Albert Aghazarian

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Born in Jerusalem in 1950 to Arsen Aghazarian and a seamstress Armenian mother. Died January 2020. The youngest of a family of five children, he is pre-deceased by two older brothers and several sisters. He received his elementary and secondary education at Frères' College in Jerusalem. He is survived by one daughter who studies abroad.

Advocate of the power of culture in Jerusalem

Albert Aghazarian may be known mostly as a historian,a teacher, and a story teller, but if you were to ask him, he might say that he is first and foremost an interpreter, because everything in this life is up for interpretation.

A fluent speaker of Arabic, English, French, Armenian, Hebrew, Turkish,and some Spanish, Albert would say that he only speaks “one language,” before he pauses and adds… “at a time.” He finds joy in translating the inner nuances and spirit of words and meanings,and looks at translation as a craft and a hobby.

He realizes that the art of communication is ultimately connected with the relations that are built around it–the person one is speaking to. His understanding of public relations, together with his knowledge and natural aura, have turned him into what may be referred to as a big personality who quickly relates with people no matter what background or part of the world they may be coming from.

Albert’s name has also been associated with Birzeit University, where he was an activist student before earning a BA in political science at the American University of Beirut in 1972. He pursued his master’s degree at Georgetown University in Arab and Islamic studies.

Upon his return from Washington, D.C.in 1979, he became a lecturer in cultural studies and was soon assigned as director of public relations at Birzeit University. In the early eighties, Albert was working from a tiny office at Birzeit’s old campus. Turning the university into a well-established institution amidst curfews and closures by the Israeli forces who referred to such campuses as “illegal cells of education” seemed like an impossible mission at the time. But Albert and the team, with the guidance of the late Dr. Gabi Baramki, had a role in uplifting the educational system under occupation as they kept on going and making things happen. A director of public relations at Birzeit for over twenty-four years, Albert was always alert to address the many challenges at the university, including the army, in defense of the institution. His communication skills, wisdom, charisma, and ability to secure funds soon turned him into a public spokesperson and media figure.

Although he was asked several times to take on high governmental positions, he prefers to think of himself as a free soul who has generously been sharing his in-depth analysis with key local and international figures, including writers and journalists, while spending his evenings smoking shisha in a small inn and sharing stories with fellow Jerusalemites about history and daily life. Albert is and always has been a Jerusalemite, but he is also a citizen of the world who refuses to get trapped in constraining exclusivity. He opts, instead, to explore open spaces amidst the narrow roads, and acknowledge the collective and historical wonders and different identities that have turned Jerusalem into the place that it is. His philosophy comes from the combination of reason and faith. An avid reader and connoisseur of Middle East history, Albert draws influence from characters and authors such as Averroes, Omar Al-Khayyam, Queen Melisende, and Amin Maalouf. His family house in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, sometimes referred to as a cultural salon, is representative of that openness. His wife Madeleine, with her gentle and friendly spirit, has just as much valuable insight to share about the city that she was born and raised in. Her generosity and welcoming nature have been noted by comers and goers from all walks of life as the true embodiment of “home.” Albert’s favorite mottos? “Do your best, and don’t worry about the rest, ”and“ In the world’s battle between the power of culture and the culture of power, somehow the power of culture always manages to survive.”

Source: https://armenian-jerusalem.org/albert.htm

DCI Bio

(January 30, 2020): http://www.dci.plo.ps/en/article/14459/Dr-Ashrawi-Albert-Aghazarian's-passing-is-a-big-loss-for-Palestine-and-Jerusalem "With great sorrow, we mourn the loss of one of the most distinguished historians in Palestine, Albert Aghazarian. Albert was indeed a great symbol in Jerusalem with a significant presence. He will be remembered for his tireless efforts to advance our people’s cause for freedom and justice whether through his academic work or his participation with the Palestinian delegation in the 1991 Madrid Conference, which is where I worked closely with him. He went on to explain the rich history, culture and reality of occupied Jerusalem to visiting groups who were seeking the truth about this City. He is a son of Jerusalem, and the streets of the old city will continue to echo with his voice and erudite persona. I will personally miss Albert, a Palestinian-Armenian patriot and a close friend."

Professor Aghazarian is a Jerusalem native and taught history in BirZeit University. Aghazarian graduated from Birzeit College, which would later become Birzeit University, in 1970. He took lead of the university’s Public Relations Office in 1979, a position he would hold until 2002.

Birzeit Bio

Source: https://www.birzeit.edu/en/biography/albert-aghazarian

Aghazarian stood out when he coordinated the Palestinian delegation’s media efforts in the 1991 Madrid Conference alongside Dr. Hanan Ashrawi. In recognition of his efforts to raise international awareness on Jerusalem and Palestine, Aghazarian was awarded a medal by King Albert II of Belgium, taking his place among fifty other highly-influential people who were honored by King Albert. (Source: the Palestine News & Info Agency – Wafa).

More recently, Aghazarian carried out research studies; delivers lectures; and provides simultaneous translation for conferences, symposiums, and high-level political meetings.