Armenian Feminists Respond to ‘Global Armenians’ Ad in NY Times

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"Global Armenians" ad in the New York Times

“Global Armenians” ad in the New York Times

NEW YORK—An open letter and pledge were developed by a group of Armenian feminists, both men and women, residing in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Armenia in response to a full page ad underwritten by the IDeA Foundation of Armenia that ran in the New York Times on October 28.

Over 80 Armenian feminists from Armenia and throughout the Armenian diaspora, decried the gender disparity in the “Global Armenians” advertisement signatories list, which they see as symptomatic of the sidelining of women in Armenian communal institutions. The New York Times ad was signed by 22 men and one woman. As a means to address the ongoing exclusion and tokenism represented by the ad, and which they say is endemic in Armenian organizations around the world, the feminists pledged to condition their involvement in Armenian community forums on the presence of other women.

Those who signed the pledge come from a variety of professions and hail from cities ranging from Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, and Yerevan. Among the signers are prominent feminist activists from Armenia, including Lara Aharonian and Maro Matosian; producer and actor Arsinee Khanjian and filmmaker Atom Egoyan from Canada; novelist Chris Bohjalian, human rights leader Sarah Leah Whitson, journalist Lara Setrakian and photographer Scout Tufankjian from the U.S.; and Berlin-based artist Silvina Der Meguerditchian. Academics from the U.S., U.K., and France are heavily represented.

Rachel Goshgarian (U.S.), one of the signers who also helped draft the feminist statement, said “Both women and men play integral parts in Armenian communities, but it’s too rare that we see women in important leadership roles within our community organizations and too often that we see women being ‘invited’ to contribute as token members of our community and then barely listened to or heard.”

“I think it is high time this issue of excluding Armenian women was called out because despite past criticism about the gender imbalance in Armenian circles, things are getting worse,” Armine Ishkanian (U.K.) stated.

The text of the letter is enclosed below.

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On October 28, a full-page advertisement appeared in the New York Times claiming to represent “Global Armenians” and sounding a call for unified action. It was signed by 22 men and one woman. Armenian women are leaders, thinkers, artists, teachers, and philanthropists around the world, but with one exception, these women were not among its signatories. While it is an open letter and invites others to join, the discrepancy in participation between men and women cannot be ignored. The letter itself calls upon the government of Armenia to adopt “strategies based on inclusiveness and collective action,” but the process of drafting and publishing the letter should have modeled those same ideals. In an effort towards preventing this kind of exclusion and tokenism, we the undersigned pledge to condition our involvement in Armenian community forums on the participation of other women. One is not enough.

 

Signatories (as of November 1):

Nancy Agabian (U.S.)

Liana Aghajanian (U.S.)

Lara Aharonian (Armenia)

Michael Aram (U.S.)

Nora Armani (U.S.)

Sophia Armen (U.S.)

Mika Artyan (U.K.)

Sebouh Aslanian (U.S.)

Shushan Avagyan (Armenia)

Lily Balian (U.S.)

Dr. Karen Babayan (U.K.)

Peter Balakian (U.S.)

Houri Berberian (U.S.)

Nvair Beylerian (U.S.)

Zarmine Boghosian (U.S.)

Eric Bogosian (U.S.)

Chris Bohjalian (U.S.)

Vicken Cheterian (Switzerland)

Silvina Der Meguerditchian (Germany)

Lerna Ekmekcioglu (U.S.)

Atom Egoyan (Canada)

Ayda Erbal (U.S)

Sarah Ignatius (U.S.)

Armine Ishkanian (U.K.)

Anna K. Gargarian (Armenia)

Olga Ghazaryan (U.K.)

Carina Karapetian Giorgi (U.S.)

Rachel Goshgarian (U.S.)

Houry Geudelikian (U.S.)

Ani Ross Grubb (U.S.)

Veken Gueyikian (U.S.)

JoAnn Janjigian (U.S.)

Dr. Ani Kalayjian (U.S.)

Sossie Kasbarian (U.K.)

Silva Katchigian (U.S.)

Maral Kerovpyan (France)

Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan (France)

Shushan Kerovpyan (France)

Arsinee Khanjian (Canada)

Ani Kharajian (U.S.)

Taline Kochayan (France)

Dickran Kouymjian (France)

Lola Koundakjian (U.S.)

Stefanie Kundakjian (France)

Nancy Kricorian (U.S.)

Marc Mamigonian (U.S.)

Armen Marsoobian (U.S.)

Maro Matosian (Armenia)

Markar Melkonian (U.S.)

Barbara Merguerian (U.S.)

Muriel Mirak-Weissbach (Germany)

Khatchig Mouradian (U.S.)

Joanne Randa Nucho (U.S.)

Carolyn Rapkievian (U.S.)

Aline Ohanesian (U.S.)

Ara Oshagan (U.S.)

Susan Pattie (U.K.)

Jennifer Phillips (U.S.)

Nelli Sargsyan (U.S.)

Judith Saryan (U.S.)

Elyse Semerdjian (U.S.)

Lara Setrakian (U.S.)

Anna Shahnazaryan (Armenia)

Tamar Shirinian (U.S.)

Jason Sohigian (U.S.)

Ronald Grigor Suny (U.S.)

Anoush F. Terjanian (U.S.)

Lori Megerdichian Terrizzi (U.S.)

Karina Totah (U.S.)

Sara Janjigian Trifiro (U.S.)

Khachig Tololyan (U.S.)

Scout Tufankjian (U.S.)

Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte (U.S.)

Anahid Ugurlayan (U.S.)

Hrag Vartanian (U.S.)

Nicole Vartanian  (U.S.)

Dana E. Walwrath (U.S.)

Seta White (U.K.)

Sarah Leah Whitson (U.S.)

Lilit Yenokyan (U.S.)

Linda Yepoyan (U.S.)

Meldia Yesayan (U.S)

Houry Youssoufian (U.S.)

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2 Comments

  1. Pat said:

    Huh? Are the above signees really advocating the position taken by the IDeA Foundation in that sham text but only sorry to have been excluded? What about protesting the meat of the offensive full page ad?

  2. Vatche said:

    Thank you for this article.

    I hope no one doubts the talents of Armenian women. They are vastly talented and contribute immeasurably to the Armenian nation.

    But I thought that the main problem with the original NY Times ad was that it was boring and virtually meaningless. It said very little of substance.

    So if women had signed the original ad, they would have had to answer for its vacuousness.

    One more point, and though this is just my opinion, original NY Times ad signatory Ed Ejerejian, a former US ambassador to Syria and Israel, is not really a friend of Armenians.
    I consider him to be more a friend of Turkey.
    Please, don’t believe me.
    Just look up his past statements about Armenian issues. Google them.

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