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Armenian National Institute Website Now Includes 795 Official Records Affirming the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Institute (ANI) has completed a massive expansion of its widely-consulted website containing extensive information on the Armenian Genocide. The 2019 resolutions adopted by the U.S. House and Senate expressly “encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.’ President Joe Biden’s April 24, 2021, remembrance day statement called for a “world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security.”

The Affirmation section of the ANI website, that contains a collection of official documents pertaining to the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, was thoroughly updated. The Affirmation records are now organized in 14 distinct categories covering resolutions, laws, and declarations by federal level governments, U.S. presidential statements, statements by heads of states, international organizations, religious organizations, official reports, public petitions, and other relevant documents.

Eighty-six new records were added to the Affirmation page, especially updating the sections on ‘Resolutions, Laws, and Declarations,’ ‘State and Provincial Governments,’ and ‘Municipal Governments.’

With strong community support promoting instruction in human rights and genocide prevention, state educational curricula are now mandated in some 10 states across the United States, including Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, Illinois, California, New York, and New Jersey. The relevant pieces of legislation are all accessible under ‘Curriculum Mandates.’

As for the 31 countries that formally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, they include: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Vatican City, Venezuela, United States, and Uruguay.

In all, the ANI website presently holds 795 affirmation records from around the world.

The ANI collection of affirmation records was developed with the collaborative support of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute (AGMI) in Yerevan. A new cooperation agreement reached between AGMI and ANI allowed for extensive research in the AGMI holdings in order to reverify and update the records posted on the ANI website. The agreement was signed in Yerevan by AGMI Director Dr. Harutyun Marutyan and ANI Chairman Van Z. Krikorian on August 5, 2021. AGMI in Armenia and ANI in the United States have become two important depositories of official affirmation records, AGMI holding an international collection, and ANI holding a considerable American collection of original documents.

Robert Arzoumanian, who joined ANI as assistant to the director, conducted the research at AGMI where additional records were identified that have been mounted on the ANI website for easy access by the public. Arzoumanian, a Brown University graduate, interned at ANI and in Congressman Frank Pallone’s office in 2016 and returned the following year as the Armenian Assembly’s summer intern program coordinator. He also has experience working with Armenia-based media. Arzoumanian undertook the challenge of standardizing the presentation of the full scope of international records identified by ANI in order to facilitate their usage by an international audience.

Since its founding in 1997, the Armenian National Institute has been working closely with AGMI, and over the years has supported several conferences and joint projects. Continuing this long-standing cooperation with AGMI, ANI sent a video message on April 16, 2021, welcoming the release by the museum of the volumes prepared by Ara Ketibian and Father Vahan Ohanian titled, “Armenian Genocide: Prelude and Aftermath as Reported in the U.S. Press, The Washington Post (1890-1922),” to which ANI Director Dr. Rouben Adalian contributed an introduction.

Earlier in 2021, AGMI also released the fourth edition of Dr. Adalian’s essay, “Remembering and Understanding the Armenian Genocide,” which AGMI originally issued in 1995.

In 2021, ANI also continued to expand its online presence by launching the Arabic version of the popular ANI website. The announcement was issued in Arabic as well. Soon after its launch on April 17, the site was being consulted in countries ranging from Lebanon to United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Qatar, Oman and Morocco.

The Arabic-language site represents the third translated edition of the ANI website. The Spanish-language edition appeared in 2020 and the Turkish version in 2017. In light of U.S. President Biden’s affirmation and general media coverage, interest remains high on the subject of the Armenian Genocide. Following the disruptions associated with the shutdown precipitated by the pandemic, with the reopening of educational institutions, a large number of visitors are returning to the ANI website, which registered 4 million hits in 2021.

The process of international recognition remains an ongoing concern for Armenian communities around the world. Efforts are presently under way in England, Israel, and Australia. In 2021, Latvia formally adopted recognition on May 6. Dr. Adalian, along with Dr. Ronald Suny and Armenia’s Ambassador to the Baltic states Tigran Mktchyan, was invited on April 20, to testify in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament that was considering the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Founded in 1997, the Armenian National Institute (ANI) is a 501(c)(3) educational charity based in Washington, D.C., and is dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. The ANI website can be consulted in English, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic. ANI also maintains the online Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA).

Armenian-Americans at RNC 2012: Support Mitt Romney for President

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Political Contributor

The Tampa Bay Times Forum, Home of RNC 2012

Every four years, the campaign for the highest office of the land takes place. As candidates from the Republican Party navigated the choppy waters of the primary storm this election season, one man sailed to victory: former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Winning the party’s nomination was no easy feat and on several occasions, the media and members of his own party, were quick to write him off. However, Mitt Romney and his campaign rose to the challenge, and secured the 1,190 Republican Party Delegates necessary to clinch the nomination. No doubt, the battles he faced in the primary contest will come in handy when he goes head-to-head with President Obama.

Among these Republican Party Delegates, who are elected within their respective state party systems, were six Armenian-Americans. The States of Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island were each represented by an official GOP Delegate of Armenian descent.

Harout Samra, an attorney in Miami said, “it was a privilege to attend the Republican National Convention as a delegate for Florida. Coming to the floor of the Convention hall for the first time was very exciting. Frankly, I did not expect to be as moved as I was. It was a great honor to have been selected to represent my fellow Floridians. That came home to me as I reached the floor. I genuinely enjoy interacting with people from different backgrounds. The United States is a remarkably diverse place, and I believe this diversity was represented not only in our delegation, but also in those of the other states. Florida’s delegation included first-generation Americans, such as myself, and longtime natives. It included Indian-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and even one Armenian-American.

Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Harout Samra

“Governor Romney knows and understands the issues that are important to Armenian-Americans. Living in Belmont and serving as the Governor of Massachusetts, he’s had more important contacts and relationships with the Armenian-American community than any President since Ronald Reagan. He will not mislead us and pander to us to get Armenian-American votes like President Obama.

“Governor Romney is the right man for the moment. He understands how to turn around the economy at home and to ensure that America is respected abroad. Unlike President Obama, Governor Romney’s top priority will be to create an environment that leads to more jobs and spurs economic growth,” stated Samra.

Another Republican Party Delegate, Bob Semonian, State Chairman of Massachusetts Republican Party-Ethnic Outreach expressed that he was “thrilled to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa this year. Americans want honesty in the White House and Mitt Romney is an honest man who will best represent all of America,” stated Semonian, who also serves as the Armenian-Americans for Mitt Romney Coalition Massachusetts State Chair.

Bob Semonian with Josh Romney

From the Great Lakes State was Krista Haroutunian, who serves as the Republican Party Chair for the 13th Congressional District. She stated, “My time at the 2012 RNC was extremely important and made me proud to be American, an Armenian, and from Detroit, Michigan.” Haroutunian continued, “The first concern of an American, of whatever cultural or ethnic background, is the independence, freedom, and well-being of Americans. This allows us to be able to express concerns for Armenian issues and to assist appropriately.

“Mr. Romney knows that the founding fathers of America had great concerns about dictatorial attitudes and insisted upon a separation of powers – something Mr. Obama has side-stepped for the better part of four years. Mr. Romney wants to return to a Constitutional government through our elected Representatives. Mr. Obama wants all-pervasive government with the decision makers being unelected bureaucrats.

“The choice is clear – constitutional guarantees and responsibilities to preserve the rule of law versus arbitrary actions from a few with no guarantees of the rule of law. For all Armenians and all Americans, Mitt Romney is the best choice.”

Over the course of this year, several Armenian-Americans across the country, including the author, have been challenged on our position of supporting Governor Romney over President Obama. “What do you expect from Romney that will be different from Obama,” is the common intrigue.  To put it plainly, like all Americans, we expect leadership, honesty and values from our elected officials. When it comes to Armenian issues, President Obama failed to fulfill his campaign pledge to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide as President. That calls into question his honesty. President Obama’s nomination and subsequent recess appointment of Matthew Bryza to serve as Ambassador to Azerbaijan was opposed by Senators of his own party, not to mention many Armenian-Americans. That calls into question his ability to lead. And the silence of the Obama administration on the destruction, confiscation and profiteering of Christian Armenian religious properties by the Turkish Government, as well as Azerbaijan’s completed destruction of centuries-old Armenian Khachkars at Julfa, call into question his values.

From Fresno to Philadelphia, from Manchester to Miami, from Detroit to Denver, from Waukesha to Washington, DC, Armenian-Americans have expressed their frustration with President Obama, and many former Armenian supporters of his are now backing Mitt Romney for President. In fact, one prominent Armenian-American who supported President Obama in 2008, and is now backing Governor Romney, expressed as much to the author. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, she shared her frustration: “Senator Obama chose to promise, in campaign speeches and written outreach, recognition of the 1915 genocide of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks. He fully understood the importance of that issue to the Armenian American community and indeed to all right thinking Americans.  Americans deserve a President who knows his principles and makes his decisions in accordance with those principles. Americans deserve a President who has integrity. So why come November would I vote for a President who over the course of four years has delivered precious little and lied to us and other communities?”

Indeed, why would we? She then confessed, “I’ll take a chance on Romney.”

This article originally appeared in the October 13, Volume 13 Print Edition of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator.