FAIR LAWN, NJ — Honoring the bravery and staunch efforts of historian Dr. Taner Akçam to uncover the truth about the Armenian Genocide throughout his robust career, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan will present him with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, October 25, 2019, at St. Leon Abadjian Hall, under the auspices of Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).
A leading scholar on the Armenian Genocide — and one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide — Akçam authored the groundbreaking book Killing Orders – Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide, verifying archival evidence that the Turkish government continues to deny in relation to the Armenian Genocide. In an interview with the New York Times, where Akçam was referred to as the “Sherlock Holmes of the Armenian Genocide,” he states his hope that the evidence uncovered in Killing Orders would “remove the last brick of the denialist wall.”
“My firm belief as a Turk is that democracy and human rights in Turkey can only be established by facing history and acknowledging historic wrongdoings,” said Akçam, who received in PhD in 1996 from the University of Hannover with a dissertation titled Turkish National and the Armenian Genocide: On the Background of the Military Tribunals in Istanbul between 1919 and 1922.
Akçam, the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor of Armenian Genocide Studies at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, is an internationally recognized human rights activist. His outspoken advocacy of democracy and free expression has led to his imprisonment in his quest to seek truth in his native country of Turkey.
“We are indebted to Dr. Akçam for dedicating his career to researching the Armenian Genocide,” said Hirant Gulian, chairman emeritus of the Knights of Vartan. “This milestone event is our way of showing our gratitude to his years of service.”
In addition to honoring Akçam, the program will include special recognition posthumously for Aram Andonian and Rev. Fr. Krikor Guerguerian, who initiated and preserved the Istanbul Military Tribunal Documents of 1919-1921. Dr. Edmund Guerguerian, the nephew of Rev. Fr. Guerguerian, will also be recognized for providing the Guerguerian archives. Dr. Mary Papazian, president of San Jose State University, will serve as the keynote speaker. Remarks from prominent scholars and elected officials will occur throughout the program.