Virtual Town Hall with Artsakh Foreign Minister and US Representative, Mon. 3/29 at 8PM

Important Virtual Town Hall with Artsakh Foreign Minister and US Representative, Mon. 3/29 at 8PM 
Join us for an important Virtual Town Hall Meeting discussing Artsakh foreign policy and opportunities for the diaspora to help in the post war environment.  A question and answer session will follow the presentation.  
Special Guests:  Davit Babayan, Foreign Minister of the Republic of ArtsakhRobert Avetisyan, Permanent Representative of Artsakh in the United States
Topics will be:Foreign Policy of the Republic of Artsakh: Goals and Opportunities
Please join us for a Virtual Town Hall meeting:
Join Zoom Meeting ID: 875 2711 8602
Passcode: 043484Please forward this message to those who might be interested in attending.
For more information, contact:

Fri, Apr 9 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm The Armenians of Aintab: The Economics of Genocide in an Ottoman Province

Fri, Apr 9, 2021 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm

@Zoom To attend, please click on the following link:

Ümit Kurtis a historian of the modern Middle East, with a research focus on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Hespecializes in the late Ottoman socio-economic history, Armenian genocide, mass/collective violence and inter-ethnic conflicts. His broader training also includes the comparative empires, population movements, history of the Ottoman urban and local elites, wealth transfer and nationalism. His publications include The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide(co-authored with Taner Akçam) and Armenians and Kurds in the Late Ottoman Empire(co-edited with Ara Sarafian). The Armenians of Aintabwill be released on April 13.

Discussant Janet Klein University of Akron

Professor Janet Klein’s research has focused on state-society relations as well as nationalism, identity, and gender dynamics from a historical perspective, and her primary area of focus—late-Ottoman Kurdistan—has served as a lens through which she explores wider issues that extend beyond this geography and time period. Dr. Klein is the author of The Margins of Empire: Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zoneand numerous other articles and book chapters.

26 April, noon: The Armenians of Aintab: The Economics of Genocide in an Ottoman Province

–Monday, April 26, at noonDr. Űmit Kurt (Polonsky Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Australian Research Council Fellow), in conversation with Dr. Michael Provence (Department of History, U.C. San Diego)

The Armenians of Aintab: The Economics of Genocide in an Ottoman Province”

(Book Talk and Conversation)Abstract: One cornerstone of the wartime campaign against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was the confiscation of their properties and wealth, which were subsequently transferred to Muslim elites and used in reshaping the domestic economy as well as covering wartime expenses. These were among the radical practices of the CUP (Committee of Union and Progress) regime aimed at nationalizing the economy. First, many businesses and properties were transferred to state institutions. Second, a lesser but substantial number of firms were transferred to “reliable” Muslim individuals and social institutions. More significant than the transfers themselves was the fact that these extraordinary measures were based on a set of laws, regulations, rules, and decrees that created a legal basis for a more systematic campaign against the movable and immovable properties of Armenians. In this capital transfer, we see that genocide also created the circumstances to enable “the complete fulfilment of the established policy of ethnic domination through expropriation.” Economic dispossession was far from a process carried out “from above” by means of the simple execution of CUP orders. If the process of the economic exclusion of Armenians is to be described fully, a regional historical analysis is necessary. This paper will explore how the process of economic destruction directed at the Armenians of Aintab—present-day Gaziantep, thirty-five miles west of the Euphrates and twenty-eight miles north of today’s Turkish-Syrian border—was implemented. Shifting focus from state to society, thereby prioritizing the local roots of a mass violence in the making, this work will highlight the crucial role played by local elites and provincial notables, actors who prospered in the new social stratum through the acquisition of Armenian property and wealth. Bios: Dr. Ümit Kurt is a historian of the late Ottoman Empire with a particular focus on the transformations of the imperial structures and their role in constituting the republican regime. Moreover, his research and teaching are grounded on theories of state and class, social identity and ethnicity. He received his MA from Sabancı University in 2008 and PhD from Clark University in 2016. Since then, he has held a number of postdoctoral positions in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University and the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno. Currently, He is a research Fellow at Polonsky Academy in the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and teaches in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Antep 1915: Genocide and Perpetrators (2018), co-author of The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (2015) and editor of Armenians and Kurds in Late Ottoman Empire (2020). His forthcoming book, The Armenians of Aintab: The Economics of Genocide in an Ottoman Province, will be published in April 2021 by Harvard University Press. Ümit Kurt is the winner of the 2021 Discovery Early Career Research Award given by Australian Research Council. He is also Vice Executive Secretary of International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS).Dr. Michael Provence teaches modern Middle East history, focusing on the 20th century Arab East. He received the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2001. During 2017-2018, he was Chercheur Résident (Research Fellow in Residence), Institut d’Etudes Avancées de Nantes, France.  In 2010-11 and 2014 Provence was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin, Germany. He is the author of two books and many articles. The books are The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism (2005), also translated and widely reviewed in Arabic as al-Thawra al-Suriyya al-Wataniyya, and The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East (2017), selected a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2018.

Sat, 1 May starting @ 9:30am: Authoritarianism, Democratization, and ‘Populism’: Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” in Perspective

Saturday, May 1, 9:30am-5pm


 Authoritarianism, Democratization, and ‘Populism’: Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” in Perspective

Speakers and program to be announced soon.

Abstract: From end March to early May 2018, a series of peaceful protests and demonstration led to the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, whom the then ruling Republican Party he chaired had newly nominated for that office. Having completed his two terms as President, from 2008 to 2018, Serzh Sargsyan’s attempt to remain in power became obvious. This attempt also made it evident that the amended 2015 Constitution, which he had promoted to invigorate democratization by shifting power from the office of the President to the Parliament and the office of the Prime Minister, was merely a ploy to extend his rule.  It was also the proverbial “last straw that broke the camel’s back.” A kleptocratic, semi-authoritarian regime that appeared to control all the levers of power and of the economy suddenly, and unexpectedly, collapsed. This regime change—which the leader of the protests and incoming new prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, referred to as a “Velvet Revolution”—was peaceful, something unusual for a post-Soviet republic. Subsequent parliamentary elections brought to power a new generation, younger deputies mostly between the ages of twenty-five to forty. A similar generation change also characterized the formation of the government. Youth, however, also means inexperience as almost none of the new deputies and ministers had held any political position in the past. Prime Minister (PM) Pashinyan has also turned out to be quite unusual, especially in a rather conservative country, as he rides a bicycle, addresses the population through his Facebook page or face to face in the streets, and displays photos taken with his spouse and children. As a result, the old guard accuses him of being a populist who polarizes society and his supporters of being members of NGOs financed from abroad, including by the Soros Foundation. All of them are said to be “a-national,” that is, individuals who are destroying the traditional “national values” of the country. In this context, this new generation of politicians led by Pashinyan faces the daunting task of reforming a sclerotic, corrupt political and economic system in which all the administrations and enterprises—from the local to the regional and national levels; from elementary schools to universities; from lower-level judges to the Constitutional Court; from small businesses to major ones—were controlled by members or cronies of Serzh Sargsyan’s former ruling party, the Republicans. The military debacle and consequent territorial losses resulting from the Azerbaijani-Turkish war against the self-proclaimed, unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) in the fall of 2020 have made matters worse. A “National Salvation Movement,” made up of seventeen opposition parties and groups mostly affiliated with the previous regimes, has accused PM Pashinyan of being a traitor and demanded his immediate resignation and the formation of a one-year transitional “salvation” government that would eventually organize legislative elections. Its street protests and demonstrations, characterized by extremely threatening and violent rhetoric but less successful than expected,  the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in Armenia, and the necessity of implementing the painful armistice clauses imposed by the Azerbaijani-Russian-Turkish troika (November 9, 2020) have combined to give the impression of a rudderless State. After much zigzagging, Pashinyan has finally called for legislative elections in June 2021.This conference aims at analyzing what happened in Armenia in comparative perspective and through the prisms of authoritarianism, democratization, and ‘populism’, a term the opposition has used to attack PM Pashinyan. Is what happened in Armenia a revolution? Can the Pashinyan-led regime change be compared to others?  What are the prospects for such political transformations based on past occurrences in Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and Latin America? Is it likely that the rule of law will take roots and corruption will be slowly uprooted? Finally, how can one assess the first three years of Pashinyan’s rule?

ARS Scholarship

Armenian Relief Society “Erepouni” Chapter

is pleased to offer two scholarships for the

2021-2022 academic year

Open to all college-level students seeking scholarships

I. “Mesrob Der Yeghiayan Memorial Scholarship”

for a student pursuing a degree in the medical field

A $1,000 scholarship is available for a student

following any field of medicine or nursing

II.  A.R.S. “Erepouni” Chapter Scholarship

for a current student

A $500 scholarship is available for a college student in any field of study

Basic requirements are:  Have completed or are completing one year of university work, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, be of Armenian descent, and be a permanent resident of the U.S. and California.

For an application or further information, please contact:

Mrs. Victoria Markarian at or (916) 431-7355

Mrs. Nairy Colello at or (925) 389-7331

*The application and all necessary forms must be sent in no later than

 May 15, 2021

New book for children: Parev, Yerevan: An Armenian Children’s Book

Parev, Yerevan is a fun, engaging, and educational board book in Armenian about Yerevan. Beautifully illustrated, it takes the reader through well-known sites in Yerevan and showcases Armenian culture and history in a simple and captivating manner. It exposes children to both the Armenian language and the spirit of Armenia. This is a great introduction to Yerevan for young children!

My goal is to expose children to the Armenian language and help foster a connection to Armenia at a young age. Since there are very few board books in Armenia, this book is an ideal engagement tool for young children.

Please visit my page at to learn more about my campaign and pre-order your copy. Thank you!