Patron of Future Journalists at Yerevan State Receives Honor

NEW YORK and YEREVAN — Although it was the sweltering peak of Armenia’s summer, a handful of beaming students from Yerevan State University’s Department of Journalism simply couldn’t let the heat prevent a prime photo op right in front of their faculty building with their long awaited guest and generous supporter Margaret Ajemian Ahnert.

Ahnert, the founder of the New York-based Fund for Armenian Relief’s FAR’s Ester Ajemian Scholarship, met with the Ajemian Scholarship’s beneficiary students at YSU’s Journalism Department and spoke to them about the difficulties she had to face along her path. She also made sure to stress her achievements in the face of such difficulties. Mrs. Ahnert was herself a journalist, and authored the book The Knock at the Door about the Armenian genocide of 1915. The Knock at the Door was subsequently recognized by the New York Book Festival as the Best Historical Memoir of 2008.

“I didn’t have a chance to go to school. I listened to my mother and married very young. When I went to university, I was 50. You now have more time than me, so go ahead!” she exclaimed to her young colleagues.

“After I go home I will make sure that this small help will continue from now on. It was my feeling that here in Armenia girls need to have help to become journalists and have a voice, and I can now see that this is what you have become.”

As part of the meeting, YSU Journalism Dean Naghash Martirosyan bestowed upon Ahnert a certificate honoring her as an individual who has “supported and contributed to the education of young journalists.” The award was also presented by the university’s rector Aram Simonyan.

“I pray for you from time to time and dream one day to help young journalism students like you do,” Naira Hambardzumyan, a former student and current public relations representative for the Ministry of Defense, said during the meeting.

“Philanthropy is a beautiful thing but more beautiful is the recognition of philanthropy,” Martirosyan reflected at the closing of the meeting.

Members of the Armenian media were present at the event to meet with Mrs. Ahnert, and several stories about her visit made it to air on TV and online. You can watch one of the interviews with her here. It was done by CivilNet.TV, one of the leading online news sources in Armenia.