Honoring Christina Maranci, Mashtots Chair in Armenian Studies, Harvard University
Saturday, May 6, 2023
6 pm Cocktail Reception ~ 7 pm Seated Dinner
The Charles Hotel, One Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA
Join us as we honor:
Professor Christina Maranci
The newest holder of the Mashtots Chair in Armenian Studies, Harvard University
Chairman of the Board of NAASR 2016 – 2022
Marc A. Mamigonian
Director of Academic Affairs at NAASR – 25th Anniversary
Dr. Lisa Gulesserian, Preceptor on Armenian, Harvard University
With Distinguished Speakers from Harvard University
Master of Ceremonies: Adi Ignatius, Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Business Review
NAASR was launched in March 1955 to pursue a bold vision of promoting Armenian Studies by establishing endowed chairs at foremost universities in the United States. NAASR achieved this ambitious goal by establishing the first chair in Armenian Studies, at Harvard University. In 1959 we marked the successful conclusion of our Harvard Chair campaign at a gala in Memorial Hall. The Mashtots Chair was the first at Harvard to be endowed by a community organization.
“Water Finds its Way: Challenges and Resources for Less Commonly Taught Languages”
A talk by Dr. Lisa Gulesserian
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
4:00–5:30 pm ET
Harvard Language Center (Science Center B06)
The less commonly taught language (LCTL) classroom is a unique space on campus with special challenges for language instructors. At times, these numerous challenges feel like a deluge. In this talk, Dr. Gulesserian will describe the challenges of the LCTL classroom and will share adaptable resources and strategies that she has used in her LCTL classroom to meet those challenges. In sharing these resources, she hopes to encourage her fellow LCTL instructors to remember that, as an Armenian proverb reminds us: “Water finds its way.”
Join us for the second event of our reading series, Literary Lights, featuring Deanna Cachoian-Schanz, translator of A Book, Untitled, written by Shushan Avagyan. Cachoian-Schanz will be joined by Dr. Lisa Gulesserian, Harvard University Preceptor on Armenian Language and Culture. The event will take place on March 29, 2023 at 7:00 PM Eastern, at the Guild Hall of the Diocesan Center in New York City (No registration required).
Literary Lights is a monthly reading series organized by IALA, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center. The series, which launched in February 2023 with Taleen Voskuni’s Sorry, Bro, will feature new works of literature by Armenian authors, and will be held until November in a mixed online and in-person format. You are invited to read along with the series!
A Book, Untitled unfolds an imagined encounter between two early twentieth-century feminist writers, Zabel Yesayan and Shushanik Kurghinian, juxtaposed with a conversation between the author and a friend. Learn more about the book here.
I presented a lecture on hayrens—an Armenian poetic form—and led a poetry-writing workshop for Hamazkayin Canada’s Levon Shant Armenological Course on Saturday, 28 January 2023. In my lecture and workshop, participants were introduced to the hayren poetic form, collaboratively produced Armenian-language hayrens, and presented their poems.
I led a zine-making workshop for Hamazkayin Eastern Region’s Cultural Retreat on Saturday, 28 May 2022. In my workshop, participants were introduced to the zine format, produced Armenian-language zines, and presented their work.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Fiala Abdullayeva (Azerbaijan University of Languages, Azerbaijani)
Lisa Gulesserian (Harvard University, Western Armenian)
Tereza Hovhannisyan (UCLA, Eastern Armenian)
Lauren Ninoshvili (Columbia University, Georgian)
Maureen E. Marshall (President, ARISC)
It has become increasingly important and necessary for researchers studying the South Caucasus to know the languages of Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian. Not only can Russian no longer be relied upon as a lingua franca serving as the language of scholarly publication and facilitating communication in-country, but in order to incorporate local perspectives and utilize original source material, students and scholars need to develop a working knowledge of the local languages. Yet learning Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian pose several challenges for U.S. researchers, including access to language courses (particularly in-person or synchronous instruction), sustaining language study that is necessary to reach proficiency, and the potential challenge of studying multiple languages needed for comparative and transnational research. Of the three titular languages of the South Caucasus, Armenian is taught the most regularly, at several types of institutions of higher education (IHE) across the country, but is still limited in reach and support compared to other Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) and is also divided between Eastern and Western instruction, with the latter now considered by many an endangered language. Azerbaijani and Georgian are only offered irregularly and intermittently in the U.S. and at fewer institutions, and in the last few years sometimes only at summer institutes. What factors and structures might be behind these low levels of language instruction in the U.S.? What opportunities for development are available to researchers and institutions? Are there actionable steps that we as a community might take to support and facilitate expertise in Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian?
This virtual panel brings together instructors of Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian with researchers, educators, and administrators to discuss the state of South Caucasus language instruction in the U.S. The language instructors will first share their experiences and perspectives and the discussion will then be opened up to all participants to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and future direction of language instruction.
We hope the discussion will lead to identifying current trends and challenges, and that as a group we might come up with some actionable ideas to enhance the study of the languages of the South Caucasus in the U.S.
This event is free and open to all, and is co-sponsored by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center’s (REEEC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This event is supported with grants from the US Department of Education Title VI AORC and NRC programs.
Anbardeli Zabel / The Unstoppable Zabel / Անպարտելի Զապէլը: A Reading (book by Nora Kayserian and illustrated by Lusine Ghukasyan)
All ages will enjoy this compelling picture-book biography of the writer and social justice activist Zabel Yessayan, read in period costume in Western Armenian by Dr. Lisa Gulesserian, who teaches Western Armenian at Harvard University.
Don’t miss this opportunity to bring your family and friends to visit NAASR’s stunning Vartan Gregorian building and introduce them to the influential 20th century author Zabel Yessayan.
I organized and moderated this panel on the Syrian Armenian refugee community in Armenia.
The CMES Armenian Studies Lecture Series presents…
Rebecca L. Thomas, MSW, PhD
Professor and Director, Center for International Social Work Studies, University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Anoush Baghdassarian Harvard Law School 3L; co-founder of ReRooted, a Syrian-Armenian Archive
Ani Schug Co-founder of ReRooted, a Syrian-Armenian Archive
Syria provided a refuge for Ottoman Armenians fleeing the violence in their ancestral villages during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. The Syrian Armenian community grew and flourished in the twentieth century—schools, churches, businesses, and institutions supported the development of a distinct and vibrant culture. After a century of post-Genocide revival, many Armenians in Syria were displaced a second time during the chaos of the ongoing Syrian Civil War that began in 2011. Some Syrian Armenians stayed in Syria, while others immigrated to Armenia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and elsewhere. To understand the diversity of experiences in this twice-displaced population, this event will describe, contextualize, and explain the Syrian Armenian community’s past, present, and future.
Rebecca L. Thomas, MSW, Ph.D., is Professor and the Director of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work Center for International Social Work Studies. Dr. Thomas is the Chair of Policy Practices. She also coordinates a joint academic program exchange between UConn and Yerevan State University in Armenia. Her current research and scholarship include issues related to remittances, international development, poverty, and migration. Dr. Thomas is the Chair of the Commission on Global Social Work Education and represents International Association of Schools of Social Work on the NGO Committee on Migration at the United Nations. She also serves on the City of Hartford Commission on Immigrant-on-Immigrant Affairs.
Anoush Baghdassarian, Harvard Law School 3L and co-founder of the ReRooted Syrian-Armenian Archive. Anoush is a proud Armenian with roots all over the diaspora. She is currently pursuing her Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law School with the goal of working in international criminal law, conflict resolution, and transitional justice. She received her Master’s in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University and holds an Honors Bachelor’s Degree from Claremont McKenna College in Psychology and Spanish with a sequence in Holocaust and Human Rights studies. She has served as an advisor to the Armenian Permanent Mission to the United Nations and as an intern at the Ombudsman Human Rights Defender’s Office in Yerevan, Armenia. Additionally, Anoush is a published author of a historical fiction play about the Armenian Genocide entitled FOUND which has been presented at book events around the world and produced for stage productions in New York and California. Anoush strongly believes in the power of storytelling and preserving history, so co-creating ReRooted with Ani has been one of the most meaningful experiences she has had.
Ani Schug, co-founder of the ReRooted Syrian-Armenian Archive. Ani is a proud Philly-Armenian Diasporan. There, she attended the Armenian Sisters Academy and later went out to California to study Politics and Middle Eastern Studies at Pomona College. She has experience creating and running community-based programs including English classes for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Now, she is back in Philadelphia working as a DOJ Accredited Representative with low-income immigrants seeking to reunite with their families, become permanent residents, or apply for citizenship. She speaks Armenian, Arabic, Spanish and Swahili. Ani loves her work with Anoush on the Rerooted Archive as it has connected her with one of the strongest Armenian communities– the one that in fact printed the Armenian textbooks she learned from as a kid. She is eager for you to listen to the words of our narrators and re-examine topics such as Diaspora identity, gender, class, and minorities in the Middle East.
Panelists will be the leaders of six of the Armenian organizations participating in United-AIO. The moderator will invite each leader to make a brief introductory statement about his or her organization followed by a moderated discussion that will address questions such as: Why have Diasporan organizations come together now? What are the challenges that stand in the way of collaboration? How can Diasporan organizations overcome those challenges? What change do each hope to see going forward in the approach and behavior of Diasporan organizations? How can unaffiliated Armenians be brought into the mainstream of Armenian Diasporan activity?
Sara Anjargolian Chief of Staff (the Republic of Armenia’s Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs); Co-founder & Board Member (Impact Hub Yerevan)
Preceptor of Armenian at Harvard University; Member of the Coordinating Committee at Zoravik
Lucy Varpetian Principal Assistant City Attorney (City of Glendale); Chairperson at Armenian Bar Association
I was invited to present a lecture on speaking Armenian for parents at Hovsepian School in Pasadena, CA on 29 April 2021. During this lecture, I summarized research about language death, language vitality, and strategies for language revitalization. I also shared resources that I collected for parents who want to build their confidence in speaking Armenian and in playing in Armenian at home with their children.
On October 21, 2020, Zoravik began a series of weekly updates on the volatile situation in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) with Dr. Stephan Astourian, historian at the University of California, Berkeley. The series concluded with its fifth installment on November 25, 2020. Zoravik’s “Artsakh Updates” series is hosted by Dr. Lisa Gulesserian.
On October 26, 2020, I moderated a panel discussion hosted by Zoravik on the Nagorno-Karabakh War with three experts on the region. They discussed how Azerbaijan has broken three ceasefires, hired lobbyists, harassed scholars, and funded pro-Azerbaijan think tanks. Watch to learn the facts about Artsakh.
Moderator: Dr. Lisa Gulesserian, Preceptor on Armenian, Harvard University
–David L. Phillips, Director of the Peace-building and Human Rights Program, Columbia University, and former Foreign Affairs Expert and Senior Adviser to the U.S. Department of State
–Dr. Stephan Astourian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program, UC Berkeley
With students and faculty at Harvard, I organized a panel on Azerbaijan and Turkey’s attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh, “Crisis in the Caucasus: Nagorno-Karabakh under Siege.” Former US Ambassador John Evans, Professor Stephan Astourian (Director of the Armenian Studies Program at UC Berkeley), and Professor David Phillips (Director of Columbia’s Peace-Building and Human Rights Program) spoke at our event on 12 October 2020.
Moderator and Chair:Lisa Gulesserian, Preceptor on Armenian Language & Culture, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard University
Former US Ambassador John Evans
David L. Phillips (Director of Columbia’s Peace-Building and Human Rights Program)
Dr. Stephan Astourian (Director of the Armenian Studies Program at UC Berkeley)
Thanks to social media, readers can engage with content like never before. But the incentives behind the media platforms we use don’t always encourage our best behavior, or most reasoned arguments. The interactions we are subject to are often anonymous, dehumanizing, and polarizing. As a result, social media can easily become a breeding ground for hatred and bullying.
Whereas prior to the pandemic, this dynamic was buffered by meaningful, in-person debate and interaction; amidst the backdrop of COVID-19, which has trapped the nation indoors and behind screens, it can start to feel like the out-of-touch abstractions of the digital world are slowly becoming reality…are they?
As a new organization that is responsible for hosting thought-provoking events and stimulating conversations in the progressive Armenian community, Zoravik is navigating this fragile territory along with the rest of you. In hopes of being transparent about how we are handling threats to rational discourse, on Wednesday, August 19, we are hosting the event “Rationalizing the Irrational: Can Reason Persevere in the Age of Twitter?,” hosted by Zoravik members Karine Vann, a freelance journalist and former editor of the Armenian Weekly, and Lisa Gulesserian, a preceptor at Harvard.
In it, we hope to address the discrepancy between life in analogue and what we see in depictions online. How can we stand by our values of civility, balance, nuance, intellectual curiosity, logic, reason, and kindness when these qualities are so rarely rewarded by the technologies and institutions at the helm of the nation?
Join us for an intimate evening discussion about Srpuhi Dussap and Zabel Yessayan.
Well known during their lifetimes, Srpuhi Dussap and Zabel Yessayan wrote books about women’s rights, human rights, and Armenian life during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian International Women’s Association, AIWA, recently published the translations of Yessayan’s The Gardens of Silihdar, My Soul in Exile, and In the Ruins and Dussap’s novel Mayda: Echoes of Protest. The editors will discuss the transformation of the Armenian language and society which inspired these pioneering works.
Join us for an intimate discussion about the first Armenian feminist novel.
Srpuhi Dussap’s 1883 novel calling for the equal rights of women and social justice for everyone entertains the reader with criticisms of 19th century Armenian society in Istanbul and relevant themes of work and motherhood, religion and ignorance, love and marriage.
Don’t miss this fascinating discussion about Dussap’s life, her influence on Zabel Yessayan, and the sensation her novel caused in Istanbul.
I am leading a two-day creative writing workshop for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at NAASR in Belmont, MA. Participants will be introduced to the poetic language, the haiku poetic form, and old and new examples of haiku poems.
By the end of the workshop, students will produce Instagram-able short poems in the haiku form in the language of their choice—English or Armenian.
Regional Wounds, Universal Traumas, and the Possibility of Empathy (Part 2)
Chair: Maryam Ghodrati, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Chair: Rachel Dale, Brandeis University
Location: ORLEANS (Media Equipped)
Comparative Literature & Interdisciplinary Humanities
“Chang-rae Lee and the Traumatic Affect of the Gesture” Susan Moynihan, Tennessee Technological University
“Narrativizing Empathy in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” Sabiha Anum, Government College University Lahore Pakistan
“Art from Guantánamo Bay: The Figural Unsettlement of Western Hegemonic History” Macy McDonald, SUNY University at Buffalo
“Past Dark: War and Armenian Genocide Postmemory in Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Daydreaming Boy” Lisa Gulesserian, Harvard University
Soccer or Saturday School? Parents in diasporic communities routinely grapple with the challenge of carving out time for their children to engage with and experience their ancestral cultures. This panel discussion will discuss the value of bilingual education, looking at experiences of other ethnic communities in the U.S. and around the world, with a particular focus on the specificities of the Armenian experience, including the special challenges facing Western Armenian, which has been classified as an “endangered language,” the fruitful cohabitation of Western and Eastern Armenian, and the specific challenges of researching and teaching the Armenian language.
I led a two-day creative writing workshop for Hamazkayin ArtLinks 2019 in Paris, Ontario, Canada. Participants were introduced to the poetic language, the Հայրէն (“hayren”) poetic form, and old and new examples of Հայրէն poems.
By the end of the workshop, students produced Instagram-able short poems in the hayren form in the language of their choice—English, French, or Armenian.
At a time when there is great concern over the apparent decline of liberal democracy around the world, in 2018 Armenia seemed to be a notable exception and was hailed as “badly needed good news for democracy” by the Washington Post. As the one-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution approaches, is the news still good? Is Armenia an outlier, an exceptional case in a world where government-by-strong-man increasingly is the model? What can be learned from the examples of other states where democracy is in peril? Join with a panel of distinguished scholars to discuss these and other issues relating to democracy and authoritarianism in Armenia and around the world.
Free and open to the public. Reception and refreshments immediately following the program and question-and-answer session.
Chair:Lisa Gulesserian, Lecturer on Armenian Language & Culture, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard University Graduate Student Co-chair: Julia Hintlian, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Harvard University
The Hrant Dink Memorial CMES Fund presents a panel discussion on Armenian Studies featuring
Christina Maranci, Tufts University David Zakarian, Oxford University Marie-Aude Baronian, University of Michigan Sylvia Alajaji, Franklin & Marshall College
Panel Vardges Sureniants (1860-1921): Modern Painter of Medieval Heritage Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art and Architecture, Chair, Dept. of Art and Art History, Tufts University
Women and the Armenian Church: Past and Present David Zakarian, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Pembroke College, Oxford University
The Diasporic Life of Material Objects Marie-Aude Baronian, Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Manoogian Guest Professor, University of Michigan
Past and Present in Counterpoint: A Meditation on the Legacy of Komitas Vartaped Sylvia Alajaji, Associate Professor of Music, Chair, Dept. of Music, Franklin & Marshall College
Harout S. Manougian (Harvard Kennedy School, Master in Public Administration Candidate)
Dr. Anna Ohanyan (Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Stonehill College)
Armenia’s Velvet Revolution, though the result of years of pent-up anger and frustration, unfolded in spring 2018 with dizzying speed. One moment it appeared that Serzh Sargsyan and the Republican Party would continue their grip on power and all that goes with power in an Armenia dominated by oligarchs; then, practically before anyone knew what had happened, the Armenian people asserted their will, and, incredibly, without violence, power passed from Sargsyan to the people’s choice, Nikol Pashinyan. At a time when many democracies are drifting towards authoritarianism, Armenia stood as a bright exception.
Almost six months later, inevitably, the realities of governing, of addressing the problems of the past and of the future, and building the new Armenia, have created challenges. In this panel discussion, we will attempt to move beyond the headlines to discuss some key fundamental issues including systemic and structural changes that must take place to strengthen Armenia’s democracy; changes to Armenia’s electoral code; the complexities of Armenia’s foreign relations; efforts to combat institutionalized corruption; addressing gender inequality; and more.
Free and open to the public. Reception and refreshments immediately following the program and question-and-answer session.
LOCATION and TIME
Please note this event takes place in the Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall in Harvard Yard (Mass Avenue entrance near Widener Library) and begins promptly at 7:30 pm.