LOS ANGELES–The fourteenth in a series of international conferences devoted to historical Armenian cities and provinces–the conference on the Armenian communities of Iran was held on May 14-16. Sponsored by the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian history at the University of California in Los Angeles–and organized by the holder of the chair–Professor Richard Hovannisian–the successful conference had a turnout of more than 1,000 people.
The previous conference in this series–held last November–focused entirely on the community of New Julfa in Iran on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of its founding.
The opening session on May 14 in the Glendale Presbyterian Church included lectures in Armenian on Saint Stepanos and Dzordzor monasteries–the Armenia’s of the Salmast region–and the life and works of Archbishop Melik-Tangian of Tabriz.
The Saturday sessions on May 15 at the UCLA campus–included presentations that focused on the political–cultural–literary–economic–and social history of the Armenia’s of Iran or Persia.
Sunday afternoon–May 16–included sessions in both Armenian and English–about the Gharadagh Armenian communities–the pioneering role of the Armenia’s in Iranian theater and cinema–and integration of Armenian Iranians in California.
As in all previous conferences–an exhibit had been prepared by Richard and Anne Elbrecht–with the assistance of Setareh Mahdavi. The participants also enjoyed the hospitality of the Armenian Society of Los Angeles on Friday night and of Mr. and Mrs. Hacop and Hilda Baghdasarian of the Armenian Educational Foundation on Saturday night.
With the curtains closing on this conference–Professor Richard Hovannisian–the tireless driving force behind the series–announced the next chapter to be unveiled. The fifteenth conference–devoted to the Armenia’s in Jerusalem and the Holy Land–will be held on November 6-7–2004. It is a most timely event that will surely attract a large gathering of interested scholars and listeners.