Carrying the Family Torch in Support of AUA
Benefactors Jack and Zarig Youredjian have been generous supporters of the American University of Armenia (AUA), and in recent years, became AUA Pillars at a time when more students were in dire need of support amidst the global pandemic. Now, their children, Renee and Haig, are continuing the Youredjian tradition of philanthropy becoming the two most recent AUA ChangeMakers.
As successful entrepreneurs in their own right, the Youredjian siblings have built upon the professional legacy of their father and shaped their own distinctive path of success. Renee Youredjian Arakelian operates LA Medical Wholesale as its President and CEO. She is recognized in Los Angeles County, and also nationally, as a notable woman business owner. “Our parents are our role models and our pillars of strength, and have been so instrumental in bringing change to the children of Armenia. Witnessing their support and everlasting dedication has made me realize the importance of being active in the process of bringing positive change to benefit our culture and our people,” she says. Her younger brother, Haig Youredjian, operates the family business, Western Drug Medical Supply, succeeding his father as President and CEO of the company. He recalls how, from an early age, his parents instilled in them the importance of giving back to their communities. “We were taught that success lies not only within one’s own accomplishments, but also in one’s ability to assist others in their own accomplishments. Today, we carry that standard in our own lives and hope that we can make even the smallest difference in the lives of others and contribute to their successes.”
Haig dissects the process of creating change, enumerating the instrumental components of the system: individuals who participate in change; those who actively contribute to realizing change; and those who benefit from change. “As contributors, we hope to furnish a better opportunity for those who participate and benefit from the robust opportunities AUA offers,” he posits, with Renee reiterating their strong belief in equal opportunity for all those who are “dedicated, determined, and passionate about furthering their education.”
Placing emphasis on the responsible role AUA plays in providing that opportunity for the youth in Armenia, the siblings are eager to see a new generation of innovators and educators rising up to profoundly impact Armenian society and more broadly in the world. “The programs of the University, along with the AUA Open Centers of Excellence, will provide students and youth with the opportunity to stand at the forefront of growth and change, catapulting the country to achieve advancement and long term success,” Haig adds.
Their father, Jack, recounts his own academic path that took him from his birthplace Jerusalem to Lebanon, where he attended the School of Pharmacy of the American University of Beirut, then moved to Los Angeles in 1970, where he earned a doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Southern California. “Throughout those years, I received scholarships from AGBU and the Gulbenkian Foundation, without which I would not have been able to continue my education,” he says, expressing his heartfelt gratitude and emphasizing the importance of helping the children of Armenia to access higher education.
Trusting in the indomitable warrior strength and historic resilience of the Armenian people, Renee concludes, “I am certain that we will continue to prevail in anything we set our minds to. Excellence is a state of mind and as long as we continue to support one another, there isn’t anything that is impossible to achieve!”
AUA is grateful to have the unwavering backing and sustained support of the new generation of Youredjians and proud to have added their names to the esteemed list of AUA ChangeMakers.