FRESNO — The Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State in cooperation with the Gomidas Institute (London), and the Leon S. Peters Foundation present “Remembering the Armenians of Bitlis” an exhibit to be open from March 30 to April 30, 2014, on the second floor of the Henry Madden Library.

A special opening reception to highlight the exhibit of rare photos, documents, and maps from the Bitlis area will be held from 3:00-4:00PM on Sunday, March 30, on the second floor of the Madden Library. The hors d’oeuvres reception is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the reception Ara Sarafian of the Gomidas Institute will present a talk, “Down and About Bitlis: An Exhibition on Bitlis Armenians on the Shores of Lake Van (March 1-2, 2014)” at 4:00PM, in Room 2206 of the Madden Library, next to the exhibit area.

On March 1-2, 2014, the Gomidas Institute with the support of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State, held an extraordinary exhibition in Tatvan, on the shores of Lake Van, entitled “Bitlis Ermenileri” (The Armenians of Bitlis). This event was part of the Gomidas Institute’s “bridge-building initiative” which was started in June 2013 to build contacts between Armenians, Turks, and Kurds.

The Bitlis Armenians exhibition was based on key ethnographic maps and photographs depicting the Armenian presence in the Ottoman province of Bitlis before 1915. These were the result of extensive academic research at the ABCFM Archives (Houghton Library, Harvard University), Mt. Holyoke College Archives (Mass.), AGBU Nubarian archives (Paris), and the Ottoman Prime Ministry Archives (Istanbul). The exhibition was shown at the Tatvan Cultural Center with the support of the local mayor’s office as well as several other organizations in Bitlis and surrounding areas.

This exhibition was the first such event in eastern Turkey and was attended by a whole spectrum of people from students and workers to local politicians and members of the Turkish Parliament. The Turkish Human Right’s Association (especially its committee against racism and discrimination) supported the event and sent three of its members to attend the opening.

Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specializing on late Ottoman history. He is the director of the Gomidas Institute, which is a leading research and publication center related to modern Armenian history.

The reception and lecture are free and open to the public. Parking is free at Fresno State on Sundays-Lots P30 and P31, entering at Shaw and Barton Aves.

For more information on the exhibit please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669.

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