YEREVAN – Yerevan State University recently announced the construction of a new dormitory, which will be partially funded by a $1 million bequest from long-time members of the Armenian-American community, benefactors Kourken and Margaret Asadourian, who both passed away in 2011. The new dormitory, which will house 500 students, is scheduled to be completed next year.
Margaret and Kourken Asadourian were born in Istanbul in 1923 and 1924, respectively. In 1924, the Asadourian family fled Turkey for Armenia, then Tehran, Iran. After attending the Forough Girls American Missionary School, Margaret began working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran as a translator, and later, for Voice of America, an overseas U.S. government-funded news source. In 1953, she moved to the U.S. and settled in McLean, Va. There, she worked as a translator at the Indian Supply Mission and continued her studies at George Washington University’s Department of Linguistics.
Through her work as a translator, Margaret traveled extensively and was instrumental in securing U.S. aid for Armenia and raising the issue of Armenian Genocide recognition in the U.S. She was an active Hamazkayin member and served on several boards within the organization.
Kourken Asadourian was a founding member of the Armenian Cultural Junior Organization of Tehran. After moving to the U.S. in 1948 and receiving higher education in Washington, D.C., he began working at the Voice of America’s newly established Armenian service in New York. He later moved back to Washington and worked as an editor, commentator and reporter at the Voice of America, until retiring in 1987.
Kourken was an active member of the Armenian-American community. He was a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Sebouh Gomideyutiun and worked closely with the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian-American media and many other community organizations and institutions.
Kourken Asadourian passed away on March 21, 2011, and his sister, Margaret, passed away less than nine months later, on Dec. 13, 2011