Sonoma State University Center for the Study of Holocaust & Genocide

Armenian National Committee – Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
Phone: 818.500.1918
Fax: 818.246.7353
[email protected]


November 24, 2008
Contact: Ani Garabedian

Sonoma State University Center for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide
Promotes Armenian Genocide Awareness
What began twenty-six years ago as a lecture series to promote
understanding and awareness of the Holocaust has been transformed into
a series on all genocides that have affected people from all over the
world, from all walks of life and with a special awareness of the
Armenian Genocide.

In Rohnert Park, California, about a one-hour drive north of the
Golden Gate Bridge, Sonoma State University’s (SSU) Center for the
Study of the Holocaust and Genocide recognized the powerful impact
that this lecture series has had on students and the wider community.
That effort has manifested into a tangible, one of a kind project
that will bring a new dimension and sensitivity to the North Bay of
the greater San Francisco area.

SSU is facilitating the establishment of a Holocaust and Genocide
Memorial Grove on the campus, a multi-genocidal monument which will
honor and memorialize all those who have suffered and have been
victimized as a result of genocide. Funds for the establishment of
the grove are in the process of being raised from private citizens
with in-kind donations from several, mostly local businesses. No
public money is being spent on this project.

The lecture series, which was established by the SSU Center for the
Study of Holocaust and Genocide, has become a university staple over
the past 26 years – a class for students and the community alike. SSU
Dean of Social Sciences, Elaine Leeder, PhD who plays an active role
not only with the Memorial Grove but also with the Armenian, Cambodian
and Rwandan communities, says that over the years the lecture series
has broadened to envelop other genocides beyond the Holocaust and now
brings a greater diversity and awareness to the universality of
suffering. The lecture series seeks to study the nature of hate and to
prevent the escalation of prejudice into genocide. This change from
being focused on the Holocaust to all genocides stemmed from the
interest and the desire to end this relentless cycle.

Six years ago, SSU Director for the Center of the Holocaust and
Genocide, Myrna Goodman, PhD, engaged Bay Area Armenian-American
Christyne Davidian with the Center after learning Ms. Davidian was
involved with establishing a local grassroots community organization
called Armenians of the North Bay. Ms. Davidian has since provided a
significant role in broadening an Armenian focus during the lecture
series. Ms. Davidian founded the Armenian Genocide Memorial Lecture
Fund at SSU to ensure that the Armenian Genocide was included annually
in the lecture series. This fund has supported notable scholars,
including Robert Krikorian, PhD, Robert Hewsen, PhD, and Richard
Hovanessian, PhD, to lecture about the atrocities endured by the
Armenian people committed by the Ottoman Empire.

Genocide memorials have sprung up all over the world. None are as
distinctive as the one being built on the SSU campus due to the
efforts by Dr. Leeder, the SSU Center and the lecture series. The
installation and sculpture component of the memorial grove will
provide students and the community a venue to come together to honor
the lives lost in genocide, beginning with the Native American
genocide to present day Darfur.

The Grove will provide a compelling context in which participant
groups, including Armenians, Cambodians, Native American, Rwandans,
and those from the Holocaust, can honor and recognize friends,
ancestors and villages, providing a secular setting for closure and

Created by Associate Professor of Sculpture Jann Nunn, the sculpture’s
design consists of two 40-foot-long railroad tracks. The converging
steel lines meet at a ten-foot tall glass tower, which will be
internally illuminated from dawn to dusk. In the eyes of the artist,
the illuminated tower represents the hope that through the efforts of
education and tolerance such as those taught at SSU, that the
incidents of genocide will diminish as society moves forward into the
21st century.

Five hundred and twenty [520] ivory colored memorial bricks will be
placed in the position of railroad ties relative to the steel tracks.
Each brick will be laser-inscribed with selected genocide logos,
names, and memorial expressions.

The Armenian Genocide Memorial Bricks will include an Armenian logo
image adapted from an ancient Armenian symbol representing "eternal
life" found on ancient churches, khatchkars (cross stones), and
graves. This brick logo was rendered from the symbol etched on the
eternal flame at Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide monument in
Armenia. The 12 swirls represent the 12 lost provinces where the
Armenians lived before the Genocide took place.

Proceeds from brick donations will be placed in the Armenian Genocide
Memorial Lecture Fund at SSU. Donations to this project are carried
out under the auspicious of a 501(C)(3) and may be deductible for tax

Members and friends of the Armenian Community are encouraged to
participate in this project by purchasing a brick inscribed to loved
ones, with expressions, or for organizations. Two sizes are available:

At the $100 level — 4"x8" with up to three rows of engraving, each
row containing up to 20 characters

At the $250 level — 8"x8" with up to six rows of engraving, each row
containing up to 20 characters.

Brick orders placed by November 30, 2008 are guaranteed to be included
in the sculpture which is scheduled for dedication in Spring 2009.
Brick installments will continue after opening ceremony based on
minimum order lots.

A video on the project may be viewed at the link:

For Armenian Genocide Brick Orders forms and more information, please
visit the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove Project link at:

T he Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and
most influential Armenian American Grassroots advocacy organization in
the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of
offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States
and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances
the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of

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