BOSTON — The third annual K. George and Carolann S. Najarian, MD Endowed Lecture on Human Rights will be held on Thursday, October 25, at 7 p.m. at Faneuil Hall.
Free and open to the public, the lecture is an endowed public program of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, sponsor of the Armenian Heritage Park on Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
In celebration of the opening of the Armenian Heritage Park and a central theme of the Greenway — the immigrant experience — it is fitting that this year’s speaker is Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian, founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and former US ambassador to Israel and Syria.
A first generation Armenian-American and the son of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, Djerejian is an example of the kind of achievement, leadership, public service and commitment to human rights that this endowed lecture series celebrates in this inaugural year of the park. Djerejian has also worked to assist Armenia and Artsakh in their transition to democracy and peace.
Djerejian served in the US Foreign Service under eight presidents, from John F. Kennedy to William J. Clinton (1962-1994). Prior to his nomination by Clinton as US Ambassador to Israel (1993-1994), he was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in both the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations (1991- 1993). He was the US ambassador to Syria (1988-1991) and also served as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and deputy press secretary for foreign affairs in the White House (1985-1986). After his retirement from government service in 1994, he became the founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.
His book, Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador’s Journey Through the Middle East, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008. He has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award and numerous other honors, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Anti- Defamation League’s Moral Statesman Award. He is also a recipient of the Association of Rice Alumni’s Gold Medal, the group’s most prestigious award, for his service to Rice University.