A Year in Review – 2016

54d1d83b808ebeb871753258_headshot_christineHappy New Year to our members, supporters and extended community; we hope 2017 will be inspiring and fulfilling.  I always love the first week of January – it provides a time to reflect on the prior year, yet as Armenians our celebrations don’t end given Armenian Christmas!

As San Francisco’s affiliate President, this year the committee and I focused on setting a foundation for growth and evolution. We deepened and widened our projects and partnerships to help accelerate our impact locally and abroad.

We are deeply grateful for all our donors, supporters and corporate sponsors, for it is through such kind donations that AIWA-SF is able to provide empowerment, comfort, hope, education and warmth. Since the AIWA-SF committee covers administrative expenses, we are delighted to share that 100% of 2016 donations went directly to our projects. It is truly amazing to see how we have been able to collectively make impact and change the course of some individuals life.

Below is a summary of AIWA-SF’s 2016 year in review:

  • Watermark Conference (link here): AIWA-SF received a scholarship for 3 young females to attend the Watermark Conference for Women, Young Women’s Program in San Jose, Ca.  2016 scholarship recipients were: Natalie Simonian, Irina Marutyan and Emily Hovanessian. In 2017, AIWA-SF is looking to secure 5 spaces.  Please be on the look out for application notifications, as we are on the lookout for 5 special high- school ladies who would like to attend.
  • Shaping the Next Generation of Future Leaders (link here):  Hosted by PicsArt, Six distinguished panelists and one moderator engaged in a lively discussion on the roles of leadership, technology, business, and community engagement in our modern society in June.
  • Hero’s fund and partnership with Paros (link here): AIWA-SF launched a call to action to help support the families of the soldiers that were killed in response to the April attack by Azerbaijan. As a result of the effort, AIWA-SF was able to collect and distribute funds to 8 soldier families in Karabakh.
  • Comprehensive Health Education (link here) – AIWA-SF continues to support self-development of teenage girls in Armenia. The program focuses on health education and leadership skills development.
  • Hearts of Armenia (link here): AIWA SF began a wonderful partnership with Meghedi Melody Nazarian, author of “Hearts of Armenia“. 50% of proceeds are distributed to the Women’s Support Center. Throughout the year, the offerings expanded to include two fun yet meaningful t-shirts.
  • Anet’s Collection (link here): With beautifully designed wearable art pieces, artist Anet Abnous generously offered to donate 15% Anet’s Collection sales and extend a 10% discount + free shipping to any sales linked to promo-code AIWASF. To shop online visit Anet’s Collection.
  • Trauma & Crisis Mentorship: AIWA-SF Board Member Viktroia Ter-Nikoghosyan, PhD dedicated over 12 hours of exclusive mentorship and crisis management coaching to the staff at Women’s Support Center (WSC) and Women’s Resource Center (WRC). Both are two leading NGOs in Yerevan, Armenia focused on Women’s issues and domestic violence.
  • Tufenkian Foundation & the Women’s Support Center (link here): Maro Matosian, Executive Director of the Women’s Support Center, spoke at an event hosted by the Tufenkian Carpets showroom at Floordesign in San Francisco. AIWA-SF and the three Bay Area Armenian Relief Society Chapters: Agnouni, Erepouni and Garin sponsored the packed event. The topic centered around domestic violence in Armenia and efforts to empower Armenian women.
  • Tumo Center: In Spring, AIWA-SF hosted an intimate lunch with Marie Lou Papazian, CEO of Tumo Center, during which the AIWA-SF board discussed short term and long term partnership strategies.
  • Laptops: AIWA-SF received laptops from Symantec Corporation to help support education and advancement in Technology and Computer Science.
  • American University of Armenia (AUA) Scholarship:  AIWA-SF created a 4-year academic scholarship program to support students enrolled in the Law program and Teaching English as a Foreign Language program.  Each of the recipients are required to conduct a 1 year unpaid internship at the Women’s Support Center (WSC).
  • English Programs:  Our English programs as Dsegh Village and Mer Hooys continue to be very successful. It gives us great joy to receive regular updates from our teachers including class work, videos and letters of the students flourishing.  Each student loves practicing their growing language skills.
  • AIWA25: AIWA International celebrated 25 years in Boston, Massachusetts. It was an exceptional event bringing together Armenians worldwide to honor the past and inspire the future. Several AIWA-SF members attended and actively participated in the 3-day leadership conference.
  • Bloomingdale’s Charity Shopping Day (link here): We ended our exception year with our 2nd  annual charity shopping event at Bloomingdale’s, San Francisco on December 17, 2017. Many thanks to those who attended and supported.

In 2017, we commit to continued expansion of our projects and partnerships.  I continue to be incredibly moved by the global impact AIWA-SF is having.  I welcome you to join us on our mission to improve and empower Armenian’s worldwide. We accept donations via PayPal or checks can be mailed to AIWA-SF 15559 Union Ave Suite #227 Los Gatos, CA 95032

We look forward to seeing you in 2017!


Christine Soussa

AIWA-SF President


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