Kevork Msrlian presented his book The Armenians of Irbid and Northern Jordan. Kevork Msrlian, left, with Kevork Keushkerian

Kevork Msrlian Presents New Book on Armenians of Irbid and Northern Jordan in TCA Beshgeturian Center

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By Kevork Keushkerian

ALTADENA, Calif. – Kevork Msrlian presented his book The Armenians of Irbid and Northern Jordan through an Armenian-language PowerPoint lecture at the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Beshgeturian Center on Sunday, October 1. The event was organized by the TCA Glendale-Pasadena Chapter.

Msrlian first explained why he had researched and documented this historical journey of Armenians, which commenced right after the Armenian Genocide. The author acknowledged and thanked Haigazian University, and in particular the director of its Armenian Diaspora Research Center, Dr. Antranig Dakessian, for encouraging him to further elaborate the research paper he delivered at Haigazian University in May of last year, and publish it in the form of a book.

Msrlian was born in Irbid, Jordan. He received his primary and secondary education at public schools in Irbid. He travelled to Armenia and studied engineering at the National Polytechnic University of Armenia in Yerevan. During his studies in Armenia, he developed a good command of the Armenian language.

For two consecutive years, 1983 and 1984, he was elected Chairman of the Union of Jordanian-Armenian Students in Yerevan. In 2015, Msrlian was elected coordinator of the Jordanian Affiliation of the Pan-Armenian Association of Architects and Engineers. Msrlian has worked in Jordan, Iraq, Yemen and the Sudan with Jordanian and international engineering companies as a contract expert in water and environmental projects.

As Msrlian’s book documents, Armenians came to Irbid in 1915, when they were deported from their homeland of Eastern Turkey. Some of these immigrants returned to their homes when the government of France took over the administration of Syria, Lebanon, and Cilicia. At that time, the population of Irbid was 1,065.

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The number of Armenian inhabitants grew in Irbid in the aftermath of the Palestine-Israeli war in 1948. While living in Irbid, Armenians were engaged in handicrafts like carpentry, masonry, shoemaking and photography. Eventually, many of these Armenians managed to become successful business owners, farmers, and public servants. Irbid now has a population of 1,770,000.

Mr. Msrlian’s book is written in two languages: English and Arabic. It is composed of nearly 200 pages, which includes eyewitness accounts, testimonials, certificates and many pictures of Genocide survivors. During the fifties and the sixties, many attempts were made to establish an Armenian day school, but to no avail. Unfortunately, until now, there are no Armenian churches in Irbid. For weddings and other religious rites, a priest is invited from the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Amman, who utilizes the Greek Orthodox Church for the ceremony.

It is interesting to know that the author has presented a portion of this book Armenians of Irbid” as a research paper at the Haigazian University in Beirut-Lebanon, in the month of May of last year.

The book, written in Arabic and English, was published in Amman, Jordan, in 2017. It will be presented by the author in Amman later this year. That presentation will be sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and will take place in the National Library of Jordan in Amman. This is a valuable work of research which is being considered for translation into Armenian.

A question and answer session followed the presentation, and afterwards, guests were invited to a reception.