Shoah Foundation partners with genocide museum

first_imgStephen Smith, director of USC Shoah Foundation, and Hayk Demoyan, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday that marks the beginning of a new collaborative partnership between the two groups.Sixty testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Armenian genocide will begin to be integrated into the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive by April 24, when both the USC Shoah Foundation and Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute will mark the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which took place from 1915 until 1922 at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government. These testimonies are a part of the Armenian Film Foundation’s collection, recorded by filmmaker J. Michael Hagopian.The memorandum of understanding will bring the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive containing video testimonies of genocide survivors to the museum in Armenia. The agreement will create opportunities for education and research collaboration between the two organizations on initiatives related to the Armenian genocide.This new collaboration comes at an appropriate time, as April is International Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. The Visual History Archive is an online portal that currently gives users access to over 52,000 audio-visual testimonies of international genocide survivors, in 39 different languages. In the past year, the Visual History Archive added testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide and from the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.“It opens up a whole new geography for access and collaboration, given that we’re bringing in the Armenian genocide testimonies into the archives and working with the museum to have the archives accessible,” said Karen Jungblut, the Shoah Foundation’s director of research and documentation. “It seemed like a logical extension for the museum to learn more about what we were doing here … it was an easily aligned mission to bring these materials and testimonies of survivors to an audience in Armenia as well as in the U.S.”Located in Yerevan, Armenia, the Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, part of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, serves as a research and humanitarian body, documenting all materials related to the Armenian genocide and making them accessible to the general public. The museum includes maps, eyewitness accounts, artifacts and other documentation of the genocide during which 1.5 million Armenians were killed.“We are deeply dedicated to ensuring that those testimonies collected by J. Michael Hagopian over those many decades find their voice[s] in the world. There is no better or more appropriate place to do that than in Yerevan itself,” Smith said. “It’s a place of memory, a place where history emanates from, and, through your leadership, ensures that research and education, which are the fundamentals of our institute too, really ground these testimonies in the world.”Demoyan said that the collaboration between the two groups marks an important push to pay tribute to those affected by the Armenian genocide.“This will not stay on the paper … our signatures are triggering something important, triggering the process of research, preservation, study and cooperation,” Demoyan said.Demoyan also serves as executive secretary of the state commission and is coordinating international efforts to commemorate the Armenian genocide this year.Jungblut hopes that the two organizations will continue to engage in an exchange of materials and research that will create opportunities for USC students and faculty.“In the future, we want to really explore all the possible pathways that we can work together and create exchanges on all fronts with dealing with the genocide and dealing with awareness and education about it,” Jungblut said.last_img

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