National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

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National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

18 The Armenian Reporter | February 28, 2009

Editorial

Commentary

the armenian

reporter

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

studies programs.

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.

f

Letters

A signature perspective

on Hakob Hakobyan

Sir:

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

himself.

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,

and inspiring.

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,

Gregory Lima

Patterson, N.Y.

Kashatagh needs help

Sir:

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.

Hakob

Hakobyan

in his studio.

Photo:

Armenian

Reporter

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

program.

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

all needed.

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,

Nagorno-Karabakh program

director of the Tufenkian

Foundation, giving a lecture

aboard the Twelfth Armenian

Heritage Cruise.

Tell us what you think.

Write to letters@reporter.am

or call 1-201-226-1995 (N.J.), 1-818-955-9933 (Calif.), 374-10-367-195 (Armenia)

Armenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,

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Editor Vincent Lima

Associate editor Maria Titizian

Washington editor Emil Sanamyan

Eastern U.S. editor Lou Ann Matossian

Assistant to the Editor Seda Stepanyan

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Art director Grigor Hakobyan

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