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The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research is a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-sectarian organization founded 1955, in Belmont, Massachusetts by a representative group of 60 prominent American Armenians and Harvard University professors in order to foster Armenian studies in America on an active, continuous, and scholarly basis and to perpetuate the Armenian Heritage. It is the only nationwide organization dedicated to the advancement of Armenian studies and culture through America’s foremost institutions of higher education and through a multifaceted program in support of research, scholarship, and publications.

Through NAASR’s own fund-raising efforts the first two endowed chairs in Armenian Studies in the United States were established at Harvard University in 1959 and at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1965. NAASR has also supported Armenian Studies programs at a number of other American universities, among them Columbia University, University of Massachusetts at Boston and at Amherst, Wayne State University, Tufts University, California State University at Fresno, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, and Bentley College.

It is the only nationwide organization dedicated to the advancement of Armenian studies and culture through America’s foremost institutions of higher education and through a multifaceted program in support of research, scholarship, and publications.

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research
395 Concord Avenue
Belmont, MA 02478
Phone: 617-489-1610

NAASR Hits the Highway: Paved, Digital and Beyond

By Andy Turpin
The Armenian Weekly; Volume 73, No. 32; August 11, 2007

BELMONT, Mass. (A.W.)- The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) has had an expansive year in its academic programming and community outreach thanks to the efforts and vision of NAASR Board chair Nancy Kolligian.

NAASR is in the midst of a $2 million fundraising campaign in conjunction with its 50th anniversary, which was celebrated last fall.

NAASR's director of programs and publications Marc A. Mamigonian spoke to the Weekly about some of these projects and how they'll reach the public in the next year.

"On September 20, our lecture series will pick up again with a talk by Dr. Seta Dadoyan, who will speak on 'Armenian Dissidents: Highlights of an Unwritten History,'" Mamigonian said. "Ted Bogosian's documentary film 'An Armenian Journey' [PBS, 1987] has also recently been released on One of the things I hope we'll do in the fall is a showing of that."

He continued, "Later in the fall we will be sponsoring a series of lectures by Prof. George Bournoutian of Iona College. He has a new book coming out which we helped fund entitled Tigran II and Rome, a translation of an important book that has never appeared in English. We plan to have him speak for us here in Boston, and in New York, California, Toronto, and we hope in Florida."

Mamigonian added that NAASR has a long tradition of presenting as many internationally notable lecturers as possible on a wide variety of Armenian subjects, a tradition he is eager to continue and build upon.

In the fall, NAASR will co-sponsor a lecture by Argam Aivazyan along with the Harvard Mashtots Chair. "Aivazyan will be coming from Armenia and it will be in conjunction with an exhibit at the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard on 'The Monuments of the Nakhichevan Region.' Professor James Russell of Harvard and Dr. Anahit Ter Stepanian at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut have been instrumental in organizing this event. Also in October, Columbia Doctoral scholar Bedross Der Matossian will talk about 'The Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem.' We have numerous other events in the planning stages," Mamigonian said.

"One of the things we've been trying to do more of is have lectures not just here in Belmont, but sponsor or co-sponsor lectures around the country to broaden our base of coverage," he explained. "In the past year we've had lectures in Hartford, New York City, Berkeley, Stanford, Fresno, and several in and near Los Angeles. In May, we co-sponsored lectures by Professor David Gaunt of Stockholm in several California cities."

However, within their archives and research center NAASR has also been working diligently in the past year to upgrade its technology and make its valuable holdings more accessible.

Mamigonian praised NAASR's dedicated staff, saying, "Our library is now almost fully catalogued and searchable online through our website, A great deal of that work was done by Ruby Chorbajian from 2004-06 and has been continued by Hripsime Mkrtchyan."

NAASR has also updated the bookstore. "It's all computerized and bar-coded, and in the fall we'll be launching our upgraded website," Mamigonian said. "The person most responsible for the overhaul is Peter Bogosian. He's been working on the bookstore and several other major projects along with our treasurer Bob Bejoian since February and has spearheaded the total redesign of our website. In the meantime, the site is still up and running."

"Of course, the tireless dedication of our administrative director Sandra Jurigian-she has been with NAASR for more than 40 years-is what keeps this place chugging along. Her knowledge, experience and adaptability are amazing. Also, we have the support of Nancy and the entire Board of Directors," Mamigonian added.

In the area of Armenian scholarship, NAASR has been busy as well. Mamigonian explained, "We've got a lot going on with publications as well. We just came out with our new issue of the Journal of Armenian Studies, and we have several exciting book projects, including the republication of Armenia and the Crusades: The Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa, translated by Dr. Ara Dostourian."

Another is a drama anthology edited by Nishan Parlakian, provisionally titled Notable Women in Armenian Drama 1870-1970, which will include six plays focusing on strong women characters. The third book is a longer-range project of the translation into English of The Armenian Genocide: Testimonies of the Eyewitness Survivors by Verjine Svazlian.

The book consists of 700 oral histories from genocide survivors collected over the course of 50 years. "Most were collected in a large book published in Armenia. The author has added quite a few more for the English translation and we're currently working on editing the translation. The next issue of the Journal of Armenian Studies is under way and it will publish the papers that were presented at our symposium "Armenian-Turkish Dialogue and the Direction of Armenian Studies" that was held last September," Mamigonian noted.

Speaking about NAASR's new online bookstore and library catalogue, Mamigonian said with pride, "It was such a daunting project for so long that it was not attempted. But the improvements will be recognizable to everyone."

External Links - official site