Meet the team

Dr Armen Gakavian - Co-Director

Armen was born in Sydney, Australia. He has 15 years of experience in community development, leadership formation, training and research. Armen received his PhD from the University of Sydney, and has taught leadership, sociology and social change in Australia and Armenia.

While in Armenia in 2001-2004, Armen helped Mission Armenia develop an internship program for university students, was a consultant for other NGOs and co-led a student Christian ministry. In Sydney, he founded the Armenian Genocide Research Unit at Macquarie University and the Hye Hoki Armenian Youth Network. He has worked as a researcher at Macquarie University and with The Salvation Army. Armen is currently a member of The Salvation Army church in a public housing estate in Sydney’s leafy Macquarie Park.

Armen’s vision is to bring about personal and transformation in individuals and communities, based on the principles outlined in the Christian gospels.

 Robert Grigorian - Co-Director

Robert was born in Teheran, Iran, in 1954, and moved to Sydney in 1969. He is married and has 3 children. After completing a Structural Engineering Degree in 1976, he continued to work in the engineering industry. In 2003, he started his own construction business. 

Having been involved in the Armenian community all his life, Robert was invited in 1997 to become Principal of the H.Toomanian Saturday Armenian School in Ryde, a position he holds to the present day. 

In 2001, Robert was introduced to the work of Mission Armenia. He was moved by the needs of the elderly and took on the role of co-director. Two years later, he visited Mission Armenia in Yerevan, where he spent 4 weeks visiting soup kitchens and the elderly, and getting to know their living conditions and needs. He also met the staff and volunteers and was impressed by their dedication.

Andre Marootians - Co-Director

Andre was born in Iran in 1947.  He grew up in Ahvaz/Khoozestan and completed his BSC in physics from the National University of Iran in Tehran.  He is married to Jasmen and has three children.  In 1979 he moved to Australia with his wife and children.

His career in the field of information technology (IT) spans 40 years and includes working for IBM and running his own IT business for the last 14 years.  He has experience in business and project management, leadership and business development.  

During his first visit to Armenia in 2005, he became familiar with the work of Mission Armenia (MA) and became a major supporter.  In 2009 he accepted a director’s position in MA Australia.  He has since visited Armenia twice (in 2010 & 2012) where he developed a further understanding and a deeper knowledge of MA’s work and its needs.  In his own words “MA is a very critical organisation in supporting and impacting the lives of thousands of Armenian elderly and children – their work is INVALUABLE”. 

  Jasmen Marootians - Administration Assistant

Jasmen is married to Andre.  She was born in Tehran/Iran in 1949.  Her passion for the Armenian people and their need for global support was initially awakened as she learned more about Mission Armenia (MA) through Andre's involvement with the organisation.  Her  desire to help build bridges of aid between Australia and Armenia deepened when she visited Armenia for the first time in 2010.  Her heart welled up for the people of Armenia as she stood on their soil, listened to their stories and spent time with fellow Armenians in need.  Seeing the Motherland and witnessing the struggles of its poor, inspired her to become more involved with MA.

With a heart for service, a strong belief that LOVE IS A VERB and with the desire to reflect God's unconditional love in her own life, Jasmen is passionate about encouraging others to support MA.  She considers it a privilege to support a group who are making a significant, real and daily impact in the lives of Armenians in need.

Tina Cholakyan - Office Administration

Tina came on board with Mission Armenia in Australia in 2007.  She brings to MA her office skills and fundraising knowledge.  Tina has visited Armenia and she has witnessed the difficulties there first hand and she  believes that using her skills here, she can make a big difference to needy individuals in Armenia.

Tina enjoys playing with her three boys and spends any free time creating art out of anything from buttons to wire. She also loves reading when she can and really looks forward to a soy chai latte.

Our motivation....

We are motivated by the love of God to serve the needy, because we believe the good news of Christianity is good news for the poor (Luke 4:17-19).