YEREVAN — On October 10th 2017 was the birthday of Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, great friend of the Armenian people, and the first Honorary Doctor of Yerevan State University. An event dedicated to Nansen’s 156th birthday took place in the Nansen auditorium at Yerevan State University’s Faculty of History. The day became remarkable with the unveiling of the portrait of Nansen “Peace in the Palms” by a well-known American-Armenian painter Daniel Varoujan Hejinian.
As a child of emigrants, Varoujan has seen and felt the whole tragedy of genocide in the eyes of his parents, and from his young age his dream was to use his art for the highest purpose.
In 2003, Varoujan Hejinian founded Peace of Art Inc., a nonprofit educational organization in Boston, aimed to use art as an educational tool to bring awareness to the universal human condition through art and promote peaceful solutions to conflict, taking as basis the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The organization is not associated with political or religious organizations, and it focuses on the global human condition.
Varoujan has been awarded numerous medals and diplomas for his humanitarian activity, on October 27, 2017, he was awarded by the Fridtjof Nansen Foundation of Armenia with Nansen Gold Medal for his efforts on establishing humanitarian principles and for his valuable contribution to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
In his speech Varoujan said: ” I am honored to be in this auditorium on the occasion of the great humanitarian Nansen’s birthday, to pay my tribute to his remarkabe humanitarian activities, that have been guided me since childhood.
I painted the portrait “Peace in the Palms” back in 2014 , t he painting is divided into 3 parts and represents the activity of the great humanitarian Nansen.
The first part represents his scientific research voyage to the North Pole and Norwegian flag. The central part pictures the church of Akhtamar, symbolizing Western Armenia, the genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire territories between the Black and the Mediterranean Sea, as a result of which 350,000 Armenian refugees received a Nansen passport. In the third part of the pinting, Nansen is anxious by the fate of the migrants and securing their security in his peace-loving palms.
The above-mentioned unique painting, which the author named “Peace in the Palms”, donated to the Fridtjof Nansen Foundation of Armenia and the duplicate of the painting found its worthy destination at Nansen’s auditorium in Yerevan State University.