SOAR - Syria Chapter

The creation of Syria Chapter continues our efforts to expand SOAR beyond traditional borders. Syria has often served as a refuge for Armenians who fled from wars and persecutions, including the Armenian Genocide. It is estimated that there are approximately 150,000 Armenians living in Syria, most of whom live in Aleppo.

The SOAR-Syria Board of Directors will serve as liaisons to S.O. Khach Orphanage in Aleppo. As a result of recent civil unrest, the children were moved to the Aram Manoogian Community Center in September 2012. There are currently 14 boys and girls living in S.O. Khach Orphanage, ranging in age from 8 to 19 years old.


Sr. V. Louisa Kassarjian

Sr. V. Louisa Kassarjian (baptismal name Violette) was born in Kamichli, Syria. She received her primary education in Aleppo and Damascus. In 1962 she entered the Order of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. She professed her final vows in 1975. In 1969 Sister Louisa joined the Armenian Sisters Academy of Philadelphia, the first Armenian Day school on the East coast of the United States. Sister Louisa attended Cabrini College from 1972 – 1974 earning her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education; attended Association Montessori International from 1974 – 1975 and then went on to earn her Master of Education Degree from 1977 to 1980 at Beaver University.

After seventeen years at the Armenian Sisters Academy serving as teacher’s aide, Elementary teacher, Montessori Supervisor and Vice-Principal, Sr. Louisa was appointed the new head of the Armenian Sisters Academy where she served as Principal for twenty-four years. In September 1993 and again in 1999, in addition to her duties as Principal of the Armenian Sisters Academy, Sister Louisa was elected to serve two consecutive six-year terms on the Governing Council of the Order of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Rome, Italy.

In August 2010, after over 25 years as Principal, Sr. Louisa was reassigned to serve at “Zvartnotz” school one of two schools run by the Order in Aleppo, Syria. Sr. Louisa was the embodiment and soul of the Armenian Sisters Academy during much of her years there. During her tenure as Principal, the Academy received Accreditation by the Middle States Association of Secondary Schools and has maintained such Accreditation for more than 25 years. She led the campaign that culminated in a state-or-the-art physical expansion of the school campus. During her time as Principal, the academic reputation of the Academy was unparalleled. Both as teacher and supervisor, Sister exhibited an exemplary dedication to the teaching profession and to the task of educating children. d children.