. Their sons would also become Camp Haiastan counselors, AYF Central Executive members, frequent AYF Junior Seminar lecturers and chairmen of local ANCs and Gomidehs. Barkev and Seta are blessed with 11 grandchildren who continue to hold the family mantle.

“Lifelong activists such as Unger Barkev are a rarity and a blessing to the region as a whole. The Vahan Cardashian Award is deserved by such individuals, who are always prepared to serve their nation – through the AYF, ARF and the ANCA Eastern Region,” said Zargarian.

Kaligian will be joined by hundreds of supporters, activists and community leaders celebrating 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.

1 Comment

  1. The ideal recipient for the Cardashian Award! Unger Barkev has been unwavering in his beliefs in support of Hai Tahd, The Armenian Cause, and his analysis and views on the local, national and international political world and his willingness to share them especially with youth, make him an extraordinary leader in the Armenian milieu and beyond! Schnoravor, Unger Barkev!

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