Clark University Grants First-Ever Doctoral Degree in Armenian Genocide Studies to Mouradian

WORCESTER, Mass. (—On Jan. 5, Khatchig Mouradian became the first student to complete a Ph.D. in Armenian Genocide studies at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, which stands at the forefront in establishing the Armenian Genocide as a distinct focus of doctoral study.

Asya Darbinyan and Khatchig Mouradian
Asya Darbinyan and Khatchig Mouradian

Mouradian defended his dissertation, “Genocide and Humanitarian Assistance in Ottoman Syria (1915-1917),” before professors Taner Akҫam and Debórah Dwork, who served as co-directors of his dissertation committee. Raymond Kévorkian, director of the Nubarian Library in Paris, served as the third committee member.

“This graduation marks a historic turning point in Armenian Genocide research,” Akçam said during a celebration to honor Mouradian, held Jan. 29 in the Strassler Center’s Rose Library.

“He is not only the first doctor of our Armenian Genocide track but also the first doctorate in North America after so many years of silence in the field,” added Akçam.

The event also celebrated Asya Darbinyan, a third-year doctoral student who defended the prospectus of her dissertation, “Russian Response to the Armenian Genocide: Humanitarian Assistance for Armenian Refugees on the Caucasus Frontline of WWI (1914-1917).”

Helping to celebrate the historic granting of the first Ph.D. in Armenian Genocide Studies to Khatchig Mouradian (left) are Asya Darbinyan (doctoral student), Professor Taner Akcam, Carolyn Mugar, and Anna Aleksanyan and Emre Cam Dagioglu (doctoral students). (Photo: Spencer Cronin, Clark University)
Helping to celebrate the historic granting of the first Ph.D. in Armenian Genocide studies to Khatchig Mouradian (left) were Asya Darbinyan (doctoral student), Taner Akcam, Carolyn Mugar, and Anna Aleksanyan and Emre Cam Dagioglu (doctoral students). (Photo: Spencer Cronin, Clark University)

Dwork, director of the Strassler Center, commented on both milestones: “The award of the first Ph.D. in Armenian Genocide studies is a huge step forward in the field. Happily, the first recipient [Mouradian] is followed by a robust pipeline of students pursuing groundbreaking dissertation projects. The Armenian Genocide continues to be beset by deniers. These young scholars’ research shows how risible such arguments are. Scholarship trumps propaganda.”

Mouradian is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University and is the coordinator the Armenian Genocide Program at Rutgers’ Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR). He teaches courses on imperialism, mass violence, and concentration camps in the history and sociology departments at Rutgers. Mouradian is also an adjunct professor in the philosophy and urban studies departments at Worcester State University, where he teaches courses on urban space and conflict in the Middle East, genocide, collective memory, and human rights.

Mouradian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2007-14. The recipient of numerous awards, he held the Gulbenkian Armenian Studies research fellowship in 2014 to study the Armenian community in China in the 20th century. The Organization of Istanbul Armenians awarded him the first Hrant Dink Freedom and Justice Medal in 2014.

Carolyn Mugar and her late husband John O’Connor, who was a Clark University trustee, donated the first-ever endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History and Armenian Genocide Studies at any university. They challenged others to join them in supporting this innovative professorship named in honor of Carolyn’s parents, Stephen and Marian Mugar, as well as Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian. Clark alumnus Robert Kaloosdian, a lawyer in Watertown, Mass., and former president of the Washington, D.C.-based Armenian National Institute, is a leader in Armenian affairs. In 2002, the Kaloosdian Mugar Chair was established in the history department at Clark and as a constituent member of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Akçam joined Clark University as Kaloosdian/Mugar Professor in fall 2008. A leading genocide scholar and an authority in the history of political violence and torture in late Ottoman and early Republican Turkey, Akçam is the first scholar of Turkish origin to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and to publish groundbreaking research on this topic.

Clark University is committed to scholarship and inquiry that addresses social and human imperatives on a global basis, and has played a prominent role in the development of several academic disciplines, including psychology, geography, and interdisciplinary environmental studies. The pioneering Strassler Center program in Armenian Genocide studies embodies the university’s history of academic innovation.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. Congratulations Dr. Mouradian.

    Well deserved.
    You have done invaluable work for our Cause, and at such a young age.
    Omnipresent at community functions.
    Always publicizing our cause.

    Godspeed in your future work for our people.

  2. Thank you all for your kind words! I have met you all, in person or online, during my tenure as editor of the Weekly, and it means a lot to hear from you!

  3. Congratulations to Dr. Mouradian
    How Proud I am of you as an Armenian making known on a global scale The Armenian Genocide.

  4. Wow this is quite impressive, I want to give Mr Mouradian a big bravo too for setting an important precedent for future generations. It will be interesting to see others follow in his footsteps in the future.

  5. Dr. Mouradian,

    I don’t know too many people holding two PhD degrees but I am sure there are some.
    Here is a challenge for you. How about a second one about ARMENIAN, HELLENIC and ASYRIAN GENOCIDE?
    And don’t forget that your grand father and mine were massacred holding hands.

    Congratulations from a Greek.

  6. Great to witness the success of the Genocide program. We know you are involved in so many tasks. To earn a Ph.D at the same time is quite amazing.

  7. Thank you. Just Thank you. The concentration camp tattoo on my Grand Mothers wrist (Takoughy Soultian)
    is indelibly imprinted in my mind. Her escape after years of imprisonment with the help of the American Red Cross was nothing short of a miracle. Those who ignore the past are boomed to repeat it.

  8. While we may have shared differences in editorial positions, I admired Khachig’s intellectual embracement of our cause for justice. We need to support Armenian students who seek to achieve doctoral recognition. I’ve always believed our cause for justice will come through the efforts of Armenian journalists, political movements and our elites in academia. Khachig Mouradian is now an anchor to that powerful expanding forum of Armenian doctoral giants in academia. ABRIS . . .

    • Yes. And there should be even more Armenians going into this path. I see quite a few Turkish researchers in this field. Such as Akcam and a few others, who are doing good research. And having them and other non-Armenians on board is important since this makes the Armenian Genocide research an academically accepted and non-fringe topic.

      That said, I would like to see more Khachig Mouradians.

  9. Dr. Khatchig Mouradian. You are on the threshold of great things. Use your time well and let us know when we can get together for dinner.
    Bob & Carine Avakian & family

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