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Haigazian University hosts Prof. Peter Balakian:
Haigazian University hosts Prof. Peter Balakian:

In the line with Haigazian University's 50th Anniversary celebratory events, and with the cooperation of the United States Embassy in Beirut, prize-winning memoirist, poet and scholar , Peter Balakian was the host of Haigazian University for four memorable days in Beirut.
This long planned visit and Balakian's participation in the University's 50th Anniversary unfolded on Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th of May, 2005, where Balakian delivered his two public speeches in the hall of the First Armenian Evangelical Church in Beirut.

The caliber of the lectures- highlighted by their focus on Balakian's childhood, and the Armenian Genocide, the enraptured capacity audience, and the effective interaction- had tremendous positive echoes in the Lebanese society.
In his first lecture, "A Memoir about Growing up in the New Jersey Suburbs and the Armenian Genocide", Prof. Balakian read some passages of his book Black Dog of Fate, and shared with the audience some of his experiences on growing up as an American in a typical New Jersey suburb, and later learning of his family's terrible suffering during the Armenian Genocide.
Balakian emphasized the role his grandmother, a genocide survivor, played in delivering encoded messages about her experience, which he was later able to decipher and develop.

The second lecture, entitled "The Armenian Genocide and America''s First International Human Rights Movement" was even a greater success. The hall was filled with an overflow of people, many attending the lecture twice, in order to grasp the maximum opportunity of benefiting from Balakian's presence in Beirut.
Balakian considered the Armenian Genocide as an important part in history of the 20th century, insisting the issue should be incorporated in school and university curricula worldwide. He added that it's impossible to narrate the 1st World War without pausing to consider the Armenian Genocide, a paradigm for subsequent twentieth century genocides.

Dr. Balakian also read passages from The Burning Tigris, his book which appeared on the best-seller lists of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. This book was the existential answer to Hitler?s statement: "Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

Towards the end of his speech, Dr. Peter Balakian, expressed his deepest gratitude to Haigazian University, represented by its President, Rev. Paul Haidostian, and the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Arda Ekmekji.

Upon the completion of the lecture, Prof. Balakian received a token of appreciation from President Haidostian, representing Haigazian University, and went to the Arthur Matossian hall, to sign his books.

It is worth noting that while here, Balakian met with the students of Haigazian, at an event organized by the Debate Club. The students enjoyed this rich exposure with the author of Black Dog Of Fate an Intercultural Studies course requirement.

Besides his lectures, Balakian had the chance to discover the Armenian and Lebanese heritage by visiting Radio Van, and recording an interesting interview, exploring the Armenian Museum at the Armenian Catholicossate in Antelias, and finally enjoying Lebanese food and discovering the ancient heritage of the city of Byblos.

Dr. Peter Balakian is a Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English at Colgate University in New York state. He was the first director of Colgate's Center of Ethics and World Societies. He lives in Hamilton, New York with his wife and two children Sophia and James.

Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director
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