Press Release: Fourth Annual,International Graduate Student Colloqui

UCLA Armenian Graduate Students Association
Graduate Students Association
c/o Armenian Graduate Students Association
Kerckhoff Hall Room 316
308 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Contact: Talar Chahinian
E-mail: [email protected]

Fourth Annual, International Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies
at UCLA This March

The UCLA Armenian Graduate Students Association held the fourth annual,
international Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies at UCLA on
Friday, March 3, 2006. This day-long event brought together graduate
students from around the world to present their research and share ideas in
an academic setting. It was an opportunity to bring to light many issues in
Armenian studies to an audience of undergraduate and graduate students and
faculty from numerous institutions in Southern California, Armenian
scholars, and community members interested in the broad range of topics
being presented throughout the day.

This year the organizing committee continued the fine tradition that began
four years ago with the launching of the first-ever international colloquium
in Armenian Studies developed specifically for graduate students by graduate
students. UCLA, a premier institution for the growing field of Armenology
and a leader in interdisciplinary studies, hosted the event to foster the
development of Armenian Studies, facilitate interaction between graduate
students and faculty from various institutions, provide a medium for the
exchange of ideas, and contribute to the professional and academic
advancement of graduate students.

For those in attendance, the colloquium provided a unique opportunity to
learn more about Armenian studies and showcased future scholars and leaders
in these areas. It was also an occasion for young scholars interested in
Armenian issues to meet other scholars and to share ideas and common
interests. It was a great environment for the exchange of ideas and exposure
to new and different academic approaches.

In an effort to help mobilize an Armenian Studies community among students,
faculty and community members, the 2006 GSCiAS committee had planned a
series of events for the presenters to attend during the week preceding the
colloquium. These events included visits to Armenian Studies classes held
at UCLA, a visit to the Armenian collection at the research library at UCLA,
receptions where faculty and students could interact, and the opening for
the Genocide Posters Exhibit held at the Kerchkoff Hall, on campus. This
exhibit displayed both vintage and contemporary posters centered around the
theme of the Armenian Genocide and its denial. The opening night also
featured discussions with some of the LA-based artists of the posters. The
framing of the posters for the exhibit was made possible by the generous
help of ~SAn Art Studio~T.

Studies from multiple fields were presented, including literature, history,
art history, psychology and religious studies. Topics discussed ranged from
contemporary Armenian film and diasporan identity to the situation of the
Armenian Church in the 20th century and the issue of Ottoman marriage law as
it pertained to the Armenian millet. Presenters came from universities all
around the world, including UCLA, the Central European University (Hungary),
Haigazian University (Lebanon), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel),
Oxford University (UK), and multiple institutes in the Republic of Armenia.

This year, the organizing committee was led by Myrna Douzjian, a graduate
student from the Department of Comparative Literature. She was joined by a
number of graduate student veterans from the 2005 GSCiAS as well as faculty
advisor, Dr. Peter Cowe. Graduate students from across many disciplines were
responsible for the individual aspects of developing the event. This ranged
from financing to program scheduling, facilities and refreshments to travel
and accommodations, as well as both academic and media public relations.

Armenian Studies at UCLA began in 1960. The discipline was augmented in 1962
with the appointment of Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian, current holder of the
Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History. In 1965,
language and literature was established on a permanent footing with the
arrival of Dr. Avedis K. Sanjian, who guided the expansion of this are over
the next three decades. The Narekatsi Chair, founded in 1969 through the
efforts of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, has
the distinction of being the oldest endowed chair at UCLA. The first
chair-holder was Dr. Sanjian and in July 2000 Dr. S. Peter Cowe was
appointed as successor. Since 1997 regular instruction in Eastern Armenian
has complemented teaching in Western Armenian, instructed by Drs. Anahid
Keshishian and Hagop Gulludjian, respectively. In 1998, Armenian Studies was
officially recognized as an undergraduate minor.

The Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies is yet another step in
the development of the rich tradition of Armenian Studies at UCLA. Organized
by graduate students, for graduate students, it provides an opportunity for
students to actively and significantly contribute to the academic
environment on campus.

The colloquium was made possible, in part, by the financial contributions of
the departments, programs, centers, and funds at UCLA including the
departments of Art History, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Slavic
Languages and Literatures, the program in Indo-European Studies, the centers
for European and Eurasian Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and
Near Eastern Studies, the Graduate Students Association, the Graduate
Division of the UCLA administration, and the Campus Programs Committee Fund.
Off-campus sponsors included the Society for Armenian Studies, the UCLA
Friends of Armenian Studies, the Ararat Eskijian Museum, the National
Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and private donors.

———Attachment #1 of 1: Group photo of colloquium presenters


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