April 1, 1997

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Armenian Assembly of America announces the opening of the Armenian National Institute, ANI, dedicated to the study, research and recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

ANI, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and subsidiary of the Assembly, was born from a magnanimous donation made by Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian exactly one year ago at the annual Board of Trustees meeting in Boca Raton, Florida. In announcing the gift, Hovnanian appealed to members of his generation to secure the memory of the Genocide “for our sake, and for the sake of our fathers and grandfathers.”

Just one year later, at the March 1997 Trustees meeting, ANI Board of Governors Chairman Robert A. Kaloosdian announced the official establishment and incorporation of the organization. “ANI will undertake an international effort to document and affirm the Armenian Genocide,” Kaloosdian said. “We call upon Armenians everywhere to join ANI in the effort to secure global affirmation of the Genocide. We will work to establish ANI as the primary resource center on the Genocide in the diaspora.”

In addition to its Board of Governors, ANI has professional, dedicated staff on board, already in the thick of implementing a multitude of projects in ANI’s six well-defined program areas of: affirmation, education, fundamental research and documentation, legal research and analysis, publications, and training.

ANI Project Director Dr. Rouben Adalian states, “The responsibility of leading ANI gives me the opportunity to fulfill an obligation to complete one of the most pressing tasks facing the Armenian people as we near the end of the 20th century. What transpired in 1915 changed the destiny of the Armenian people. Since then, Armenians have struggled to recover from that catastrophe. We want to make certain that all future generations and all mankind understand, appreciate, and learn from the unique Armenian experience born of the indescribable suffering of genocide and of the resolve of Armenians from that time hence to restore themselves as a people and a nation.”

Adalian is joined by Administrator Linda Bedeian, who proudly states that she, as a second generation descendant of an Armenian Genocide survivor, “felt the clock ticking for an endeavor as large and important as the one ANI has taken on, for it had been long overdue. The amount of work that needs to be done collectively by our generation in the areas of affirmation, documentation, and education of the Armenian Genocide is even more painstakingly critical as the numbers of our eyewitnesses dwindle, and Turkish denials of the historical record are on the rise. I am truly honored to be a part of this mission.”

Currently in the process of creating its international advisory board of experts, to include Genocide and Holocaust specialists, organizational momentum is also being gathered in preparation for the planned events in the month of April.

Adalian is scheduled for several public appearances during the month of April including New York, Berkeley, and Cleveland. New Jersey will be the location of the highlight event of the month -- an ANI sponsored conference at Drew University entitled, “The Armenian Genocide: Political and Historical Controversies -- “Controversy and Academic Responsibility” on April 28th.