Matthew Karanian’s work on behalf of Armenia earned him the annual “Service to Humanity Award” from Bucknell University this week.
Karanian is a lawyer in Pasadena, Calif., and is an alumnus of Bucknell, a liberal arts university in Lewisburg, Penn.
Bucknell grants the award each year to a member of its alumni community “whose selfless and caring work and deeds benefit society and humankind,” according to the press office of the University.
By Karanian’s recollection, he was the only member of his graduating class who was of Armenian descent. “I think I probably introduced Armenia to a lot of people” at Bucknell, he said. “This award is recognition for what I’ve done in Armenia, but it’s also a sign that I created greater awareness of Armenian culture here at home, too.”
Karanian has dedicated a significant part of his career to promoting human rights and developing the rule of law in Armenia, which is the ancestral home of his grandparents. He served for several years as an associate dean and professor of law at the American University of Armenia, and he launched the Armenian Law Review, Armenia’s first English language law review.
Shortly after Armenia had re-established its independence in 1991, he served as an advocate for the interests of the country’s newly formed non-governmental organizations. He had previously worked as a defense attorney in Hartford, Conn., with Halloran and Sage, the state’s largest trial practice.
Karanian is the author of numerous books about Armenia. His most recent publication is Historic Armenia After 100 Years.
Karanian’s contributions to the development of cultural relations between the US and Armenia were recently recognized by the Republic of Armenia. He received the nation’s prestigious Arshile Gorky Medal during a ceremony at the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles on Armenian Independence Day, September 21, 2016.
Karanian graduated from Bucknell with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He also holds degrees from Georgetown University Law Center and from McGeorge School of Law. He will accept the award in June at a ceremony on Bucknell’s campus in Pennsylvania.