Innovate Armenia

Jump to: navigation, search


March 28, 2016

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California, USA
Contact: Salpi
Ghazarian, Director

INNOVATE ARMENIA: Intersecting Arts, Culture & Tech

INNOVATE ARMENIA, to be held on April 2, on USC's main campus, will be a festival of music, fast-paced talks and exhibitions of innovative technological work that preserves and promotes the best of Armenian culture.

`Innovate Armenia is as much about building community, as it is about innovation. It's a unique opportunity to bring together those who know, and those who care, in order to transform the Armenian conversation about our future,' said Salpi Ghazarian, director of the Institute of Armenian Studies. `Everyone is welcome to engage in a new kind of Armenian experience.'

Special guests include Musician and activist Serj Tankian, James Cuno, CEO of the J Paul Getty Trust, David Yan, founder and CEO of ABBYY, and founder of the AYB School in Yerevan, as well as other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, scholars from around the world, and artists. Ruben Vardanyan, philanthropist and businessman, co-founder of 100Lives, and many other development projects in and for Armenia, will join by Skype. Prof Khachig Tololyan will lead the discussion with an overview of the question of identity among diasporas, and Armenians' evolved identity over the centuries.

Three stages will feature concurrent programming from 10 am to 6 pm.

On the music stage, outdoors in Founders Park, the Hosharian Trio will open the day, to be followed by the innovative 7-person band Collectif Medz Bazar from Paris; an inspiring still-unknown trio of young singers who call themselves Tiezerk (Universe) from Yerevan; cutting edge artist known as Bei Ru; the popular Element band; Antranig Kzirian on oud, with Artyom Manukyan and Vahagni. Mid-afternoon, there will be a special performance by the acclaimed classical and jazz saxophonist Armen Hyusnunts from Yerevan.

Indoors, in the Bovard Auditorium, more than 20 speakers from around the world will talk about various aspects of identity. USC professors Manuel Pastor, a Cuban-American who holds the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, David Kang, director of the Korean Institute, and Robert English, director of the School of International Relations will talk about hybrid identities. James Cuno of the J Paul Getty Trust will explore what happens to national identities when nations attempt to create rigid definitions. David Yan will talk about his own Armenian/Chinese/Russian/American identity.

The early part of the afternoon will continue with several experts speaking about a post-Genocide identity. Rober Koptas, Ã`mit Kurt and Murat Cankara, all from Istanbul, will address various aspects of identity questions from Turkey. Vahram Ter-Matevosyan will speak about how the post-Genocide identity influences security perceptions in Armenia. Jennifer Manoukian on Zabel Yessayan's unique perception of identity, Keith Watenpaugh on fluctuating definitions of `who is an Armenian' in the years following the genocide, and Lusine Kharatyan will share evolving identity through a joint Armenian-Turkish oral history experience in Mush.

In the late afternoon, scholars and experts will examine the Armenian identity past and future. Roger Strauch, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and an ABC ` an Armenian by choice, will begin the conversation. Other speakers will include Armen Martirosian on new questions about identity brought about by DNA testing, Jason Sohigian on the Armenia Tree Project's redefinition of identity through their Re-Root yourself campaign, Emil Sanamyan, addressing the complex identities of Baku refugees, Katy Pearce and the nuanced identities of Armenians on and offline, Shushan Karapetian on transmitting the Armenian language, even broken Armenian, as an identity marker, Alina Poghosyan on Armenian women migrants, Hagop Gulludjian on the Armenian `shrine' identity, Garik Hayrapetyan on the missing girls and the implications of sex-selective abortions. With a special appearance on film, Eric Esrailian will talk about questions of identity explored in the process of making THE PROMISE by Survival Pictures.

Alex Sardar, Chief Innovation Officer at Civicus, will MC the Bovard Identity stage.

The third stage, in Taper Hall, will be the venue for short 12 minute talks by the 20 exhibitors who will have booths alongside the music stage, demonstrating how art, culture, history, language, literature have benefited from technology and created a new platform to preserve and flourish, by reaching new audiences and being used and shared in new ways. Organizations and individuals from Yerevan, Marseille, New York, Istanbul, Washington DC and Los Angeles will display their projects. Prof Talar Chahinian, who teaches Digital Culture at California State University Long Beach, will MC this stage.

The complete list of participants includes the following individuals and organizations: Ani Boyadjian & Matt Gainer, Digital Public Library of America, Los Angeles; Ruben Mirakyan, Armenian EBooks Initiative, Yerevan; Gemafin Gasparyan, Boon TV, Yerevan; Nayat Karakose, Hrant Dink Foundation, Istanbul; Natalie Gabrelian, AGBU, New York; David Karapetyan, AUA Armenian Digital Library, Yerevan; Diana Ter Ghazaryan,, Yerevan; Michel Aharonian, Aram Association, Marseille; Rouben Adalian,, Washington DC; Khachik Gevorkyan, ARMACAD, Yerevan; Susanna Mkrtchyan, Wikimedia, Yerevan; Vigen Galstyan,, Sydney; Gayane Shagoyan, Armenian Totalitaris, Yerevan; Anna Turay,, Istanbul; Albert Poghosyan,, Yerevan; Armen Martirosyan,, Yerevan; Vasken Brudian, Ardean Studio, Yerevan. Also speaking will be Asbed Bedrossian of Groong, Tom Samuelian of and AUA, and Razmik Panossian of the Gulbenkian Foundation.

Finally, the work of three photographers ` Sargis Bulgadaryan of Yerevan, Ara Oshagan of Los Angeles and Scout Tufankjian of New York ` will be curated by architect Narineh Mirzaeian into an unusual photo exhibition entitled SUM OF US, a look at identity through the photographer's lens.

Admission is free and parking is easily available on campus. Innovative fusion food will be part of the all-day event.

The entire day will be live streamed at so those who can't attend can watch.

For questions and information, write to or call 213.821.3943.


About the Institute

Established in 2005, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supports multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience ` from post-Genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the evolving Diaspora. The Institute encourages research, publications and public service, and promotes links among the global academic and Armenian communities.


For information:
3501 Trousdale Parkway
Mark Taper Hall of Humanities (THH 308)
Los Angeles, CA 90089-4355