From left, Margarita Baghdasaryan, Manuk Avedikyan, Shushan Karapetian, Paul Krekorian, Gegham Mughnetsyan, Lilit Keshisyan

USC’s First-Ever Armenian History Month Celebrates Diversity of Armenian Experiences

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LOS ANGELES — As April comes to a close, the University of Southern California (USC) Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies and USC Armenian Students’ Association conclude the first-ever Armenian History Month celebration at USC. Over the course of the month, the Institute and USC’s ASA hosted a diverse set of events that not only raised awareness about the history and culture of Armenians but also brought communities together to celebrate Armenian heritage.

In honor of the institute’s achievements in uplifting Armenian voices, the Los Angeles City Council formally recognized the institute during its Armenian American Heritage Month celebration “for its invaluable research exploring social, cultural and political challenges facing the Armenian people in their historic homelands and throughout the Diaspora.” President of the City Council Paul Krekorian presented the Institute with this recognition alongside the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute.

Students Performing at ASA Cultural Showcase

Armenian History Month launched with an opening ceremony at USC Hahn’s Central Plaza, where hundreds gathered to mark this monumental moment in the university’s history. President of USC Dr. Carol Folt, alongside Director of the Institute of Armenian Studies Dr. Shushan Karapetian and Vice-President of USC’s ASA Mane Berikyan, spoke at the opening, commenting upon the strength of the Armenian community and the importance of this inaugural event. The celebration ended with a captivating performance and display of Armenian culture by Lernazang, a cultural collective and performance ensemble.

The artistic and cultural celebrations continued at the Trojan Grand Ballroom, where USC ASA welcomed the Trojan community and the public for an evening of dance, music, art, and poetry. Performers included students, alumni, and community members who showcased their talents and highlighted their Armenian culture and identity to a crowd of over 150 people.

The following week, the Institute hosted two events centered around the Armenian Genocide. On April 15, Institute Project Manager Manuk Avedikyan led an academic lecture on the political and social developments in Ottoman Turkey that led to the Armenian Genocide, co-sponsored by USC Armenian Student Association, the USC Shoah Foundation and the USC Center for Advanced Genocide Research.

On April 17, the Institute and USC ASA organized a special theatrical screening and panel discussion of the animated documentary film “Aurora’s Sunrise.”

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“We are so grateful for the support of the Armenian Film Society, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Bars Media, and the Zoryan Institute for giving us the opportunity to host a screening of this groundbreaking film, shedding light on the forgotten story of Armenian Genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian,” said Institute Associate Director Margarita Baghdasaryan.

Lernazang Performing at USC

The event began with a video message from award-winning writer, director, and producer of “Aurora’s Sunrise,” Inna Sahakyan, thanking audiences for their support and discussing the importance of this film. The screening was followed by an insightful panel discussion with Karapetian, Ted Braun, USC Joseph Campell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics, Armen Karaoghlanian, co-founder of Armenian Film Society, and Dr. Myrna Douzjian, Lecturer of Armenian Studies, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley.

In the final week of Armenian History Month, Karapetian hosted an Armenian Language Immersion class for the Trojan community at the Institute of Armenian Studies.

Speakers, including students, faculty, and staff, participated in this interactive beginners’ lesson in Armenian, which sparked their curiosity to learn more about the Armenian language.

The month ended with an Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Candlelight Vigil, hosted jointly by the Armenian Students’ Associations at USC and UCLA on April 24. Institute Chitjian Researcher Archivist Gegham Mughnetsyan provided remarks at the vigil.

 

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