AIWA THRIVE shares the stories of individuals from around the world who are positively impacting our community as they lead with purpose.
Founder of Miaseen
Today, we feature Maria Sarkisian, Founder of Miaseen.
Maria Sarkisian was born in Armenia during the Artsakh war in 1992. Her family relocated to San Francisco where she attended KZV Armenian School. She attended UC Davis to receive a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Toxicology and a Master of Science in Forensic Science. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry. When the war in Artsakh broke out in 2020, Maria raised over $200,000 and relocated to Armenia during the war to provide humanitarian aid. Along with assisting over 400 families impacted by the war, Maria assisted in an agricultural initiative which helped preserve over 9 tons of crops, and helped provide over 500 volunteer soldiers with uniforms, boots, vests and other necessities. She also collected, documented and transported historical artifacts from two churches, along with 3 khachkars, right before the lands they were located on were turned over. Due to the success in fundraising, Maria teamed up with Tatiana Armstrong, another Bay-Area native and KZV Alumni, and began their non-profit Miaseen which provides funding to families and individuals impacted by the war in Artsakh. In total, Maria has raised over $300,000 for the people of Armenia and Artsakh, and continues her humanitarian work through Miaseen.
Miaseen site is miaseen.org
Q: What is your life philosophy?
If you have, give.
Q: We called 2020 the year of the upheaval and awakening? What were your biggest upheavals and what did they teach you? What was your awakening(s) and what did it teach you?
I think my biggest upheaval was leaving the comfortable life I had in San Francisco and going to Armenia during the war. Many who were in position at the time can agree that we saw and experienced things that we never thought we would in this lifetime. Through all the experiences I had in those 3.5 months, I learned the true resilience and strength of our people. I learned how beautiful we can be as a nation when we are a united front. In terms of awakenings, I think my biggest realization was how much Armenia needs the involvement and support of the Diaspora. We as the Diaspora are blessed with the many opportunities our respective countries provide us, and we need to make sure to bring our resources into Armenia.
Q: What is your hope for the future?
My hope is that as a nation we can learn to be as united as we were during the war, post-war. Differences aside, we only have one homeland. One Armenia. And my only hope is we serve our country in the way that it deserves, with all the support that we can provide.