Nov. 1 symposium to open ‘Windows on the Armenian Genocide’

Several internationally noted scholars and a New York-based Armenian folk dancing troupe will participate in a daylong symposium, “Windows on the Armenian Genocide,” on Friday, Nov. 1, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium at the University of St. Thomas.

The symposium, free and open to the public as well as to St. Thomas students, staff and faculty, is funded in part though a contribution to St. Thomas from Arsham Ohanessian. It is co-sponsored by the Twin Cities-based Armenian American Action Committee of Minnesota, Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota, Armenian Dance Ensemble and St. Sahag Armenian Church and Community Center.

Dr. Siobhan Nash-Marshall of the St. Thomas Philosophy Department said that many scholars and historians now consider the 1915-1917 extermination of more than 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey to be a precursor to Hitler’s “Final Solution” during World War II.

“Had the world paid more attention to what happened to the Armenian people during World War I,” Nash-Marshall said, “perhaps the mass extermination of Jews during World War II might have been prevented.”

The symposium’s morning session, from 10 a.m. to noon, is chaired by Professor Antonia Arslan of the Università di Padova in Italy. It will include several perspectives on the genocide:

·      “Ravaging the Countryside: The Slaughter of Armenian Architecture,” by Dr. Lucy der Manuelian of Tufts University

·      “Echoes of a Lost World: Armenians in Their Homeland,” by Ruth Thomassian of ProjectSAVE: Armenian Photograph Archives Inc.

·      “Armenian Nobility in Transcaucasia and the Russian Empire,” by Professor Aldo Ferrari of the Istituo Universitario Orientale di Napoli in Italy.

The afternoon session, from 3 to 5 p.m., is chaired by Professor Taner Akçam of the University of Minnesota. The Rev. David Smith of St. Thomas’ Justice and Peace Studies program will give opening remarks, followed by these presentations:

·      “My Father, Armin T. Wegner, and the Armenian Genocide,” by Dr. Michael Wegner, a German scholar

·      “Death in Anatolia: A Personal Account,” by John Kerkinni

·      “On the Armenian Genocide: Evidence and Nature of a Crime,” by Professor Vahakn Dadrian of the Zoryan Institute, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based international academic and scholarly center devoted to the documentation, study and dissemination of information related to the life of the Armenian people.

The day will conclude with a free performance from 7 to 8 p.m. by the Antranig Dance Ensemble, a New York-based Armenian folk dancing troupe. The 20-member troupe, founded in 1969 by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Armenia and Europe.

For further information on “Windows on the Armenian Genocide,” contact Dr. Siobhan Nash-Marshall, (651) 962-5390.


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