Khatchig Mouradian: A Man in Motion

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.

Khatchig Mouradian continues to make inroads after seven years as editor of the Armenian Weekly.
Khatchig Mouradian continues to make inroads after seven years as editor of the Armenian Weekly.

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.

Mouradian with Holocaust survivor James Vanderpol during a panel discussion on human rights in Chelmsford, Mass.
Mouradian with Holocaust survivor James Vanderpol during a panel discussion on human rights in Chelmsford, Mass.

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.

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Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
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8 Comments

  1. Thank you Tom for your beautiful story about Khachig
    and his persistive talent …
    He who forwarded informations from out lost, ruined lands…
    He is the Groong of Gomidas for our offspring…
    And Congratulation for getting his PhD…
    In our eyes …He has already a PhD –
    PhD of Showing the world…. who are we …
    We are Artful, honest unlucky Armenians….
    Sylva~MD~poetry

  2. Khatchig is a good man.
    Have heard him speak many times at community functions here on the West coast.
    Passionate about our Cause.
    An asset to the Armenian Nation.

    Well deserved accolades.

  3. Why Turks call Armenians Infidels?..
    Who are the infidels they or We …?
    They killed, they raped, they confiscated our homes,
    our gold, our fruits, and they lie and deny…
    Thus who are the Infidels,
    if they really have a religion and believe in God,
    they should call them selves Infidels:
    “WE TURKS ARE INFIDELS, WE COMMITTED MANY GENOCIDES against Honest
    Armenians, Greek, Assyrians and Sunni Muslim Kurds..”
    Sylva~MD~Poetry

  4. I know Khatchig Mouradian from FB page only, but have been traveling with him to historic Armenia through his pictures and writings for a long time. His passion and patriotism is so obvious and so contagious in his writings. Hoping to meet him one day when he is in West Coast…. I am sure he will amaze us more with his career and accomplishments in the years to come. He makes us proud…

  5. Tom… what a great article!
    Khatchig’s perseverance to get the story and tell it with such detail and enthusiasm inspires all who know him.
    He is brilliant, tireless, creative and possesses an incredible sense of humor. This past May, we had the privilege of accompanying he and George to Ancestral Armenia. He left no stone unturned… literally. He was at ease with all the locals, and made several new friends along the way.
    Only after we returned were we able to grasp and absorb how much we had seen, and how much we had learned. His stories gave life to the desolate and barren regions where our ancestors had once lived… and “how” they had lived.
    We climbed the snow caped mountains of Moks, we waded in the turquoise waters of Goudouts Island, together we prayed in the newly renovated church in Diyarbikir and had tea with the oldest surviving hidden Armenians.
    Kahtchig, if you had hoped to instill a stronger sense of nationalism within us, if you had hoped that we would be advocates encouraging the younger generation to return to their ancestral homes, if you
    had hoped that this past May was a life changing experience … consider yourself victorious!
    Rare to see someone work as you do with such love.

  6. I’ve met Khatchig on a number of occasions. I’m impressed! He is intelligent, knowledgeable, and extremely passionate about Hay Tad. He puts the energizer bunny to shame — how does he do it all? He is one of the few people I trust to represent ALL Armenians in our long quest for justice. For those of us who have worked for Hay Tad all these years, you’ve got to be thrilled that we have a man like Khatchig to continue the struggle.

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