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Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Armenian Studies Program
Dr. Richard Hovannisian, Armenian Educational Foundation Chair of Modern Armenian History
Dr. S. Peter Cowe, Grigor Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Language and Culture

UCLA summer program in Armenia at AUA

AUA and UCLA Announce Joint Summer Program

LOS ANGELES - In a ceremony held at UCLA on January 15, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) announced an AUA-UCLA Summer Intensive Program in Armenian Studies. Offered for the first time in summer 2015 at the AUA campus in Yerevan, the program will comprise language courses in Eastern Armenian at the introductory and intermediate levels, a survey course on Armenia in the context of history of civilizations, and an undergraduate research seminar-workshop. The program will start on June 15 and last for 5 weeks. Visits to historical sites, participation in cultural events, and interaction with prominent artists and scholars in and around Yerevan during the week and guided weekend excursions to other regions of the republic will add a further dimension to the summer school's immersion experience. Each course will carry 3 to 5 quarter units (equivalent to 2 to 3 semester units) of credit. The courses are designed jointly by AUA and UCLA faculty and the units are transferrable since both universities are accredited by the same agency.

Dr. Anahid Keshishian Aramouni, Lecturer in Eastern Armenian, and Prof. Gregory Areshian of UCLA, a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, together with AUA faculty will provide the instruction. The courses are open to students from any UC campus, other US universities, and institutions of higher learning worldwide. For further information about this program, visit http://admissions.aua.am, email admissions@aua.am or contact http://fb.com/AUAadmissions

The summer school initiative with UCLA has been developed in the context of a wider range of collaborative projects proposed by Peter Cowe, Narekatsi Professor of Armenian Studies, which is planned to be incorporated within a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities. An affiliate of the University of California (UC) since its founding in 1991, AUA is also developing relations with other UC campuses. An agreement of collaboration with the University of California at Irvine (UCI) was signed at the ceremony on January 15. It is hoped that these collaborations will lead to a rich and diverse interchange between the students and faculty of these universities.

Present at the meeting were President Armen Der Kiureghian as well as President Emeriti Mihran Agbabian and Haroutune Armenian of AUA, Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele of UCI, Professors Peter Cowe, Gregory Areshian, Ann Karagozian and Dr. Anahid Keshishian Aramouni of UCLA, as well as other faculty, staff and students from the three universities.

Source: California Courier

UCLA Divestment from Turkey over Armenian Genocide denial

Pre-vote Turkish arguments

Daily Bruin: University of California - Los Angeles January 14, 2015 Wednesday

Turkish Cultural Club appeals against ASA resolution to divest from Turkey

by: Hannah Rosson

The Turkish Cultural Club appealed to the undergraduate student government Tuesday to vote against a resolution drafted by the Armenian Students' Association calling for the University of California to divest from the Republic of Turkey.

The resolution calls for the UC's divestment from the Republic of Turkey because the Republic does not recognize and has not given reparations for the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in the early 20th century and the displacement of the Armenian community.

The Armenian Genocide has been recognized by 42 U.S. states and 22 countries, as well as by the United Nations SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

In their presentation, Gülnaz Kiper, president of the Turkish Cultural Club, and Mark Bhaskar, a member of the Olive Tree Initiative at UCLA, said they think the language of the resolution creates a divide between the Armenian and Turkish communities.

"(This resolution is) clearly a racist attempt to drive a wedge between the Turkish and Armenian communities here at UCLA," said Bhaskar, a second-year political science and Middle Eastern studies student, during public comments.

Members of the Turkish Cultural Club also said they think the existence of an Armenian Genocide has been debated by scholars. Some of the students also said they would not call the killing of 1.5 million Armenians a genocide because no one debating the issue could witness events that occurred in the past.

"This is not a fact," said a member of the Turkish Cultural Club, during public comments. "In Turkey and many other nations, scholars are debating (the existence of the Armenian Genocide)."

A third-year psychology student and an international student from Istanbul, Turkey, contradicted herself several times during and after the Undergraduate Students Association Council meeting. When asked, she said she did not think she was in a position to say whether the Armenian Genocide could be called a genocide.

"I don't think it's a big deal if we do or do not call it a genocide," she said in response to questions from councilmembers during her presentation. "If you want me to call it a genocide, I will."

Kiper and Bhaskar said in their presentation that they do not think divestment is a fair decision because they said they think Turkey has a history of supporting human rights. They also said they think the Republic of Turkey, formed in 1923, did not carry out the genocide and that the Ottoman Empire was solely responsible.

"Divestment is an unfair punishment for Turkey," Kiper said.

She added that she thinks the resolution inaccurately portrays the Republic of Turkey as a country that actively silences speech on the Armenian Genocide.

Some councilmembers voiced concerns about the Turkish students not using the word "genocide" when referring to the Armenian Genocide.

Community Service Commissioner Savannah Badalich said she was concerned some of the comments in the presentation were microagressions against some Muslim communities. Badalich also addressed Kiper's and Bhaksar's claim that Turkey did not want to recognize the genocide because it was committed by the Ottoman Empire before Turkey became a nation.

Badalich said Turkey should be more willing to acknowledge the genocide if it believes the Ottoman Empire was responsible instead of the nation itself.

Last quarter, the Armenian Students' Association announced its plan to bring the resolution to the council table, and has since held two town halls to receive feedback on and educate students about the resolution.

Natalie Kalbakian, external vice president of the Armenian Students' Association, said the club reached out to Turkish students and tried to listen to their concerns. She also said the resolution is not meant to target Turkish students, but rather to criticize the Turkish government for not acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

"It is upsetting to see that the University of California would be invested in such a government," said Kalbakian, a third-year political science student.

During a town hall last Thursday, the Armenian Students' Association invited members of the Turkish Cultural Club and Muslim Students Association to discuss and potentially alter the resolution to accommodate students' concerns.

Mikael Matossian, a fourth-year environmental science student and president of the Armenian Students' Association, said that some members of the Turkish Cultural Club and Muslim Students Association left the town hall early before discussing the resolution because they did not feel comfortable at the event.

USAC is set to vote on the resolution next Tuesday at its weekly meeting.

Armenian Editorial

Daily Bruin: University of California - Los Angeles January 20, 2015 Tuesday


USAC must be ethically consistent in Turkey divestment vote

by: Aram Ghoogasian

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, a 9-year-old at the time, faced extermination at the hands of the Ottoman Empire because of his ethnicity.

Today, the Republic of Turkey categorically denies that its predecessor state committed genocide against the Armenian people. Denial of genocide itself has been called the final stage of genocide.

This state-sanctioned policy of denial, an attempt not only to rewrite a dark history but also to erase any trace of involvement in the crime, has apparently found an outlet on our campus. On Jan. 13, a number of UCLA students made a racist attempt to convince student leaders that the Armenian Genocide was in fact not a genocide in an effort to combat a resolution calling for divestment from the Republic of Turkey that will be presented to the student government Tuesday.

Moral consistency should be of the utmost importance for the Undergraduate Students Association Council when voting on measures that center on human rights violations. Based on councilmembers' past voting records, namely on the Nov. 18 resolution to divest from a number of companies that are complicit in human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, this resolution should pass with at least eight votes, the same number the previous resolution received.

USAC must now decide whether or not it wants to call on the University of California Board of Regents to divest the more than $70 million the UC currently invests in the Republic of Turkey by voting on "A Resolution to Divest from the Republic of Turkey to End the Perpetuation of the Armenian Genocide." The resolution has human rights implications that USAC members need to be consistent in tackling.

Many councilmembers stated at the November meeting that they voted "yes" on the resolution divesting from American companies profiting from human rights violations because it was a human rights issue. This resolution would surely fall under the same category. Genocide and genocide denial are some of the most heinous crimes against humanity, and to say these aren't human rights issues is incomprehensible.

The eight councilmembers who voted yes will be the focal point of Tuesday's meeting. Unless councilmembers voice concerns over specific language in the upcoming resolution, something they've had the opportunity to do after multiple rounds of meetings with Armenian Students' Association members, these eight people should remain consistent and vote "yes" Tuesday.

A "yes" vote in November tells us something about those eight councilmembers. First of all, they believe that divestment is an effective tactic to achieve change. If they thought divestment wasn't worth talking about, they wouldn't have voted "yes."

Secondly, it means these eight councilmembers believe that it is USAC's place to discuss issues that have off-campus political implications. A main argument against the November resolution was that USAC shouldn't deal with international issues, whether our money is invested in them or not. A "yes" vote two months ago leaves this explanation for a "no" vote on Tuesday out of the question.

There is always, of course, the issue of divisiveness. Both divestment resolutions faced vocal opposition at one point or another. But the main knock on the resolution coming from the opposition isn't its language; it's its basis in historical fact despite the reality that the Armenian Genocide has been recognized by most prominent genocide scholars and historians.

The opposition had its chance to speak at last week's meeting and used that opportunity to spew falsified historical facts, denying that the systematic murder, rape and deportation of 1.5 million Armenians was a genocide. The president of the Turkish Cultural Club even went so far as to say that she doesn't think it's "a big deal if we do or do not call it a genocide."

Additionally, USAC members have no excuse to abstain or vote "no" because they don't know enough about the Armenian Genocide. A simple Internet search provides more than enough information for someone to form an opinion on the second most studied genocide in human history next to the Holocaust. Willful ignorance is equal to willful denial.

The Armenian Students' Association's resolution shouldn't be exempt from constructive criticism, but given the voting record of the eight who secured the passage of the previous resolution, this resolution's failure would be a clear indication of hypocrisy. For people who claim to uphold human rights and hold themselves to high ethical standards, the choice should be an easy one.

Failure to remain consistent will raise questions about these councilmembers' integrity as representatives, questions they will have to jump through hoops to answer should they vote "no" Tuesday night.


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Vote passes

UCLA Student Govt. Passes Resolution Calling for Divestment from Turkey

11:38, 21 Jan 2015 Siranush Ghazanchyan


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) student body government on Tuesday night unanimously voted to divest $72.6 million dollars worth of University of California bonds and investments in the Republic of Turkey for their crimes in and the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide, Asbarez reports.

The resolution titled "A Resolution to Divest from the Republic of Turkey to End the Perpetuation of the Armenian Genocide" passed with a vote of 12-0-0 around 10:00 pm at Kerckhoff Hall in UCLA.

The resolution is part of a larger initiative (#DivestTurkey) spearheaded by the Armenian Youth Federation Western United States (AYF)- a grassroots community organization dedicated to justice- calling on institutions to divest from the Republic of Turkey.

AYF Central Executive Board member Gev Iskajyan stated, "the

  1. DivestTurkey initiative began in order to connect and provide

resources for university students and activists on campuses across America to divest all holdings in the Republic of Turkey's government until reparations for the Armenian genocide are met and until genocide is no longer a profitable venture. The Armenian Students' Association at UCLA was the first organization to accept this call for divestment from the community and successfully presented this resolution."

The resolution passed with overwhelming support from the UCLA's general student body and official UCLA student organizations.

"Tonight demonstrates the Armenian community is not alone in its fight for justice and reparations for genocide," explained Razmig Sarkissian, an AYF member and UCLA alumnus.

Student organization co-sponsors included Armenian Dance Group, Alpha Epsilon Omega, Alpha Gamma Alpha, Armenians for Health Advancement, Hidden Road Initiative, and Samahang Pilipino. Student organization endorsers included Bengali Students Association, Indus, Jewish Voice for Peace, Native Roots, Samahang Pilipino, Sikh Student Association, and Students for Justice in Palestine.

"[#DivestTurkey] is about reaffirming student agency because students were not consulted in the decision to invest in the Turkish government," said Mikael Matossian president of the Armenian Students' Association at UCLA. "This is a proactive step in the ethical direction, of an Armenian student-led coalition calling on our student government to take a stand against funding genocidal regimes," continued Matossian.

"The AYF plans to expand the #DivestTurkey initiative, working with several colleges and universities in order to introduce similar resolutions in the coming weeks and months," confirmed Iskajyan.

http://www.armradio.am/en/2015/01/21/ucla-student-govt-passes-resolution-calling-for-divestment-from-turkey/


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Call to UCLA community to stand against Armenian genocide denial

15:11, 16 Jan 2015

The Daily Bruin urges UCLA community to stand against Armenian genocide denial. An editorial published on January 15 reads as follows:

"Members of the Turkish Cultural Club tried to deny on Tuesday that the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians near the start of the 20th century was a genocide.

Denying the existence of a genocide is a heinous act that degrades the experience of an entire people and is threatening to the prevention of future racism and genocides.

To an audience of Armenian students and the undergraduate student government, members of the Turkish Cultural Club defended the Turkish government, which has failed to recognize the genocide for the last century. The presentation and public comments were part of the group's efforts to sway councilmembers to vote against a resolution next week that calls for the University of California to divest from the Republic of Turkey.

More than 40 U.S. states and 22 countries, and the United Nations SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide.

But citing "documents" and "scholars," the students at the meeting said it was not a fact. Mark Bhaskar, a second-year political science and Middle Eastern studies student who presented, read a quote calling the genocide a "secondary matter." Gülnaz Kiper, president of the Turkish Cultural Club and third-year psychology student, said there is "an open debate going on in Turkey" about the existence of the genocide.

These statements are a flagrant denial of historical facts. Genocide denial should not happen anywhere, and especially not at a university that is supposed to be one of the best in the world. The students who called facts into question Tuesday night demonstrated a lack of moral conscience.

At the meeting, Bhaskar said he thinks the resolution is "a racist attempt to drive a wedge between the Turkish and Armenian communities here at UCLA."

The true wedge is the Turkish students' attempts to minimize a genocide and stand on the side of a government that denies its existence.

The real divide comes from not listening to people who have lived through the truth and from standing in front of a group of peers and downplaying the murder of their people.

Though Kiper said she doesn't think it matters if she calls it a genocide or not, it does. Words matter, whether they come from students or from official institutions that should know better.

Of course, students from the Turkish Cultural Club are allowed to speak whether they are refusing to acknowledge historical truths or not. But rational UCLA students, professors and administrators need to speak louder.

If this unworthy debate continues, UCLA officials and the UCLA community should make it known that they wholeheartedly support facts and condemn genocide denial. If the UCLA community does not speak up and criticize these acts when they continue, they are allowing for the profound disrespect of a people and their history.

This is not just a battle for Armenian students to fight."


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UCLA Armenian Alumni

Allen Yekikian, Madlene Minassian, Myrna Douzjian, Raffi Hovannisian, Richard Hovannisian, Sose Thomassian