Buzand Yeghiaian (1900 – 1995) was an Armenian intellectual, teacher, historian, editor, and an outstanding public figure who had a great contribution in the field of education and culture of Armenia. Yeghiaian authored numerous historiographic, pedagogical, theological, and religious books, as well as plays, poems, and standalone articles.
Being a renowned teacher, he gave lectures at various educational institutions in the diaspora. He was awarded numerous diplomas and orders.
Buzand Yeghiaian survived three periods of the massacres of Armenians. In April 1909, 8 years old Buzand witnessed the massacre of Armenians in Cilicia, as well as the burning and looting of his native city of Adana.
During the massacre in Adana, his grandfather Achi Gevorg and uncles Samuel and Karapet were stabbed in front of their mother. His newlywed aunt Martha was also killed. In the meantime, his father secretly lived in Cyprus to avoid persecution.
Yeghiaian survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and then the massacre in Smyrna as well.
Buzand Yeghiaian was born in Adana on November 1, 1900. He studied at the American College of Tarson (St. Poul’s college) and then at the American College of Smyrna (International college) (1921-1922).
In 1922, young Buzand, escaping from the Smyrna massacre, left the burned city and settled in Thessaloniki. In 1922-1923, he worked as the director of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) that was aimed at educating and settling young Armenian and Greek refugees.
In 1923-1924, Yeghiaian worked as a teacher in the college of the American Near East Relief Foundation. In 1924-1927, he studied teaching and theological areas at a religious school in Athens. At the initiative of the Near East Relief foundation, he prepared a textbook entitled “Religious and Ethical Lessons.” This book was to be distributed in the Armenian schools funded by the foundation.
Having won an exclusive scholarship in 1928, Yeghiaian continued his study in political science and international law at the Institute of International Relations in Geneva (Institut de hautes études internationales).
Using his professional knowledge in the field of international law, Yeghiaian took part in discussions and in international scientific conferences of the League of Nations on the issues of Armenian refugees. He also met prominent personalities of that time, including Fridtjof Nansen, Bernard Shaw, and many others.
After winning another scholarship, Yeghiaian continued his studies in the UK.
Since 1931, Yeghiaian has for some time held the position of supervisor and then advisor to the Catholicos and inspector in the seminary at the residence of the Armenian Catholicos in Cilicia. During WWII, he was the secretary of the Committee for the Assistance and Accommodation of Armenian Refugees of Alexandretta in Syria and Lebanon.
In 1955, Yeghiaian was elected the secretary of Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). In 1956-1959, he was the general director of the Melkonian school. In 1959, he returned to his teaching activities in Antelias. And in 1973, he together with his family moved to the US.
In parallel with his active pedagogical and social activities, Yeghiaian was also involved in editing. For a long time, he has been a member of the editorial board of “Gask”, the official monthly newspaper of the residence of the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia. He also was the editor-in-chief of the periodical “Tsiatsan” maintained by the youth union “Graser” under AGBU.
Yeghiaian was awarded numerous certificates of honor and decorations:
- In 1970, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Khoren I awarded Yeghiaian the Order of St. Mesrop Mashtots.
- In 1972, for his contribution to the expansion of cultural and educational services in Lebanon, the President of the Republic of Lebanon Suleiman Frangieh awarded Yeghiaian the Order of the Cedar of the First Class.
- In 1973, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Khoren I awarded Yeghiaian the Order of the Prince of the Great Cross of Cilicia for his 42 years of service to the Cilician throne in Antelias and the Theological Seminary.
- In 1982, the Armenian Diocese in the US recognized Yeghiaian as “Man of the Year 1982.”
In October 2015, Yeghiaian’s family members donated the honored scientist’s valuable archive to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.