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Rachel Onanian Nadjarian

Executive Director




Rachel comes to AIWA after 24+ years experience designing and executing strategic marketing and fundraising initiatives for non-profits, start-ups, and agencies. Prior to taking on this role, Rachel enjoyed solving strategic challenges as an Independent Consultant, working with numerous clients to design short-term as well as long-range initiatives. Previous clients have included the Armenia Tree Project, the Armenian Prelacy, RVVZ Foundation, IDeA Foundation, The Speyer School, SarkissianMason, Mamus Creative, UC Berkeley Armenian Studies Program, the Armenian Health Alliance, and the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association. Rachel served as Director of Advancement at The Speyer School, where she oversaw the creation of the development and marketing departments, exceeding goals in support of the $13M budget.


Prior to consulting, Rachel held leadership positions in development and marketing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Museum of Science, Questrom School of Management at Boston University, and Bernard Hodes Advertising.


Rachel received her BA in Economics and Sociology from Wellesley College and her MBA with Certification in Public/Non-Profit Management from Boston University.  She currently serves on the Board of the Aleppo Compatriot Charitable Organization (ACCO). Throughout her life she has served as board/member of numerous organizations, including: Armenian Relief Society, St. Illuminator’s Armenian Cathedral, the Hovnanian School, Armenian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA), the Sayat Nova Dance Company, Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA), the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), and Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cambridge, MA. Born and raised in Boston, she currently lives with her family in Northern Virginia.

Sandra Adourian, Membership and Financial Administrator, has been with AIWA since 2010. In addition to her time at AIWA, she works as a freelance accountant for small businesses and local organizations.  Prior to becoming a consultant, she worked in the private sector and most recently at a private equity firm in Boston.  She has a BS in Finance from Siena College.  She and her husband live near Boston with their two children.

You can reach Sandra at:

AIWA Board of Directors (2018-2019)

Ani L. Kharajian is the President of the AIWA Board of Directors. She is also Senior Director, New Markets, Executive Education at Harvard Business School (HBS). In her current role, Ani is charged with assessing the viability and potential success for HBS programs in countries around the world. Currently focused on Africa and Latin America, Ani works with senior level stakeholders to develop, design and launch Executive Education programs that will help develop senior leadership in emerging market economies. 

Ani has extensive experience working with leading companies in Latin America, China, Europe, India and Africa in open enrollment and custom executive education programs.  Over a three decade career at HBS, Ani has worked on strategic international projects in Africa, China, Europe, India and Latin America.

Ani has a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Tufts University and has completed the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development.  Ani is the President Elect of Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA).

Ani speaks Armenian, English and Spanish and has lived, worked or traveled to forty-nine countries to date and keen to see the rest of the world in the coming years.

You can reach Ani at:

Carolyn Atinizian, who holds a BA from Boston University and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk Law School, is an attorney in Cambridge where she concentrates primarily in the areas of Real Estate and Business Matters.  Currently as Vice President and Real Estate Counsel at Vast Capital Management, Inc. a privately held asset management firm, she is actively involved in all aspects of asset and property management.  In her role, she also provides day-to-day legal advice on a full spectrum of issues, including acquisitions, finance, development, commercial landlord-tenant issues and legal compliance.  She also has a law practice in Cambridge where she represents businesses, buyers and sellers of real estate, lenders, real estate developers and landlords.  She participates in several professional associations and devotes her time to community organizations and pro bono legal work.  She is married and has a daughter. 
Wanting to be involved with a global Armenian organization for women, Carolyn first became interested in AIWA due to its commitment in assisting Armenian women worldwide.  In 2008, she attended her first AIWA International Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was incredibly impressed at the caliber of conference speakers and AIWA members and attendees from across the globe.  Involved for close to a decade, she has served AIWA in various capacities, including past President of the New England Affiliate, Vice President and Treasurer of the International Board of Directors and co-chair of AIWA’s 25th Anniversary Weekend Celebration, which took place in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2016.

Lily Ring Balian has managed public affairs and political campaigns in both the public and private sector.  She currently serves as consultant  for political campaigns statewide and nationally.  She is well known for her articles in the Armenian newspapers and as a freelance writer. She served as Corporate Director of Civic and Public Affairs for Northrop Grumman Corp. (1981-2005), administering their Government Relations program and Political Action Committee. She was associated with Evelle J. Younger for 16 years, serving as his Executive Assistant when he was District Attorney of Los Angeles County (1964-1970) and Attorney General of the State of California (1971-1979).

In 1980 she headed Citizens Operations for the Reagan-Bush Campaign in Washington, D.C.  President Reagan appointed her to the 15-member National Advisory Council on Adult Education
advising the President and administration on adult education programs throughout the U.S. ( 1982-88, elected Chair 1985-87).  She was appointed by California Governor Pete Wilson to the California Commission on the Status of Women (1991-1996, elected Chair in 1994-96).  

She has served on the Executive Board of the L.A. Affiliate of AIWA; elected President in 2000-2003 and currently serves as Liaison to the International Board.  She was Conference Co-Chair. Paris International Conference (1997); Conference Co-Chair, Yerevan International Conference (2000); Conference Chair. Geneva International Conference (2004); Conference Co-Chair, Buenos Aires (2008) and Program Co-Chair, San Francisco (2011). 

She currently serves as Chair of the Government Relations and Protocol Committee of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church and Chair of the St. James Armenian Church Parish Council. She was awarded the Gontag and St Nerses Shnorhali Medal from his Holiness Karekin ll, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in 2004.  She was the recipient of the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award  presented annually on Ellis Island for American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American Way of Life. 

Sara Janjigian Trifiro - Throughout her career, Sara has worked in and with nonprofit organizations on marketing, fundraising and events including consulting with clients on fundraising solutions. Most recently she implementing a feasibility study for a $20M capital campaign for a private evangelical school outside Boston. 

Sara is passionately dedicated to women’s leadership. Currently, as a board member and Vice-Chair of Advancement for the Armenian Women’s International Association, Sara helped design, fundraise and execute the most recent 25th Anniversary Conference and Gala.  In addition to mentoring partners and professionals on their individual career and marketing plans, she was part of the development team that built the New England Women@Grant Thornton Initiative.  Her leadership helped broaden the impact of the Women@Grant Thornton by developing workshops for Grant Thornton’s clients and prospects. For over 3 years, Sara was a Vice-Chair and eventually Co-Chair of the Small Business Association of New England’s Women’s Business Network where she developed monthly programming for members and helped to strengthen the network of women throughout the Association. Sara also managed the trainings, CLE, and summer programs at Bingham McCutchen LLP. 

Straight out of college, Sara started her career in service with two years as a City Year AmeriCorps volunteer.  There she delivered meals to people home-bound living with AIDS and their families and worked on City Year’s fundraising and training events. For many years, Sara has been involved with several other organizations including the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association and Friends of Armenian Heritage Park.  She received a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Simmons School of Management. In her free time, Sara enjoys practicing yoga, gardening and listening to live music with her husband Jack and twins, AJ and Lucy.

Michael Manoog Kaprielian, a decorated veteran and AIWA life member from Providence, RI, holds 5 academic degrees including Women’s Studies. Media accolades include ACE and Action for Children’s Television awards andVideomaker’s ‘Videomaker of the Year’. He served as cultural consultant and panelist at Brown University’s Africana and Trinity Repertory theaters respectively. Interviews and documentaries include NPR, BBC and called upon by Wilhelm Verwoerd, the reformed grandson of the architect of Apartheid in South Africa for a documentary. 


Minorities, women, media, television programming, business, disaster mental health, domestic violence, torture and rehabilitation are of great personal interest and the focus of his speaking engagements.


Manoog repatriated to Armenia in early 2004 and became a Women's Resource Center instructor for MSW students and by 2008, initiated a fatherhood group. 


As a humanitarian, the doors of his Ani Luxury Suites have been opened to sixty arriving refugees from the Mideast and Africa.


Michael Manoog Kaprielian’s international honors include invitations from the First Lady of Armenia to address the international conference of women, chosen to summit in DC with Soviet Afghan Veterans by the US Congressional Caucus of Vietnam Veterans, named to the Republic of Georgia National Academy of Psychology after directing the War Victims Project, and presented the ‘Humanitarian’ Award of the Armenian People by the President of Armenia for his post Earthquake relief.


Manoog who embraces AIWA’s goals, is humbled to have been elected and will bring skills in research ascertainment, networking, worldwide organizational and  membership development.

Silva Katchiguian became a member of AIWA Los Angeles in 2008. She has served as President of the Armenian International Women’s Association Los Angeles Affiliate since May 2012. Under her leadership, AIWA-LA has attained exposure through public service events that promote culture, literature, women’s health and women social issues. During her presidency, five outstanding members of AIWA-LA received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.  Silva has co-chaired the 6th International Conference in San Francisco (2011) the 7th International AIWA Conference in Yerevan (2014) and most recently the 25th Anniversary Leadership Conference 2016 (Boston). She has overseen fundraising for events in Los Angeles and was instrumental in establishing the Laurel Karabian Fund for the Arts in 2015. 

Silva is passionate about the mission of AIWA. The organization was founded on the efforts of a few selfless women who tirelessly and courageously work to win rights for women and girls, especially in Armenia where nation building is essential in our global stance. These rights include the right to be educated; to own businesses and property; to live free from violence, and discrimination; and to earn a fair and equal wage. It also involves changing laws and policies, and empowering women to invest in their own strengths individually and collectively. 

Silva is a voice over actress for narrative and commercial readings. Her voice can be heard mostly over phone messages, private and institutional. She is a writer and has a monthly column in the Armenian Observer (Moments in Thought). She also shares her thoughts in her own monthly blog where she writes about everyday life situations. 
Silva is a graduate of the University of La Verne with an MA in Media Communications and Public Relations. 

Silva is an Ambassador of Faith for the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Suzanna Khatchatrian is a seasoned Senior Software Engineering Leader at IBM. She oversees the Watson Data and AI security and operations. In addition, she has played a critical role in the design and development of various IBM Information Management software products. She has several invention disclosures in the areas of Business Intelligence and Data Management.

Suzanna holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Hawaii and an M.S. degree in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon. 

As one of the founding members of the AIWA San Francisco affiliate, Suzanna currently serves on the AIWA SF board. Over the past six years, Suzanna raised significant corporate funding from IBM to support AIWA SF local workshops addressing health, financial planning, career enhancements, leadership and more. Suzanna also leads the AIWA SF scholarship committee and internship program. Suzanna is planning to apply the best practices she acquired from IBM and AIWA SF to AIWA International to empower and encourage next generation Armenian female leaders in STEM.  

Barbara J. Merguerian is a writer and historian, and one of the founders of AIWA. A graduate of Brown University with an MA and PhD in History from Harvard, she has taught at several institutions, including Tufts, Fresno State, and Yerevan State Universities.  Currently she lectures and publishes articles about the impact of American missionaries in the Ottoman Empire as well as about the role of women in Armenian history. She is a former editor of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator and the Journal of Armenian Studies and is active in the Armenian-American community, specifically as a Vice President of the Armenian Museum of America (ALMA) and a Trustee of the Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF). She is an AIWA founder, past president, and director of its Armenian Women’s Archives, and has spearheaded AIWA’s publications, including the volumes in our Treasury of Armenian Women’s Literature.

Why am I involved with AIWA?  AIWA offers wonderful opportunities to connect with Armenian women (and other women) from all walks of life and living in many different countries, and to engage in activities that enrich our lives.

Anaide Nahikian leads the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Through field-based research and engagement with humanitarian practitioners, Anaïde focuses on developing responsive research and professional tools to enhance the capacity of professionals in humanitarian environments, on issues such as frontline humanitarian negotiation, response to forced migration, and communities of practice. She leads field research and implements projects across the Middle East / North Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe. She also produces and co-hosts the monthly Humanitarian Assistance Podcast. 

Anaïde is also Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Collaborative Platform, where she initiates and manages relationships between the ICRC and academic, policy, non-profit, and private organizations in the Boston area around key themes and priorities of the ICRC, in partnership with swissnex Boston.

Anaïde is Associate Instructor in graduate courses at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government, leading the case research and curriculum design of an annual intensive, field-based course on strategic planning in humanitarian action, since 2008. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and an Affiliate at the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Anaïde currently serves on the Board of AIWA and is committed to the advancement of global educational and professional opportunities for Armenian women through mentorship, networking, and partnerships.

Anna Ohanyan is an author, educator, scholar and mother of three daughters. She is the Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Stonehill College and the author of numerous articles in academic and policy journals. Her most recent book is Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management published by Stanford University Press in 2015. A Fulbright Scholar who previously served as a doctoral fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, she has consulted for numerous organizations such as the United Nations Foundation, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State and the Carter Center. Her research (supported by such institutions as the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the German Marshall Fund) has explored issues of post-war economic developments (in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Afghanistan) and regional integration and fracture (in Central America, the Western Balkans, and South Caucasus). She founded and oversees the LION Program at Stonehill, developing the next generation of global security policy leaders.

Nicole Vartanian serves as the Executive Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, managing staff, programs, and outreach activities to support the work of over 80 faculty and research scholars. She previously was the Acting Executive director of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF); Vice President of Education at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum; Senior Advisor in the Hunter College Provost Office; and Senior Research Scientist at the U.S. Department of Education. She also has served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and consultant in Armenia.

Nicole earned her doctorate int he Sociology of Education from Columbia University Teachers College, and her master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Illinois. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College, instructing seminars on Multicultural Education and Public Policy. She serves as Vice Chair of the Columbia University Armenian Center, and as a board member at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and the Historic House Trust of New York.