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Zohrab Center Director at Diaspora Conference

Scholars from Armenia, England, France, Germany, Holland, Mexico, Portugal, and the United States attended the Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) conference at UCLA on October 12-13. Dr. Christopher Sheklian, director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, represented the Eastern Diocese.

Under the theme “Diaspora and ‘Stateless Power,’” speakers addressed the subject of “social discipline and identity formation” throughout the Armenian diaspora in the 20th century. Papers topics ranged from the status of Syrian-Armenians in the Republic of Armenia, to historical accounts of Armenians in Mexico, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union.

The gathering was also an occasion to celebrate the society’s 45th anniversary—and to honor the pioneering work of Khachig Tölölyan, a scholar of worldwide diasporas. Professor Tölölyan gave the keynote speech: “From the Study of Diasporas to Diaspora Studies.”

Dr. Sheklian’s contribution—“Recent Immigration to Established Armenian Communities: The Role of the Church in Shaping Immigrant Identity”—was based on his ongoing research.

“I’m thrilled by the prospect of collaborative projects between the Zohrab Information Center and the Society for Armenian Studies,” said Dr. Sheklian, who was recently elected to the SAS executive council.

A 45th anniversary banquet was held on October 12, at the Organization of Istanbul Armenians Hall in Los Angeles. Current SAS President Bedross Der Matossian acknowledged the founders of the SAS and highlighted some of society’s latest initiatives: a podcast series, grants for graduate students, and a new online peer-reviewed journal e-SAS: “Entries of the Society for Armenian Studies.”

Longtime SAS members and distinguished scholars Kevork Bardakjian, Khachig Tölölyan, and Barlow Der Mugrdechian received “Lifetime Achievement Awards.”

The event was co-sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History (UCLA), the Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies (UCLA), the Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair (UC Irvine), the Institute of Armenian Studies (USC), the Armenian Studies Program (California State University, Fresno), the Armenian Studies Program (CSU Northridge), and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).

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