TORONTO, Canada—On June 19, the Zoryan Institute awarded prizes to three Grade 11 students for their submissions to the first “Aram Aivazian High School Essay Contest on Genocide.”
The purpose of the contest was to supplement the teaching provided by the Ontario Ministry of Education’s new genocide curriculum by motivating students to research the subject more deeply, in a comparative manner. In the process, they would better understand the Armenian Genocide and its significance in the history of gross human rights violations. This, in turn, would help them appreciate their own history and its impact on their personal identities. Earlier this year, Zoryan launched this program as a pilot project with the ARS Armenian School in Toronto.
The first prize of $1,500 went to Amy Chitilian for her essay titled, “The Armenian Genocide: What Were the Causes of These Massacres and Was It Really Genocide?” The second prize of $1,250 went to Nareh Ghalustians for her essay, “The Indispensible Recognition of the Armenian Genocide.” The third prize of $1,000 went to Missak Boyadjian for his essay, “The Armenian Genocide and Humanity’s Continued Failure in Prevention.” This money is intended to help the students with their university tuitions.
“I would sincerely like to thank the Zoryan Institute for putting forth this great opportunity,” Chitilian said. “I am honored to have been chosen as the first-prize scholarship winner. It gave me the incentive to apply the knowledge that I have acquired this year through the 20th-century history course regarding genocide into an analytical essay. Preparing this essay enabled me to prove that the Armenian massacres can and should be considered as genocide. I hope the contest will continue to provide students with a similar opportunity to develop insight into the world of genocide.”
Armen Martirossian, the principal of the ARS Armenian School, expressed his thanks to the Zoryan Institute for launching its pilot program at his school. “We hope this program will be adopted by other schools, whose students would benefit greatly,” he added.
The program was established in memory of Aram Aivazian, a long-time supporter of the Zoryan Institute, an author and active member of the Armenian community, and an ardent campaigner against denial, who believed firmly in the importance of education and raising awareness of human rights in youth.
“The Aivazian family was very moved to have our father remembered in such a meaningful way,” said Prof. Varouj Aivazian, who is a founding board member of Zoryan Canada. “If he could have been here tonight,” he continued, “he would have been very proud of these students for their hard work studying the genocide.”
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