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Glendale City Council Unanimously Approves Central Park Framework Featuring Armenian American Museum

GLENDALE – The Glendale City Council unanimously approved the design principles for a reimagined Central Park including the future downtown Glendale site of the Armenian American Museum, marking a major milestone for the historic project.

The City of Glendale’s staff and urban design firm, SWA, presented their proposal for the Central Park block at the Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. SWA envisions a new prominent gathering space in the heart of Glendale’s Arts and Entertainment District with increased green and open space, vibrant public amenities, and diverse cultural programs. SWA’s proposal calls for the creation of a new Central Open Space that would connect the Downtown Central Library, Adult Recreation Center, and Armenian American Museum as well as the creation of a new Forest Park that would feature a large forested park space and children’s playground. New and expanded paseos would provide walking paths connecting the Central Park block to Brand Boulevard and The Americana at Brand.

Since May 2017, officials from the City, SWA, and Museum have been working collaboratively to develop a unified vision for the downtown Glendale site. Armenian American Museum representatives expressed their support for the framework presented during the Council meeting.

“Our City will benefit tremendously from creating a space between the Central Library, Armenian American Museum, and Adult Recreational Center that will integrate its civic, cultural, and senior facilities in the Central Park block and create new public spaces and recreational opportunities for our City and its residents,” stated Museum Executive Committee Chairman Berdj Karapetian.

“Just imagine what we are creating for the future of Glendale,” stated Armenian American Museum Architect Aram Alajajian. “This is going to be a wonderful project for all of us. It is a legacy project to stay.”

Prior to voting on SWA’s proposal, Glendale City Councilmembers shared comments and expressed their strong support for the project.

“I’m delighted that we have reached this point,” stated Councilmember Paula Devine. “The Armenian American Museum is going to be fantastic. I’m so happy that we are allotting 92,000 square feet for park space.”

“The Armenian American Museum is going to be a very vibrant addition to an exciting downtown that we are going to have,” stated Councilmember Ara Najarian. “It is something that we are all going to be very proud of.”

“We have come to a point where there is a resolution that is great for Glendale and the Museum,” stated Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan. “The end result is truly going to activate the whole area including the entirety of the park.”

“It can’t be any better… all three sides including the City staff, SWA, and Armenian American Museum are in agreement,” stated Councilmember Vrej Aghajanian. “Everybody is happy with the design that has been provided to us.”

“Thank you to SWA and City staff for coming together on this important project,” stated Mayor Vartan Gharpetian. “This is a landmark project that is going to put Glendale on the map. I support this project wholeheartedly.”

Glendale City Council’s unanimous approval clears the way for community outreach efforts to begin in January 2018 and officials anticipate the signing of the ground lease agreement and final approvals to be completed in April 2018.

For more information about the Armenian American Museum, visit www.ArmenianAmericanMuseum.org or call (844) 586-4626.

About Armenian American Museum
The Armenian American Museum is a developing project in Glendale, CA, with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. When completed, it will serve as a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.

The governing board of the Armenian American Museum consists of representatives from the following ten Armenian American institutions and organizations: Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union – Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society – Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/12/glendale-city-council-unanimously-approves-central-park-framework-featuring-armenian-american-museum/

The UN Observes International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide

NEW YORK — For the third time since 2015 a special event in observance of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime was held at the United Nations in New York on 8 December.

The observance of the International Day commenced with a minute of silence in honour of the memory of the victims of Genocide. Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, representing the Secretary-General delivered opening remarks. Mr Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide delivered a keynote speech and launched a one year appeal for the universal ratification of the Genocide Convention.

The panel featured Mr Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN, Mr Jean-Claude Félix do Rego, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Benin to the UN, and Mr Martin Fode Seck, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN. Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court made remarks on the drafting of the Genocide Convention and its present challenges.

In his remarks Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan noted that ‘there is a strong symbolism in determining 9 December as the International Day. Reaffirming the significance of the Convention as an effective international instrument for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, UN General Assembly Resolution 69/323 linked the International Day to the date of the adoption of the Convention. Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan further noted that “intolerance, xenophobia, racial and ethnic profiling, glorification of hate crimes, especially lead and encouraged by the political leaders within a state should be a concern to the entire international community and serve a clear early warning sign of potential conflict and atrocity crimes”. Stressing the importance of achieving universalization of the Genocide Convention, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan recalled that Armenia had proposed to launch a global campaign for raising the awareness of the Convention and calling upon those states that have not acceded to the Convention to do so by its 70th anniversary. He added that Armenia endorses, fully supports and commits to work together with the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in launching a one year appeal for the universal ratification of the Convention by the end of 2018.

Representatives of UN member states, academic institutions, civil society organizations and media, as well as representatives of the Armenian-American community and school children attended the observance of the International Day. The event was widely publicized in the UN.

Background: Upon the initiative of Armenia, in September 2015, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 69/323 proclaiming 9 December as an International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. This landmark resolution followed up on resolution 28/34 of the UN Human Rights Council initiated by Armenia. The resolutions, which have led to the establishment of the Day, as well as the events held in its observance add to the continued efforts of Armenia to promote consolidated international action against the crime of genocide.

Full text of Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s speech

 

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/12/un-observes-international-day-commemoration-dignity-victims-crime-genocide/

“The Sins of the Fathers: Turkish Denialism and the Armenian Genocide”

MISSION HILLS — The Ararat-Eskijian-Museum and The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) present “The Sins of the Fathers: Turkish Denialism and the Armenian Genocide” by Siobhan Nash-Marshall Mary T. Clark Chair of Christian Philosophy, Manhattanville College on Sunday December 10, 2017 at 4PM, Ararat-Eskijian Museum/ Sheen Chapel, 15105 Mission Hills Rd. Mission Hills Ca 91345.

In 1915 the government of the Ottoman Empire began systematically to rip Western Ar-menians off the lands where their ancestors had lived since time immemorial. It ordered that Armenian men be murdered, and the Armenian women, children, and grandparents be de-ported into areas of Syria declared unfit for human life. Most of the Armenians who man-aged to survive the death march were slaughtered there. In The Sins of the Fathers-the first part in The Betrayal of Philosophy trilogy-Dr. Siobhan Nash-Marshall connects the total dis-regard of fact and people, of lands and history that informed the Armenian Genocide and Turkish denial to what is today informing our world and culture.

Siobhan Nash-Marshall holds the Mary T. Clark Chair of Christian Philosophy at Manhat-tanville College. Author of many academic books and articles on metaphysics and the prob-lem of evil, she also has written books and articles for the general public-Joan of Arc: A Spir-itual Biography and What It Takes to be Free: Religion and the Roots of Democracy. In recent years, Nash-Marshall has devoted a lot of attention to genocide and genocide negationism. The Sins of the Fathers is her first book-length treatment of the topic. After the breakout of the war in Syria, Nash-Marshall and some friends founded the Christians In Need Foundation (CINF), through which they attempt to help the ancient Christian cultures of the world which are presently in peril.

For more information about the event, contact the Ararat-Eskijian Museum at (747) 500-7585 or eskijian@ararat-eskijian-museum.com, or NAASR at (617) 489-1610 or hq@naasr.org.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/12/sins-fathers-turkish-denialism-armenian-genocide/

Ambassador Samantha Power Joins the Aurora Prize Selection Committee

NEW YORK — The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative announces Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power as the newest member of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity Selection Committee. As a part of the Selection Committee, Ambassador Power will join the other esteemed humanitarians, human rights activists and former heads of state to determine future recipients for the annual $1.1 million Aurora Prize.

“We are very excited to welcome Ambassador Power to the Aurora Prize Selection Committee. With her notable experience on the world stage, she has made great strides in aiding those in the developing world and standing up for the most vulnerable members of our global community,” said Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “With her unparalleled expertise in human rights around the world, we are honored that she will review Aurora Prize nominations and help shape the future of the Aurora Prize.”

Ambassador Samantha Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of President Obama’s cabinet, and became known as one of the country’s foremost thinkers on foreign policy. Prior to her work at the United Nations, she served on the U.S. National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, where she focused on atrocity prevention, United Nations reform, LGBT and women’s rights and the promotion of religious freedom, among other issues. She also authored the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.” Given her influential work in human rights and democracy, she has been recognized several times over, including as one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” and Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”

“The Aurora Prize and its laureates recognize that, while it is essential to remember past atrocities, we each have the power to assist those who are saving lives in the present,” said Ambassador Power. “I take great pride in being part of the Prize’s Selection Committee, which seeks to honor those who make great sacrifices to help others, and who find a way to mobilize human kindness and persevere amid steep odds.”

She will join current Aurora Prize Selection Committee members Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo; human rights activist Hina Jilani; Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London Lord Ara Darzi; President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group and former foreign minister of Australia Gareth Evans; Medecins sans Frontieres Founder Bernard Kouchner; President of Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian; and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney.

The Aurora Prize, now in its third year, was founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The Selection Committee will convene in Berlin, Germany on December 4, 2017 to review nominations from this year’s process, which gathered 750 submissions from 115 countries. Concurrent to their meeting in Berlin, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will host its first Aurora Dialogues outside of Armenia, titled “Millions on The Move: Need for Development and Integration.” The Aurora Dialogues Berlin is a joint effort of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, Global Perspectives Initiative, Robert Bosch Stiftung and Stiftung Mercator, and will be held on December 4-5, 2017. Speakers will address the state of the global migration crisis and look at the role of different actors in advancing positive change.

The 2018 Aurora Prize finalists will be announced on April 24, 2018, the day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. The Aurora Prize, established on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, provides the laureate with a $100,000 grant and the opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by nominating organizations to receive a $1,000,000 award. The third annual Prize will be announced on June 10, 2018, at a ceremony in Armenia.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/12/ambassador-samantha-power-joins-aurora-prize-selection-committee/

Chris Cornell’s ‘The Promise’ Nominated for Grammy Awards

NEW YORK — Chris Cornell, who was the lead singer of Seattle-based band Soundgarden until his death earlier this year, was nominated on Tuesday for a 2018 Grammy Award for his original song “The Promise.”

The song, which is nominated in the Best Rock Performance category, was the title track of the Armenian Genocide film “The Promise.”

Cornell wrote and performed the ‘Promise’ song for the eponymous movie on the Armenian Genocide. Speaking about the movie, he said: “That was one of the things that was important to me, was not just telling a century-old story, but telling that story because it’s happening today,” he said. “We need to be aware that these things happen now. We need to kind of be slapped in the face with the fact that, as horrendous as this was a century ago, in many parts of the world we haven’t gotten anywhere.”

On November 14 the “Promise” song was honored with the inaugural “Promise” Award of the Los Angeles Committee of Human Rights Watch.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/11/chris-cornells-promise-nominated-grammy-awards/

Conventional, Digital, and Online Resources of the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Knights and Daughters of Vartan held their regular Monthly Public Discussion titled “New Ways of Learning About the Armenian Genocide. Conventional, Digital, and Online Resources” at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church Cultural Hall. Guest Speaker was Dr. Rouben P. Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute, D.C.

Close to 30 guests in attendance felt fortunate and very proud of the many accomplishments the Armenian National Institute (ANI) were realized under Dr. Adalian’s leadership.

Master of ceremonies, Malvina Brown presented the speaker to the audience. Dr. Adalian began his discussion expressing his gratitude to the members of Armenian Community Centennial Committee as well as Washington metro Armenian community at large for their tireless efforts organizing events leading up to the commemoration and celebration of 100 years passing of the genocide. Dr. Adalian was especially elated to have seen the younger generation involved and engaged throughout the week long activities in May, 2015.

The question Dr. Adalian posed “it’s been 100 years, what’s next?” He continued assuring the audience that the hard work put in for the centennial celebration paid off.

Dr. Adalian moved on to present ANI’s role and the impact its website has created within the general public, our elected officials, the media, educators on all levels and much more. He provided statistics on the number of visitors to ANI’s website and what was being analyzed behind the scenes of ANI’s website. In 2013 ANI’s website had 2 million visitors. The numbers started rising every year and reached the peak in 2016 with 6 million hits. Statistics indicated the visitors were mostly from English speaking countries; USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. The team at ANI realized there was an audience in Turkey that needed access to the information in their language including the Islamized “Armenians” and Armenians who did not speak Armenian. Hence, access to the information in Turkish language was added to the website and had recorded 10,000 visitors already.

Dr. Adalian added that ANI’s website has realized that one of its goals is actively participating in spreading the historic data about the genocide and reaching out to all age groups, including student and teachers. The website is being used now as a teaching tool and is appealing to the youngsters. The systematic translation of the key documents posted on the website by professionals have to date not been contested as they were all based on U.S. account of what was happening to the Armenians living under the Ottoman Empire rule. Exploiting incontestable evidence extracted from around 37000 pages from the National Archives, meticulously studied over 2 years, Dr. Adalian succeeded in producing a treasure of a document that has yet to be challenged as presenting false information.

Dr. Adalian pointed out that one mission ANI had to accomplish was to prove to the public and governmental officials in the U.S. and around the world the Armenian Genocide happened based on evidence as recorded by non-Armenians. He assured the guests in attendance that we are winning the battle already as documents retrieved from the National Archives for the purposes of reconstructing the history and giving an account of the genocide by using reports by citizens of this significant powerful country, the United States!

Dr. Adalian covered the next phase of ANI’s website, which was the “interactive site.” In his research over 20 plus years, Dr. Adalian sensed the need for a reliable governmental source document to present the Armenian life. He wanted to have a tool that would offer highlights and not to overwhelm the student searching for the information. Consequently, in keeping close tabs with technology he created downloadable documents within ANI’s website to be used as tools for parents and teachers. He estimated 50,000 copies of these documents have already been in circulation for various purposes by the individuals who had accessed them.

Dr. Adalian ended his presentation by posing the question; how we continue telling our story now that our survivors are no longer with us?

Dr. Adalian received a standing ovation from the attendees for his unyielding labor in affirming the genocide and not arguing whether it happened or not, a philosophy he justly claims ownership.

The evening concluded with a reception where Dr. Adalian humbly addressed the attendees’ numerous inquiries.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/11/conventional-digital-online-resources-armenian-genocide/

Can a Change in Language Overcome the Challenges of Justice and Retribution

BY K.M. GREG SARKISSIAN

NOTE: Throughout my talk, when I use the word “genocide,” I refer to the “act of genocide,” as distinct from the legal term “genocide,” which can be used as a criminal charge to try a perpetrator.

The Armenian Genocide represents the first case of “modern” genocide, as described by Raphael Lemkin, the legal scholar who coined the term, in which a government tried to eliminate an identifiable ethnic, religious, national or racial group of its own citizens, and is recognized by specialists as the prototype for genocide in the 20th century and beyond. I will take a moment here to go over what genocide entails for those who are not aware of the legal definition, as found in the UN Genocide Convention. It involves:

1. Killing members of the group;
2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

There is no doubt that what Ottoman Turkey committed was an “act of genocide,” as defined under this convention. However, any attempt to make a claim for retribution using this convention is legally challenged, for two reasons:

a) The 1948 Genocide Convention can not be applied retroactively. This was tested when the participants of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee (TARC) agreed to apply to the International Centre for Transitional Justice in New York. This was to decide if the Medz Yeghern could be litigable under the 1948 Convention. The ICTJ qualified the Medz Yeghern as an act of genocide, but clearly confirmed that the Convention cannot be applied retroactively to events of 1915, otherwise described as the Armenian Genocide.
b) Another major reason for the inability to use the Genocide Convention as a tool for claims and restitution from Turkey is the absence of “The State” as an actor or perpetrator. The Convention specifically mentions holding individuals responsible for committing genocide, as opposed to the state. This raises a question: Do states that have committed such a crime, or have connived with perpetrators, have immunity?

These points demonstrate the difficulties in using the 1948 Convention retroactively. Nevertheless, we shall momentarily how charges of crimes against humanity have been laid retroactively in the past.

Armenians throughout the world, have been campaigning and lobbying over the last 50 years to convince Turkey, its allies and the world, to acknowledge Ottoman Turkey’s crime of genocide, using the Convention. In fact, certain countries in Europe have gone as far as criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, such as France and Switzerland, and in the case of Germany, the Bundestag passed the Armenian Genocide Resolution unanimously on June 2, 2016, designating the Ottoman killings of Christian Armenians as genocide.

Unfortunately, the use of “genocide,” a highly politicized term, is challenged by Turkey in the Armenian case, among other reasons because it can not be used retroactively. The Republic of Turkey even challenges and denies the Act of Genocide committed by its predecessor, Ottoman Turkey, despite the fact that the International Center for Transnational Justice has defined the act as such. So how this challenge be overcome?

What legal documents can be best used to convince Turkey’s intellectuals, scholars, policy makers, and even the government and its allies, that what was committed by Ottoman Turkey in 1915 was an act of genocide? The trick is in finding a concrete legal documentation that existed at the very time that the act of Genocide was taking place. This could replace any interpretation of a law that developed decades later in 1948. It would give Armenians a better tool for possible claims for reparations and acknowledgement by the international community, that the survivors of Medz Yeghern and their descendants have the right to claim under international law.

Here, I would like to refer to the post-World War II Nuremburg Trials, where initially some 24 Nazi leaders were indicted under the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, on the following accounts

a) Count One: The Common Plan or Conspiracy
b) Count Two: Crimes against Peace
c) Count Three: War Crimes
d) Count Four: Crimes against Humanity

One of the four counts included Crimes against Humanity, which was applied retroactively to acts perpetrated by the Nazis during World War II, prior to the term “crimes against humanity” being defined in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, adopted on August 8, 1945. While the term “genocide” was used during the trials to define the “acts” that were committed by the Nazis against the Jews, it did not become part of the final verdicts. Therefore, it could be reasonable to consider applying the same method, retroactively, merely an additional three decades, to apply to the atrocities committed against Armenians in 1915. If the Allied Powers could apply crimes against humanity retroactively at Nuremberg, why could they not do the same regarding the Armenian case?

It has even been stated that the argument for retroactive application of the concept of crimes against humanity in the Armenian case is more compelling than that for the Genocide Convention, given that the idea of crimes against humanity was included in The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, prior to 1915. More importantly, the expression, “crimes against humanity,” is also identified historically with the joint declaration made by the Allied Powers—France, Great Britain and Russia—on May 24, 1915 regarding the Armenian massacres.

The question now arises if it is legally acceptable to apply Crimes Against Humanity in pursuit of recognition and reparations for the Medz Yeghern of 1915. Allow me to take a moment to read the Declaration and demonstrate the legal significance:

“For about a month the Kurd and Turkish populations of Armenia has been massacring Armenians with the connivance and often assistance of Ottoman authorities.

Such massacres took place in middle April at Erzerum, Dertchun, Eguine, Akn, Bitlis, Mouch, Sassun, Zeitun, and throughout Cilicie. Inhabitants of about one hundred villages near Van were all murdered. In that city Armenian quarter is besieged by Kurds.

At the same time in Constantinople Ottoman Government ill-treats inoffensive Armenian population”.

It goes on to say:

“In view of those new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, the Allied governments announce publicly to the Sublime-Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres”.

One may conclude that the May 24, 1915 Declaration should be adequate as a potential tool to pursue any attempt to demand retribution for the following reasons:

a) It would be more difficult for Turkey to deny a document which described the act committed by Ottoman Turkey as Crimes Against Humanity as opposed to the retroactive application the 1948 Genocide Convention.
b) The Zoryan Institute’s research has found that the act of the Armenian Genocide was documented through the Ottoman Special Military Tribunal’s criminal prosecution of the perpetrators involved. The courts-martial unfolded over two years (1919–1920). The near omnipotent role played in the organization of the Genocide by the top leaders of a militarized political party, the Young Turk junta, became all too evident. The party that committed these crimes was the Ittihad ve Terakki, or the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP).

Wartime Cabinet ministers, Young Turk party leaders, and a number of other accessories were court-martialled for orchestrating Turkey’s entry into World War I and for the annihilation of the Armenians. Most were found guilty and received sentences ranging from prison with hard labour to death. Talât, Enver, Cemal, and Dr. Nazým were condemned to death in absentia.

More importantly, the documentation for the trials was rendered both incontestable and verifiable by a distinct legal procedure the Tribunal adopted: when on the witness stand, the principal defendants were invited to examine and confirm the authenticity of the many secret and top-secret documents bearing their own signatures. Most of these documents had been secured and authenticated during the pretrial investigations by officials from the ministries of Interior and Justice.

The Ottoman government was forced to release during the trials, authentic Turkish documentation. It includes the personal, eyewitness testimony of high-ranking Ottoman officials, given under oath, on the magnitude of the crimes against the Armenians. The indictments, evidence, and verdicts clearly prove the centralized planning and the genocidal intent of Young Turk government against its Armenian citizens.

This is the first time a national court successfully prosecuted such a case of mass atrocity against its own citizens. The legal principle of “crimes against humanity” that arose in this case had a far-reaching influence and is echoed in the Nuremberg Charter, the Tokyo Charter, and the UN Genocide Convention.

Now, Armenians have to ask themselves an existential question: “What is the goal of legal recognition?” It is many things, and not always the same for everyone. For some, it would be the psychological satisfaction of acknowledgment by the perpetrator nation; for others, the possibility of restorative justice and/or reparations. There are also the important issues of normalized relations with Turkey and security and stability of Armenia going forward. After all, the ultimate objective of Armenians is to convince Turkey to stop its state sponsored efforts of denial and come to terms with the historical facts described in this Declaration, for their sake, as much as for Armenians.

In fact, The Human Rights Association in Turkey has made a strong argument for the racism inherent in the Armenian case. They wrote, “we are the most immediate, direct witnesses of how the denial of genocide (by Turkey) against the Armenians and other Christian ethnic groups of Asia Minor, has, right from the start, generated an anti-democratic system, allowing racist hatred, hate crimes, and violation of freedom of expression and human rights in general…” Thus, Turkey’s acceptance of their past will directly help the democratization of Turkey and progress of peace in the region. Such a development will automatically benefit Armenia as well.

Over the years, the Zoryan Institute’s research on dialogue between Armenians and Turkey has indicated that, notwithstanding political challenges, it may be possible that Turkey may agree to enter into dialogue on the basis of acknowledging the Declaration of the Allied Powers on “crimes against humanity” and the national military trials of 1919. This approach may make the difference in convincing Turkey to deal with the historical facts, which are well documented, and may open the doors for renewed dialogue and diplomacy between the two governments of Turkey and Armenia. It may be more beneficial to pursue dialogue given the challenges Armenia faces, including geopolitical issues such as:

o Turkey has the largest military in the region and an economy at least 100 times that of Armenia’s.
o The tenuous relationship between the neo-colonial Russia and Armenia and Russia’s geopolitical considerations of the nearby border states.
o The sale of Russian arms concurrently to Azerbaijan and Armenia, despite Russia being a military ally to Armenia, knowing well that Azerbaijan has used these arms against Armenia.
o The Russian presence in the boarders between Turkey and Armenia and the potential danger associated with crises emanating from such claims of retribution. Where, as a result, Russia pulls its forces from those borders.

With this said, Armenians must continue to exert all academic and political leverages, wherever possible, particularly in the Diaspora, to ensure that the Republic of Turkey and its allies, admit the incontestability of the Act of Genocide by Ottoman Turkey against its Armenians citizens. At the same time, Turkey and others must be convinced that the denial of this historical fact is immoral and unethical, especially when seen through the prism of Crimes Against Humanity declaration made by the Allied Powers and the military tribunals in 1919.

In conclusion, The Zoryan Institute, among other organizations, is committed to engaging the next generation through education and awareness, to work towards an understanding of the Armenian Genocide as also a Crime Against Humanity, by Turkey and others, while at the same time, developing a path of reconciliation and dialogue with their counterparts in Turkey.

The Institute hopes that in doing so, the incoming generation and their contemporaries in Turkey will accept the facts of history with all the implications and expectations from both sides. They will do so with the hope to correct the official history narrated by the Turkish state, which is a stumbling block for peace and stability in the region. As I wrote in 2006, “…true peace can be achieved only if the nations in the region can talk to each other openly about their past. Therefore, we see education through the Common Body of Knowledge as one of the best ways to alleviate the tension between Turks and Armenians, because it provides a basis of shared knowledge that can counter generations of hostility and lead to mutual understanding and dialogue.”

As Prof. Taner Akçam describes in his book titled, Dialogue Across an International Divide. “A Change of language is a condition…we have sufficient moral fibre and intelligence to evaluate as Crimes Against Humanity, the era of offences and perpetrations, regardless of identity of offenders and their underlying motivations”.

This speech was given by K.M. Greg Sarkissian, the president of the Zoryan Institute, at an event in Buenos Aires co-organized with the Luisa Hairabedian Foundation at the AGBU Center on November 18, 2017. It draws upon the legal publications of Prof. William A. Schabas, a member of the Institute’s Academic Board of Directors.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/11/can-change-language-overcome-challenges-justice-retribution/

Armenian American Museum Honors Senator Portantino at Community Reception

GLENDALE – The Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center honored California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) at a special community reception with donors and supporters on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Earlier this year, Senator Portantino successfully spearheaded an effort leading to the State Legislature investing an additional $3 million in the historic cultural and educational center developing in the City of Glendale. Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2017-2018 state budget in June with $3 million earmarked for the Armenian American Museum, bringing the State’s total funding commitment to $4 million.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the 25th Senate District which is home to a large and vibrant Armenian American community,” stated Senator Anthony Portantino. “The Armenian American Museum is a historic project that will proudly celebrate the Armenian culture and history. It deserves our support and I am very pleased that our State’s investment will help make the project a reality.”

Armenian American Museum Governing Board Co-Chairs Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and Rev. Berdj Jambazian addressed the audience and delivered passionate remarks on the importance of the project for the future of the community. Co-Chairs Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and Bishop Mikael Mouradian discussed the vision for the Armenian American Museum in a video message and highlighted how it will serve as a bridge between the Armenian American community and the many diverse communities of Southern California.

City and Museum officials have been working collaboratively to prepare for the upcoming ground lease agreement consideration by the Glendale City Council. Museum Executive Committee Chairman Berdj Karapetian, Committee Member Zaven Kazazian, and Architect Aram Alajajian presented the latest project developments with donors and supporters at the reception.

SWA, an urban design and architectural firm, was hired by the City to develop plans for the open space that will connect the Downtown Central Library, Adult Recreation Center, and proposed Museum site. SWA plans to present its recommendations to City officials and the public at the upcoming City Council meeting on December 5.

City of Glendale and Armenian American Museum officials anticipate the signing of the ground lease agreement and ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony to take place in 2018.

For more information about the Armenian American Museum, visit www.ArmenianAmericanMuseum.org or call (844) 586-4626.

About Armenian American Museum
The Armenian American Museum is a developing project in Glendale, CA, with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. When completed, it will serve as a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.

The governing board of the Armenian American Museum consists of representatives from the following ten Armenian American institutions and organizations: Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union – Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society – Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/11/armenian-american-museum-honors-senator-portantino-community-reception/

AGMI Announces 2018 Lemkin Scholarship for Foreign Students

YEREVAN — The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute announces 2018 LEMKIN SCHOLARSHIP program for foreign students and PhD candidates. Raphael Lemkin scholarship is intended to enable foreign students and young scientists, who specialize in genocide studies, especially in the Armenian Genocide, to visit Armenia for a month to conduct research in local scientific institutions and libraries.

The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute will provide researchers possibility to carry out their research in AGMI, including necessary research materials and consultation.

The deadline for application is on 15 December, 2017. The winner will be selected by the Scientific Council of the AGMI on 25 December, 2017.

The beginning of the scholarship program is on 1 January, 2018. Winners are free to select a month within 2018 except January, February and December.

The duration of the scholarship is one month.
More info: genocide-museum.am

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/11/agmi-announces-2018-lemkin-scholarship-foreign-students/

Screening in London of “The Other Side of Home”

LONDON — Organized by the Armenian Community Council of the United Kingdom and Nor Serount Cultural Association London, on November 1, 2017, the glorious and historic Chelsea Old Town Hall was packed to capacity with almost 400 members of the community, together with some Turkish friends, representatives from the U.K. Houses of Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group for Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Armenian Embassy, His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manoukian, Primate of the Armenian Church Diocese of the United Kingdom and Ireland, numerous other invited dignitaries and Mr. Zorik Gasparian, Vice-Chairman of the Armenian Community Council of the United Kingdom.

Also present were the Director of the film Nare Mkrtchyan, and the star of the documentary Maya who were in the United Kingdom to attend the screening of The Other Side of Home at the Screening Rights Film Festival in Birmingham from 27 October to 4 November 2017.

In the film, the year is 2015. Maya a Turkish lady, who is aware of her legacy as a great-grandchild of an Armenian woman, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, realizes that she carries a conflict within her. On one side, how the young Armenian woman (her great-grandmother) was saved by a brave Turkish soldier, how he converts her to Islam and later gets to marry her; and the way in which she raises her children, living a sad life without a smile; and on the other side, the quiet moments when she whispers Armenian songs while hanging the washing in the garden and the constant knowledge of the fact that her great-grandmother at a fragile age of 13, had witnessed the destruction of her family and the entire ethnic Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire.

This complex emotional state created the urge in Maya, to travel across the border to Armenia to participate in the Armenian Genocide Centenary commemorations which took place in Armenia as well as by all ethnic Armenian communities throughout the world.

This is where Nare the director of the documentary comes into the story. Nare, a young lady, born in Armenia and educated in the USA decides to travel to Turkey where she meets Maya, and the idea of making a film materializes. They travel to Istanbul to find the house where Maya used to live and the Armenian man named Alex who gave shelter to Maya’s family when they were homeless. They then travel to Armenia and take part in the commemorative events on 24 April 2015, placing flowers along with over a Million Armenians, at the Tzidzernagaberd Monument built in memory of the Armenian Genocide. The emotional state and the complex feelings that Maya experiences are the key features of the documentary.

Following the film show there was an opportunity for the audience to ask various questions. Maya and Nare responded to very interesting questions addressing the emotional state of Maya during the journey, the changes in her feelings after having visited Armenia, and the experience that she had gone through.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/11/screening-london-side-home/

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'Genocide Monument'

Using the unrecognized Genocides of the past as a reason to keep vigilance on all current ones around the world. The iPhone app is now available free on the Apple App Store. The Android and Blackberry versions of 'Genocide Monument' are currently being funded for production.