Richard Hovannisian to Receive Narekatsi Medal

Professor Richard Hovannisian (Photo by Lexy Atmore, courtesy of the Daily Bruin)

LOS ANGELES—Professor Richard Hovannisian has been named the 2013 recipient of the Narekatsi Medal of Achievement. The award will be formally presented to him by the Friends of the UCLA Armenian Language and Culture Studies on Saturday, March 16, during the Friends’ 11th annual banquet, a community event which will take place at the Armenian Society of Los Angeles Hall, in Glendale, California.

The Narekatsi Medal will be conferred on Hovannisian in recognition of his extraordinary academic achievements as well as his roles as a Genocide researcher and defender of the Armenian cause against denialism.

“It would be impossible to imagine the global Armenian academic landscape of the past five decades without the outstanding contributions of Dr. Hovannisian,” said Professor S. Peter Cowe, head of UCLA’s Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies. “A key factor which has always set Dr. Hovannisian’s work apart is his gift for complementing scholarship with public activism: he is not only a prolific teacher, historiographer, and author, but a staunch champion of civic and human rights.”

Now a Professor Emeritus, Hovannisian has lectured at UCLA for 50 years, beginning in 1962. He was the first holder of the university’s Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, which he held from 1987 until his retirement in 2011. The chair has since been renamed the Richard Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History (established by the Armenian Educational Foundation).

Hovannisian has written several definitive books on modern Armenian history, including the four-volume The Republic of Armenia series. He has also organized the UCLA conference series “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” which he launched in the late 1990s. The proceedings of these landmark conferences have been edited by Hovannisian and published as invaluable documentary resources pertaining to historic Western Armenia.

In the course of his career, Hovannisian has lectured in more than 40 countries and in nearly 500 universities, museums, and other institutes on Armenian history and the Armenian Genocide. In addition to teaching at UCLA, he has served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at a number of American universities, including UC Berkeley and Chapman University. In 2010 he was voted by the UCLA Student Body as the Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year.

Hovannisian’s advocacy work has placed him at the forefront of efforts to counter denial of the Armenian Genocide. He has spoken in the British House of Lords, testified in hearings of the US Congress, the State of California, and the International People’s Tribunal in the Sorbonne, and given numerous television and radio interviews regarding the Genocide, including to the McNeil-Lehrer Report and National Public Radio. He has also spoken at the US Holocaust Museum, Houston Holocaust Museum, Los Angeles Holocaust Museum, Museum of Tolerance, and a multitude of other academic and public venues.

As significantly, Hovannisian has served with numerous organizations dedicated to human rights and Genocide awareness. He is on the Board of Directors of Facing History and Ourselves as well as the Claremont Center for Human Rights; and was the president of the Armenian Monument Council, a founder of the Armenian Assembly of America, chairman of the Armenian National Institute, and founder and six-time president of the Society for Armenian Studies.

Hovannisian is a Guggenheim Fellow and the first social scientist from the diaspora to have been elected to the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, in 1990. He has been honored by Jewish World Watch, Facing History and Ourselves, and various US national, state, county, and city bodies. He is also the recipient of encyclicals and medals from Karekin II and Aram I, catholicoi of the Great House of Cilicia; and from Karekin I and Karekin II of the Holy See of Echmiadzin.

Established in 1998, the Friends of the UCLA Armenian Language and Culture Studies is a university-approved support organization dedicated to the continued advancement of the Armenian-studies field. Proceeds from the Friends’ March 16 banquet will benefit the Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies and its Visiting Professorship Program.

Tickets to the banquet ($125 for general admission, $70 for students with current ID) can be purchased by calling (323) 668-2609 or (818) 249-3330.

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