The famous Armenian-American businessman, engineer-technologist and great philanthropist Alek Manukian was born in 1901, in the city of Smyrna. He received his primary education at the Armenian school in his hometown. After his studies, he worked as a car mechanic. Smyrna and Constantinople were the only cities where massacres did not become widespread. However, after the 1915 genocide against the Armenians, the continued persecution of Armenians under the Turkish government and the unstable economic situation forced him to leave his birthplace and move to the United States.
In 1940, Alek Manukian was elected chairman of the AGBU board of directors and in 1953, international president of the society.
Since 1989, Alek Manukian has served as AGBU’s honorary life president. He also actively cooperated with the organization “Knights of Vardanats” and in 1940 he was elected Commander-in-Chief.
In 1968, Alek Manukian and his wife Mari Manukian founded the AGBU Cultural Fund, whose activities were aimed at translating and publishing Armenian literary and scientific works, as well as disseminating Armenian culture to the world.
Alek Manukian (through AGBU) founded many Armenian schools for Armenians in exile in many cities around the world, all of which bear the name of Alek Manukian. He also built many churches, cultural centers, museums, founded chairs of Armenian studies in many foreign universities. Armenian philanthropist Alek Manukian has received international awards, a medal from the President of Argentina for his charitable contribution, and the Cross of St. Grigor Lusavorich from the Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I.
The great Armenian philanthropist died on July 10, 1996, in Detroit. After his death, the AGBU presidency passed to his daughter, Louise Simon Manukian.
There are streets named after Alek Manukian in Yerevan, Montreal and Stepanakert.
Alek Manukian’s grave was transported to Armenia and buried in the Holy See of Etchmiatzin.