IRVINE—The fairly new Armenian Studies Department at UCI hosted a lecture by Professor Marashlian titled “The Karabakh Conflict from Ceasefire to Safarov: An Analysis via Television News Coverage.”
Sylvie Tertzakian welcomed the crowd and gave a brief synopsis of how the Armenian Studies program at UCI was founded, thanking those who had given their time and money for its creation. She invited history Professor Touraj Daryaee, who was instrumental in the establishment of Armenian history courses at UCI, to introduce Professor Levon Marashlian to begin his presentation.
During the lecture Professor Marashlian chronicled the war and subsequent ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh via the media. He outlined the enormous loss of life to both populations and highlighted the tragedies faced by the civilian populations. The professor emphasized the importance of Karabakh to Armenia, the influence of oil in the region, the politics behind the negotiations including Turkey’s involvement and motivations, the conflicting international principles of maintaining territorial integrity versus the right to self determination, and the need for a lasting solution securing the independence of Karabakh.
More than 100 community members, students, and educators attended the presentation, including a small group Azerbaijani students and their friends. Immediately following the lecture Marashlian addressed concerns and questions posed by those in attendance. Some of the Azerbaijani attendees attempted to ask questions out of context and with distorted facts, to which Marashlian patiently provided further details with a factually accurate account of the situation surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.
The ARF “Armen Karo” Gomideh had previously informed the Armenian American community in Orange County about this important lecture series hosted by the UCI Armenian Studies program, specifically the importance of supporting the UCI Armenian Studies program to ensure the success of such programs within an academic setting and to continue educating the public with factually accurate information. A few days prior to the event the Gomideh received word that there may be an attempt by various Azerbaijani groups to disrupt the presentation and worked closely with the ANCA Orange County chapter to mobilize the community. Both churches announced the lecture and representatives of the AYF and sister organizations attended along with the UCI Armenian Students Association.
ARF “Armen Karo” Gomideh Chairman, Garo R. Madenlian stated, “Professor Marashlian did a tremendous job informing those present about the multi-faceted political issues surrounding Artsakh, while at the same time countering the government of Azerbaijan’s attempt to misinform the public and rewrite history.” He went on to explain that it is more important today than ever to support programs such as this which provide factual and truthful information in light of the ever growing and increased activism of some Azerbaijani and Turkish groups organizing in Orange County and said, “The Armenian community in Orange County has come together and will remain strong and unified in our efforts to secure a just resolution to the Armenian Cause.”
In addition to the ARF, AYF and ANCA, members of Forty Martyrs and St. Mary Churches, AGBU, AG Minassian Armenian School, ARS, Hamazkayin, Homenetmen, OCAPS, and of course UCI ASA supported the program by attending the presentation.
In the coming months the ARF will be inviting all of these Armenian organizations and institutions in Orange County to a meeting to discuss future projects within the community, including the annual Armenian Genocide commemoration and a special internship program designed by ANCA OC that will assist young Armenians to gain professional experience in their careers and at the same time get acquainted with the various community based organizations.