April 28, 1997

MADISON, New Jersey — Drew University President and former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean told some 200 people today that the Armenian Genocide “has to be remembered.”

Drew University sponsored a day-long conference, “The Armenian Genocide: Controversy and Academic Responsibility,” to explore the misuse of Turkish government-funded academic chairs at leading American universities, and its larger campaign of denial. Kean expressed appreciation to the Armenian National Institute, ANI, for its assistance in organizing the event.

“There is only once source of denial and it comes from Ankara,” said UCLA’s Richard Hovannisian in his keynote address. “There was universal condemnation of the Armenian Genocide in 1915,” he said. “Since 1919–20, there has been a steady campaign of denial.... If the Turkish government’s denial were to cease, all the other fountains of denial [would also cease].”

Also addressing the conference was Robert J. Lifton, whose book, The Nazi Doctors, Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, prompted a notorious letter of protest by denier Heath Lowry on behalf of Turkey’s Ambassador to the U.S. Nuzhet Kandemir. Characterizing such attempts to distort history as “the ultimate humiliation,” he said, “There remains such a thing as identifiable truth.”

Panels explored the role of memory in the meaning of the Armenian Genocide, comparisons of 20th Century genocides and contemporary reaction to the Armenian Genocide.

“To recognize our common stake in the Armenian Genocide is to recognize our common stake in the human future,” Lifton said.