Fr. Zacharia Saribekian addressing the attendees

Genocide Awareness Week at Scottsdale Community College

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By Dr. Alan Haroian

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For two weeks, beginning on April 10, Scottsdale Community College in Arizona hosted a series of lectures, films, and ceremonies as part of its annual Genocide Awareness Week.  Armenians were among the groups represented during this program of events, all of which were dedicated to genocides and how to prevent them.

1. Andreh Janian, Eleni Smiaris, John Liffiton, Fr. Zacharia Saribekyan, Dr. Taner Akçam, Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Vatche Megerdichian, Dr. Alan Haroian.

St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church provided funding to obtain the services of internationally renowned speakers Dr. Taner Akçam and Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian. Dr. Akçam’s presentation focused on the Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide. His extensive research included Ottoman archival documents clearly showing evidence of the Turkish cover-up. He is often referred to as the Sherlock Holmes of finding evidence to prove the premeditation and planning of the 1915 genocide. Much of this material is discussed in his latest book Killing Orders.

Base of the Armenian Genocide Monument at Scottsdale Community College, covered by roses

Professor Der Mugrdechian’s lecture title was Genocide in the 21st Century: Turkey and Armenia. Both scholars’ talks were delivered on Monday, April 15 and were very well attended, with many students asking thought-provoking questions.

The following week on Wednesday, April 24, a memorial prayer service was held at the Armenian Genocide Monument, which is located in the courtyard at Scottsdale Community College. Impassioned addresses were given by US Rep. David Schweikert and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. Solo musical selections were performed by flutist Diana Tovmosyan and violinist Levon Zarasian. Father Zacharia Saribekyan, pastor of St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church of Arizona, spoke of never forgetting the events of 1915.

The ceremony ended on a somber note as attendees lined up to place red roses on the Genocide Monument.

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While St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church of Arizona has been responsible for coordinating and obtaining presenters to speak about the Armenian Genocide, this year’s co-sponsors were the Armenian Assembly of America and Society for Orphaned Armenians (SOAR).  Attending this year’s conference from the Armenian Assembly of America were Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director, and Mihran Toumajan, Western Region Director. Father Zacharia Saribekyan has worked closely with John Liffiton, Director of the Genocide Awareness program, to make this a successful event. These conferences are usually given during the second week of April and are free to the public.

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