Richard Hovannisian To Speak about Smyrna Catastrophe On 90th Anniversary

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BELMONT, Mass. — The First Armenian Church of Belmont, the Charles K. and Elisabeth M. Kenosian Chair in Modern Armenian History and Literature at Boston University and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will sponsor the illustrated lecture, “The Smyrna Catastrophe, 1922-2012,” by Prof. Richard G. Hovannisian, on Friday, September 28, at 8 p.m. at the Nahigian Fellowship Hall at First Armenian Church, 380 Concord Ave.

Prof. Simon Payaslian, who holds the Kenosian Chair at Boston University, will provide an introduction.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Smyrna Catastrophe when much of the city, the second largest in the Ottoman Empire, was destroyed by fire during the final phase of the Greco-Turkish War. The calamity marked the end of a strong Christian presence in the historic Aegean coastal regions and turned hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Armenians into refugees.

In this illustrated lecture, Hovannisian will discuss the important role of Smyrna (Izmir) in modern Armenian history and the inferno that engulfed the city in September 1922. Hovannisian is the editor of the recently published Armenian Smyrna/Izmir, the 11th volume of proceedings from the UCLA conference series, “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces.” He also traveled to Izmir and environs in June as the historian-guide for a NAASR Armenian Heritage Tour led by Armen Aroyan.

A book signing of Armenian Smyrna/Izmir will immediately follow the lecture. There will be a reception and refreshments at the NAASR center, across the street from First Armenian Church. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Hovannisian is the author of Armenia on the Road to Independence, the four-volume history The Republic of Armenia, and has edited and contributed to more than 25 books including: The Armenian Genocide in Perspective; The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times; Remembrance and Denial; Looking Backward, Moving Forward and The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies. Hovannisian is professor of Armenian and Near Eastern history at UCLA and is the chancellor fellow in the Department of History and the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education at Chapman University for fall 2012.

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