28 May 2005

Prof. Peter Balakian in Lebanon

Note: After being in Cyprus, where he delivered a lecture to the Armenian
Community in Nicosia and paid a visit to the Armenian quarter in old Nicosia
(now occupied by Turkish forces), Prof. P. Balakian continued his Middle
Eastern tour to visit Beirut. Below are excerpts from a press release by
Haigazian University / Azad-Hye

Haigazian University hosts Prof. Peter Balakian

In the line with Haigazian University's 50th Anniversary celebratory
events Peter Balakian was the host of Haigazian University for four
memorable days in Beirut.

The caliber of the lectures- highlighted by their focus on Balakian's
childhood, and the Armenian Genocide, the enraptured capacity audience, and
the effective interaction- had tremendous positive echoes in the Lebanese

In his first lecture, "A Memoir about Growing up in the New Jersey Suburbs
and the Armenian Genocide", Prof. Balakian read some passages of his book
Black Dog of Fate, and shared with the audience some of his experiences on
growing up as an American in a typical New Jersey suburb, and later
learning of his family's terrible suffering during the Armenian Genocide.
Balakian emphasized the role his grandmother, a genocide survivor, played
in delivering encoded messages about her experience, which he was later
able to decipher and develop.

The second lecture, entitled "The Armenian Genocide and America's First
International Human Rights Movement" was even a greater success. The hall
was filled with an overflow of people, many attending the lecture twice, in
order to grasp the maximum opportunity of benefiting from Balakian's
presence in Beirut.

Balakian considered the Armenian Genocide as an important part in history
of the 20th century, insisting the issue should be incorporated in school
and university curricula worldwide. He added that it's impossible to
narrate the 1st World War without pausing to consider the Armenian
Genocide, a paradigm for subsequent twentieth century genocides.

Dr. Balakian also read passages from The Burning Tigris, his book which
appeared on the best-seller lists of the New York Times, the Los Angeles
Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Besides his lectures, Balakian had the chance to discover the Armenian and
Lebanese heritage by visiting Radio Van, and recording an interesting
interview, exploring the Armenian Museum at the Armenian Catholicossate in
Antelias, and finally enjoying Lebanese food and discovering the ancient
heritage of the city of Byblos.

Dr. Peter Balakian is a Professor of the Humanities and Professor of
English at Colgate University in New York state. He lives in Hamilton,
New York with his wife and two children Sophia and James.


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