California Courier Online, February 17, 2005

California Courier Online, February 17, 2005

1 – Commentary
Turkish Commentator Admits
Turkey’s Defeat on Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
California Courier Publisher
2 – Greek-Armenian Classic Guitarist
To Perform in San Francisco, Fresno
3 – AGBU YPGNY Organizes Feb.-March
Series on ‘Armenia, Past, Future’
4 – Pasadena ANC Will Honor Assemblymember
Carol Liu at Community Leadership Banquet
5 – Istanbul Patriarchate Chancellor
Remarks on Melkonian Closure
6 – SOAD Announces
Release of New Album
7 – CSUF Armenian Studies Program
Hosts Fall Program in Armenia
8 – University of Tehran Honors AUA Dean of
Engineering Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian
1 – Commentary
Turkish Commentator Admits
Turkey’s Defeat on Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

At a great personal risk, one of the most prominent Turkish commentators,
Mehmet Ali Birand, openly admitted last week that Turkey has been defeated
in its campaign to deny the facts of the Armenian Genocide.
In a commentary titled “We’ve already missed the train,” published in the
Feb. 5th issue of the Turkish Daily News, Birand quoted Yusuf Halacoglu,
the Chairman of the Turkish Historical Foundation, as saying that the
Turkish government’s efforts on “the publication of documents, books and
movies” to deny the Armenian Genocide have not had the intended result.
Halacoglu described such Turkish efforts as “propaganda.” Birand conceded
that the Genocide is gaining international acceptance.
Birand suggested that the Turks counter-attack by resorting to political
blackmail. He and Halacoglu think that the Turkish government should now
use its extensive political muscle to pressure other countries into denying
the Armenian Genocide. They believe that the best course of action is to
commission “a study” by the United Nations.
Birand and the Chairman of the Turkish historical society do not seem to
realize that Turkey has been unsuccessfully bullying everyone around the
world for almost 90 years on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. They are
also ignoring the fact that a panel of UN experts, after spending more than
a dozen years to study and argue this subject, issued a report in 1985,
classifying the Armenian case as an example of genocide. The UN body
reached this decision despite “the evidence” presented by the Turkish
government, and despite intense political pressure brought to bear on the
UN experts and their governments.
Here are some excerpts from Birand’s eye-opening article:
“It’s time that we accept the fact that Armenian claims alleging that they
suffered a genocide have begun to gain acceptance, especially in the
Western world.
“The Armenians have been diligent with respect to their goal for the last
75 years. They have published thousands of books and articles. They set up
departments at universities and convinced the international front. Yet, in
the long run, they won international recognition in spite of the fact that
their data were insufficient and did not reflect the truthā€¦.
“We all know Yusuf HalaƧoglu. He has served as chairman of the Turkish
Historical Foundation for the last 11 years. He appeared on ‘Manset’
[Birand’s TV program] last Friday and reiterated the reality of the current
situation, heeding a vital warning. ‘We can no longer overcome this
situation with propaganda via the publication of documents, books and
movies. We should continue our efforts on such fronts; yet, we have to
start taking strides that will generate interest. We should take political
as well as historical stridesā€¦.’
“His suggestion, just as retired ambassador Yalim Eralp had said, is that
Turkey take hold of the reins and urge that the United Nations set up an
investigative committeeā€¦.
“It is vital at this juncture that a person who is a leading scholar on the
topic take a stand and shout out: ‘We are strong, but this is the
responsibility of the politicians. Technical research is insufficient.’
“State officials must wake up, develop a strategy and realize that we
cannot get anywhere by ‘leaving the work to the historians.’ It’s time to
get the United Nations in on the action and discover new horizons that will
have an impact on the international arena.”
At the end of his column, Birand quoted Halacoglu’s following thoughts:
“The 1915 Deportation Law and the official Turkish thesis advocating that
the final word on this law be left up to historians and the thesis that has
been a part of various administrations to date don’t seem too plausibleā€¦.
Letting historians interpret the issue leads to nothing. We have failed as
a society to construct a proper policy towards such a sensitive issue, and
this has led to problems on the international front.”
Using Halacoglu’s words as his cover, Birand dares to point out that
Turkish society may one day see the Armenian Genocide in a completely
different light: “We have made a decision on a certain front and believe
that it will remain the ultimate reality. Yet, sometimes to the contrary,
the translation of certain events also changes. What was known as
‘displacement’ in the past can be viewed as ‘genocide’ in general public
opinion. It’s time we open up such topics to general discussion.”
2 – Greek-Armenian Classic Guitarist
To Perform in San Francisco, Fresno
SAN FRANCISCO – Pomegranate Music Events recently released the California
tour dates for Armenian-Greek classical guitarist Iakovos Kolanian in San
Francisco and Fresno in March.
Kolanian will begin his California tour with a March 4 performance at the
San Francisco’s Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor, at Lincoln Park,
100 34th Ave., starting at 8 p.m. No children under the age of 6. Ticket
information can be obtained by visiting
The next day, March 5, at 7:30 p.m., Kolanian will perform in Fresno at the
Concert Hall of the California State University, Fresno, Music Building,
5241 N. Maple Ave. All net proceeds will be donated to the Armenian
Community School of Fresno and the Armenian Studies Program at CSUF. For
ticket information, visit
The program for each concert will consist of one half being devoted to the
selected works of J.S Bach (Lute Suite in A Minor BWV), Agustin
Barrios-Mangore (La Catedral), and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Capriccio
Diabolico). The entire second half of the concert will be devoted to
Kolanian’s arrangement of 13 Armenian folk and traditional songs, including
the famous Komitas Dances.
These rare concerts are in support of the new groundbreaking Pomegranate
Music CD release entitled Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar by
Armenian-Greek classical guitarist Iakovos Kolanian. Mr. Kolanian’s Shoror
is the culmination of a 16-year journey to arrange and transcribe Armenian
folk songs for the classical guitar. As Kolanian explains, “I managed to
collect a considerable number of traditional dances and songs, deciding in
the process that I would transcribe or recompose part of this material for
the guitar. However, such was the emotional impact of this music on me
that, I sometimes found it difficult to hold back my tears as I worked
through a particular piece. It was during this stimulating process that I
came to the realization that this pursuit was not simply a professional
step, but, without a doubt, a journey into the depths of my soul in search
of my Armenian roots.”
Born in Greece in 1960 to an Armenian father and a Greek mother, Kolanian,
influenced by the musical currents of the time (pop, rock, as well as
classical) at the age of 13, started his musical journey that eventually
led him to the National Conservatory of Athens. There, he studied classical
guitar and graduated in 1985 with top awards and a special honor for
exceptional performance.
Throughout the years he has toured in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He
performed as a soloist with the Athens State Orchestra, Thessalonica State
Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of Greek Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), The
Camerata Orchestra of Athens, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as
with numerous ensembles of chamber music.
He has been regularly featured in television and radio programs such as
BBC, ORF, Radio France, ERT, RIK. One of these collaborations, in 1991,
resulted in the recording and release of a CD of Loris Tjeknavorian’s
Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra
? with the composer himself as the conductor ? in a production of Austrian
Television (ORF).
In addition to his career as a soloist and recording artist, Kolanian has
been the head of the Classical Guitar Department at the Contemporary Athens
Conservatory since 1992, and is an honorary professor at the Armenian
Academy in Yerevan.
Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar was produced by Kevork Imirzian and
is on sale at e-tailers such as and
Apple’s iTunes will also be carrying Shoror for digital download in 2005.
Pomegranate Music Founder and CEO Raffi Meneshian noted, “Being able to
present Armenian folk music though the medium of guitar is a unique project
for any record label. To have one of Europe’s best classical guitarists be
the proponent of this material is even more special. We are thrilled to be
starting our North American tour in two of America’s most historic and
important Armenian communities, Fresno, and San Francisco.”
In December of 2004, the influential All Music Guide critic Rick Anderson
gave Shoror: Armenian Folk Music for Guitar a four-star review and stated,
“ā€¦what Kolanian has created here is an admirably lyrical, complex, and
insightful fusion of folk and classical music, the kind of thing that
rarely works well at all. In this case it works beautifully, mainly because
of the combination of Kolanian’s deep feeling for this music and his
equally deep mastery of both his instrument and the principles of classical
guitar style. Note in particular the delicately woven counterpoint he
creates in his arrangement of ‘Yaman Yar,’ and the gently dancing grace he
brings to ‘Zankezouri.’ Very highly recommended.”
3 – AGBU YPGNY Organizes Feb.-March
Series on ‘Armenia, Past, Future’
NEW YORK – Starting February 17, AGBU Young Professionals of Greater New
York (YPGNY) presents a three-week series of screenings, panel discussions,
and presentations at AGBU Central Office in New York on Armenia and issues
relevant to its past, present and future.
The Thursday events begin on Feb. 17 with a special screening of “My Son
Shall Be Armenian,” a poignant film that reflects on Armenian identity, as
filmmaker Hagop Goudsouzian follows five Montrealers of Armenian descent as
they return to the land of their forebears in search of survivors.
Goudsouzian weaves the moving accounts of these centenarians and the
touching, at times droll, reactions of the New World travelers about the
need to make peace with the past in order to move into the future. Tickets
are $15.
On Feb. 24, the series continues with a special panel discussion entitled,
“Armenia Present,” that focuses on the state of development in Armenia in
the fields of the education, politics, and civil society. Speakers will
include Aaron Sherinian from the U.S. Embassy in Armenia and former
Fulbright scholar and educator Nicole Vartanian. Tickets are $10.
The final event on March 3 will host Noubar Afeyan from the groundbreaking
Armenia 2020 initiative that looks into future scenarios for the country
projecting possible trajectories for the country and its role in the world.
Tickets are $10.
All events will take place at AGBU Central Office in midtown Manhattan (55
East 59th Street, between Park & Madison Avenues) and tickets can be
reserved by emailing [email protected], or by calling 212.319.6383.
4 – Pasadena ANC Will Honor Assemblymember
Carol Liu at Community Leadership Banquet
PASADENA, Calif. – The Armenian National Committee (ANC) Pasadena will host
their 2nd Annual Community Leadership Banquet on Feb. 20, 5 p.m., at the
Pasadena Armenian Center, honoring California State Assemblymember Carol
Liu (D-La Canada- Flintridge) of the 44th Assembly District.
The Pasadena Armenian Center is located at 1725 E. Washington Blvd.
The ANC Pasadena Community Leadership Award is annually awarded to
individuals who have made a positive impact on local policy and development
matters affecting the city of Pasadena. In addition, these awardees have
supported, sponsored, and produced extraordinary programs and achievements
that have advanced the issues and concerns important to the Armenian
Assemblymember Liu is being recognized for her work and efforts to reform
and improve issues related to transportation, higher education, and K-12
education for the State of California. She is the current Chair of the
Highest Education Committee where she has served as an advocate for
affordable college education for California students.
In March of 2004, Liu and the ANC Pasadena hosted the first Teacher
Training Workshop on the Armenian Genocide for history high school teachers
of the Pasadena Unified School District. The workshop provided history
teachers with lesson plans and materials concerning human and civil rights
violations. As an avid supporter for human rights and genocide curriculum,
Assemblymember Liu has proven her commitment to the cause by developing a
forum for teachers to discuss and analyze the California State Department
of Education’s model curriculum for teaching about human rights and
genocide, including the Armenian Genocide.
People interested in learning more about the Feb. 20 banquet should contact
Diane Mangioglu at Assemblymember Liu’s District office, (626) 577-9944.
5 – Istanbul Patriarchate Chancellor
Remarks on Melkonian Closure
ISTANBUL – “It is difficult to comprehend how the closure of a prestigious
school in the Middle East, and one of the very few Armenian educational
institutions in the European Union could be in the best interests of the
Armenian nation. We believe that this decision, taken by a few executives,
is a wrong one,” said Rev. Fr. Krikor Damadyan, the Chancellor of the
Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate commenting on the communiquƩ released by the
AGBU Central Board of Directors, itself a response to the lawsuit filed by
Patriarch Mesrob II against the AGBU for its proposed closing of the
Melkonian Institute in Cyprus this June.
“The AGBU Central Board of Directors claims that it will continue to honor
the vision of its many generous benefactors including the late Garabed
Melkonian, for the benefit of all Armenians worldwide,” Rev. Damadyan
noted, quoting from the AGBU release.
“The only way to honor the vision of the Melkonian Brothers is to keep the
Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus open. The AGBU should refrain
from closing down the MEI and selling the property, lest she should declare
herself untrustworthy before all Armenians worldwide,” Damadyan continued.
“Why should people make grants to a charity organization such as the AGBU,
if following their demise a few executives will deal with the grant in a
way that will not do justice to the benefactor’s memory?
“The AGBU should also publish how she has executed the Melkonian Trust
since 1926. Every charity organization should be accountable to the public
and should not take offense when asked for accounts,” Damadyan added. “AGBU
executives who donate their own family wealth on charity are appreciated
dearly by all Armenians worldwide. Nevertheless, that should not allow them
any right to do as they please with the grants made by other benefactors.”
“ā€¦Patriarch Mesrob has magnanimously made it known to those Californian
Armenians who would like to act as mediators that
he would be willing to receive a delegation in Istanbul in order to discuss
a meaningful settlement of this critically important
issue to the Armenians of Europe. Great justice will be done if the AGBU
reverses her decision to close down the Melkonian Educational Institute,”
Damadyan suggested, adding, “This is our Patriarchate’s wish and prayer, as
also expressed by numerous Melkonian alumni worldwide.”
6 – SOAD Announces
Release of New Album
LOS ANGELES – reports System Of A Down have confirmed an
April 26 release date for “Mezmerize”, the first half of their new double
album set. The second CD, titled “Hypnotize”, will be out sometime this
fall. Meanwhile, the first single from “Mezmerize”, called “B.Y.O.B.”, is
poised to arrive at rock radio on or around March 1, according to Launch
Radio Networks.
The Armenian-American quartet has just wrapped up its headlining stint on
Australia and New Zealand’s Big Day Out festival and is heading home to Los
Angeles to finish work on the new album.
The band is also one of many acts that have donated items to a second eBay
auction sponsored by Waxploitation Records to raise money for genocide
victims in the African nation of Sudan. Other artists that have contributed
signed or rare items include Dave Matthews, Dashboard Confessional, and Bad
Religion. System contributed to Waxploitation’s first such auction last
month, along with Limp Bizkit, Korn, 311, Rob Zombie and others.
7 – CSUF Armenian Studies Program
Hosts Fall Program in Armenia
FRESNO – The Armenian Studies Program at California State University,
Fresno has organized a one-semester program designed to introduce students
to Armenian language, history, art, and contemporary events. The semester
schedule is composed of five courses: Armenian language (4 units); Armenian
art and architecture (3 units); Armenia today (3 units); Armenian studies
(3 units); Independent study (2 units).
Courses, based on curriculum used by the Armenian Studies Program at
California State University, Fresno, will be taught by faculty from Yerevan
State University. Semester begins Sept. 5, 2005.
The academic committee in charge of curriculum is composed of Dr. Dickran
Kouymjian, Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies and
Director of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State, Dr. Tom Samuelian
of Arlex International, and Barlow Der Mugrdechian of the Armenian Studies
Program at Fresno State.
Full information on the program is available at the following web site:
Eligibility: The program is open to all high school graduates, ages 18-32,
who have maintained a minimum 2.75 GPA in college.
Fees: Fees for the program are $2,250 per person (for 15 units of courses)
and an additional fee of approximately of $160 for health insurance. Room
and board, air fare, and transportation and any additional costs are the
responsibility of the student. (The Program will assist in finding living
Deadline: Students are required to fill in the following application form
and return it to the Armenian Studies Program by May 1, 2005 for study
abroad in Armenia in the Spring semester 2005.
Minimum class size:
A minimum of 5 students must be successfully admitted to the program for
the Fall 2005 program to take place.
Required information for application: Official college transcript; One page
essay on why you would like to participate in the Armenia Study Abroad
Program, what has prepared you for study in such a Program, and why you are
qualified to participate; One passport sized color photo; Names and
telephone numbers of two references (non-related). In addition please
submit Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Telephone number, Email address,
Date of birth: (Please clearly print all information and make sure that the
telephone number and email address are current). Send the application form,
and all requested material to: Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian Studies
Program, 5245 N Backer Ave. PB4. Fresno, CA 93740-8001
If you have any questions contact: Barlow Der Mugrdechian office telephone:
559-278-4930 o email: [email protected]
Travel fellowship: Travel fellowships are available to qualified applicants
who are accepted into the Fresno State Armenia Semester Abroad Program
through BirthRight Armenia/Depi Hayk (BR/DH). The travel fellowship covers
reimbursement of roundtrip economy class airfare at the average price for
that period upon successful completion of the program and BR/DH
requirements. The application form is posted on the

8 – University of Tehran Honors AUA Dean of
Engineering Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian
OAKLAND, CA – Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian was selected as a distinguished
alumnus of the Faculty of Engineering of Tehran University, Iran in
December 2004. In a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Faculty
of Engineering, the University recognized one alumnus from all fields of
engineering per year of the Faculty’s existence for their scholarly and
professional contributions to engineering. It may be of interest to note
that among 70 honorees there were four Armenians. Der Kiureghian received
both his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering and his M.Sc. in Structural Engineering
from Tehran University. He holds a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
After the 1988 Spitak earthquake, Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian was instrumental
in establishing the American University of Armenia in Yerevan as an
affiliate of the University of California. Concurrently with his position
as Taisei Professor of Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley, Dr. Der Kiureghian
has served as the founding Dean of Engineering since 1991 and directed the
Engineering Research Center of AUA until 2004. He also serves on the Board
of Trustees of the American University of Armenia Corporation.
Under Der Kiureghian’s leadership, AUA hosted the 8th World Seminar on
Seismic Isolation in October 2003, whereby over 100 academic and field
specialists from 23 countries of the world came to exchange and disseminate
information on new technologies in anti-seismic systems; AUA convened
opening ceremonies of the Solar Photovoltaic Power Station in May 2004,
demonstrating new solar technologies on generating electricity and heating
& cooling power in Armenia; and most recently in Fall 2004 AUA provided a
distance learning course on Software Architecture, from Yerevan via the
Internet, to students at the San Francisco State University.
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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress