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Armenian Assembly of America Hosts Armenian Genocide Symposium in South Florida

AAA FL AG Symp Group

On Saturday, March 14, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) hosted an Armenian Genocide symposium entitled “A Century of Genocide: The 1915 Armenian Genocide and Its Lasting Impact,” during the Assembly’s Annual Members Weekend in South Florida. Over 80 Assembly members, friends, and guests attended the educational presentations and lively question and answer session.

The symposium featured Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute (ANI) in Washington, DC, Dr. Rosanna Gatens, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education (CHHRE) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida, and Hannibal Travis, Professor of Law at Florida International University (FIU) College of Law in Miami, Florida. The panel was moderated by Assembly Trustee and South Florida community leader Marta Batmasian.

Armenian Assembly of America Board of Trustees President Carolyn Mugar provided welcoming remarks and introduced Marta Batmasian. Batmasian introduced the panel to the audience and recognized members of the audience who have been researching and teaching about the Armenian Genocide in South Florida.

Batmasian introduced Dr. Adalian who presented the topic of “The Armenian Genocide as a Prototype of 20th Century Mass Killings,” detailing the primitive yet effective template of mass killing that was developed by the Ottoman Turkish government. He showed images from the digital exhibit “The First Deportation: The German Railway, the American Hospital, and the Armenian Genocide,” which took the audience back in time to a pivotal location of the deportations. Adalian brought to life the experiences and activities of Dr. Wilfred D. Post who administered the American hospital in Konya, a major station along the Berlin-Baghdad rail line which became the site of a large deportation camp. In defiance of the Ottoman ban on photography of deportees, Dr. Post captured what may have been some of the earliest pictures of deported Armenians.

AAA FL Symposium C1

Next, Batmasian introduced Dr. Gatens who discussed “The Impact of the Armenian Genocide on Holocaust Education.” She discussed how the CHHRE at FAU had been working for years to advance Armenian Genocide education on campus and throughout Palm Beach County. Gatens drew parallels between the Jewish and Armenian experiences and highlighted challenges faced in educating the general public about the crime of genocide.

Professor Hannibal Travis gave the final presentation on “The Armenian Genocide as a Political Act and International Crime.” He discussed the illegality of the crime of genocide under international law, including cases where the charge of genocide was applied retroactively. Travis gave an in depth account of crimes against humanity that have been heard in international courts and discussed avenues for Armenian efforts in this context.

Following the presentations, Batmasian opened the floor for questions. Several were asked of the panel leading to a lively and wide-ranging discussion. Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny gave closing remarks and announced the launch of an online petition calling on President Barack Obama to affirm the Armenian Genocide in his upcoming statement commemorating the 100th anniversary. After the symposium, guests were invited up to view a brand new exhibit entitled “Iconic Images of the Armenian Genocide,” that was on full display during and after the discussion.

“We were pleased to bring this expert panel together for the South Florida community,” stated Bryan Ardouny. “The Assembly is grateful to Dr. Adalian, Dr. Gatens, Professor Travis, and Mrs. Batmasian for their insight and compelling presentations,” Ardouny said.

Additional photographs from the Assembly’s Armenian Genocide Symposium in South Florida are available on the Assembly’s Facebook page here.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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Photo Caption 1: (L-R) Dr. Rouben Adalian, Marta Batmasian, Hannibal Travis, Dr. Rosanna Gatens.

Photo Caption 2: Program speakers at the Assembly’s Armenian Genocide Symposium in South Florida.

(Photographs by Bedo Der-Bedrosian on behalf of the Armenian Assembly of America)

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Florida High School Students Visit the Armenian Assembly of America

FL Students Visit AAA 1

High School Students from Palm Beach County Learn About Armenian History, Human Rights, and the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC – Last month, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) hosted a group of high school students and educators from Palm Beach County, Florida for a presentation and discussion on Armenian history, human rights, and the Armenian Genocide. Nineteen students and eight teachers travelled to the nation’s capital to meet with various human rights groups and anti-genocide organizations to deepen their understanding of genocide and crimes against humanity. The group was sponsored by inSIGHT Through Education, Inc., a Florida non-profit that uses the lessons of the Holocaust and genocide to fight prejudice and bigotry and to encourage tolerance, acceptance and respect. In addition to the Assembly, the student group also visited Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute (ANI), provided a briefing to the group and presented the exhibit “Witness to the Armenian Genocide: Photographs by the Perpetrators’ German and Austro-Hungarian Allies.” The exhibit includes ten posters with a detailed timeline, a color-coded map geographically matching the photographs with their location, and seven pages displaying 34 captioned historic photographs depicting the deportations, massacres, and concentration camps.

“The Palm Beach County students were already aware of the importance of addressing current human rights issues,” stated Dr. Adalian. “That made our discussion on the Armenian Genocide that much more informed, as they detected the patterns of discrimination and intolerance that can lead to gross violations forewarning of a genocidal outcome,” Dr. Adalian said.

The students were accompanied by educators Maureen Carter, Maureen Holtzer, Frances Kennedy, Tawny Anderson, Bryan Sandala, Tonisha Cook, Holocaust survivor Frieda Jaffe, and President of inSIGHT Roz Lewy.

FL Students Visit AAA 2

Taniel Koushakjian, Assembly Communications Director, also addressed the group and discussed the role of the Assembly in educating the public as well as elected officials about human rights and the Armenian Genocide. “It is important that Holocaust and Genocide education begin at the high-school level and it is encouraging to see my home state and county lead in that effort,” said Koushakjian, a life-long Floridian and graduate of the Palm Beach County public school system.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

Florida Armenians 2014 Election Center

Polling center FLArmenians

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Managing Editor

Florida Armenians is pleased to announce our endorsements for the 2014 elections. The endorsement list below is categorized by federal, state, and county races. Overall, Florida Armenians has endorsed 25 Republicans and 13 Democrats in a variety of races, including some challengers.

Champions of Armenian issues in Florida include Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who was recently named Vice Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. In the Florida State Senate, Florida Armenians enthusiastically support Senator Jack Latvala (R-Pinellas), who introduced and managed the successful passage of the first Armenian Genocide resolution in the Florida State Senate in 2013.

Noticeably absent from our endorsement list is a candidate for Florida Governor. Unfortunately, neither current Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) nor former Governor Charlie Crist (D-FL) was proactive on Armenian issues during their administration. In addition, both candidates refrained from issuing statements to the Florida Armenian community.

Also, Florida Armenians would like to highlight Garo Artinian, who is running for Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District Seat 2. Mr. Artinian is the only Armenian American on the ballot in Florida.

FLORIDA VOTER INFORMATION

To help give you an idea of what to expect on Election Day, here are links to sample ballots for Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Pinellas County. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Florida has two time zones. As such, election results will be released at 8:00 PM EST. If you don’t know where to go, you can find your closest polling station online by entering your address at your local county government website. For more information about voting in Florida, click here.

FLORIDA ARMENIANS 2014 ELECTION ENDORSEMENTS

FEDERAL

Congress:

  • District 1: Jeff Miller (R-FL)
  • District 3: Ted Yoho (R-FL)
  • District 5: Corrine Brown (D-FL)
  • District 11: Rich Nugent (R-FL)
  • District 12: Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
  • District 13: David Jolly (R-FL)
  • District 14: Kathy Castor (D-FL)
  • District 15: Dennis Ross (R-FL)
  • District 21: Ted Deutch (D-FL)
  • District 22: Lois Frankel (D-FL)
  • District 24: Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
  • District 25: Mario Diaz-Bolart (R-FL)
  • District 26: Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)*

STATE

Executive:

  • Attorney General: Pam Bondi (R)
  • Chief Financial Officer: Jeff Atwater (R)
  • Commissioner of Agriculture: Adam Putnam (R)

State House:

  • HD-64: James Grant (R-FL)
  • HD-66: Chris Latvala (R-FL)*
  • HD-68: Bill Young (R-FL)*
  • HD-69: Kathleen Peters (D-FL)
  • HD-70: Daryl Rouson (D-FL)
  • HD-81: Kevin Rader (D-FL)
  • HD-82: MaryLynn Magar (R-FL)
  • HD-88: Bobby Powell (D-FL)
  • HD-91: Irving Slosberg (D-FL)
  • HD-92: Gwendolen Clarke-Reed (D-FL)
  • HD-93: George Moraitis (R-FL)
  • HD-95: Hazelle Rogers (D-FL)
  • HD-96: Kristin Jacobs (D-FL)
  • HD-103: Manny Diaz, Jr. (R-FL)
  • HD-105: CarlosTrujillo (R-FL)
  • HD-116: Jose Felix Diaz (R-FL)

State Senate:

  • SD-20: Jack Latvala (R-FL)
  • SD-22: Jeff Brandes (R-FL)
  • SD-32: Joe Negron (R-FL)
  • SD-36: Oscar Braynon II (D-FL)

Other:

  • Palm Beach County Commission District 4: Steven L. Abrams
  • Broward County Commission District 4: Chip LaMarca
  • Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District 2: Garo Artinian

* Denotes challenger