LECTURE – Homeland-Diaspora Relations under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, by Dr. Ara Sanjian

Publish Date: Jul 18, 2010

Deadline: Aug 04, 2010

The Armenian Association for Academic Partnership and Support
Cordially invites you to participate in the ARMACAD lecture on

Homeland-Diaspora Relations under Khrushchev and Brezhnev:
Soviet Embassy Reports from Beirut on the Armenian Community in Lebanon , 1959-1982

Dr. Ara Sanjian

City: Yerevan
Time and Venue: To be announced to registered participants
Deadline to Register: 04 August 2010, Wednesday

The lecture will present the relationship of the Soviet embassy in Beirut with the various components of the Armenian community in Lebanon following the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lebanon and the USSR toward the end of the Second World War. However, the period to be covered in depth will be the years corresponding to the tenure of Communist Party leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, when diplomatic documents are more abundant.

The lecture will first deal with the ethnic Armenian personnel who worked in the Soviet Embassy in Beirut and the reports they forwarded on the Lebanese Armenian community to their superiors in Moscow and Yerevan. It will then analyze the major issues that were of concern to Soviet diplomats: Armenian territorial demands vis-a-vis Turkey and Soviet Azerbaijan; repatriation; the schism in the Armenian Church between Echmiadzin and Antelias; the Lebanese Civil War; cultural and sporting contacts with the Lebanese Armenian community, and so on. It will also describe how Soviet diplomatic attitudes changed over some of these issues during the years under review and will try to explain the causes behind these changes. Finally, the lecturer will explain the challenges he personally faced when interpreting the historical significance of these diplomatic reports and will put forward a set of suggestions about establishing a better methodology to make full use of Soviet government documents in reconstructing the history of Armenian diaspora communities and analyzing their relations with the Soviet-era homeland.

The research leading to this presentation was based on extensive use of Soviet Armenian Foreign Ministry documents found at Armenia ‘s National Archives, as well as other relevant published primary and secondary literature published in Armenian and other languages.

The lecture will be held in Armenian (with an English summary if necessary). It will be followed by Q&A. Questions may be addressed in Armenian, English or Russian.

BIO: Ara Sanjian is Associate Professor of Armenian and Middle Eastern History and the Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, he received his school education there. From 1986 to 1991 he studied for his master’s degree in history at Yerevan State University. From 1991 to 1994 he did his PhD in the modern history of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London. From 1996 to 2005 he was the Chairman of the Department of Armenian Studies, History and Political Science at Haigazian University in Beirut. 

In fall 2003, he was the Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies at California State University, Fresno. His research interests focus on the post-World War I history of Armenia, Turkey and the Arab states of Western Asia. He is the author of the book “Turkey and Her Arab Neighbors, 1953-1958: A Study in the Origins and Failure of the Baghdad Pact” (2001), the monograph “The Negotiation of ‘The Contract of the Century’ and the Political Background to the Revival of Azerbaijan’s Oil Industry” (1997) and a number of scholarly articles. He is currently working on a book-length project on the Armenian quest for Mountainous Karabagh under Soviet rule in 1923-1987.

To participate in this lecture, please, submit an email with short (1-3 lines) introduction (in Armenian or English) about yourself to armacadem@yahoo.co.ukwith ‘Diaspora’ in the subject line. The authors of emails with different subject line will not be considered for participation in this lecture. So, please, be sure that you mention ‘Diaspora’ in the subject line of your email when registering for this lecture. The details of the meeting will be shared with those who registered till August 04.

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