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Armenian Patriarchate Takes Legal Action To Keep Melkonian Institute Open

On behalf of Melkonian alumni, around the world, the Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, Mesrob Mutafyan, as the original trustee of the Melkonian gift, filed a lawsuit on January 13, 2005, with the Superior Court of the State of California, against The Armenian General Benevolent Union seeking to continue the Institute as the premier Armenian educational facility in the world and enforce the terms of the Garabed Melkonian Trust. The suit will be prosecuted by MacCarley & Rosen, PLC of Los Angeles, California.

Devoted alumni from around the world have banded together to oppose the closing of their beloved Melkonian Educational Institute, a treasure of Armenian culture and education in Nicosia, Cyprus. Using the proceeds of a large financial gift from Garabed Melkonian, a benefactor, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Zaven Der Yeghyayan, in 1923 established the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus. It has nurtured three generations of Armenian teachers, educators, lawyers, doctors, poets, scientists, and leaders. Its location in Cyprus puts it at the crossroads of the Armenian culture-between the Armenia homeland and the millions of Armenians who have immigrated to Europe and the America’s.

In 1925, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople with Garabed Melkonian’s concurrence thereafter conveyed the entire gift, including the Melkonian Educational Institute, in trust to the Armenian General Benevolent Union, with the express direction and expectation that the AGBU would maintain the Institute in Cyprus and continue to educate Armenian youth long into the future. The Melkonian School now educates over 200 students from throughout the world every year at its 40 acre campus in Nicosia.

The AGBU has recently announced that the Melkonian Institute will be closed at the end of the 2005 school year. Melkonian graduates from around the world have united in vigorous opposition to any effort to sell off the School and to do injustice to Garabed Melkonian’s vision and foresight. So far, individual calls to AGBU to retain the school have gone unanswered.

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