LOS ANGELES—Hundreds gathered in Los Angeles on Jan. 19 to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder.
The event, held at the Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA) Krikor and Aved Kurkcuoglu Hall, brought together representatives of Armenian churches and organizations and a cross-section of the community.
Dr. Ohannes Kulak Avedikyan, trustee and chairperson of the OIA Cultural Committee, delivered opening remarks and introduced master of ceremonies Edvin Minassian, who is chairman of OIA Board of Trustees and chairman ex-officio of the Armenian Bar Association (ABA).
Minassian’s welcoming remarks were followed by a presentation by Ayda Erbal, who teaches Middle Eastern politics and democratic theory as adjunct professor of politics at NYU. Erbal’s talk focused on the situation in Turkey of minorities in general, and Armenians in particular, in light of recent developments.
The keynote speaker of the evening was Khatchig Mouradian, whose illustrated presentation, titled “Unearthing Western Armenia in Turkey,” dealt with the challenges facing hidden Armenians and cultural heritage in historic Armenian cities and villages in Turkey, and the lessons—and implications—they have for Armenia, Artsakh, and the diaspora.
Following his presentation, the OIA presented Mouradian with the first Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal. Mouradian is the editor of the Armenian Weekly and the coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Project at Rutgers University. He teaches at Rutgers University and Worcester State University as adjunct professor. Mouradian is a PhD Candidate at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, currently writing his dissertation on the Armenian Genocide.
Following the presentation of the medal, Alec Eginli spoke on behalf of the youth. Armenia opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian (Heritage Party) and Chairman of ABA and Co-chair of the 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide Committee (Western) Garo Ghazarian, and church leaders delivered brief remarks and shared their reflections during the evening.