Dr. Rouben Adalian Speaker at Armenian Assembly Holiday Party



WASHINGTON —Last week, the Armenian Assembly of America held its annual holiday reception in Boston. Organized by Assembly Board Member Lu Ann Ohanian, the reception and presentation was held at the Armenian Cultural Foundation. One hundred Assembly members and friends gathered with Assembly and Armenian community leaders for a presentation by guest speaker Dr. Rouben Adalian, director of the Armenian National Institute (ANI) on “The Armenian Church, Echmiadzin, and the Armenian Genocide.” After a detailed explanation of the digital exhibit, guests were introduced to a poster-size printed version of the exhibit, which allowed the audience a closer view of the panels chronicling a very specific episode of the Armenian Genocide.

“The Assembly is pleased to provide this special exhibit to the entire Massachusetts Armenian American community for use in the upcoming Armenian Genocide centennial year,” Ohanian said.

The evening began with a reception provided by the Assembly’s New England Regional Council, and opening remarks by Ohanian. Assembly Board Member Anthony Barsamian served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and welcomed members and friends. He introduced Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, who provided an update on the Assembly’s activities in Washington and the current challenges facing the community on Capitol Hill. Ardouny also discussed the successful efforts of the Assembly to secure the release of the Armenian Orphan Rug, which was on display at the White House Visitor Center from November 18 to 23. Ardouny thanked the Mirak Foundation for its important work, along with Dr. Martin Deranian and his timely book on the Armenian Orphan Rug. In fact, the Assembly’s #ReleaseTheRug hashtag campaign began last year at the Assembly’s annual holiday reception in Boston with the display of the Armenian Orphan “Sister Rug,” which Deranian had acquired. Ardouny, at that time, thanked Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA) for working with the Assembly, and now, a year later, the display of this iconic carpet, albeit briefly, was achieved. Ardouny thus reiterated the Assembly’s call for the White House to permanently display the Armenian Orphan Rug at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, which he said would serve as “a powerful symbol” for the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

The program also featured an update from Tom Garabedian, managing director of the Armenia Tree Project, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Barsamian introduced James Kalustian who provided the audience with an overview of planned activities in the Boston metropolitan area commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide next year.

Barsamian then introduced special guest speaker Adalian for his presentation of the digital exhibit “The Armenian Church, Echmiadzin, and the Armenian Genocide,” which is a joint production of ANI, Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA) and the Assembly, in cooperation with the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan and the Republic of Armenia National Archives. The exhibit consists of 20 panels with over 150 historic photographs documenting the role of the Armenian Church during the Armenian Genocide.

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The exhibit examines the leadership role played by the members of the clergy during the Armenian Genocide, especially the all-important intervention of Catholicos Gevorg V Sureniants in alerting world leaders about the massacres, effectively issuing the first “early warning” of an impending genocide. Adalian’s presentation focused on a specific region of eastern Anatolia with majority-Armenian populations where survivors sought refuge in the capital of Armenian Christianity.

“I was honored to make a presentation on the research involved in creating the Echmiadzin exhibit and in finding all the clues that helped pull this vast collection of historic photographs into a coherent story,” Adalian said.

A brief question-and-answer session followed the presentation before guests were invited to come up to the panels to witness the display in person.

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