International Conference & Student Workshop on the Armenian Diaspora

Suite 310
Toronto, ON, Canada M3B 3H9
CONTACT: Patil Halajian
Tel: 416-250-9807
Fax: 416-512-1736
E-mail: [email protected]

International Conference & Student Workshop on the Armenian Diaspora

Boston – History, culture, and identity were the focus of over thirty scholars
gathered at Boston University to participate in the `International
Conference & Student Workshop on the Armenian Diaspora.’ The conference,
organized by Dr. Simon Payaslian, took place from February 12 to 14 and was
co-sponsored by the Charles K. and Elisabeth M. Kenosian Chair in Modern
Armenian History and Literature at Boston University, the National
Association for Armenian Studies and Research, and the International
Institute for Diaspora Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute).

`Armenian diasporan communities emerged over centuries as a result of
voluntary migration and forced displacement in times of military conflicts,
the Genocide during WWI, and economic and political crises,’ explained Dr.
Payaslian in his opening remarks. `We are thrilled that this conference has
brought together scholars to present their new research on the Armenian
diaspora and to explore the evolution of Armenian diasporan communities and
stimulate analyses of current issues,’ he added.

The three-day conference was exceptional, in that the participants who came
from Armenia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Romania,
and the United States, could not recall another academic conference of such
size, diversity and scope. The presentations covered a wide array of topics
in the broad field of Diaspora Studies. Panels dealt with the following
themes: Transnationalism, Nationalism & Conflict; Diasporic Identity; Human
Rights & Genocide; Diasporic Identities and Community Building; Diaspora and
Cultural Development; Narrativization of Diasporic Belongingness and
Revival; Armenian Repatriations; The Desnelle Collective (contemporary
artists in various media); Culture & Economy in Diasporan Communities;
Transdisciplinarity of Diaspora Studies; and Diasporan Ethno-nationalism &

The first day of the conference represented the work of young, up-and-coming
scholars. Their level of expertise and dedication to the subject promise a
bright future for Armenian Diaspora Studies. The number of scholars working
in the field and the variety of their subjects was also a revelation to
many, as before this conference they were not aware of each other’s work in
this field.

Particularly enjoyed at the conference was a session entitled `The Desnelle
Collective,’ which included papers and presentations about the Armenian
Diaspora through various art forms, including video, the book, performance
art and painting, along with analytical discussions. Discussant David
Kazanjian from the University of Pennsylvania described the session as `a
breath of fresh air in which I am exalted to step.’

Summing up the success of the event Dr. Payaslian explained there is still a
lot of work to be done. `As a first step, it is necessary to expand the
temporal and spatial parameters of Armenian Diaspora Studies, to integrate
theoretical and empirical, qualitative and quantitative approaches,’ he
stated in his closing remarks. `There are other topics that Armenian
Diaspora Studies must consider that are extremely important and necessary,
such as the study of community leadership, and the study of the role, place,
significance and impact of at least four major institutions which include:
political parties, the church, the media and schools,’ Dr. Payaslian

Details about each of the participants and their presentations, including
photos from the conference, are available at
The International Institute for Diaspora Studies (A Division of the Zoryan
Institute) is dedicated to the study and dissemination of knowledge
regarding the phenomenon of diaspora. The Institute investigates the
character, capacity and concerns of diasporan communities, as both domestic
and international actors, and promotes a deeper understanding of diasporas,
transnational immigration networks and their impact on both home and host
countries. Since 1991, Zoryan’s pioneering Diaspora: A Journal of
Transnational Studies, under the editorship of Prof. Khachig Tololyan, has
played a leading role in directing the discussion in an interdisciplinary
and comparative manner. For more information please contact the Zoryan
Institute by email [email protected] or telephone (416) 250-9807.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS