Passings: Annie Demirjian

A field of flowers at sunset

Annie Demirjian, former director of the School of Public and International Affairs at Glendon Campus, has passed away. Demirjian lost her battle with cancer on July 25, at the age of 68.

Annie Demirjian
Annie Demirjian

Demirjian was born to an Armenian family and came to Toronto from Syria as a teenager speaking only French and Armenian. She overcame language barriers during her high school years at Lawrence Park Collegiate and continued on to earn an undergraduate degree at Glendon Campus. After earning her BA in political science and government, she pursued graduate studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she obtained an MSc in economics and project management.

In 2016, Demirjian became director of Glendon’s School of Public and International Affairs and remained in that role until 2020. Her contributions to the school, the program and to Glendon were many, and she worked tirelessly to build the profile of Glendon and the MPIA (Master’s in Public & International Affairs) in a variety of different circles. Due to her work, the School and the MPIA significantly grew its number of partners, most of which are still participating in activities today.

She was the founder and champion of Glendon Global Debates, now a signature event of the School, and was always looking for interesting ways to inspire students, including organizing a visit to the UN Security Council.

Demirjian’s dedication to student success was limitless; she put together workshops to prepare students for job interviews, helped them with their CVs and she was always willing to meet with them and to provide her thoughtful advice.

“For my part, I will remember a woman with a big heart, great intelligence but also great simplicity. Having started my mandate as program director at the same time as she took over the management of the School, she was a mentor to me. His good humor and energy was contagious. Working with Annie has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable professional experiences I have had,” said Frances Garon, associate professor at Glendon.

In 2019, Demirjian made a pledge of $10,000 per year to fund a new bursary at Glendon Campus for international students who identify as francophone.

Demirjian was also a public servant, and dedicated her time and efforts with CUSO, the Federal Government of Canada and the United Nations.

Outside of work, she enjoyed travelling and spending times with friends and family. She collected art and had more than 100 pieces in her collection that she acquired in the many places she called home, such as Iraq, Haiti, the Middle East, Africa, central Asia and eastern Europe.

A private family service takes place Aug. 4. Friends and family will be invited to attend a Celebration of Annie’s Life to be held at York University, Glendon College at a future date in August. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders by visiting the donations page.