Prof. Anna Ohanyan

Panel on Challenges and Benefits of Bilingualism to Be Held at Harvard

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A panel discussion titled “Bilingualism: Challenges and Benefits of Learning and Living in Multiple Worlds,” on Thursday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Harvard University, Science Center, Auditorium A, 1 Oxford St.

This program is presented by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)/Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Issues and is co-sponsored by St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School and the Harvard Armenian Student Association. It is free and open to the public.

Parents in diasporic communities routinely grapple with the challenge of carving out time for their children to engage with and experience their ancestral cultures. This panel discussion will discuss the value of bilingual education, looking at experiences of other ethnic communities in the U.S. and around the world, with a particular focus on the specificities of the Armenian experience, including the special challenges facing Western Armenian, which has been classified as an “endangered language,” the fruitful cohabitation of Western and Eastern Armenian, and the specific challenges of researching and teaching the Armenian language.

The discussion will be led by moderator Dr. Anna Ohanyan (Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Stonehill College) and will feature Dr. Lisa Gulesserian (preceptor on Armenian Studies, Harvard University), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (executive director, Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Church), and Dr. María Luisa Parra-Velasco (senior preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University).

In recognition of the increased attention to these and related issues, portions of the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School documentary, “Armenian Bilingualism in America: Preserving Language & Identity,” will be shown and copies of the volume Western Armenian in the 21st Century: Challenges and New Approaches, edited by Bedross Der Matossian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, published by the Society for Armenian Studies, will be available for purchase.

For more information about this program, contact NAASR.

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