LOS ANGELES–"The Armenian Genocide and Historical Memory: Challenge of the Twenty-First Century" is the theme of an international conference to be held on Saturday–April 8–2000–in UCLA’s Dickson Auditorium from 9:30 am to 6:30 p.m. The conference–which observes the 85th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide–will consider the genocide’s relevance and lessons in the new century. Scholars from diverse disciplines and most appearing for the first time in the series of UCLA Armenian Studies conferences will address historical–political–legal and judicial–educational–literary–and psychological aspects of the genocide and its consequences.
Introductory remarks will be made by conference organizer Professor Richard Hovannisian–"The Armenian Genocide–1915-2000," followed by the first morning session. Simon Payaslian–co-author of International Political Economy and with a Ph.D. in Political Science is currently a doctoral candidate in Armenian History at UCLA. He will speak on "The United States Response to the Genocide." Gary Bass–Princeton University–who has just completed Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals–will speak on "Justice Thwarted: The Turkish War Crimes Trials." Hilmar Kaiser–European Institute University–Florence–and author of Imperialism–Racism–and Development Theories will also speak.
Presenters in the second morning session are Vahram Shemmassian–principal of the Merdinian school in Los Angeles–whose Ph.D. dissertation at UCLA was on Musa Dagh and who has collected multi-lingual archival materials on the postwar refugee issues–"The League of Nations and the Reclamation of Armenian Survivors." Richard Hovannisian–AEF Chair in Armenian History at UCLA–who with his students has recorded more than 800 interviews of genocide survivors–"Bitter-Sweet Memories: The Last Generation of Ottoman Armenia’s" will follow. Rabbi Steven L. Jacobs–Temple B’nai Shalom–Huntsville–Alabama–and Martin Methodist College–Tennessee–who has researched the papers of international lawyer and human rights advocate Raphael Lemkin–creator of the term genocide–will speak on "Lemkin and the Armenian Genocide."
The afternoon sessions will consider the challenge of making the Armenian Genocide a part of collective historical memory–the related issues of denial and healing–and the role to be played by the Armenian state and people. The first of the sessions features Rubina Peroomian–UCLA–author of Literary Responses to Catastrophe: A Comparison of the Armenian and the Jewish Experience and an Armenian textbook series on the Armenian Cause. Christopher Simpson–American University–Washington–DC–specialist in communication literacy and author of Science of Coercion and the prize-winning The Splendid Blond Beast: Money–Law–and Genocide in the Twentieth Century–will speak on "The Politics of Media and the Armenian Genocide in the New Century." Joe Verhoeven–Catholic University of Louvain–Belgium–noted author and international legal scholar–will speak on "The Armenian Genocide and International Law." And Joyce Apsel–New York University–curriculum specialist on genocide education and vice president of the Association of Genocide Scholars–will speak on "Looking Backward and Forward: Teaching about the Armenian Genocide in the 21st Century."
Participants in the final session are Henry Theriault –Worcester State College–who heads the college’s Center for the Study of Human Rights and specializes in social and political theory–who will speak on "Denial and Free Speech: The Case of the Armenian Genocide." Ervin Staub–University of Massachusetts at Amherst–noted author of works on altruism–intervention–and bystanders–including Positive Social Behavior and Morality and The Roots of Evil The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence–who will speak on "Healing and Reconciliation." And Raffi K. Hovannisian–Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS)–Yerevan–first foreign minister of the new Armenian republic–who will speak on "State and Nation: Their Roles after Independence."
Discussion periods will follow each session.
The conference–one of several activities marking the 40th anniversary of Armenian Studies at UCLA–is organized by the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History–with support from the deans of the Social Sciences Division and the International Studies and Overseas Programs (ISOP)–the Souren and Verkin Papazian Endowment Fund–and Professor and Mrs. David and Lucy Tuchman Eisenberg.
The event is open to the public. There is no admission fee. Parking is available ($5) in UCLA’s parking structure number 3–entrance from Hilgard Avenue at Sunset Boulevard. Dickson Auditorium is in the Dickson Art Center (UCLA map on the web: www.ucla.edu). For additional information–e-mail Professor Richard Hovannisian: Hovannis@history.ucla.edu –or telephone in the morning hours–310-825-3375.