By Ruben Meloyan
The annual telethon organized by the All Armenian Fund “Hayastan” ended in Los Angeles on Thursday, with $13,700,000 raised in pledges for various rehabilitation projects in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The raised sum also includes pledges made during a traditional Phonathon preceding the telethon, held in Armenia and Europe.
On November 15-17, the Phonathon held in Armenia raised 35 million drams (about $95,000) and the Phonathon in five European countries, including France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, raised 1.1 million Euros (about $1.4 million).
The funds gathered during the 12-hour telethon will be used for development projects of vital importance to be carried out in Nagorno-Karabakh’s Hadrut region, including construction of a hospital, roads, gas and water supply systems, development of agricultural segment, etc.
The development project of Hadrut is the continuation of the similar Martakert Project and also the continuation of the projects “Life-line” and the North-South Highway.
Press secretary of the All Armenian Fund “Hayastan” Anush Babayan told RFE/RL on Friday that the sum raised during this year’s telethon is close to organizers’ expectations, who hoped to exceed the level of $15 million to symbolize the 15th anniversary of Armenia’s and Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence. The sum of pledged money this year is nearly twice as much as the sum raised in 2005.
The share of large donations was big in the raised funds. Kirk Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation pledged $2 million for educational establishments throughout Nagorno-Karabakh, Project Cure also pledged $2 million for the hospital of Hadrut. Fund “Hayastan” Board of Trustees member Albert Boyajian donated $1,250,000 on behalf of his friend Jerry Turkanjian. Philanthropist Vahe Karapetian donated $1.5 million for the construction of a road in Amaras. American-Armenian philanthropist Sargis Hakobian donated $550,000 and Louise Simone Manoogian donated $500,000.
Chairman of the Union of Armenians of Russia Ara Abrahamian donated $1 million for the construction of a school in Stepanakert.
This year Armenia provided about $1 million in donations. From among Armenia’s businessmen Mikhail Baghdasarov donated $100,000, Samvel Alexanian and Ruben Hayrapetian donated $50,000 each.
Ruben Hayrapetian told RFE/RL that he donates money every year and that this donation has nothing to do with the pre-election year. Moreover, he said, he has “no pre-election problem.”
According to the “Hayastan” Fund’s spokeswoman, wealthy businessman Gagik Tsarukian or the Prosperous Armenia party led by him have not made any donations yet.