Organized by the Armenian Diaspora Research Center at Haigazian University, and supported by the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the conference on “Armenians of Iraq” took place over the course of three days.
On Monday, May 29, the official opening took place in the presence of the prelates of Lebanon and Iraq, community leaders from Iraq and Lebanon, the ambassador of Armenia in Lebanon, Armenian intellectuals, historians, and academicians. The ceremony began with the opening words of Dr. Antranig Dakessian, Director of the ADRC, followed by a presentation by Dr. Razmig Panossian, head of the Armenian Communities Department of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Haigazian University’s President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian’s words were followed by the opening reflections of the Prelate of Armenians in Iraq, Arch. Avak Asadourian.
The conference, with its eight sessions, extended over three days and covered thirty-four topics, presented by thirty-four scholars coming from countries such as the United States, Egypt, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Philippines.
Panelists were Bedros Tovmassian, “The last era of the Abbasid Caliphate (991-1258) and caliphs of Armenian descent”; Dr. Salah Mahgoub, “The ruler of Mosul, Badr EdDin Loulou (18th century)”; Dr. Kayané Boghossian, “An Armenian manuscript written in Baghdad, in the 18th Century”; Dr. Wafa’ Mahmoud, “The Chakmakjians of Mosul (18th-20 centuries)”; Dr. Ardag Maghalian, “Serovpé Garnetsi and other travelers on 19th century Iraqi Armenians”; Marlene Melkonian-Setrakian, “A profile of the ‘Baghdadtsi’ Armenians”; Dr. Hilmar Kaiser, “The Mosul Province and the Armenian Genocide”; Dr. Seta Ohanian, “The arrival of the Armenian refugees from Van in 1918 and their settlement in the refugee camps of Baquba and Nahr Omar”; Dr. Antranik Dakessian, “The Baquba orphanage”; Dr. Wafa’ Mahmoud, “Sara ElZangina”; Dr. Jon Armajani, “The Iraqi Constitution and the Armenians”; Dr. Seta Ohanian, “The Basra Armenian Community, its past and present”; Bedig Torossian, “Aspects of the Kirkuk-Armenians’ history in the 20th century”; Dr. Vartan Devrikian, “The Armenian Prelacy of Iraq”; Raphayel Oumoudian, “The Catholic Armenian community of Iraq”; Dr. Kohar Avakian, “The Armenian schools of Iraq (1918-1974)”; Hovhanness Aghbashian, “The AGBU Chapter of Iraq”; Shaké Ashjian-Ardzivian, “The Iraqi Armenian Board for the Needy”; Varant Bedrossian, “The Baghdad Armenian Mixed Youth Union”; Nora Parseghian, “The Koyamard weekly reflecting Iraqi-Armenian life”; Dr. Artsvi Bakhchinian, “Iraqi cultural life and Iraqi Armenian cultural figures”; Prof. Arda Arsenian-Ekmekji, “Dikran Garabed Ekmekjian (1880-1951)”; Armine Choukassizian, “A photographer, Hovhannes Choukassizian (1914-1994)”; Ara Ashjian, “20th century Iraqi Armenian personalities and their contribution to the Iraqi state”; Mihran Minassian, “Iraqi Armenian authors who wrote in Arabic”; Prof. Vahram Shemmassian, “The repatriation of Armenian refugees from Iraq to Soviet Armenia during 1921-1922”; Khoren Krikorian, “The Iraqi Armenians of Tarpnig: An ethnographic observation”; Dr. Arman Yeghiazarian, “The Committee of Cultural Relations with Diaspora Armenians and the Iraqi Armenians”; Anush Bejanian, “Armenian state foreign policy in the context of the 2003 Iraq war”; Dr. Sona Donigian, “Republic of Armenia-Iraqi Armenian community relations between 1991 and 2015”; Jenya Gulbengian, “The Ministry of the Diaspora and the Iraqi-Armenian refugees (2009-2017)”; Yeghia Tashjian, “Armenians in Iraqi Kurdistan”; Khachig Janoyan, “The Iraqi Armenians in the USA”; Dr. Vladimir Boghosian, “The Iraqi Armenian prelacy during the prelature of Arch. Avak Asadurian.”
Presentations and sessions were moderated by Drs. Arda Ekmekji, Nanor Karageozian, Zaven Messerlian, Joseph ElAgha, Armen Urneshlian, Antranik Dakessian, and Messrs. Bedig Torossian and Yeghig Tashjian.
Two evening lectures were held on Monday and Tuesday. Judge Christopher Young lectured on “Anglo-Armenian Links in 19th Century Baghdad”, and on Tuesday the secretary of the Prelacy, Sarkis Kotunian presented a detailed study on the “The Iraqi Armenian community in the last 15 years.” Furthermore, Dr. Seta Ohanian’s book, “Iraqi Hay Hamaynke 20rt Tarun” published in 2016, was launched.
The Haigazian University Armenian Diaspora Research Center has scheduled its next conference on “Armenians of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia” for May 2018.