Sons of Western Armenia: Boghos Nubar Pasha

  • by Western Armenia, April 07, 2023 in Society

Western Armenia has never lacked benefactors. Famous names in the world are Alexander Mantashyants, Mikael Aramyants, Poghos Nubar...

However, if in other cases, after the death of a great philanthropist, as a rule, his work is not continued, it is the case of Poghos Nubar. The "Armenian General Benevolent Union" founded by him became the first temple of Armenian charity.

Besides being the greatest philanthropist, he was also an inventor, a businessman, a diplomat... but let's start with the roots.

The Nubaryan family is originally from Artsakh. Poghos Nubar's grandfather, Mkrtich Melikyan, was a merchant. He was a very rich person and gave his son Nubar Nubaryan (1825-1899) an education in Europe. Nubar attended school in Switzerland. His classmate was the future emperor of France, Napoleon G. Accumulating great wealth and rising through the official ranks, Nubar Nubaryan later became the Prime Minister of Egypt. Having attained a high social position, Nubar Nubaryan did not forget or deny his origin. At the end of his life, he confessed. "I dedicated my life to Egypt, but my activities in a foreign country never made me forget that I am Armenian." I have only done two or three things for my tribe, but these are the most important things in my life." The son was a worthy successor to the father...

Poghos Nubar was born on August 2, 1846 in Constantinople.

Poghos Nubar was also educated in Europe. first in Switzerland, then at the Ecole Centrale de Paris, receiving an engineering education. After graduating, Poghos Nubar worked first in France, first in the mines as an engineer, and then also in the railroads, applying some of his innovations there. After that, Poghos Nubar moved to Egypt and, thanks to his father's high position, held positions of responsibility there. He was first general manager of the Egyptian railroads, then director of the English Agricultural Company of Alexandria. However, Poghos Nubar's field of work was not limited to that. In addition to agriculture, he was involved in construction, transportation, water supply systems, etc. He was the initiator of the establishment of several large companies in Egypt and the head of these companies.

Unfortunately, few people know about Poghos Nubar that he was also an inventor. In 1900, he received the gold medal and the highest French cross of the Legion of Honor at the International Exhibition in Paris for the mechanical plow (tractor) he created. The great Armenian went on to win several European prizes for his inventions. In particular, in 1906, he won a gold medal at the Milan exhibition and received state awards from the Egyptian and Belgian governments in different years.

In addition to being a political scientist, Poghos Nubar is also known as a great philanthropist. It is impossible to enumerate the complete list of his charitable works, but let us try to briefly list some of them.

In 1904, Poghos Nubar provided 300 gold coins to the population of Taron, which was affected by pogroms. Every year Aghkatakhnam from Alexandria gave 100 gold coins to the committee, every year he gave the same amount of gold to the daily newspaper "Arev". Gave 1,000 rubles to the Catholicossate of Etchmiadzin, 16,000 pounds for the construction of Galustian College in Cairo. In 1909, he provided 20,000 gold coins to the victims of the Adana pogroms, 4,000 gold coins to the Nubarian College in Heliopolis and founded the "Armenian Fund of Nubarian Students" in Brussels, giving it 26,000 gold coins. He founded the Melkonian educational institution in Cyprus, provided important support to the victims of the Gyumri earthquake in 1926, opened the Nubarian Library in Paris. He founded the Chair of Armenian Studies at Oxford University with an investment of 4,000 gold coins. After the death of his wife in 1930, he donated 15,000 gold coins for the construction of the Mari Nubar Eye Hospital in Yerevan...

In 1906, at the suggestion of the Armenian intellectual Yervand Aghaton, Poghos Nubar founded the "General Armenian Charity Union". To say that it was a successful enterprise is to say nothing of AGBU. In fact, it is the best nationalist structure of Armenian reality that has ever existed. Charity in Armenian reality has a history of thousands of years. The purpose of this initiative of Poghos Nubar is to solve the problems with the pan-Armenian problems, to solve them together. It should also be noted that the Armenian General Benevolent Union is the first pan-Armenian structure in the Armenian reality.

From 1914 Poghos Nubar moved to Paris with his family.

Poghos Nubar was so dear to the Armenian people with his initiatives that the beloved people honored him with the name of Pasha.

He was a beloved husband at the same time. Poghos Nubar's wife was Marie Nubar, from the famous Armenian Tatian family of Istanbul. She was a person with a gentle and tender soul, who did not lag behind her husband in his charitable works. Contemporaries have passed on many traditions and stories about Mari Nubar's benevolence and charity. Poghos Nubar and Mari loved each other with an infinite love. The correspondence around their beautiful love story has been preserved, where sweet and tender feelings about couples who love each other infinitely are summarized.

In the happiest period for the Armenian nation, Poghos Nubar threw himself into the political whirlwind. These were difficult times for Armenia and the Armenian people. The remnants of Armenians who escaped the genocide took refuge in Eastern Armenia. War, famine, destruction, epidemics mowed down the people. The European states dealt with the problems of Armenians only on the basis of their supranational interests. As early as 1912, in order to protect the interests of Western Armenians, a National Delegation - a political representative body - was established on the initiative of the Catholicos of All Armenians Gevorg Y. Surenyants, whose task is to protect the interests of Armenians. Poghos Nubar was appointed head of the national delegation. And Nubar went to work. In all international diplomatic assemblies before and after World War I, the national delegation headed by Poghos Nubar actively defended the interests of Armenians...

After the establishment of the Soviet regime, Poghos Nubar offered his help to the government of Soviet Armenia. He offered to build a new village near Yerevan, providing 100,000 American dollars. The grateful people named the district Nubarashen in honor of their son and raised another 300,000 US dollars. But the grateful Soviet government named the village Sovetashen instead of Nubarashen in 1937. In general, Poghos Nubar was ready to support all programs and initiatives of his protégé, Alexander Tamanyan.

This Great Benefactor and Great Armenian died on July 26, 1930.

Ashken Virabian

Journalist-analyst of Western Armenia TV