Philadelphia Community Hosts Armenian Genocide Symposium, Exhibit


Mark Momjian

Mark Momjian

Prof. Richard Hovannisian

Prof. Richard Hovannisian

Philadelphia Community Hosts Symposium, Exhibit Dedicated to Armenian Genocide

PHILADELPHIA — “We Not Only Survived, We Thrive,” a symposium and exhibit commemorating the centennial of the Armenian Genocide and celebrating the valor of ancestors, will take place April 10-12, at St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church in Wynnewood, Penn.

The weekend-long event, sponsored by the five Philadelphia area Armenian Churches — Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church (Havertown); Holy Trinity Armenian Church (Cheltenham); St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church (Philadelphia); St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic Church (Wynnewood): and St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church (Wynnewood) — will kick off with a reception on Friday, April 10, with music provided by Armenian Public Radio, a trio of Los Angeles musicians who will be making their debut appearance on the East Coast.

The symposium will be held on Saturday, April 11, and will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor Emeritus of Armenian and Near East History at UCLA and the world’s foremost scholar on modern Armenian history. Participating will be Teresa Alajajian-Hayrapetian, long-term co-editor of the AGBU’s Aragast literary magazine; Dr. Russell Kashian, professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Ani Boghikian-Kasparian, University of Michigan at Dearborn; Dr. Alfred Mueller II, dean of Arts & Sciences at Neumann University and Dr. Siobhan Nash-Marshall, professor of philosophy at Manhattanville College in New York.

Additionally, five graduate students from Manhattanville College will comprise a panel discussing Personhood and Genocide.

According to symposium co-chairs, Alfred Mueller II and Lusine Hampartzumyan-Mueller, “Given that the Armenian Genocide was launched with the killings of Armenian intellectuals, we think it is only fitting that we commemorate its 100th year with a scholarly gathering.”

The exhibit, which will run through Sunday at 5:00 p.m., will showcase the Armenian immigration experience from pre-American Civil War to the present. Among the several hundred items documenting the Armenian massacres from 1894 through the Genocide of 1915 are rare books, pamphlets, posters, postcards and pins, as well as signed letters and documents written by former U.S. presidents and dignitaries during World War I. A selection of Armenian-related ephemera will also be on display to demonstrate the way in which the Armenian Diaspora overcame their tragic past and built prosperous lives in their adopted country.

The exhibit is co-chaired by Mark and Melineh Momjian. Mark Momjian is one of the top family lawyers in the country and has served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Armenian Assembly and Armenian Bar Association. “Our focus,” Mark Momjian explains, “is to not only ensure that the sacrifices made by those who perished will not be forgotten, but also pay tribute to the thousands of survivors and their descendants who were scattered across the world, and under harrowing conditions, managed to keep the Armenian spirit alive. The exhibit is also an expression of profound gratitude to Americans who participated in relief efforts. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania alone, leaders like industrialist Howard Heinz, banker Andrew Mellon, manufacturer Samuel Fels, and merchant John Wanamaker joined countless Pennsylvanians in raising funds, organizing clothing and food drives, and traveling to the Near East to provide necessities and comfort to the survivors, especially scores of Armenian orphans.”

The weekend will conclude with a memorial luncheon on Sunday, April 12, following Divine Liturgy services.

The charge for Friday’s reception is $35 per person, reservations for which can be made by contacting Fran Torcomian at [email protected]. There is no charge for symposium or for viewing the exhibit on Saturday or Sunday; however, reservations are required. The exhibit will stay open until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The event is one of many Philadelphia Armenian community events organized in cooperation with the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Philadelphia with the specific focus of educating the public about the tragic events of 1915, when the Ottoman Empire practically erased the entire Armenian population in Anatolia. For more information on the event and other local Philadelphia commemoration activities, please visit the Facebook event page We Not Only Survived, We Thrive and armeniangenocide100philly.com.