PM Pashinyan extends condolences over death of American-Armenian philanthropist Louise Manoogian Simone
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan extended condolences over the death of American-Armenian philanthropist Louise Manoogian Simone, reports Armenpress.
“With deep sorrow I learnt the news of passing of Armenian-American philanthropist Louise Manoogian Simone. Her contribution for earthquake victims, refugees from the Nagorno Karabakh war, promotion of Armenian culture worldwide and charitable efforts are invaluable”, Pashinyan said on Twitter.
Louise Manoogian Simone has passed away on February 18 at the age of 86. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, on May 19, 1933. Her father, Alex Manoogian, National Hero of Armenia, philanthropist, had a great contribution to combining all Armenians worldwide.
Asbarez reports Louise inherited her parents’ passion for Armenians, which led her to follow in her father’s footsteps and serve on the board of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs around the world. In 1982, Louise made her first trip to Armenia, then still a Soviet Republic. She quickly fell in love with the country and over the next few years, returned frequently, bringing others with her, whether it be to make documentaries or to connect and contribute in other ways. Her brother, Richard Manoogian, joined her in supporting a number of projects in Armenia.
In 1988, after a devastating earthquake hit Armenia, killing 25,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands wounded and homeless, Louise was on the first U.S. cargo plane delivering relief supplies and rescue teams to the disaster area. She spearheaded the disaster relief on behalf of AGBU. An iconic picture of her standing in the ruins near the epicenter of the quake is remembered by many affected by the disaster.
In 1989, Louise was elected the international president of AGBU and began directing operations in 31 countries and 74 cities and oversaw the building of and continued funding of schools, churches, scout programs and services for Armenians worldwide. She opened an office in Yerevan, Armenia and when Armenia became an independent country following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Louise through AGBU and her own resources focused efforts on rebuilding a newly independent homeland. She was a charter board member and major benefactor of the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.
After a million miles traveling the world to oversee operations and projects, in 2002 Louise retired as President of AGBU. However, she continued her huge charitable efforts through the Manoogian Simone Foundation working with, among others, the Armenian Apostolic Church, reconstructing and maintaining hospitals, schools, children’s and cultural centers and historical monuments. And as was always a theme throughout her life, Louise was a significant supporter of the arts and many artists.