Fresno State Exhibit To Spotlight Armenians Of Bitlis


Friday, March 21st, 2014

Fresno State University’s Henry Madden Library

‘Remembering the Armenians of Bitlis,’ an exhibit at the Henry Madden
Library at Fresno State opens March 30

FRESNO, Calif.–The Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State in
cooperation with the Gomidas Institute (London), and the Leon S.

Peters Foundation present “Remembering the Armenians of Bitlis,” an
exhibit to be open from March 30 to April 30, on the second floor of
the Henry Madden Library.

A special opening reception to highlight the exhibit of rare photos,
documents, and maps from the Bitlis area will be held from 3 to 4 pm
on Sunday, March 30, on the second floor of the Madden Library. The
hors d’oeuvres reception is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the reception Ara Sarafian of the Gomidas
Institute will present a talk, “Down and About Bitlis: An Exhibition
on Bitlis Armenians on the Shores of Lake Van” at 4 pm, in Room 2206
of the Madden Library, next to the exhibit area.

On March 1 to 2, the Gomidas Institute with the support of the Armenian
Studies Program at Fresno State, held an extraordinary exhibition in
Tatvan, on the shores of Lake Van, entitled “Bitlis Ermenileri” (The
Armenians of Bitlis). This event was part of the Gomidas Institute’s
“bridge-building initiative” which was started in June 2013 to build
contacts between Armenians, Turks, and Kurds.

The Bitlis Armenians exhibition was based on key ethnographic maps and
photographs depicting the Armenian presence in the Ottoman province
of Bitlis before 1915. These were the result of extensive academic
research at the ABCFM Archives (Houghton Library, Harvard University),
Mt. Holyoke College Archives (Mass.), AGBU Nubarian archives (Paris),
and the Ottoman Prime Ministry Archives (Istanbul). The exhibition
was shown at the Tatvan Cultural Center with the support of the local
mayor’s office as well as several other organizations in Bitlis and
surrounding areas.

This exhibition was the first such event in eastern Turkey and was
attended by a whole spectrum of people from students and workers to
local politicians and members of the Turkish Parliament. The Turkish
Human Right’s Association (especially its committee against racism
and discrimination) supported the event and sent three of its members
to attend the opening.

Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specializing on late Ottoman
history. He is the director of the Gomidas Institute, which is a
leading research and publication center related to modern Armenian

The reception and lecture are free and open to the public. Parking
is free at Fresno State on Sundays — Lots P30 and P31, entering at
Shaw and Barton Avenues.

For more information on the exhibit please contact the Armenian
Studies Program.

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