Armenian Relief Society
The Armenian Relief Society (ARS), a not for profit, independent, non governmental and non sectarian organization, was established in 1910 in New York City by Edgar Agnouni to provide educational and humanitarian assistance to Armenians throughout the world. The ARS serves the humanitarian needs of the Armenian people and seeks to preserve the cultural identity of the Armenian nation. The ARS is officially recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the UN Economic and Social Committee. Both Watertown (Shushi) and Cambridge (Leola Sasouni) chapters are based out of the ACEC.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) serves as the youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. The AYF stands on five pillars that guide its activities: Educational, Armenian Cause, Social, Athletic and Cultural. Moreover, the AYF promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.
Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society
At a critical juncture following the Armenian Genocide and the fall of the first Republic of Armenia, on May 28, 1928, a group of nine intellectuals founded the Hamazkayin Publishing and Cultural Society in Cairo, Egypt.
The objective of Hamazkayin was to provide a sound education to the new generation, and to strive towards the preservation of the ethnic identity and cultural heritage of the Armenian people living outside their homeland. Subsequently, Hamazkayin chapters were founded throughout the Middle East, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, and most recently even in the Republic of Armenia. Hamazkayin has been successful in establishing secondary and higher educational institutions which have prepared scholars, literary figures, and community leaders. It has also played a major role in the field of publishing, and for over eighty years, including thirty five years in the United States, has contributed to the advancement of culture in general.
Saint Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church
St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church is located in the heart of the Armenian community in Watertown, which is one of the centers of the Armenian population in America. It serves a wide-ranging Armenian population and seeks to preserve Armenian religious and cultural traditions. St. Stephen’s congregation worshipped in a rented church on Berkeley Street in Boston from 1933-42 until financial resources were secured to construct a church in Watertown. The ground-breaking ceremony was held in 1956 and the church opened on October 20, 1957. St. Stephen’s is affiliated with the Armenian Cultural Education Center in Watertown and is primarily comprised of Armenians from Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Romania, Bulgaria, and Armenia.Services are conducted in Armenian, but English translation books are readily available.
St. Stephen’s offers Bible study for adults and operates three schools: a daily, bilingual preschool affiliated with the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary school; a Sunday school for students through grade twelve; and a weekly Saturday school for late middle school and high school students that teaches Armenian history, language, and literature. The church hall is the site of many cultural activities and plays a key role for the community as meeting space for several organizations.
St. Stephen’s also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter to inform the Armenian community of church news and cultural events, the mailing list for which comprises over 1000 families. An annual picnic is held on the second Sunday in August and an annual bazaar on the first Friday and Saturday in November.
Saint Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School
St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown, MA is a private elementary school dedicated to educational excellence in an environment rich in Armenian Culture. Since it was established in 1984, the school has distinguished itself with its Armenian character, academic strength, devoted staff and low student-to-teacher ratio. The school is accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England, and its students have achieved top scores in the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills.
Located in the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center, the school has a strong connection with the community in Watertown and surrounding towns. St. Stephen’s has grown steadily by combining a strong American educational curriculum with Armenian language, religion and history – all within a positive learning environment.
Saint Stephen’s Armenian Saturday School
St. Stephen’s Armenian Saturday School was established in 1937 with classes ranging from Nursery to twelfth grade. The curriculum consists of Armenian language, history and literature as well as songs and dances. The students learn their forefathers’ language, history, culture and traditions through newly published textbooks and workbooks.
Saint Stephens’s Armenian Sunday School
The Sunday school provides an environment for spiritual growth for children from Nursery till the end of High School.
The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts (Homenetmen)
Homenetmen is a non-profit organization founded over 85 years ago in Constantinople by Shavarsh Krisian, Hovhannes Hintlian, and Krikor Hagopian. From the beginning, the main organization had a twofold purpose. First, believing in a “strong mind, strong body” concept, Homenetmen has provided the Armenian youth with a moral, physical and psychological education outside the school environment. Secondly, it has tried to teach the youth the richness of the Armenian culture and heritage, while at the same time, preparing them to become outstanding law-abiding citizens in the countries in which they live.
Hairenik Association (Hairenik Association Inc.) is a publishing house fully owned and operated by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, located in Watertown, MA. Hairenik Association publishes the Hairenik Weekly and the Armenian Weekly newspapers. The Hairenik, published in the Armenian language since 1899, has reported, analyzed, and commented on the historic events of modern Armenian history. The English version of the newspaper, Hairenik Weekly started its publication in 1934. In 1969 the paper’s name changed to the Armenian Weekly. Today, along with news of general interest to the Armenian-American community, the Armenian Weekly publishes editorials, political analyses, regular columns, and short stories and poems. Although the Armenian Weekly’s headquarters are located in Watertown, MA, subscribers hail from as near as Boston and as far as Buenos Aires and beyond. And the Armenian Weekly continues to meet the expanding needs of a more sophisticated, news-conscious Diasporan-Armenian public.