International Association of Genocide Scholars President Dr. Melanie O’Brien featured speaker at Connecticut commemoration

President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Dr. Melanie O’Brien

The Connecticut Genocide Commemoration Committee will observe the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. at the historic Connecticut House Chamber at the State Capitol, 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford CT. The program will honor the memory of the Holy Martyrs of the Genocide and survivors while celebrating the resilience of the Armenian spirit.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Melanie O’Brien, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and associate professor of international law at the University of Western Australia, Perth. She will speak on “Human Rights Violations in the Armenian Genocide.”

Dr. O’Brien is visiting professor at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota. Her most recent book is From Discrimination to Death: Genocide Process through a Human Rights Lens and includes extensive research on the Armenian Genocide conducted in Armenia and Turkey. 

Dr. O’Brien’s work on forced marriage has been cited by the International Criminal Court. She has appeared before the ICC as an amica curia and been an expert consultant for several U.N. bodies. She received a 10-year service medal for volunteering with the Australian Red Cross and was awarded the Filon Ktenidis Award for her work on justice and recognition for victims of genocide. Dr. O’Brien has conducted research across six continents and was recently a Research Fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Loughborough. 

Committee chairperson Melanie Kevorkian Brown stated that the committee is pleased to have someone with Dr. O’Brien’s credentials, breadth of knowledge and understanding of the Armenian Genocide join the commemoration this year.

The mission of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Connecticut, in addition to honoring the memory of the one and a half million victims as well as survivors of the Armenian Genocide begun by the Ottoman government in 1915, is to support programs and events, itself or with other organizations, to inform the public and remember the Genocide. It is in the process of establishing a suitable permanent Genocide Memorial. The committee also assists in the legislative mandate to provide Genocide-related curricula in public schools. Additionally, the committee seeks to present information about developments in the Diaspora and in Armenia.

Attorney Harry N. Mazadoorian of Kensington, a longtime member of the committee, noted that  this year’s commemoration will be particularly poignant because of continuing and escalated aggressions committed by the government of Azerbaijan in Artsakh, where 120,000 ethnic Armenians have been displaced and where a brutal ethnic cleansing is underway. “The current situation in the region of Artsakh is essentially a continuation of the Genocide as physical  aggressions, human rights violations and cultural desecration against ethnic Armenians continue. To make matters even worse, if that is possible, Azerbaijan continues to issue threats against the Republic of Armenia itself,” Mazadoorian said.

Connecticut State Auditor John C. Geragosian of New Britain, a member of the committee, will serve as master of ceremonies at the commemoration. He stated, “While the commemoration remembers atrocities of the past, it also involves condemning genocidal acts of today and averting such actions in the future.” 

The program will conclude with the Martyrs’ Service, which was created in 2015 on the occasion of the centennial of the Genocide and the canonization of the Martyrs. Clergy from Armenian churches in Connecticut will participate in the service. 

A reception will follow the commemoration. For questions, call 860-651-0629. 

Dr. O’Brien will also participate in a program sponsored by the Yale University Program on Genocide Studies on The Genocide Convention in International Courts in New Haven on April 26.

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Guest Contributor

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

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