Astvatsaturian Turcotte Speaks at Hovnanian School

NEW MILFORD, N.J.—The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of New Jersey and the Hovnanian School invited Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte to present her book, Nowhere, a Story of Exile, on Oct. 10 at the Hovnanian School.

A scene from the book presentation
A scene from the book presentation

Ani Tchaglasian gave opening remarks, thanking Mrs. Garmirian and the Hovnanian School Board for helping to organize the joint event with Hamazkayin. She then introduced Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte to tell her story to the audience.

Astvatsaturian Turcotte was born in 1978 in the seaside city of Baku, in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. By 1988, she was a 10-year-old girl with goals and dreams, just like any other young girl. Unfortunately, however, her childhood was lost after the start of the pogroms against the Armenians. Her aspirations and dreams were swept away and destroyed as the majority Muslim-Azeri population used terror to drive the minority Christian Armenians out of the country. Her family was forced to flee to Armenia and make a living there. Astvatsaturian Turcotte spoke about her childhood being vibrant until the age of 10, and described her feelings of fear and confusion.

Her book, Nowhere, a Story of Exile, is an exhilarating, heart-wrenching book that tells the story of her life in Baku and the horrific brutality caused by the Azerbaijani people that shattered her childhood. The story is told through her diary entrees, written in Baku and while she was a refugee struggling to find herself and to find her place.

Astvatsaturian Turcotte attended the University of North Dakota, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and literature, and philosophy and religion. She then attended the University of Maine School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor degree. After law school, she found her passion in the International Criminal Court, Armenia, addressing human rights issues. She currently works in regulatory risk management and compliance within a large national bank, but as a proud Armenian survivor she always tries her best to reach out to the needs of the Armenian people. Today, she lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband and two children.

At the end of the event, Astvatsaturian Turcotte questions from the audience, which, in turn, went home with the message that liberated Artsakh will never again be under the rule of Azerbaijan.

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