Zoryan Institute Of Academic And Corporate Boards Hold Joint Meeting

255 Duncan Mill Rd., Suite 310
Toronto, ON, Canada M3B 3H9
Tel: 416-250-9807 Fax: 416-512-1736 E-mail: [email protected]

DATE: June 30, 2004
Tel: 416-250-9807


TORONTO, CANADA – The members of the Zoryan Institute’s Corporate and
Academic boards just concluded a three-day meeting in Toronto on June 27 to
review the organization’s recent achievements, elect its directors and
officers for both boards for the coming term, and to discuss the future
direction of the Institute.

After welcoming remarks by Dr. Varouj Aivazian, Chair, and a review of the
organization’s structure by Kourken Sarkissian, President, Mig Migirdicyan
Treasurer, presented the financial statements, which have showed a steady
increase in revenues over the past five years. The Institute’s disbursements
have totaled over 1.7 million dollars during the past five years.

George Shirinian, Secretary of the Corporate Board, presented two new
candidates for appointment to the Academic Board. One, Stephan Astourian, is
Professor of History at the University of California-Berkeley, where he
teaches about the Armenian Genocide and Diaspora. The other, Lisa
Siraganian, is doing a post-doctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College in
Hanover, New Hampshire. Her specialty is American literature and she has
also done innovative film analysis of such directors as Rouben Mamoulian and
Atom Egoyan.

Chaired by Dr. Levon Chorbajian, the Academic Board’s approved the new
members and confirmed the new board, made up of the following members:
路 Roger Smith, Chairman; Professor Emeritus of Government, College
of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.
路 Varouj Aivazian, Deputy Chairman ex officio as Chairman of the
Corporate Board; Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto.
路 Stephan Astourian, Professor of History, University of
路 Yair Auron, Senior Lecturer, Open University of Israel; Professor
of History, Hakibbutzim College of Education, Tel-Aviv.
路 Levon Chorbajian, Professor of Sociology, University of
Massachusetts, Lowell.
路 Vahakn Dadrian, Director, Genocide Research, Zoryan Institute.
路 Eliz Sanasarian, Professor of Political Science, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles.
路 Lisa Siraganian, Post-doctoral Fellow in English Literature at
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH.
路 Khachig T枚l枚lyan, Professor of English Literature, Wesleyan
University; Editor, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies.

Detailed reports on the Institute’s projects were then presented, each
followed by questions and discussion.

Vahakn Dadrian reviewed the genocide-related activities of the Institute.
First, he described the importance of the publication this fall of The
Armenian Genocide 1915/16: Selected Documents from the Political Archives of
the German Foreign Office, edited by Wolfgang and Sigrid Gust. Zoryan began
its involvement in this project in 1999 and it has entailed many years of
research, translation and editorial work. Next, he discussed another
long-term project, which is to translate and publish selected articles from
Turkish newspapers published during the Armistice period just after WWI,
when there was no censorship in Turkey. These articles provide a wealth of
otherwise unknown detail from the daily testimony of witnesses called before
the Turkish Military Tribunal investigating crimes against the Armenians
perpetrated in Trabzon and Yozgat.

Khachig T枚l枚lyan gave a status report on Diaspora: A Journal of
Transnational Studies, now in its twelfth continuous year, which Zoryan
co-publishes with the University of Toronto Press. The number of submissions
is now so high that only one article in five gets published.

A presentation was made of Zoryan’s involvement, along with the University
of Minnesota, in a large project to “Create a Common Body of Knowledge” in
English and Turkish, whereby the fundamental sources of information related
to the Armenian Genocide would be freely available to all interested parties
and could facilitate an informed and rational debate about this provocative
subject. Traditionally, it has been difficult for those living in Turkey to
have access to this information in their own language, but gradually this
need is being addressed.

Yair Auron discussed the impact of his long-term study of Jewish and Israeli
attitudes towards the Armenian and other genocides. While university
students want to know more about these subjects, the Israeli government’s
official policy is to deny that what happened to the Armenians in 1915 was
genocide, and teaching about the Armenian Genocide in the educational system
has not been officially approved. Among the projects planned in Israel, he
proposed that a conference about the Armenian Genocide take place in Israel
next year.

Roger Smith provided details on the Genocide and Human Rights University
Program, which brings together a dozen of the foremost scholars on genocide
with some two dozen students from around the world to explore several case
studies-the Jewish Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide and the Rwandan
Genocide-with reference to the Armenian Genocide as the archetype of
genocide in the twentieth century. This year, for the first time, the
program will take place in both Toronto and Minneapolis in partnership with
the University of Minnesota, and students attending the program in either
location have the option of receiving four graduate level semester credits.
The program’s aim is to prepare young scholars to pursue the study of the
Armenian Genocide and comparative genocide as their life’s work.

Souren Chekijian, who has been involved with the Oral History Project from
its inception, reported on the digitization of these priceless genocide
survivor interviews. There are 660 interviews running anywhere from one to
six hours or more. Approximately 50% of them have been digitized and
transferred onto DVD, for their preservation and to facilitate access. It is
hoped that the project will be completed by the end of the year.

Kourken Sarkissian discussed the establishment of a scholarship fund for
students pursuing a PhD in Armenian Genocide or comparative genocide
studies. Criteria are being developed and the scholarship fund will be
publicized soon. He also described Zoryan’s involvement in the Canadian
Museum of Human Rights, which is being prepared in Winnipeg, with the
participation of the Armenian Genocide Museum in Washington, DC, represented
by Dr. Rouben Adalian.

George Shirinian reported on a research project being conducted in the
Danish Missionary Archives in Copenhagen. Dr. Eric Markusen and several
graduate students are preparing a formal report on the materials there,
which document the work of Danish relief workers providing aid to Armenians
after the Genocide.

Zoryan’s plans to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
were discussed at length, and new research proposals were debated and voted

During what was perhaps the most important part of the weekend-long meeting,
a lengthy brainstorming session was devoted to the direction the board
wished to see the institute take in the coming years. This will be the basis
for ongoing planning for the next 3 years and beyond.

The following individuals were also confirmed as the Corporate Board’s
directors and officers for the coming term:
路 Varouj Aivazian, Chairman
路 Levon Chorbajian
路 Arsin茅e Khanjian
路 Mig Migirdicyan, Treasurer
路 Greg Sarkissian, President of the Canadian Corp.
路 George Shirinian, Secretary
路 Roger Smith, ex officio as Chair of Academic Board
路 Khachig T枚l枚lyan, President of the US Corp.

The Zoryan Institute is a non-profit, international center devoted to the
research and documentation of contemporary issues related to the history,
politics, society, and culture of Armenia and Armenians around the world.

Please see attached photo of Zoryan board members, staff, and a few of the
invited guests.
Top Left: Yair Auron, Amanda Duncombe, Taner Ak莽am, Greg Sarkissian,
Sevan Mardirossian, Julie Gilmour, Anny Bakalian, Souren Chekijian, Narini
Badalian, George Shirinian.
Bottom Left: Levon Chorbajian, Lisa Siraganian, Vahakn Dadrian, Khachig
T枚l枚lyan, Roger Smith, Varouj Aivazian.