NAASR joins with family and friends in mourning the passing of longtime member and supporter Edward Alexander, after an extraordinarily rich, distinguished, and long life.
Edward Alexander of Bethesda, MD, passed away on October 5, 2023, at the age of 103. He was a career diplomat in the Foreign Service where he served as a Public Affairs Officer in West Berlin; Budapest, Hungary; Athens, Greece; and East Berlin, GDR. He played a key role in the visits of President Kennedy to Berlin in 1963 and Richard Nixon to Bucharest in 1969. During his tour as Deputy Director for the Soviet Union and East Europe, Alexander traveled throughout the Soviet bloc supervising American press and cultural affairs, at which time he was the most senior Armenian-American official in the U.S. Government.
After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in Musicology followed by a Master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism, he entered the U.S. Army in World War II, serving in Europe on the staffs of Generals Eisenhower and Bradley in the Psychological Warfare Division. After the war, he worked as Public Relations Director to Sir Laurence Olivier on the two Shakespearean films Henry V and Hamlet. In 1950, he joined the Voice of America, organizing broadcasts to Soviet Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Tatarstan and was appointed Chief of the Armenian Service, where he remained for ten years.
Following his Foreign Service postings, he served on the Board for International Broadcasting, overseeing Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcasts, at the State Department in the Freedom of Information Division, and was Spokesman to three international conferences on Human Rights. He was official Escort and Interpreter for the White House visit of Catholicos Vazgen I with President Bush in the Oval Office and also for the visit of former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Shortly after Armenia’s independence, Alexander was invited to Armenia to serve as advisor to the Foreign Ministry.
He lectured about Armenia at NAASR, Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Diplomacy, The Library of Congress, the Armenian Embassy, and several universities. Alexander wrote three books, The Serpent and the Bees, A Crime of Vengeance, and Opus.
He was born in New York City in 1920 to John der Alexanian, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, and Nevart Faljian Alexanian.
Edward Alexander is survived by his wife Roseann, son Mark and his wife JoAnn Palazzo, son Scott and his wife Cathy Davis, and son Christian and his wife Arlene Saryan, and five grandchildren, Derek, Maya, Miranda, Garen, and Sean Alexander.
Memorial donations may be made in his memory to Traveling Doctors (for Artsakh refugees) at www.travelingdoctors.org or via mail: 175 Sand Key Estates Dr., Clearwater Beach, FL 33767, or to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.
His remains will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.