It wasn’t enough editing the Armenian Weekly for seven years and coping with all the innuendoes of what this business of journalism demands. Sleepless hours. Deadlines. Circulation concerns. Where the next story will originate. A busy writing schedule that never relaxes.
Nor did it suffice to explore Historic Armenia, cultivate his deep-rooted ancestry, and keep the family ambers burning in Beirut where he was raised.
Add the pursuit of a doctorate degree from Clark University to the mix, a host of speaking engagements throughout the land, a graduate certificate from UMass Boston, and you may get an idea of the topsy-turvy life of Khatchig Mouradian.
There are no pretensions of grandeur with this individual, just a man on a mission to change his life, discover newer challenges, and bring added homage to his fellow Armenians. Wisdom and knowledge have remained a work in progress.
It hasn’t been easy for this Lebanese immigrant, especially the doctorate and the manner in which it was pursued. During the first two years of his studies at Clark, he commuted by bus, train, and taxi to get from Watertown to Worcester for coursework. The occasional snowstorms only made it more tenuous.
There was one scholarship to be had for genocide studies and it went to Khatchig, no doubt a blessing in disguise for the young journalist. He applied and was gifted the honor, and will soon be earning a doctorate in history from Clark.
He thinks back to those whirlwind days with candor. “Real or metaphorical, it was a typical time in my life from 2010 to 2011,” he recalls. “It was a two-hour commute each way. I was blessed to be surrounded with good colleagues, particularly Nanore Barsoumian and Nayiri Arzoumanian who not only made my life easy but also made me look good.”
These days Khatchig is coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Program at Rutgers University, a position he’s held since 2011, undoubtedly one that’s tailor made to fit his persona.
He teaches history and sociology as adjunct professor and is also a Calouste Gulbenkian Armenian Studies Fellow.
Two new courses explore the darkest side of the 19th and early 20th century empires in collaboration with the Genocide Education Project, which does yeoman’s work in our community. No harm in mentioning the courses: “Amending Atrocities” and “Imperialism and Mass Violence.”
To say Khatchig’s made the most of his opportunities is an understatement. For openers, few if any other editors held a seven-year tenure at the Armenian Weekly, where I have corresponded for 50 years. Khatchig has been more resilient than many of his predecessors.
Of these counterparts, I would safely say that none were juggling this many balls in the carnival of life while ushering his ethnic organ into the Electronic Age.
Khatchig’s research trips to Historic Armenia have numbered 10 since 2010, something that has impacted his outlook on life tremendously. Close friend George Aghjayan says he’s amazed at Khatchig’s grasp of the Turkish language and his ability to get around difficult places. Author Chris Bohjalian is another favorite traveling companion.
Asked what his two favorite sports in the universe were, the answer was stoic—rocks! One near the fortress overlooking Palu and the other in Moks, surveying the mountainous terrain of Van. Standing alone is the island of Gdouts on Lake Van.
“There is precious little in life that makes me happier than being with friends and loved ones in these places,” he confirms. “I enjoy having tea with the locals, listening to their stories, and dancing with the waters.”
As for role models, nobody would replace his own mother in that category. He points to her resiliency, dedication, and love as extreme qualities.
Put a chess board in front of him and be prepared for a game of intellect. Khatchig taught chess to his youngest sisters (Suzanne and Knarik) in the late 90s and both girls upstaged their brother, winning championships in Lebanon and throughout the Arab World. Knarik went one better, winning her country’s men’s title—a very rare feat in the world of chess.
Khatchig promises me an exclusive story. Should he tie the knot, I’ll be the first to know. Hopefully, I’ll still be alive.
In a world marked by pestilence, hostility, deceit, abuse, and fanaticism, it’s always a privilege to write about something that sets the standard for harmony and success—to see a local guy make good.
In a nutshell, well done, good and faithful servant.