Final Pre-Conference Press Release

by Mitch Kehetian


DEARBORN, Mich.-- Twenty-five years ago Professor Dennis Papazian was convinced an Armenian Research Center (ARC) was needed to serve the needs of the higher academic community of scholars --and as a communication learning center for students and faculty.

That goal was reached and will be observed during a two-day Oct.15-16 conference at the UM Dearborn campus, with an array of internationally known scholars taking part in sessions highlighted with a keynote address by distinguished Professor Khachig Tölölyan of Connecticut's Wesleyan University.

The Beirut-born Armenian scholar, an expert on the fate of the Armenian Diaspora, will focus his talk on "Why Study the Armenian Diaspora." Tölölyan was the founding editor of the journal Diaspora.

Tölölyan, an accomplished speaker, will also chair a Saturday morning session saluting the conference committee for focusing the two-day session on the Armenian Diaspora and its linkage to present-day free Armenia and its 70 years as a Soviet republic.

Professor Ara Sanjian, director of the ARC since 2006, said the conference theme on Armenia and its Diaspora is the Center's mission to foster a renewed bond between Diaspora Armenians and the homeland to overcome the ill-fated repatriation drive in the late 1940's.

"Our vision here at ARC is how best can we serve the Armenian people and our landlocked homeland. I am convinced establishing a linkage between Armenia and Diasporan Armenians is the scholarly path to take."

Sanjian said the conference opens with its first session at 6:30 p.m Friday, Oct.15 chaired by Professor Kevork Bardakjian of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. At this session Professor Amatuni Virabyan of the National Archives of Armenia will address the fate of Armenian intellectuals who repatriated to Soviet Armenia in the 1920s-1930s. Additional panel speakers will include Dr. Lerna Ekmekçioglu, UM-Ann Arbor, and Professor Garen Khachatryan, National Academy of Armenian Sciences.

Speakers at the second session will include Talar Chahinian, University of California at Los Angeles, and Dr. Vartan Martossian, an independent scholar from New Jersey; while the final session, chaired by Professor Papazian, will be headlined by panelists Dr. Asbed Kotchikian, Bentley University, Dr. Vicken Cheterian of Geneva, and Professor Jean-Robert Raviot of the University of Paris.

In a recent interview with research publicist Anahid Derbabian, Papazian, now retired and living in New Jersey with his wife, Professor Mary Papazian, provost at Lehman College, said the start-up years for ARC called for critical decision-making.

"Rather than establish a chair, I decided to establish a research center to make research on Armenian studies easy. Young people needed a local place to concentrate on doing their research. The Armenian Research Center was the anchor."

The campaign to launch ARC was given monetary support from the national Knights of Vartan organization.

After 25 years, ARC continues in its mission under the guidance of Professor Sanjian.

Ani Kasparian, chairperson of the 25th anniversary planning committee, said attendance to the conference is free and open to the public while the Saturday night (Oct.16) banquet at The Henry (formerly the Ritz-Carlton) is $75 per person.

Reservations can be placed for the 7 p.m. banquet by calling the ARC at 313-593-5181.

Further information is available on the Research Center's website at

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