Armen Karo Student Association’s mission is to assist Armenian Student Associations at Canadian universities, to promote Armenian studies on university campuses, and to mobilize our communities in furthering the Armenian Cause through political, academic and intellectual means on a local, provincial and national level.
In July 2005, students of Armenian origin in Canada abiding by the principles of respect for human rights, academic impartiality and a free, independent and united Armenia collectively founded a student association in order to streamline their work towards those ideals. The nom-de-guerre of national hero Karekin Pastermadjian was chosen in order to highlight a devotion to human rights, academic success and political engagement. Armen Karo’s life is seen as the optimal representation of the organisation’s membership and mission.
Armen Karo is the nom-de-guerre of Armenian writer, philosopher, diplomat and soldier Karekin Pastermadjian. Pastermadjian was born in Karin (Erzerum), located in the eastern part of the Armenian Highland, in 1872. In 1891, he became among the first graduates of the Sanasarian Academy of Karin. He continued his studies in Europe, most notably in France where he was first introduced to the ideals of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Quickly becoming one of the organisation’s youngest and most promising members, he was elected as a delegate to the party’s second international convention in 1898. After completing his doctoral studies in physical chemistry at the University of Geneva in 1900, he returned to his native Karin.
Pastermajian became instrumental during the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire as a deputy to the Ottoman Parliament from Erzerum province. After this period and during the First World War, Armen Karo served as a volunteer in Armenian guerrilla units resisting the genocidal programme of the Ottoman authorities. He later became the first ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Armenian to the United States of America. Finally succumbing to a heart condition in 1923, Karekin Pastermadjian left behind a legacy which we are proud to continue in his name.