I have very high regard for what AGBU does. The organization is global, always ready when Armenians need it, and has the capacity and experience to execute when circumstances arise.
Written for AGBU Impact Magazine 2022 by Talia Jebejian Bouldoukian. Photos by Mark Vittek.
An excellent student with a bright future, Elie Akilian had just registered at the American University of Beirut around 1975, thanks to an AGBU scholarship. But it was not the first time that the organization had placed faith in his abilities—he received tuition assistance during his secondary education at Beirut’s AGBU Hovagimian Manoogian School, and it was this chance at a quality education that inspired him to excel in his studies. He recalls, “I was not going to squander the opportunity; those scholarships gave me hope that someday I will be able to achieve my dreams.”
Those aspirations came to life in America, instead. Civil war had erupted in Lebanon, and an opportunity to pursue college in the U.S. with AGBU scholarships presented itself. Despite pushback from his father, Akilian made the move, studied tirelessly, waited tables to earn money, and graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington with a BS in Electrical Engineering.
He then established himself in the Lone Star State with his wife and two children. His first job title was design engineer, then manager of programs, but exceptional success was earned by marrying his engineering degree with entrepreneurial talents. In 1989, he co-founded Inet Technologies with AGBU alumnus, Council of Trustees member Sam Simonian, which they sold in 2004, and Akilian went on to found KingsIsle Entertainment, Inc.—a gaming development company, which created the most popular game of the decade for pre-teens. More recently, KingsIsle was acquired by Media and Games Invest, but Akilian immediately spun off its mobile games development team and founded WIMO Games, where he currently serves as executive chairman.
Along the way, Akilian never forgot the role that AGBU played in his educational endeavors, and gives back regularly and generously to the organization. He says, “I have very high regard for what AGBU does. The organization is global, always ready when Armenians need it, and has the capacity and experience to execute when circumstances arise.”
His gifts support a range of efforts, such as the AGBU Opportunity Fund, WebTalks, and appeals for the 2020 Artsakh War and the crisis in Lebanon. He indicates, “AGBU’s areas of focus align with my strongly held belief that, as Armenians, we have a chance to help our homeland become an economic success story and thus secure its future.” With firsthand insight from multiple Armenia trips, Akilian remarks, “The simple fact that we have an independent country we call our own, the potential it presents to make it a prosperous and secure nation—it’s all very exciting! This chance cannot be wasted. Every Armenian must do everything he or she can to help make that a reality.”
This article was featured in the 2022 release of AGBU Impact Magazine. For more information on AGBU Scholarships, click here.