Organized by the Armenian Diaspora Research Center (ADRC) at Haigazian University, and supported by the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the “Armenians of Jordan” conference took place over the course of three days from May 22-24.
On Sun., May 22, the official opening ceremony took place in the presence of Armenian intellectuals, historians, and academicians. The ceremony started with the opening words of Dr. Antranig Dakessian, the director of the ADRC, followed by a letter from Dr. Razmig Panossian, head of the Armenian Communities Department of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Due to reasons beyond her control, the guest speaker, Dr. Hind Abu Shaar, head of the Humanities Department of Jordan University, was not able to read her speech in person. Haigazian Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Arda Ekmekji read her speech, titled “Modern History of Jordan during the Ottoman and National Era (1850-1946).” The ceremony ended with Haigazian University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian’s closing remarks.
The official opening was followed by a photo exhibition of the prominent Jordanian-Armenian photographer Miro Kizirian at the Arthur Matossian Arts Center in the Mugar Building.
The conference—consisting of 6 sessions held over 2 consecutive days—covered 21 topics presented by 20 scholars coming from such countries as the United States, France, Armenia, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Panelists were Prof. Claude Mutafian on “The Armenian Fiefs in Jordan (12th -14th c.),” Dr. Himler Kaiser on “The Jordanian Lands during the Armenian Genocide; Deportees, Famine, and War,” Dr. Jon Armajani on “The Jordanian Constitution and the Rights of Minorities,” Dr. Antranik Dakessian on “A Demographic Study of the Jordanian Armenians (1925-2005),” Anna Ohannessian-Charpin on “The Bedouins of Armenian Descent in South Jordan” and “(Photographer) Hagop of Aqaba,” Aline Benneyan on “The Jarash Armenians” (her paper was read in absentia by Haigazian student Lila Bamoukian, majoring in Armenian studies), Silva Meneksheian-Baghsarian on “The Jordan Homenetmen,” Hagop Serpekian on “The Ruseyfa Armenians,” Kevork Meserlian on “The Irbid Armenians,” Yeghig Tashjian on “The Photographer of Kings, Hagop Berberian,” Silva Sarkissian-Hayrabedian on “The Jordan Armenians: The Making of a Community” (her paper was read in absentia by Haigazian student Nareg Hanneian, majoring in Armenian studies), Rosette Alemian-Mahseredjian on “The Amman Watani Club,” Arsiné Jambazian on “The Armenian Relief Society of Jordan,” Madeleine Medzagopian on “The Catholic Armenian Community (Institutions, School, and Church)” as well as on “The Armenian Diaspora in Jordan between Integration in the Hostland and Connectivity with the Motherland,” Nerses Nersessian on “Outstanding Figures in the Jordan Armenian Community and the Armenian Churches of Jordan,” Hratzin Vardanyan on “The Relations of the Committee of Cultural Relations with the Diaspora Armenians and the Jordan Armenians,” Vicken Aslanian on “Jordan Armenians in Public Life” (his paper was read in absentia by former Haigazian student Bedig Torossian), Dr. Lucine Taminian on “The Identity Making of a Diasporic Armenian,” and Dr. Araks Pashyan on “The Jordan Armenian Community: Current Challenges.”
The presentations and sessions were moderated by Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dr. Zaven Messerlian, Dr. Anahid Donabedian, Dr. Armen Urneshlian, Dr. Levon Avedanian, Dr. Nanor Karageozian, and Dr. Anke El Bataineh.
The proceedings of the conference will be published by the end of 2016.