Dr. Melanie O’Brien

Noted Australian Scholar to Be Keynote Speaker at Conn. Commemoration on April 27


HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Genocide Commemoration Committee will observe the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on Saturday April 27, at 10 a.m. at the Connecticut House Chamber at the State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Melanie O’Brien, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Associate Professor of international law at the University of Western Australia, Perth. She will speak on “Human Rights Violations in the Armenian Genocide.”

O’Brien is Visiting Professor at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota. Her most recent book is From Discrimination to Death: Genocide Process through a Human Rights Lens, and includes extensive research on the Armenian Genocide conducted in Armenia and Turkey.

Her work on forced marriage has been cited by the International Criminal Court, she has appeared before the ICC as an amica curia and been an expert consultant for several UN bodies. She received a 10-year service medal for volunteering with the Australian Red Cross, and was awarded the Filon Ktenidis Award for her work on justice and recognition for victims of genocide. O’Brien has conducted research across six continents, and was recently a Research Fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Loughborough.

Melanie Kevorkian Brown, chairperson of the committee, stated that the committee is pleased to have someone with O’Brien’s’ credentials and breadth of knowledge and understanding of the Armenian Genocide join us this year.

The mission of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Connecticut, in addition to honoring the memory of the one and a half million victims and as well as survivors of the Armenian Genocide begun by the Ottoman government in 1915, is to support programs and events, itself or with other organizations, to inform the public and remember the Genocide. It is in the process of establishing a suitable permanent Genocide Memorial. The committee also assists in the legislative mandate to provide Genocide related curricula in the public schools. Additionally, the committee seeks to present information about developments in the Diaspora and in Armenia.

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Attorney Harry N .Mazadoorian of Kensington, a longtime member of the committee, pointed out that this year’s commemoration will be particularly poignant because of continuing and escalated aggressions committed by the government of Azerbaijan in Artsakh where 120,000 ethnic Armenians have been displaced and where a brutal ethnic cleansing is underway. “The current situation in the region of Artsakh is essentially a continuation of the Genocide as physical aggressions, human rights violations and cultural desecration against ethnic Armenian continue. To make matters even worse, if that is possible, Azerbaijan continues to issue threats against the Republic of Armenia itself.”

John C. Geragosian of New Britain, Connecticut State Auditor and a member of the committee, will serve as Master of Ceremonies at the commemoration. He stated that ” while the commemoration remembers atrocities of the past, it also involves condemning genocidal acts of today and averting such actions in the future.”


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