Archbishop Abraham Mkrtchyan is the Founder and Board Chairman of Syunik-Development NGO. Dr. Mkrtchyan founded Syunik NGO in 1995 in response to the needs of Armenia's Vayots Dzor and Syunik marzes after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) war of 1991-1994. Originally intended to provide relief to refugees and families affected by the war and to provide services no longer available through traditional Soviet sources, Syunik NGO grew to include educational and job services trainings as well as health and legal services, and other activities intended to provide opportunities for the residents of Vayots Dzor. Archbishop Abraham was born in village Rind, in Vayots Dzor region. He graduated from Holy Etchmiadzin Religious Seminary with honors, then from Yerevan State University Faculty of Philology. He has a Doctorate in History from the National Academy of Sciences in Armenia. Previously, Dr. Mkrtchyan founded Momik Youth Union Christian culture and led the “Holy Etchmiadzin” advocacy center. He is the author of several articles and books focusing on Armenian education and history.
Simon Balian is a Board member of Syunik-Development NGO. Mr. Balian is a lawyer in New York. Mr. Balian's work with Syunik NGO began in 1995 when he started to do charitable work for Armenians. He has implemented many development projects in Armenia with funding from the US government and individual benefactors. Mr. Balian was born in Jerusalem and later immigrated to New York. He received his master’s degree from the McGill University in Canada and a Juris Doctor from St. John’s University in New York.
Viken Garabedian is a Board member of Syunik-Development NGO. Dr Garabedian is a practicing dentist in California and member of the Armenian Dental Society of California. Viken's work with Syunik NGO began in 1995 when he established a dental clinic at Siranuysh Camp, the site of Syunik NGO's youth summer camps and now the NGO's South Caucasus summer peace camps for Armenian and Georgian youth. Dr Garabedian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and later immigrated to the United States at the age of 17.
Nara Martirosyan is an Assistant Professor in the Developmental Education Administration Doctoral Program at Sam Houston State University in Texas, USA. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of education and community development in Armenia. Dr Martirosyan has been with Syunik NGO since 2003 and has worked in various capacities. She is the founder and editor of Syunik NGO's quarterly newsletter. Nara has a bachelor's degree in philology from Armenia, and a master's and doctorate degrees in education from the United States.
Kristi Arakelova is the founder and the president of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Youth for Diplomatic Engagement that focuses on youth involvement in public diplomacy and security issues in Georgia and in the South Caucasus. She has over five years of experience in the field of peace building and democracy. From 2014 she has worked to introduce and promote democratic values in Georgia from the perspective of protecting ethnic minorities and creating a safe and supported environment for them. In 2013 she recieved her first master's degree in International Relations and Caucasian Studies at LLia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. Ms. Arakelova is pursuing her second master's degree in Human Rights and Democratization in Eastern Partnership Region at the Center for European Studies.
Mayis Mkrtchyan is the President of Syunik-Development NGO. He was elected as President in July 2013. Since March 2003, Mr Mkrtchyan has worked at Syunik-Development NGO as a Director. In addition to his work at Syunik-Development NGO, Mr Mkrtchyan has worked as a Director with Vayots Dzor's ″Gitelik″ University Fund. Mr. Mayis Mkrtchyan is an ex officio member. Mr Mkrtchyan has a master's degree in Architecture from State Engineering University of Armenia.
Tatevik Harutyunyan is a Programme Manager at Syunik-Development NGO. She has over four years of experience in the field of community social and economic development. Since 2009 Tatev has worked in youth and community development projects and in 2013 she brought a new Tourism Development initiative to the region. Currently she is the Programme manager of “Social Development Programme of Vayots Dzor, Southern Armenia”. Ms Harutyunyan is an ex officio member. Ms Harutyunyan has a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and master's degree in Business Management at Armenian State University of Economics.