LOS ANGELES—The Shoah Foundation, headed by executive director Stephen Smith, will be present in Yerevan for ceremonies marking the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. The delegation, composed of Dr. Smith, Karen Jungblut, Director of Documentation and Research; Professor Wolf Gruner, Director of the Center for Advanced Genocide Studies; and Professor Richard Hovannisian of UCLA and USC, will attend a two-day Global Forum, where Smith and Hovannisian will give brief addresses and on April 24 lay a wreath from the Shoah Foundation at the Genocide Memorial. From Yerevan, the delegation will travel to Istanbul to participate in the outdoor program to take place in Taksim Square on the evening of April 24. The Shoah Foundation is placing 30 Armenian survivor interviews on its web site during the month of April. Richard Hovannisian has been filmed to introduce the first five in the series, which may be accessed on the USC Shoah Foundation web site. https://sfi.usc.edu/search/node/hovannisian
While in Yerevan, Professor Hovannisian will also be honored on April 21 on the occasion of the publication of the Armenian translation of Volume II of his “Republic of Armenia.” The event is sponsored by the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences and the International Center for National and International Studies. Volumes three and four in the series are currently being translated as well.
Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Vancouver
Richard Hovannisian has participated in a number of genocide-related programs during the first part of 2015. In January, he was the featured speaker at the conference of Association of Holocaust Organizations meeting at the University of Southern California. He then traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Holocaust and Genocide scholars and give a public lecture in the Tarkmanchats School for members and seminarians of the brotherhood of Saint James and for the Armenian community. That month, both his personal and academic lives were featured in a USC Armenian Institute conversation titled “Half Immigrant,” with History Department Chair William Deverell as moderator. Hovannisian was a discussant in the CSU Northridge conference “Accounting and Accountability,” organized by Dr. Vahram Shemmassian of the Armenian Studies Program on January 31, and spoke at the Abril Bookstore on his most recent volume, “The Armenian Communities of Asia Minor.”
On February 11, Hovannisian joined radio host Ian Masters and David L. Philips of Columbia University in the Hammer Museum in Westwood in a lively discussion on “The Armenian Genocide: A Hundred Years of Denial.” He also gave an illustrated talk to the Armenian Youth Association of California on the Armenian communities of the Kesaria (Kayseri) region, and was in Vancouver, Canada on February 28, for a lecture sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Centenary Commemoration Committee. The talk included film segments prepared by Ani Hovannisian Kevorkian on Armenian Dikranagerd (Diyarbekir) and the Hamshen people of the Black Sea.
New York, Nebraska, France
A variety of centenary-related programs were organized in March. A major three-day conference titled “Responsibility 2015” was organized by the Eastern Region of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York’s Times Square, March 13-15, with participants from America, Europe, and the Middle East and with keynote speaker international law specialist Geoffrey Robinson. From among the dozen innovative sessions, Richard Hovannisian discussed the state of Armenian Genocide research and during an authors’ luncheon that featured a number of American Armenian writers reflected on the scope of his publications. While in New York, he gave an extensive filmed interview for the joint project of the Zoryan Institute and AGBU to prepare educational videos for the AGBU webtalk series, scheduled to begin in April.
Hovannisian returned to Los Angeles to address an educators’ workshop and dinner, “An Evening of Learning,” sponsored by the Facing History and Ourselves Foundation, in which he discussed key issues relating to teaching about the Armenian Genocide, as mandated both in the 1980s and in 2014 as a part of the Social Studies Curriculum Framework of the State of California. In addition, Hovannisian was previously filmed by Facing History for a unit placed on its web site on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide
A major conference on the Armenian Genocide was organized in Middle America by Professor Bedross Der Matossian of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln on March 19-20. Despite pressure on the University by outside sources, the conference titled “Crossing the Centennial: The Historiography of the Armenian Genocide Re-Evaluated” attracted a large audience to hear speakers from Turkey, Israel, Armenia, several countries in Europe, and both the United States and Canada. There, Hovannisian reviewed the changes and significant advances in the historiography of the Armenian Genocide since the beginning of his career in the 1960s.
At the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church on Sunday, March 22, Richard Hovannisian joined Dr. Stephen Smith as one of the keynote speakers in a joint Armenian-Jewish commemorative program under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and the co-sponsorship of the American Jewish Committee of Los Angeles, whose president emphasized the unwavering commitment of his organization to recognition and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
More than 60 speakers participated in a four-day conference in Paris, March 25-28, titled “Le génocide des Arméniens de l’Empire ottoman,” which assessed a century of study and scholarship on the subject. The government-funded conference organized by the International Scientific Commission was opened in the amphitheater of Sorbonne University with forceful words of commitment by the Minister of Education and a masterful historical overview by Professor Yves Ternon. The deliberations of the next three days took place in the Shoah Foundation, the School for Advanced Social Science Research, and the National Library of France. It is significant that nearly a third of the presenters were citizens of Turkey. Richard Hovannisian gave introductory remarks and chaired the panel on “Perpetrators, Victims, and Rescuers,” and spoke in the concluding roundtable panel on the contemporary denial and its practitioners. On the eve of the international conference, the Hamazkayin Cultural Association of Paris organized an evening with Professor Hovannisian and Ani Kevorkian Hovannisian in the historic Armenian church of Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich/John the Baptist.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota
Prior to departing for Yerevan with the Shoah Foundation Delegation, Richard Hovannisian’s April lectures include Kean University in New Jersey on April 7, sponsored by Holocaust and Genocide Studies; the UCLA conference “Genocide and Global History,” organized by Professor Sebouh Aslanian and the Chair in Modern Armenian History on April 10; “We Not Only Survived, but Thrived” conference, sponsored by the Saints Sahag and Mesrop Church of Philadelphia and organized by Dr. Alfred Mueller II on April 11, and the World Without Genocide organization of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul on April 14. Following his return from Yerevan and Istanbul, Richard Hovannisian will give the Armenian Genocide centenary lecture at Chapman University in Orange, California on April 28 and at Portland State University on May 6.