The Zohrab Information Center’s Spring Series on Migration continues in March and April with three exciting book talks. Each relates to our developing theme of migration. In addition to the event with Dr. Siobhan Nash-Marshall and her book The Sins of the Fathers on this Friday, March 22 at 7 PM in the VARTAN Hall (note change in usual room location) announced previously, the Zohrab Information Center is pleased to invite you to two additional book presentations that are in addition to those advertised on the Winter/Spring Schedule.
First, on Thursday, April 4th at 7 PM in the Guild Hall, Raffi Bedrosyan will introduce his exciting new book, drawn on years of experience and reporting in Turkey, Trauma and Resilience: Armenians in Turkey- hidden, not hidden and hidden no longer.
Then, co-sponsored with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Zohrab Information Center invites you to join us on Tuesday, April 9th at 7 PM in the Guild Hall for Jonathon Conlin‘s presentation of his book about the global figure of Calouste Gulbenkian, Mr. Five Percent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, The World’s Richest Man.
We hope to see you at all three of these exciting events. Details on the first event appear in the previous post, and the full details of the early April events are to be found below:
Trauma and Resilience: Armenians in Turkey- hidden, not hidden, hidden no longer is a collection of articles about events in Turkey which have profoundly affected the lives of Armenians, hidden Armenians and no longer hidden Armenians who have recently returned to their roots. The genocide in 1915 not only caused the disappearance of 1.5 million Armenians from their historic homeland, but also resulted in the assimilation and Islamization of thousands of Armenian orphans, creating the ‘hidden Armenians’, the living victims of the genocide. Almost one hundred years later, certain events encouraged the grandchildren of the hidden Armenians to re-awaken and return to their Armenian roots, language and culture. Some of the articles explain these events and the author’s role in them. Some other articles reveal little known historic facts about Armenians and hidden Armenians, their contribution to culture and architecture in Turkey, still denied by the state or unknown by the peoples of Turkey. In all the articles, there is a common theme of ‘trauma’ – a mixture of negative emotions resulting from risk to one’s own life or livelihood, fear, danger, and discrimination, combined with anger, sadness and defiance in the face of continuing denial and injustice. But there is also the other common trait of ‘resilience’, the instinctive skills of flexibility, adaptation and intelligence, resulting in survival against all odds.
Raffi Bedrosyan is a civil engineer, writer and concert pianist, living in Toronto, Canada. He donated proceeds from his CDs and concerts in North America and Europe toward the construction of school, highway, and water infrastructure projects in Armenia and Karabagh, in which he also participated as civil engineer. He helped organize the reconstruction of Surp Giragos Diyarbakir/Dikranagerd Church, the first reconstruction and return of property project in Turkey. His many articles in English, Armenian and Turkish media deal with Turkish-Armenian issues, Islamized hidden Armenians and history of thousands of Armenian churches left behind in Turkey after 1915. He gave the first Armenian piano concert in the Surp Giragos Church since 1915, most recently at the 2015 Genocide Centenary Commemoration. He is the founder of Project Rebirth, which helps Islamized Armenians return to their original Armenian roots, language, and culture. He has appeared as keynote speaker in numerous international conferences related to human rights, genocide studies and Armenian issues. He is the author of the book ‘Trauma and Resilience: Armenians in Turkey – hidden, not hidden and no longer hidden’, published by Gomidas Institute, England.
When Calouste Gulbenkian died in 1955 at the age of 86, he was the richest man in the world, known as ‘Mr Five Per Cent’ for his personal share of Middle East oil. The son of a wealthy Armenian merchant in Istanbul, for half a century he brokered top-level oil deals, concealing his mysterious web of business interests and contacts within a labyrinth of Asian and European cartels, and convincing governments and oil barons alike of his impartiality as an ‘honest broker’. Today his name is known principally through the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, to which his spectacular art collection and most of his vast wealth were bequeathed.
Gulbenkian’s private life was as labyrinthine as his business dealings. He insisted on the highest ‘moral values’, yet ruthlessly used his wife’s charm as a hostess to further his career, and demanded complete obedience from his family, whom he monitored obsessively. As a young man he lived a champagne lifestyle, escorting actresses and showgirls, and in later life – on doctor’s orders – he slept with a succession of discreetly provided young women. Meanwhile he built up a superb art collection which included Rembrandts and other treasures sold to him by Stalin from the Hermitage Museum.
Published to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, Mr Five Per Cent reveals Gulbenkian’s complex and many-sided existence. Written with full access to the Gulbenkian Foundation’s archives, this is the fascinating story of the man who more than anyone else helped shape the modern oil industry.
Dr. Jonathon Conlin is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Southhampton. He specializes in British Cultural History from 1750 to the present, often employing a cross-Channel, Anglo-French, transnational perspective such as in this project on Calouste Gulbenkian. In addition to his academic work, he writes regularly for History Today magazine and has organized a number of public screenings, concerts and study days, in collaboration with the National Gallery, Tate, British Film Institute and National Gallery of Art, Washington.