‘They Shall Not Perish’ screening at the West Tisbury library


A special screening of “They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief” followed by a Q and A session with the film’s producer, Shant Mardirossian, and Near East Foundation president Dr. Charles Benjamin takes place on Saturday, May 26, at 6:30 pm at the West Tisbury library.

According to a press release, the documentary details the historic events that led to the Armenian genocide, and the rescue and unprecedented humanitarianism that followed, providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced men, women, and children. The documentary makes extensive use of newly discovered film footage and archival photographs of orphans who were in Near East Relief’s care, the release states.

The Near East Foundation, known initially as Near East Relief, spearheaded this first mobilization of international humanitarian assistance in the United States, in September 1915, in

response to the Armenian genocide. Driven by the conviction that ordinary citizens had the

collective power to save the lives of people coping with adversity, the organization’s efforts helped save more than 1 million lives. As the first organization to provide direct relief to refugees, Near East Foundation’s work continues today.

Mardirossian is the executive producer of “They Shall Not Perish,” and in his professional life, he is a partner and the chief operating officer at a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm. He is a graduate of the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in public accounting and an M.B.A. with dual concentration in investment management and strategic management. His grandparents were all survivors of the Armenian genocide, and his paternal grandmother sought refuge in an American orphanage. They were the inspiration for the film.

Benjamin has over 25 years of experience in international development, with extensive work in community development and natural resources management throughout the Middle East and Africa. He began his affiliation with the Near East Foundation in 1993 as country director in Morocco. After leaving Morocco, Benjamin was senior manager for a large international development consulting firm and a professor of international environment issues and development at Williams College. Benjamin became NEF’s president in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, with a focus on decentralization and local institutional development in West Africa. He is a published author in the areas of natural resource management and policy.

The screening is free and open to all, and refreshments will be served. To help track attendance, sign-up is requested, but not mandatory, at neareast.org/tsnp-west- tisbury/. For more information about the screening, call the library at 508-693-3366 or email olarsen@clamsnet.org.