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Chairman of Habitat for Humanity International’s board of directors visits Armenia

September 20, 2011


Read more about the meeting with Catholicos of All Armenians.

(September 19) – Chairman of Habitat for Humanity International’s board of directors Ken Klein visited Armenia to learn about Habitat programs and explore opportunities to deliver simple and decent housing for low-income families in the country. Habitat’s delegation met with Armenian officials and church representatives to discuss common ground for cooperation.

The visit started with a liturgy at Echmiadzin and a meeting with leader of the Armenian Church His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. His Holiness Karekin II personally spearheaded efforts to construct 37 homes across Armenia, giving witness to the ancient Armenian tradition of charity, volunteerism and social concern as part of the Catholicos Build in 2007. Karekin II wanted to learn about Habitat’s repair and renovation projects and showed interest in organizing a visit to the partner families to see the impact on communities.

Later, Habitat’s board chair met with Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan. During the discussion Ken Klein confirmed Habitat’s interest in fostering ties with the government. “We value efficient partnership with governments and I can honestly say that Habitat has more success in the countries where it has partnership with the government. Habitat for Humanity follows the principle that each person is responsible for his own property and our organization is ready to give this idea to the people in Armenia”, said Klein.

The delegation also met with the chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, USAID mission director and United Nations Development Program representatives in the country. US Embassy in Armenia has been an active supporter of Habitat’s efforts to improve the housing situation in the country. US Ambassador personally led building events with the diplomatic staff as part of the National Service day in September. USAID mission director in Armenia Jatinder Cheema expressed interest in jointly developing projects focused on empowering women and offering them access to financial resources.

Dafina Gercheva, UNDP representative in Armenia, suggested partnerships to improve energy efficiency of the condominium buildings. Last year, Habitat and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding and cooperated, together with the International Federation of the Red Cross and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, on organizing the first Housing Forum in Europe and Central Asia 2011 to bring the issue of adequate and affordable housing to the political agenda in this region. Now, both organizations are exploring possibilities for joint projects mainly focused on improving energy efficiency of the condominium buildings in the region.

Habitat’s delegation included members of the Habitat for Humanity International’s board of directors Kathleen Bader, Ed Schreyer, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian and Don Haszczyn. Ken Klein, president of KLEINCO Properties, has been serving as chair of Habitat for Humanity’s 25-member board of directors since 2010. Klein has participated in building Habitat homes in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., the Philippines, Guatemala and Macedonia. He has volunteered for Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Mekong River delta.

Kathleen Bader serves as the chair of the Europe and Central Asia Committee. She is a member of the Textron board, Bader retired as chairman, president and CEO of NatureWorks LLC after serving 32 years at Dow chemical, most recently as business group president for a $4 billion global business portfolio.

Ed Schreyer served as Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief from 1979 to 1984 and as Canadian High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Ambassador to Vanuatu from 1984 to 1988.

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian represents the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. He has been active in ecumenical efforts, including the executive committees of the World Council of Churches and the Churches for Middle East Peace. He was elected president of the National Council of Churches for a 2 year term beginning November 2007.

Don Haszczyn is Vice President of Habitat for Humanity International, and has directed Habitat’s regional mission in Europe and Central Asia for the past 9 years.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 500,000 homes worldwide. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat works in 22 countries with partners, donors and volunteers from the region. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit

Habitat for Humanity Armenia
In Armenia, Habitat renovates and repairs homes, offers housing micro-finance services having partnership with financial organizations and advocates for affordable housing. It has been active since 2000 and has supported more than 750 families. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit