CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) held a benefit dinner at the historic home of Dr. Seda and Vartan Keshishian on May 18. The Keshishian home, which used to belong to Gov. William Weld of Massachusetts, was recently renovated and formed an impressively elegant backdrop to the brief formal program and dinner, at which more than 80 guests were present. The fundraising was to support NAASR’s operational expenses, not the construction of its new building.
Dr. Keshishian welcomed the guests to their home on behalf of her husband and herself. She declared, “We are here tonight to help NAASR in its mission, which is to promote the field of Armenian Studies and research.”
Nancy Kolligian, former chair and current vice-chair of the NAASR board, as well as member of the NAASR host committee, thanked the Keshishians for their generosity as hosts and gave the couple a present from the new lineup of Michael Aram. She acknowledged the rest of the host committee, including Yervant Chekijian, Nicole Babikian Hajjar, Sarah B. Ignatius, Marc Mamigonian and Laura Yardumian, and recognized NAASR librarian and curator Ani Babayan, as well as Vartus Varadian, who had designed the invitations for the evening.
Kolligian then introduced the two main speakers, Julia Hintlian and Khatchig Mouradian. Hintlian is a doctoral student of religion at Harvard University. Her main research interests are Eastern Christianity, including the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church, as well as pre-Islamic Persian religions.
Mouradian is a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He has served as the Kazan Visiting Professor at California State University – Fresno and has taught courses at Rutgers University, Worcester State University and Stockton University. He holds a PhD in history from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. He is the former editor of the Armenian Weekly and the current editor of the Armenian Review. He has received support from NAASR and the Knights of Vartan.
Hintlian addressed the crowd and said that for the last three years, “NAASR has played a very pivotal, a very crucial role in my academic career.” She explained that NAASR helps people make connections, and gave some examples. NAASR sponsored a conference at Harvard in which scholars from all over the world participated, allowing them to get to know each other. It also provides scholarships for travel to conferences which allow new audiences to become exposed to Armenian topics. It helped Hintlian locally too, on a community level, by providing a personal level of support.