Dr. Carolann Najarian

Program to Commemorate 1988 Earthquake and Humanitarian Response

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BELMONT, Mass. — A special program in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Armenian earthquake will take place on Thursday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Nahigian Hall, First Armenian Church, 380 Concord Ave., Belmont.

John and Michele Simourian

The program, “The 1988 Armenian Earthquake and the Transformation of Diasporan/Homeland Relations,” will be moderated by retired Boston Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, and will include John A. Simourian, Michele Simourian, Dr. Hayk Demoyan (on video), Dr. Carolann Najarian, and Elaine Kasparian.

The event is sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)/ Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Issues and the First Armenian Church.

The devastating earthquake that struck Soviet Armenia on December 7, 1988, caused massive devastation and death especially in the cities of Spitak, Leninakan (now Gyumri), and Kirovakan (now Vanadzor). As many as 50,000 people were killed and well over 100,000 were injured. The earthquake prompted a massive international humanitarian response which included historic contributions from the worldwide Armenian Diaspora.

Stephen Kurkjian

In a recent article published in the AMAA News and in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, multiple Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Kurkjian told the story of how Watertown native John Simourian led an effort to bring dialysis equipment to Armenia, relating also the work of Dr. Carolann Najarian, the Armenian Milk Fund, and other individuals and organizations who rapidly mobilized to save lives. The rescue effort, Kurkjian makes clear, had a transformative effect on the relationship between the Armenian diaspora and the then Soviet republic, creating bonds and relationships that continue to flourish today.

This event is free and open to the public. A reception with refreshments will take place after the program.

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For more information about this program, contact NAASR at hq@naasr.org.

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