Between 1906 and 1912, the AGBU provided the villagers of the Western Armenia with seeds, agricultural instruments, etc. It established schools and orphanages in Western Armenia, Cilicia and other Armenian-populated regions of the Ottoman Empire. In 1914, AGBU had 142 branches in Western Armenia, Cilicia, USA, Argentina, Europe and Africa with 8,533 members.
The First World War and the Armenian Genocide were turning points for both the Armenian nation and the AGBU. In 1914, Boghos Nubar left Egypt and moved to Paris. Despite the huge losses in different chapters of the union, the AGBU managed to render tangible help to the Genocide survivors. In October 1915, the Sisvan school with 1,222 students, later an orphanage and a camp for women refugees, was established by the AGBU in the desert near Port Said, Egypt. This camp is where survivors of Musa Dagh settled. In the years following the Genocide, the AGBU became mainly involved in taking care of orphans. After the war, the AGBU was reformed and founded new branches in Armenian-populated regions of the Near East, Greece, France and USA.
The AGBU's first European branch, founded in Manchester in 1909. From left to right: Sarkis Kuyumjian, S. Shnorhavorian, Mihran Manukian (president), M. Bakrjian, K. Funduklian, D. Iplikjian.
In 1921, the union’s headquarters was moved from Cairo to Paris. After World War I, the main goal of the AGBU was to preserve and promote Armenian language, identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. In 1926, AGBU established the Melkonian Educational Institution in Nicosia, Cyprus, Nubarian foundation, which provided scholarships to Armenian youngsters to study in European universities, and the Marie Nubar Dormitory in Paris in 1930.
After the death of Boghos Nubar in 1930, oil magnate and prominent Armenian figure Galust Gyulbenkian took over the presidency of AGBU. After heading the union for two years, the son of the former, Zareh Bey Nubar, replaced him and headed the union until 1940.
During World War II, the AGBU headquarters was moved from Paris to New York as a result of Nazi occupation. In 1942, Arshak Karagyozian became the fourth president of the AGBU.
The AGBU's activities aimed at national preservation became more effective during the post-war period, especially in Alex Manoogian’s tenure between 1953–1989. The AGBU expanded and became the biggest and most influential Diaspora-Armenian organization in the world. In 1954 Alex Manoogian founded the ՚՚"Alex and Marie Manoogian" cultural fund; in 1968 he established the "Alex Manoogian" cultural fund. Through these funds, a number of educational and other establishments were built over the next several years.
Today, the AGBU has chapters in 80 cities in 22 countries around the world, with 22,000 members, 120 branches, 27 cultural centers spread worldwide in the USA, Europe, Near East, South America and Australia. The AGBU has 20 schools (6,600 students) and funds more than 16 educational establishments. The AGBU has two libraries, one in Paris and the other in New York City.
In 1989, Louise Manoogian Simone, the daughter of Alex Manoogian, became the president of the AGBU. It gave a new breath to the strengthening of ties between the Armenians of Armenia and Diaspora. In 1988, immediately following the Spitak earthquake, the AGBU organized the transportation of food, clothes, and medicine to the disaster zone. In 1990, the AGBU opened a representative office in Yerevan. Restarting its activities in Armenia after a 50-year interval, along with humanitarian assistance, the AGBU carries out projects aimed at and contributing to the development of the country.