Dr. Stefan Ihrig

Stefan Ihrig and Abraham Terian Receive Sona Aronian Armenian Studies Book Prize from NAASR


BELMONT, Mass. — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) announces that Dr. Stefan Ihrig and Dr. Abraham Terian have been awarded the 2017 Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prizes for Excellence in Armenian Studies.

NAASR’s Aronian Book Prizes were established in 2014 by the late Dr. Aronian and Dr. Geoffrey Gibbs, to be awarded annually to an outstanding scholarly works in the English language in the field of Armenian Studies and translations from Armenian into English. The 2017 awards are for books published in the year 2016.

Ihrig was awarded the prize for a monograph for his book Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler (Harvard University Press), while Terian won for a translation of a literary work, The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek: Annotated Translation of the Odes, Litanies, and Encomia (Pueblo Books). Each book has been hailed by readers and researchers, with, for example, Yehuda Bauer praising Ihrig’s work as “a major contribution to the study of German attitudes to the Armenian Genocide,” and James R. Russell stating that of Terian’s translation that “all subsequent work on Narekats‘i will be measured by its high standard.”

The announcement of the prizes was made by NAASR Director of Academic Affairs Marc Mamigonian on Thursday, December 14, 2017, at a NAASR’s headquarters during the NAASR Christmas Open House. Thanking fellow members of the selection committee for the awards Dr. Christina Maranci, Dr. Bedross Der Matossian, and Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Mamigonian noted the difficulty in choosing among a number of outstanding works in both categories, but that this was “a wonderful problem to have since it means that good work is being done by scholars and translators.”

By email, Abraham Terian expressed his “deep gratitude to NAASR and, in particular, to Dr. Sona Aronian for establishing this special prize for excellence in Armenian Studies. … While we venerate our martyred saints of a hundred years ago, let us not forget our great Saint of a thousand years ago, as Pope Francis reminded us on the Genocide Centennial.”

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Stefan Ihrig, also via email, wrote that “I am very humbled to be awarded the Sonia Aronian Prize and thank NAASR and my wonderful colleagues in the field of Armenian Studies. I have so far only spent a few years of my life working on the Armenian Genocide and yet they have been among the most meaningful of them all. I have seen and better understood the meaning of courage. Working on the Armenian Genocide means not only working on an immensely important and difficult topic, it also means exposing oneself to attacks and slander by those threatened by our findings, interpretations, and opinions. All too often we find ourselves taking many of the hardest steps alone. Meeting with colleagues from all over the world, including from Turkey, over the years, I felt a little less alone. And again, with this recognition, I feel a little less alone.”

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