Most of us seek connection and acceptance and after having personally received that through AGBU programs, I wanted to be part of creating the same for others.
While many coped with the pandemic, AGBU Toronto Co-Chair Aida Knadjian continued her dedication to the Chapter’s programs with her unconditional support to the communication strategy and social media.
What inspired you to be involved with AGBU?
I remember my grandfather was always involved in some way, followed by my parents' generation, so that involvement with the community happened fairly organically. It wasn’t something I planned!
How long have you been a part of the AGBU community?
I haven’t counted the years, but it’s certainly for as long as I can remember.
What did you want to achieve through your role within AGBU Toronto? How did you want to make an impact in the community?
Perhaps just building a sense community with friends and peers. I feel that most of us seek connection and acceptance and after having personally received that through AGBU and its various programs over the years, I wanted to be part of creating that for others who seek the same.
How has your involvement with AGBU shaped who you are? How has it impacted your relationships with friends, family and beyond?
AGBU has been the source of some of my closest friendships and long-lasting relationships. It has allowed me stay in touch with friends and also build a network of colleagues who are always ready to put their ideas together for the greater good. That collaborative mentality is a huge part of my identity which directly stems from the culture AGBU has always encouraged.
I know this may be a difficult question but, what is your favourite memory from your time with AGBU?
This is definitely a hard one as there are too many to count! The Global Leadership Program in New York definitely stands out as one of my fondest memories - truly a priceless opportunity both professionally and personally - with lifelong memories created with friends from all over the world.
What opportunities can AGBU offer to young Armenians in the diaspora?
Once again, the list goes on! There are programs and projects for any and every age group. There are STEAM programs for young children, internship programs for young adults, networking sessions and educational seminars to name a few. As Armenians, we are actually very spoiled by having these incredibly valuable programs available to us - I remember in high school, my non-Armenian friends would always ask me how I get to participate in such enriching opportunities.
How can young Armenians get involved if they are interested in AGBU?
I would recommend for them to seek out their local AGBU chapter on social media. Send them a message and let them know you are keen on getting involved. They will likely reply with a suggestion or recommendation that will suit you based on your interests or age. Don’t be shy and get connected! You can follow @agbuglobal for more.
Out of curiosity, who is an Armenian figure that inspires you?
Another very difficult question as there are many, which is fantastic. But to keep it to current figures, I would say Eric Esrailian is an incredible human being and asset to our community. Not only within the Armenian community but also far beyond. He is excellent, and undoubtedly a wonderful, example and leader in the community. Another favourite is Rex Kalamian - continuously setting the bar high professionally whilst inspiring the next generation of leaders and staying in touch with the community.