Armenians and Progressive Politics Conference Brings Prominent Speakers to Cambridge

Armenians and Progressive Politics

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—A distinguished line-up of speakers from Armenia, Turkey, Europe, and the United States will examine Turkey, the media, Turkish-Armenian relations, and genocide reparations at this month’s Armenians and Progressive Politics conference. With “The Road to Justice” as its theme, the gathering will be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Fri., Sept. 26 and Sat., Sept. 27.

Internationally renowned scholar, activist, and public intellectual Noam Chomsky will discuss Turkey, its history, and politics with Alternative Radio’s David Barsamian in the opening plenary on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. Imperialism, social movements such as the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, and Turkey’s human rights failures, including the Armenian Genocide and its treatment of the Kurds, will be analyzed.

Panels on the media, Turkish-Armenian relations, reparations for the genocide, and a closing discussion will take place in MIT Building 6, Lecture Room 120, on Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How and why the mainstream media has created its narrative on Armenian and Turkish issues will be explored by Levon Chorbajian of UMass Lowell, filmmaker Carla Garapedian, and journalist Aris Nalci from Istanbul. They will look at how corporate and foreign policy considerations influence reporting on Armenia and Turkey, particularly on the Armenian Genocide, which is often framed as a controversy rather than a fact.

Prof. Bilgin Ayata will travel from Berlin, Germany, to join Peter Balakian of Colgate University, Marc Mamigonian of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and the University of Chicago’s Ronald Suny to consider several aspects of Turkish-Armenian relations. Civil society reconciliation groups, the role of Turkish progressives in raising the genocide issue in Turkey, and the Turkish government’s long-standing denial of the Armenian Genocide will be among the topics touched on.

In recent years, calls for formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide have been elevated to demands for reparations and restitution for this crime against humanity. Panelists will review what was taken from the Armenian nation, what legal channels and strategies might be pursued for its return, and whether nations other than Turkey should be held accountable. Addressing these issues will be Ph.D. candidate Ümit Kurt from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, attorney Edvin Minassian of the Armenian Bar Association, and Thomas Samuelian, dean at the American University of Armenia (AUA) in Yerevan.

To close the conference, panelists will exchange views on the question, “Where do we go from here?”

Conference sponsors include the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region USA, Alternative Radio, and the MIT Armenian Society. All events are free and open to the public. For additional details, visit


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