«Յիշատակն արդարոց օրհնութեամբ եղիցի»
Dikran Kalaydjian ֍ Տիգրան Գալայճեան
“Life is what you give to others”
For those who depart from this life towards the afterworld, death is the end of the journey in this world and the beginning of a new life in eternity. Nevertheless, this departure is hard to accept, especially when it is untimely and unexpected—for his loved ones, extended family, friends and community. The physical separation is painful and most difficult for those who bid farewell. It takes a very long time to understand and reconcile with the loss.
Death is also the conclusion and the summary of life in this world. As the poet Vahan Tekeyan writes, it is an “audit”, an “accounting” of life: “Whatever I gave to others, strangely, are the only things that remained.”
The first anniversary of Dikran Kalaydjian’s passing, once again, provides an opportunity for his loved ones, family, large circle of friends and colleagues to contemplate on his life and find comfort in the wonderful memories and human values he generously shared with everyone. To see and live “what he gave to others.”
Bright, intelligent, successful, discerning, sensitive, loving, most caring, practical, optimistic, forward-looking, kind, determined…. Such bright points of light, with an ever bright smile etched on his face, made up the wonderful human being Dikran Kalaydjian was.
Much loved and respected by his family, friends and professional colleagues, Dikran was the successful Chief Financial Officer of Wunderman Thompson Middle East and North Africa. Dikran managed corporate finances in 15 countries. His career started in Finance at Ernst & Young, which led him to senior management positions and advancement on the corporate ladder. He joined J. Walter Thompson in 2006 as Regional Finance Director in MENA and soon was promoted to lead the group as Chief Financial Officer. He contributed to the company’s structuring initiatives, tax planning and treasury management, managing internal and external audits and managing acquisitions. He served on the boards of several companies.
Dirkan was born on 10 March 1973, the first child of Bebo and Azadouhie Simonian Kalaydjians. The Civil War in Lebanon started when Dikran was two years old. As his mother taught at the Lebanese American University (LAU), the family moved to the campus to avoid the dangerous commute in divided Beirut. Dikran and his younger brother Razmik spent their childhood and early years at LAU’s campus in West Beirut. They received their primary and secondary education at the International College affiliated with AUB.
Dikran continued his university studies at LAU, first receiving a B.S. degree in 1995, followed by an MBA in 1998. He became an expert in accounting and finance and received his CPA qualifications from the State of California.
Along with his successful professional career, and despite his frequent work travels, Dikran was an active member of the community in Lebanon, volunteering for many charities and community causes, always having his wife Sylvie on his side. Through his expert advice and organisational support, Dikran contributed to the success of many charitable, cultural and educational projects and community social services in Lebanon. In the 1990s, he also helped to establish financial auditing and consulting institutions in Armenia, and provided valuable advice and assistance to a number of NGOs on how to structure their financial and legal matters.
For many years, he served on the Board of Trustees of the Cilician Catholicosate’s “Birds Nest” orphanage as financial advisor. During his student years, he was a member of the Armenian Church University Students’ Union, under the auspices of the Catholicosate. He served as an elected Deputy of the Armenian National Assembly of the Prelacy of Lebanon, representing the Holy Resurrection Church in the Rmeil district. During his tenure, the community church flourished through many activities and services, especially distribution of assistance to community members, which increased after the August-4th devastating blast at Beirut Port. Dikran made sure that the much-needed assistance is provided weekly and satisfactorily. He was much loved by the members of the community for his leadership and services.
From an early age Dikran was active in AGBU, along with his parents. He had led his own children to AGBU’s Demirdjian Centre, where they took part in sports, educational, social and scouting activities.
Having grown up in the home of prominent educators and community activists Bebo and Azadouhie Simonians, Dikran and his brother Razmik were members of H.M.M. (Armenian Athletic Union) scouts and had achieved the rank of Deputy Chiefs. Even after they had embarked onto their professional careers, they continued to provide financial and moral support to the scouts.
Dikran supported the “Nor Serunt” (“New Generation”) social-cultural association, an organisation co-founded by his father. He provided financial support and advice especially to the association’s “Arek” dance group and was proud of his daughter Sarig, who performed with the group.
He helped numerous young university students by giving them advice and facilitating corporate internships, which many of them needed for their degree requirements. They were always grateful for his guidance, advice and for the success they had achieved in their professional careers.
Dikran was much loved by everyone his wonderful personality, his warm humanity. His professionalism, deep knowledge and business acumen were highly valued by his professional colleagues. His work for charity and service to the community over many years were much appreciated and will be missed greatly.
Dikran was the pride of his family and community. Alas, his multi-facetted, purpose-filled life lasted for only 47 years. He still had a lot to give and live.
— Hratch Tchilingirian
The family with His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia (Antelias, Lebanon)
Conference call with the JWT team.
Եթէ մի օր, անուշ ընկեր,
Գաս այցելու իմ շիրմին
Ու նորաբոյս վառ ծաղիկներ
Տեսնես փըռուած չորս կոմին,
Դու չկարծես, թէ հասարակ
Ծաղիկներ են ոտքի տակ,
Կամ թէ գարունն է այն բերել,
Իմ նոր տունը զարդարել:
Նրանք չերգած իմ երգերն են,
Որ սրտումըս ես տարայ,
Նրանք սիրոյ էն խօսքերն են,
Որ դեռ չասած ես մեռա՛:
If one day, dear friend,
you come to visit my grave
and see new blazing blooms
Do not think these are common
flowers beneath your steps,
or Spring has brought them
to adorn my new home.
These are my unsung ballads,
which I carried in my heart;
they are those words of love
that before uttering I died.
(Translated by Hratch Tchilingirian)