DENVER–Armenia’s of Colorado Inc, and Facing History and Ourselves, together with the Political Science and History Departmen’s at the University of Denver sponsored a talk on April 19 with Harvard Professor David L. Nersessian, JD, PhD entitled The Power of a Word – Recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a Path to Reconciliation. The lecture was held at the University of Denver. At the end of Dr. Nersessian’s presentation, members of the Turkish lobby and Turkish community stood up to ask questions which soon turned into soap box tactics in stating the Turkish position. Dr. Nersessian was very effective in dismissing the Turkish argumen’s with substantive facts and legal references. Dr Nersessian framed the argument of “intent” and the definition of genocide in a context that made it difficult for the Turkish position to be taken seriously by those less familiar with the subject. Last year, AOC invited Turkish Scholar Taner Akcam to Colorado as their key note speaker, which initiated Turkish attendance at these events.
As part of the Armenian Genocide awareness and remembrance events in Colorado, AOC facilitated the passage of the 7th Annual State Joint resolution designating April 24th as Colorado Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The proceedings were much more elaborate than in previous years with several State Senators and Representatives voicing their “concerns” about offending Turkey a key ally in the war against terror. This year the proceedings were televised via the internet. “If one of the purposes of bringing this resolution to a vote is to educate the public and our elected officials, then this year it achieved its goal”, stated Kim Christianian (Herosian) co-chair of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration committee for AOC. Armenia’s of Colorado also procured proclamations from Governor Bill Ritter and Denver’s Mayor John Hickenlooper. The proclamations have been a long standing tradition for AOC stemming back 25 years when Governor Lamm issued the first proclamation to coincide with the installation of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Plaque in the Armenian Garden located on the grounds of the State Capitol. AOC was instrumental in having the plaque placed at the Capitol. The headstone was designed by Architect Varouj Hairabedian from Aspen.
AOC has also formed a collaborative relationship with Facing History And Ourselves in holding workshops for Denver middle and high school educators to help implement the Armenian Genocide curriculum into their schools. Ken Allikian co-chair of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration committee for AOC was the guest speaker for the initial workshop held April 1, 2008. He has since fulfilled many requests by educators to speak in their classrooms. AOC is forming a speaker’s bureau to meet the demand.
The Colorado commemorative events culminated with the annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration ceremony on Sunday, April 27th at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Plaque on the State Capitol grounds. Over 200 people attended and Colorado State Senator Lois Tochtrop, co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide resolution was among the speakers who addressed the crowd.
Armenia’s of Colorado Inc. was established in June 1982. It is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, cultural, and non-partisan organization, charged with a purpose to create a cohesive Armenian community and to further the understanding of Armenian history, culture, and heritage. AOC actively supports issues and concerns of the Armenian-American community here in Colorado as well as those identified within the Armenian Diaspora throughout the world. For more information about Armenia’s of Colorado go to www.armenia’sofcolorado.org.