Yale Armenian Network holds vigil in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide

Yale Armenian Network holds vigil in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale Armenian Network (YAN) held a candlelight vigil on the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 outside Sterling Memorial Library.

Each year on the date recognized as the beginning of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, YAN  holds a commemoration ceremony to honor the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government and to remember the survivors. YAN is an on-campus student-led association that fosters and promotes Armenian culture and heritage. Its mission is to connect all Armenians at Yale in friendship and support. YAN aims to foster awareness of Armenian culture and issues.

YAN co-presidents Mariam Alaverdian and Pateel Jivalagian organized the commemoration. Alaverdian is a graduating senior at Yale College pursuing a degree in applied mathematics. Jivalagian is a graduating master’s student at the Yale School of Public Health. The event was made possible with the help of the YAN Genocide Commemoration Committee.

“As descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, we recognize our duty to arrange a commemorative event for the Yale community in honor of the 1.5 million lives tragically lost and to acknowledge the lasting trauma endured by numerous survivors. Our objective for this event was not only to pay tribute to those affected but also to educate the public by sharing the personal stories of our members and shedding light on the atrocities committed against our nation,” stated Alaverdian and Jivalagian.

Yale Armenian Network holds vigil in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide

Rev. Fr. Archpriest Untzag Nalbandian from the Armenian Church of the Holy Ascension in Trumbull began the commemoration with a prayer service, assisted by subdeacon Kit Kaolian of Milford. “I appreciate that you, the Armenian students at Yale University organized this important event to remember our victims and also to educate others about the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Unfortunately, 108 years later we see how Armenian Artsakh is under blockade by the Azeri government, and the 120,000 Armenians living there cannot even go to Armenia, let alone any part of the world. And this is happening today in front of the eyes of the civilized world. We must raise our voice to prevent future genocides,” said Fr. Untzag.

The current blockade of the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor, Artsakh’s only link to Armenia, began on December 11, 2022, threatening the very existence of 120,000 ethnic Armenians who are  unable to access water, food, medicine and fuel.

A number of members of YAN commented on the meaning of the Genocide and the obligation to remember through musical and poetic renditions and heartfelt comments.

Harry and Janice Mazadoorian of Kensington, Connecticut also attended the event. He is an alumnus of Yale College and Yale Law School. They stated that they were moved to hear the  penetrating comments of so many of the young people in attendance and enormously proud of their efforts to maintain the resilience of the Armenian spirit.

Dr. David J. Simon, assistant dean for graduate education at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs and director of the Yale Genocide Studies program, was also in attendance. “Attending the event was a moving reminder of why commemoration matters. The Yale Armenian community expressed grief in the pain and loss endured by their ancestors, lamented the long legacy of pain and sorrow that later generations feel and demonstrated the resilience of Armenians in the world today,” said Dr. Simon. “The last point is especially poignant, given that genocide is essentially an effort to wipe out not just a large collection of individuals but the group to which they belong and the identity to which they subscribe. A moving expression of community such as [this] event is a powerful way to show that for all of the pain it caused, those genocidal efforts ultimately failed to attain the worst of their goals,” he reflected.

Dr. Gregory Nikogosyan, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Fellow at the School of Medicine,   stated, “The Armenian Genocide commemoration is our continued pledge to never forget the atrocities that occurred 108 years ago. To this day, the Armenian Genocide is not recognized by the Republic of Turkey. Not holding others accountable for crimes against humanity has consequences. We should reflect that today Armenians are continuing to face atrocities and denial of the right to life in their indigenous lands of Artsakh. Today, here at Yale, we do not forget.”

“As I was growing up, I often pondered why Armenians faced so much hatred and denied their right to exist leading to genocide. Although I do not have a definitive answer to this question, I strongly believe that it’s crucial to remember our past. Ignorance towards history can lead to the perpetuation of terrible atrocities, while knowledge and memory can help prevent such tragedies from happening again,” observed Karen Agaronyan, post-doctoral associate at Yale University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute.   

Yale Armenian Network holds vigil in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, April 2023
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. I am pleased that the Yale Armenian Network founded by my son, then a Yale student John Aroutiounian, is still active and thriving today.

  2. It was a very special evening. It is really nice the our Armenian Yale students have a relationship with our nearby Armenian Church of the Holy Ascension. It was nice to meet and see everyone. Adding to Rouzan’s prior comment, the late John Aroutiounian, who founded the Armenian Yale Student Network is one of the nicest and greatest people I have ever known. John is in the top one percent of the top one percent. John was a prolific writer and has written about the Genocide.

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