• The Council
  • Jirayr Sefilian
  • Ara Papian
  • Varuzhan Avetisyan
  • Vahe Gasparyan
  • Garegin Chugaszyan
  • Arthur Aivazian
  • Armenak Kyureghyan
  • Yeghishe Petrosyan
  • Garo Yegnukian, Esq.
Biographies of Council Members of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jirayr Sefilian

Jirayr Sefilian was born in 1967 in Beirut, Lebanon, where he attended “Gevorg Chatalbashyan”
Armenian college.

Professional Experience

  • 1983-90, Participated in the Lebanese Civil War as part of self-defense units of the Armenian districts of Beirut; an active member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun).
  • 1990, Moved to Armenia with his family to join the Nagorno-Karabakh movement and was active in the formation of ARF self-defense units across Armenia as a military instructor with battlefield experience.
  • 1991, Appointed commander of a detachment; 1992 commander of a platoon; and
    subsequently commander of a special “Shushi” battalion, which gained prominence
    as one of the most successful military units during the Karabakh War and was famed for conducting several very difficult military operations with minimal casualties.
  • 1997, Appointed Deputy Commander of the Martakert Division. From 1997-98, served as the Brigade Commander (of the 6 th defense district) of the NKR Defense Army.

Sefilian was awarded the Combat Cross (First-Degree) and held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Political Activism

In 1998, citing corruption in the army and policy disagreements with the leadership, Sefilian resigned from the military. A staunch critic of policies pursued by the authorities, in 2001, he founded the "Protection of Liberated Territories" NGO and launched a project for the resettlement of the wider Artsakh (including the seven liberated districts).

As a former commander and a harsh critic of the Russian-supported corrupt successive regimes of Armenia, Sefilian has been repeatedly arrested on politically motivated charges. 1In 2008, after his release from prison, he founded “Miatsum” (“Unification”) national initiative, which was promoting the idea of re-unification of Artsakh with the Republic of Armenia proper (instead of independence for Artsakh, a policy line erroneously pursued by the successive Russian puppet administrations in Armenia). Other notable engagements include:

  • 2009, Co-founder and managing member of “Sardarapat” movement.

  • 2012-14, Managing member of the “Pre-Parliament” political initiative.

  • 2015-16, A leading member of the "New Armenia Public Salvation Front" political initiative; led the "United Opposition Headquarters" created by the same initiative.

  • 2015-18, A managing member of the “Founding Parliament” political initiative.

In 2016, in the aftermath of the “4-Day War” in Artsakh, in a major embarrassment for the ruling regime, Sefilian publicly revealed that the Armenian territorial losses in Artsakh amounted to around 800 hectares (and not a “few hundred meters” as claimed by the regime). On July 20, 2016, in response to his statement he was arrested and imprisoned for over 2 years.

In summer of 2018, after being released from prison, Sefilian co-founded the “Sasna Tsrer” (“Daredevil of Sassoon”) pan-Armenian political party (named after a medieval Armenian epic poem, in which the inhabitants of the region of Sassoon rebelled against the Arab invaders).

A 2018 Washington Post Opinion Editorial (by David Ignatius) stated: “Sefilian would be a candidate for defense minister if Pashinyan succeeds in forming a new government, though his  strong pro-Western sympathies might antagonize Moscow.”

In 2020, Sefilian became a founding member of the National-Democratic Alliance movement and in 2021 co-founded and Board member of the National-Democratic Alliance party.

Lt. Col. Sefilian is a dual Lebanese-Armenian national. He is married and has two children.

Ambassador (ret.) Ara Papian

Ambassador Ara Papian was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1961.

Education

  • 1984, Graduated from the Department of Oriental (Middle Eastern) Studies of Yerevan

  • State University with an undergraduate degree.

  • 1989, Received a postgraduate degree in Armenian History from the Yerevan State

  • University.

  • 1994, Graduated from the Moscow Diplomatic Academy, Russia.

  • 1998, Graduated from the NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy.

  • 1999, Attended a special course in Public Diplomacy in Oxford, United Kingdom.

Professional Experience

  • 1981-2/4-6, Active-duty military interpreter/translator (Farsi) in Afghanistan.

  • 1987-91, Professor of Armenian language and literature at Melkonian Educational Institute in

  • Nicosia, Cyprus, the most prominent Armenian private educational establishment in

  • the Diaspora.

  • 1991-92, Second Secretary of the US and Canada Division of the American Department,

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • 1992-93, Second Secretary of the Armenian Embassy in Tehran. A founding team member of

  • the Embassy.

  • 1997-96, Second Secretary of the Armenian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.

  • 1997, Charge d'Affaires of the Armenian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.

  • 1997-99, Head of Iran Division of the Middle East Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • 1999, Head of Security Cooperation Division of the Security Issues and Arms Control

  • Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

  • 1999-2000, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of Public Affairs

  • Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • 2000-06, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to Canada.

Research and Political Activism

Following his departure from the Foreign Service in March 2006, Amb. Papian founded Modus Vivendi think tank, one of the objectives of which was to conduct research on the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s Arbitral Award and its implications for Armenia’s foreign policy.

He has pushed for Armenia’s de-colonization and real independence from Russia and a shift towards the West and is one of the leading advocated of the need for Armenia to become a Major non-NATO Ally of the United States.

Ambassador Papian is well-known across Armenia and the Diaspora and maintains an active public profile, with thousands of media appearances/interviews over the years. He is widely considered as one of the the top experts in Armenia on International Law and all Treaties concerning Armenia and the region.

In 2020, Ara Papian became a founding member of the National-Democratic Alliance movement and in 2021 a Board Member of the National-Democratic Alliance political party.

Amb. Papian is a dual Canadian-Armenian national with residences in Yerevan and Ottawa. He is married and has two children.

Col. (ret.) Varuzhan Avetisyan

Varuzhan Avetisyan was born in 1970 in Martuni city, Gegharkunik Region, Armenia.

Education

Law Degree from Yerevan State University, Department of Law.

Professional Experience

  • 1994, Assistant-Attorney of the Commander of the Armenia’s Ministry of Defense.

  • 1995, 1997-8 Investigator at the Military Prosecutor's Office.

  • 1999, Senior Officer of the Department of Human Resources at the Staff of Armenia’s Ministry of Defense.

  • 1999-2001, Senior Officer, Head of Division at the Department of Foreign Relations and Military

  • Cooperation of Ministry of Defense of Armenia.

  • 2001-02, Lecturer at the special training courses of the army officers of Ministry of Defense.

  • 2002-04, Joined a private legal practice.

  • 2004-08, Deputy Head of the Desk of the Defense Policy Department of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia.

  • 2008-13, Deputy Chief of the Drastamat Kanayan Institute for the National Strategic Studies of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia.

Political Activism

  • 2011-12, Member of founding group of the “Sardarapat” political movement.

  • 2012-14, Member of “PreParliament” political initiative.

  • 2015-18, Deputy chairman of the “Founding Parliament” political initiative. July 2016 (and while in jail through August 2018) Member and the spokesperson for the "Sasna Tsrer" rebellion. For more on this, visit here, here, and here. Delivered the famous anti-Kremlin speech as the “Sasna Tsrer” group laid down their arms.

  • 2018, Released from prison under public pressure and due to regime change in Armenia and became the coordinator of the “Sasna Tsrer” pan-Armenian Political Party Secretariat.

  • 2020, Founding member of the National-Democratic Alliance movement.

  • 2021, Council Member of the National-Democratic Alliance.

Col. Avetisyan has a large following amongst Armenia’s intellectuals and youth opposed to Russian de facto rule in Armenia. Although, in the aftermath of the so-called “velvet revolution” he was released from prison, he remained one of the harshest critics of current Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and has subsequently been persecuted by the Pashinyan regime.

Col. Avetisyan is married and has two children.

Vahe Gasparyan, MD

Dr. Vahe Gasparyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1971.

Education

  • 1993, Doctor of Medicine (with honors) awarded by the Yerevan State Medical University

  • 1995, Residency in Cardiovascular Surgery at Mikaelyan Hospital-Institute of Surgery.

Professional Experience

  • 1995, Special training in cardiac surgery, Westchester Medical Center, New York, US.

  • 1998, Training in cardiac surgery in Broussais, Lariboisiere and Saint Denis Medical Centers, Paris, France.

  • 1996-98, Compulsory military service, medical service senior lieutenant, Yerevan Garrison Hospital.

  • 1999-2001, Medical Doctor, Vascular Surgery Department, Mikaelyan Surgery Institute.

  • 2002-03, Clinical Fellowship at the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery of the National University Hospital of Singapore.

  • 2003-05, Chief of Cardiac Surgery Department in Erebuni Medical Center, Yerevan.

  • 2006-09, Head of Cardiac Surgery Department, Zeytun Cardiovascular Med. Center, Yerevan.

  • 2010-20, Head of Cardiovascular Surgery Department, Erebuni Medical Center, Yerevan.

During the “44-day war” in Artsakh (September-November 2020), Military Doctor and active-duty Medical Service Senior Lieutenant Surgeon (Surgery Department of the Zangezur Military Garrison Hospital), where he saved dozens of lives of young men in uniform as a result of emergency surgeries of the battlefield casualties.

Dr. Gasparian invented and patented an original method of total autologous reconstruction of the aortic valve (2000) for which was awarded the Assistant Professor Degree. In 2002, he invented an original method of total autologous reconstruction of the mitral valve, patented in Singapore in 2003.

Dr. Gasparyan has authored 21 academic articles and an academic book (on medical science).

Political Activism

  • 2018, Member of “Sasna Tsrer” pan-Armenian political movement.

  • 2019, Founding member of the “National-Democratic Alliance” (NDA) movement.

  • 2021, Board Member of the "National-Democratic Alliance" movement

  • 2021, Board Member of the “National-Democratic Alliance” (NDA) party.

  • June 2021, The Prime Ministerial candidate for NDA in Armenia’s General Elections.

Dr. Gasparyan is married and has three children.

Garegin Chugaszyan was born in 1961.

Education

  • 1982, Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Applied Mathematics, Yerevan State University

  • 1987, Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Computational and Applied Mathematics from the Computing Center of National Academy of Sciences, Armenia

Professional Experience

  • 1982-91, Researcher at the Computing Center of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

  • 1991-92, Member of Staff at the President's Office of Armenia.

  • 1991-95, Vice President at Aragast B Corp.

  • 1997, Director (De-facto Minister) at the Department of Information and Publishing (Ministry of Information), Government of Armenia.

  • 1999-2001, Chairman of the Board, Open Society Assistance Foundation Armenia.

  • 2003-07, Member Grand Jury at the World Summit Award.

  • 2005-07, IT Cluster Coordinator at the USAID CAPS.

  • 2004-11, Member of Armenia’s Presidential IT Development Support Council.

  • 2007-14, Member of the Bureau, Steering Committee on the Media, and Information Society (CDMSI) of Council of Europe.

  • 2007-14, High-level Panel Adviser of the UN Global Alliance for Information and, Communication Technologies and Development (GAID).

  • 1998-present Executive Director of Information Technologies Foundation.

  • 1998-present President of ITE.

Political Activism

Mr. Chugaszyan started his political activities during Gorbachev’s Perestroika taking part in Artsakh Movement alongside his colleagues from the Academy of Sciences of Armenia. With the restoration of Armenia's independence, he returned to his activities in IT sphere and relaunched his political activities after Putin's Munich speech in 2007.

  • 2010-12, Joined the “Sardarapat” movement.

  • 2012-14, Elected as the chairman of Armenian “Pre-Parliament” movement.

  • 2014-18, Chairman of “Founding Parliament” national-political initiative.

  • 2015 -18, Was subjected to politically persecution, arrested twice and forced to go into hiding.

  • 2018-present, Following the regime change known as “velvet revolution”, became one of founding members of the secretariat of “Sasna Tsrer” pan-Armenian political party.

  • 2020, Founding member of the National-Democratic Alliance movement.

  • 2021, Board Member of the National-Democratic Alliance party.

Mr. Chugaszyan is married and has two children.

Artur Ayvazyan was born in 1968, in Yerevan, Armenia

Education

  • 1992, Undergraduate diploma from the Department of Oriental (Middle Eastern) Studies of Yerevan State University

  • 1993, Diploma in Diplomacy, International Relations, and International Law from the Diplomatic Academy, Cairo, Egypt

  • 2004, Diploma in Law from the Yerevan Branch of the Institute of Foreign Economic Relations, St. Petersburg, Russia

Professional Experience

  • 1992, Head of Department, “KHAZER” Cultural Foundation

  • 1993-96, Head of Division at Population Service Special Department, Yerevan City Hall Private Business Management

  • 1996-2001, Trainer at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) branch in

  • 2001-03, Armenia (USAID Citizens’ Awareness and Participation in Armenia Project)

  • 2003-04, Project Coordinator of the “Citizen and the Right” NGO (and Grant Project sponsored by World Learning / USAID within NGO Strengthening Program)

  • 2004-06, Attorney at Law, “Harutiunian and Associates Law Office” LLC.

  • 2006-present Director of “Ayvazyan and Partners Law Office, LLC.

Political Activism

2021 Elected as a Council Member of the National-Democratic Alliance movement.

Mr. Ayvazyan is married and has two children

Armenak Kyureghyan was born in 1961 in Yerevan, Armenia

Education

1983, B.A. in Systems Engineering, Dep. of Comp. Science, Yerevan Polytechnic Institute.

Professional Experience

  • 1983-1991, Engineer at the Yerevan Computing Machines Research Institute.

  • 1996, Deputy Head of Aviation Security at Zvartnots International Airport.

  • 1997-2001, SDH engineer at "ArmenTel" telecom company.

  • 2001-02, Engineer at US-based “APL Labs AM” in Armenia.

  • 2002-04, Engineer at Branch of US-based "Leda Systems" JSC in Armenia.

  • 2004-08, IT director of “Aporia” Co. and in 2008-11 of "GIS Information System" Co.

  • 2012-14, General manager, “Crown Security” Co.

  • 2014-17, Head of Electrical Panel Design Department, Technology & Science Dynamics (USA) in Armenia.

Authored multiple scientific articles, co-authored inventions in the field of microprogramming,

hardware diagnostics, and multiprocessor systems.

Political Activism

  • 2016, Member of the Coordinating Council of a civil movement in support “Sasna Tsrer”.

  • 2017, Member of the "For the State Front of Armenia" movement.

  • 2019, Founding member of the National-Democratic Alliance movement.

  • 2021, Board Member of the National Democratic Alliance party.

Participated in the 1 st Artsakh war with Mergelyan Institute’s Special Squad

Armenak Kyureghyan is married and has three children.

Yegishe Petrosyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1955.

Education

1972-1981, Yerevan Polytechnic Institute.

1984-86, Faculty of Composition of the Moscow University of Arts, Moscow, Russia.

Professional Experience

  • 1969, Co-founded the rock band "Ardzagank", which would be on top of musical charts of Armenia for many years producing several superhits.

  • 1990, Founded the "Ardzagank" recording studio, which produced some of the greatest artists and hits in Armenia in the early 90’s.

  • 1992, Along with composer Artavazd Bayatyan, founded the "Ardzagank" production center.

  • 1996, Launched "Ardzagank FM103.5" radio station, which in 2003 received the "Best Entertainment Radio Station of the Year" award.

  • 1999-2004, Author of the annual "Echo Show" and of "Premiere" TV program.

With his band, Petrosyan has toured throughout Armenia, the former Soviet Union, Europe, and the US and played in numerous international music festivals.

Political Activism

An intellectual member of Armenian show-business industry, never shy of expressing his political and social views, Petrosyan has always been active in social and political arena.

  • 2017, Member of the "For the State Front of Armenia" movement.

  • 2020, Founding member of the National-Democratic Axis movement.

  • 2021, Council Member of the National-Democratic Axis.

Garo Yegnukian was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1959 in a family of 1946 repatriates from Bulgaria

Education

  • 1977-81, Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing, Pace University, New York.
  • 1984-88, Juris Doctor (JD), St. John’s Law School, New York, USA.
  • 1990, Admitted to the New York State Bar, licensed to practice law in New York State.

Professional Experience

  • 1980-present, President and CEO of Yegnukian Realty Corp.
  • 1979-2009, President and CEO of Erebuni Corp.

Civil and Political Activism

  • 1973-88, Non-member active supporter of the New York branches of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and later in the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) organizations, otherwise known as Dashnaktsutyun affiliates.
  • 1988-2022, Joined UNSD party (known as AIM in Armenian, led by famous Soviet dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan), which advocated for Armenia’s true independence from Russia.
  • 1988-96, Involved in obtaining and delivering humanitarian aid to the survivors of the devastating earthquake of 1988 and for reconstruction and subsequently to the orphans from the first Artsakh war.
  • 1992-2000, Helped establish UNSD’s Syunik Closed Stock Company, which organized the resettlement of, and support to, refugees in 13 new AIM settlements.
  • 1991-2013, Involved in the campaign management and post-election activities of the UNSD presidential candidate, Paruyr Hayrikyan, as an adviser and spokesperson.
  • 2011-12, Active member of “Sardarapat” movement; involved in a number of civic initiatives such as Mashtots Park, Tzatzkats Shuka, etc.
  • 2012-14, Founding members of “Pre-Parliament” political initiative.
  • 2015-18, Founding members of the “Founding Parliament” political initiative.
  • 2016-18, Jailed on trumped up charges of aiding and abetting the “Sasna Tsrer” rebellion.
  • 2018, Present A founding members of “Sasna Tsrer” All Armenian Movement.
  • 2020, Present An active member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) political movement
  • and since August 2022 member of NDA’s Governing Council.

Garo Yegnukian is married and has 5 children.