The creation of the Atken Armenian Foundation's Sona Hamalian Memorial Music Scholarships was realized by her sister and good friend of the AAF, Professor Arpi Hamalian of Montreal, Canada. The purpose of this scholarship is to support top talent in advanced musical studies with a certain priority given this year to Zartonk Academy participant students from Artsakh and folk music students. The students are selected by the president of the AAF in consultation with Arpi Hamalian. Candidates must show an excellent work ethic and display exceptional talent. Scholarship amounts range from 600 USD to 1250 USD per school year. Recipients of the Sona Hamalian Memorial Music Scholarships are expected to be the future cultural ambassadors of our Nation.
About Sona Hamalian
Sona Hamalian devoted her whole life, energies, and talents to humanistic, philanthropic, educational, cultural and diverse artistic arenas. She undertook multiple initiatives of building institutional structures and networks in all these domains, seeding them and growing them, and ensuring their sustainability by reaching out to resources at the highest levels, from her wide and solid friendship networks in all domains of endeavour. The leading thread of her work has been her contributions to Armenia, its diasporas and the arts. After the earthquake in Armenia, Sona was one of the first people from the diaspora to settle in Armenia, bringing her active participation in the establishment of the American University of Armenia (AUA) in 1991, as the university administrator. She effectively managed, with utmost devotion the growth and strengthening of the physical, human resources and programmatic structures of AUA in the context of extreme destruction and the darkest times of war, always attentive to maintaining the highest quality standards, the spirit of engagement, awakening responsible work ethics and the maintenance of humanistic values in the effort of rebuilding the homeland. She organized the first course offered by AUA “The Rule of Law” beginning on the first day of Armenia’s independence. Starting in 1994 she headed AUA’s Extension Program, later directed by Atken Armenian. Sona contracted COVID and died in October 2020 at another challenging and wartime in Armenia.
Sona believed that the utmost test of good governance was the support by the State to the arts, artists and artistic Institutions.
If you would like to contribute to this scholarship fund as a way to show your appreciation for Sona’s outstanding life’s work, please indicate this along with your donation via the many donation options we offer.
Some quotes from Sona:
“What I love about my work is the opportunity to help turn a great vision into reality. In particular, I love inspiring people, sometimes entire communities, to embrace a wonderful cause, product, or project”.
“In connection with my work as a fundraiser and public-relations expert, the best compliment I’ve received is that I empower people to dream big”
The very last paragraph of the report Sona wrote about the Extension Program contained the following message: “When asked, ‘What is your vision for the 90s,” I respond humorously. “I am not a visionary. I am a dreamer and I have fantasies”. We are excited for our next 1000 years (after all, for a nation 4000 years old, this kind of exaggeration is permissible). The technological advancements of recent years are revolutionizing education, and we are looking forward to providing the highest quality of instruction in the formats that best serve Armenia’s educational goals.”