Providence Hamazkayin Hosts Prof. Richard Hovannisian
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (A.W.)—On the evening of March 24, the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society Providence chapter hosted a talk by Professor Richard Hovannisian at the Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church Fermanian Hall in Providence.
Chapter president, unger Sarkis Tarpinian, introduced the professor to a capacity crowd. Hovannisian began by thanking the community for being so hospitable to him over the years. He spoke of his family’s roots, starting in the Port of Providence, where his grandfather, Kaspar, landed in America, moving on to Whitinsville, Mass., where he spent a brief part of his childhood, and eventually to the San Joaquin Valley in California.
Hovannisian pointed out the members of the Providence Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), who sat in the back of the room, noting that is where he may have sat if he was at their age. He mentioned that he was very pleased that they were present to hear his message.
Hovannisian spoke of growing up as an American-Armenian how he was not very involved in Armenian circles, since there were only a handful of Armenian families in his area, half of which did not speak to each other due to the political turmoil in the early 1930’s. He also explained how there was no Armenian church or school in his town. Hovannisian then spoke about how he met his wife of 60 years and his decision to learn and teach Armenian history.
Following a short retrospective of his career, he discussed his most recent works, Armenian Communities of Asia Minor, Armenian Gesaria/Kayseri and Cappadocia, and Armenian Communities of the Northeastern Mediterranean: Musa Dagh—Dort Yol—Kessab.
Hovannisian said the Armenian people are all victims of the genocide, since we are forced to live in a land that our ancestors did not choose, but learned to embrace. He said growing up, all that his generation wanted to be was American, but after settling in, being Armenian once again became something to be proud of.
During his presentation, Hovannisian showed photographs, including several group photos of students, taken before the Armenian Genocide. Hovannisisan also showed a short video taken by his daughter, Ani Hovannisian Kevorkian, at the only remaining Armenian village in Turkey—Vakif in Musa Dagh.
The evening concluded with a brief question and answer period, followed by a book signing and refreshments.
Source: Armenian Weekly
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