18 The Armenian Reporter | February 28, 2009
Armenian studies reaches out to the community
In the course of covering news from our communities, we see dozens of organizations and
hundreds of people working hard to make a difference. We may sometimes smile at the hyperbole:
is every event as “extremely successful” and every award and venue as “prestigious”
as promoters would have readers believe? Perhaps not, but when we think of the work – almost
always volunteer hours – and generosity that goes into these events, we purse our lips
and say, “Thank you.”
Stepping back from particular initiatives, we can sometimes observe larger trends. Today
we’d like to remark on one positive phenomenon: the vigorous community outreach of Armenian
The Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, now under
the direction of Gerard Libaridian, has been particularly active. In January, the prominent
French-Armenian author Gérard Chaliand delivered the Berj Haidostian Lecture, “U.S. Policy
at the Periphery of Russia: The Geopolitics of the World Today.” We did not have to travel to
Ann Arbor to hear what he had to say; the lecture was webcast live.
From March 18 to 21, the program will host a major conference on “Armenia and Armenians
in International Treaties.” Again, anyone can watch the conference through the World
Wide Web, and even ask questions by email.
The program only recently hosted a lecture by Professor Seta B. Dadoyan, “Islam and Armenians.”
This lecture was not a recap of what we may have already known; rather, it argued
for a new way of looking at relations between Armenians and Muslims. Likewise, a lecture
on February 10 by Jasmine Dum-Tragut, a Manoogian Simone Foundation Visiting Scholar,
offered a fresh perspective on the role of the church in Armenian identity today. Manoogian
Simone Foundation post-doctoral fellows Sebouh Aslanian and Fuat Dundar have also given
public lectures, enhancing the community-outreach aspect of the program. Indeed, another
talk by Mr. Aslanian is scheduled for March 3 – with the intriguing title, “Trust in Gossip but
Bastinado when Needed.”
In the Greater Boston area, the Armenian Library and Museum of America has been
active in educating the public in a participatory way, with dance workshops, a lace workshop,
and concert series in addition to its exhibits. The National Association for Armenian
Studies and Research is reaching out with a March 5 talk by Prof. John Greppin on
Urartian influence on Armenia, and a March 22 showing of J. Michael Hagopian’s The
River Ran Red.
The Zoryan Institute is sponsoring a March 13 symposium in Washington to assess the
official report of the Genocide Prevention Task Force. It is also collecting artwork for an exhibit
on genocide, and sponsoring, for the 8th year, a human rights and genocide course; the
course will be held this summer at the University of Toronto.
These are but a few of the signs of lively community outreach by Armenian studies institutions.
Join us in thanking the administrators and sponsors as well as the scholars who are
engaging in the outreach. And we urge you not to miss out on the learning opportunities
they are offering.
A signature perspective
on Hakob Hakobyan
Maria Titzian’s illumination of the artist
Hakob Hakobyan was distinguished journalism
only Maria with her signature perspective
could have done, and she did it beautifully
(“Hakob Hakobyan: repatriate, patriot,
painter,” Feb. 21, p. C5).
Modern Armenia has engendered many
distinguished artists, but of the greatest
only Hakob Hakobyan is still alive to talk for
Happily, Maria concentrated not on the
work but on the man. Speaking for himself,
he offered a view of his world, of Armenia,
and of his art that was profound, individual,
As a reader, I am grateful for this interview
in the Armenian Reporter. The result is that
we may now have a far deeper insight into
this major artist’s large body of work.
Very truly yours,
Kashatagh needs help
I was on board the Costa Fortuna for the
Twelfth Armenian Heritage Cruise, where
I learned about the outstanding work
the Tufenkian Foundation is doing in
Kashatagh – the reclaimed lands in Karabakh.
in his studio.
Presented by Dr. John Antranig Kasparian,
Nagorno-Karabakh program director of
the Tufenkian Foundation, Inc., the lecture
with slides, a geography lesson, an informative
DVD, and printed literature inspired the
audience to want to help with the house renovation
No Armenian should live in a bombedout
stone house with no roof, no windows
(except cellophane), and earthen floor, no
running water, a damaged or nonexistent
front or back door, and no electricity. There
are approximately 8,000 inhabitants in the
Artsakh plain, and this area is rich in agriculture
(wheat, grapes, and pomegranates),
with many waterfalls and hot springs. Azerbaijan
desires these strategic lands back in
order to cut off Armenia from Karabakh
– and presently Mountainous Karabakh is
hard to retake.
Thirteen hundred homes need renovation
in 2009. In this vulnerable region, where
few charities have ventured, private money
is needed. One cannot populate a homeless,
jobless no man’s land. Armenian blood retrieved
these ancient Armenian lands, but
the postwar patriots, pogrom victims of
Baku, and earthquake survivors cannot secure
or fortify the Lachin Corridor and its
borders alone; it needs more people.
Resettlement is top priority. Work, livelihood,
infrastructure (such as electricity and
running water, medical care, and schools) are
The Armenians of France have helped
Mountainous Karabakh. The Irish have sent
a cob expert, Paul Dillon, to teach the locals
how to build earthen houses on their land
with clay, straw, and mud. The U.S. and the
entire diaspora must help. Economic times
worldwide are severe and the U.S dollar has
depreciated in Armenia. The population presently
in Nagorno-Karabakh is approximately
160 thousand; 500 thousand could live there,
but not without housing.
“Karabakh exists as long as Kashatagh exists.”
This is a direct quote from NKR president
Bako Sahakian. Kashatagh needs livable
housing. Please help to insure that Armenians
remain on these lands.
For more information, visit the website at
www.TF.org. Make tax deductible contributions
by check made payable to: Tufenkian
Foundation, Inc., 20 Capitol Drive, Moonachie,
New Jersey 07074. Questions 201-221-
1055, extension 327.
Very truly yours,
Mary Jo Agbabian
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Dr. John Antranig Kasparian,
director of the Tufenkian
Foundation, giving a lecture
aboard the Twelfth Armenian
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