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Professor Richard Hovannisian in Many Forums

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UCLA—After a half century affiliated with the University of California, Professor Richard G. Hovannisian, AEF Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA, continues with numerous professional and outreach activities while still teaching a full complement of courses.

From BU, Georgetown, MIT to Asia Minor

Hovannisian began the year in January by representing the Society for Armenian Studies at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in San Diego. At Boston University, February 12-14, he chaired two panels in a major international conference on the Armenian Diaspora. The conference, which included a workshop of graduate student papers, was organized by Charles and Elizabeth Kinosian Chair Holder Dr. Simon Payaslian.

From February 28 to March 2, Richard Hovannisian participated in and chaired a panel of the Second Annual Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) at Georgetown University, organized by a committee headed by Dr. David Grigorian. Member of the Armenian Parliament Raffi K. Hovannisian delivered the keynote address, “Armenia-Diaspora Relations: Twenty Years since Independence.”

On March 7, Professor Hovannisian was in New York City to speak in a panel titled “Armeno-Turkish Relations: Pitfalls and Possibilities.” Organized by the ARF, the panel also included Ambassador John Evans, Mr. Ken Hachikian, and Dr. Dennis Papazian. A week later on March 13, Hovannisian gave the keynote address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a conference on “America’s Response to the Armenian Genocide: From Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama.” The conference, organized by Professors Bedross Der Matossian and Christopher Capozzola, was sponsored by the Faculty of History, the Center for International Studies, the Office of Religious Affairs, and the Program on Human Rights and Justice. During the same conference, Hovannisian also gave a paper titled “From Turkey to the Soviet Union and Back” in the session dealing with the Cold War period.

On the weekend of March 19-20, Hovannisian organized the 18th UCLA conference in the well-attended series on Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces. This conference focused on the smaller communities of Asia Minor such as Adabazar, Armash, Bardizag, Bolu, Kutahia, and Konia.  He then traveled to Armenia where he consulted on the on-going transcriptions of the UCLA Armenian Oral History collection of genocide survivors and was invited to discuss his academic and professional work on Armenian television.      

From Clark to Poland-Ukraine

On the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Professor Hovannisian participated in a number of programs. On April 7-8, he was at Clark University in Worchester, Massachusetts, for an international genocide conference organized by Dr. Taner Akcam, Kaloosdian-Mugar Chair in Armenian History and Genocide Studies, and the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair of the University of Minnesota, and NAASR. Hovannisian gave the opening talk, “So, Where Do We Go from Here,” and was one of four panelists in an evening public session on “The Armenian Genocide: 95 Years Later—Academic and Personal Reflections.”

During the following week, Dr. Hovannisian organized lectures at UCLA by Mr. Matthias Bjornlund of Copenhagen, speaking on Smyrna as a “special case” during the Armenian Genocide, and Dr. Ugur Ungor of Amsterdam and Dublin, discussing on the Young Turk seizure of Armenian property. He then joined these two young scholars, along with Dr. Wolf Gruner of the University of Southern California, on April 18 for a Sunday afternoon symposium on the 95th anniversary, held in cooperation with Glendale Public Library Armenian Outreach Director Ms. Elizabeth Grigorian. The event, which was supported by UCLA’s European-East European and Near Eastern centers and the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, was given extensive coverage on Armenian state television.  On April 20, Hovannisian appeared before the World Affairs Council of Orange County in a panel relating to the causes and effects of genocide, and on April 24, he was a featured author at the Abril Bookstore’s Armenian Booth at the UCLA annual Book Fair.

From April 26 to 30, Drs. Richard and Vartiter Hovannisian were in Poland for a conference on art of the Armenian Diaspora, held in the historic town of Zamosc, where an Armenian mercantile community flourished from the sixteenth to eighteenth century. The participants also visited nearby Lvov, now in Ukraine, and the historic Armenian sites there, including the Armenian cathedral which in recent years has been restored to the jurisdiction of the Armenian Apostolic Church. While in Warsaw, the Hovannisians met long-long acquaintances Ambassador and Mrs. Ashot Galoyan, who had spent several years at UCLA, where Dr. Galoyan was an exchange scholar and taught as a visiting lecturer at Hovannisian’s invitation.

From Chicago and Madrid to Arshile Gorky

Hovannisian will be  in Chicago on May 15 at the invitation of the Pontic Greek Society for a commemorative lecture, “Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing: the Fate of the Christian Populations of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. The large audience, made up largely of Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians, engaged in a brisk discussion period. While in Chicago, Hovannisian will also attend an opening reception and panel of the Armenian Bar Association during its midyear meeting.

The UCLA professor will be in Madrid, Spain, on May 21-22, for a conference on Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, sponsored by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy. His topic is “U.S. Recognition of the Armenian Genocide: From Condemnation to Amnesia to Medz Eghern.” Richard Hovannisian rounds out the academic year on June 20 with a lecture at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art on the Armenian national trauma during the formative years of Arshile Gorky in conjunction with a major exhibition of the artist’s works at the museum.

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