Poghos Nubar – One of the Greatest Armenian Philanthropists of the 20th Century

Poghos Nubar – One of the Greatest Armenian PhilanthropistsPoghos Noubar was born on August 2, 1851. He received his primary education in Switzerland and then graduated from the Central School in Paris, receiving a degree in engineering-geometry. For some time, he worked as a specialist in French mines and railways.

In 1878-1879 and 1891-1898, he was the director of the Egyptian railways. For many years, he was director of an English agricultural company in Alexandria. He founded a company for the exploitation of land in Menzel, an omnibus company in Alexandria, a water supply company in Cairo, and participated in the development of the city of Heliopolis.

On April 15, 1906, an event of great importance occurred in the life of Poghos Nubar – the Armenian General Benevolent Union was founded in his Cairo palace with the participation of 10 national figures.

Already in the first charter, the founders noted that AGBU is a solely charitable organization and rejects any political goals. AGBU was also concerned about the provision of assistance to Armenians living under the rule of Russia, as well as about opening branches in Armenia.

In only 8 years, Poghos Nubar remarked that the organization had established 142 branches in different countries, employed 8.500 people, and opened 40 Armenian gymnasiums and an orphanage for 2.000 children.

In the following years, Poghos Nubar managed to establish new schools in Western Armenia and Cilicia. From his personal funds, more than 300 thousand gold was donated to various charitable programs.

Continuing the work of his father, Poghos Nubar helped the survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, in particular, those who had fled to Egypt. He provided many of them with jobs, petitioning the government and other institutions to recruit Armenians.

However, the establishment of the Armenian General Benevolent Union on April 15, 1906, became the pinnacle of the activities of Poghos Nubar for the benefit of his people. This organization still plays a huge role in protecting the Armenians of the Armenian Diaspora.

He also saw the Bolshevization of Eastern Armenia. With the wisdom inherent in him, he realized that this would provide a part of the Armenian people with security and protection, and for this reason, he donated large sums to Soviet Armenia.

In 1923, AGBU under his leadership founded the village of Yevdokia in Armenia. Nubar’s donation of $100 thousand and a multitude of other donations from American Armenians led to the establishment of Nubarashen, one of the districts of Yerevan.

Substantial material assistance was provided to the victims of the 1926 Leninakan earthquake. In 1930, Nubar donated 14.250 gold to the construction of the Marie-Nubar Ophthalmologic Clinic on Abovyan Street in Yerevan in the memory of his wife.

Nubar also contributed to education in Armenia. In particular, numerous schools were built throughout the country. Financial assistance was provided to Yerevan State University as well. Through the Melkonian Foundation, AGBU published more than 20 books on Armenian studies.

The great benefactor and national figure Poghos Noubar passed away in 1930, a year after the death of his beloved wife Marie. Throughout his life, he treated his family with great love and with unlimited devotion served the Armenian people his homeland. After the passing of Nubar, AGBU chairmen Galust Gulbenkian and Alek Manukian continued his cause.

Poghos Nubar – One of the Greatest Armenian Philanthropists of the 20th Century




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