“Armenian Identity Issues of the 21st Century” was the topic of the joint conference held at Yerevan State
University on March 13 & 14, 2013. The conference was organized by the Diaspora Chair of the Yerevan State
University and the Armenian Diaspora Research Center of Haigazian University in collaboration with the Diaspora
Ministry of Armenia. This was the second conference that resulted from the collaboration between the two
universities of Armenia and the Diaspora under the patronage of the Diaspora Minister Mrs. Hranoush Hagopian.
The first conference, entitled “The Armenian Republic and Diaspora Relations: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” was held in Beirut on 5-7 September 2011 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of Armenian independence and the 55th anniversary of Haigazian University. In the assessment session held after the first conference the necessity and importance of a conference dedicated to identity issues was raised.
Fourteen papers were presented during the March conference which covered a broad range of issues pertaining to diverse aspects of identity:
Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian (Theologian, and President, Haigazian University): “Basic Factors of Identity
Construction in the Cultural and Political Context of the Diaspora”
Dr. Armenag Yeghiayan (Scholar, Western Armenian language expert): “The 100 Year Track of the Western Armenian language and its Identity Challenges”
Dr. Harutyun Maroutian (Institute of Ethnography, Armenian National Academy), “Shaping Armenian Identities: The century-old Genocide Memory”
Dr. Antranik Dakessian (Armenian Diaspora Research Center, Haigazian University), “Armenian Family Names as Identity Symbols and their Corruption”
Prof. Khachig Tololyan (Founder & editor of the Diaspora Journal), “The Mystery of Identity: Variations of
Armenian and Other Identities” Dr. Edward Melkonian (Institute of History, Armenian National Academy), “The Perception of Patriotism in the
Diaspora” Dr. Arman Yeghiazarian (Diaspora Ministry, Diaspora Chair, YSU), “Armenian Civilization and the Armenian historic perspective” Dr. Seyran Zakarian (Philosophy Dept., YSU), “Deserting the Fatherland as an Expression of Identity Rejection” Dr. Arda Ekmekji (Arts& Sciences Dean, Haigazian University), “The Absence of the Armenian Woman from Decision Making Positions: A case of Identity or Opportunities?”
Dr. Hamlet Bedrosian (YSU), “The Traditional Symbols of Armenian Identity in Contemporary Form”
Maroun Salhani, MA (Lebanese media activist, blogger), “The Image of the Lebanese Armenian in Lebanese Cultural Expressions”
Dr. Ardag Movsisian (YSU, History Dept.), Certain national-ideological issues of Early Armenia”
Dr. Nora Arissian (Damascus State University), “The Arab Perception of 21st Century Armenian-diaspora Identity”
Dr. Tadeos Donoyan (Diaspora Chair, YSU), “Tsenov Hovan: The acquiescence of statement and text in the Armenian language mindset”.
At the end of the two-day conference the first issue of a new yearbook by the YSU, Spurkakidutyun: Desutyan yev Badmutyan Hartser (Diaspora Studies: Issues of theory and history) was launched.
In a short assessment meeting that followed the event, the organizers found the conference to be very useful and decided to plan for a second conference on the topic of identity. The proceedings of the conference will be jointly published in a separate book by October 2013.