Outgoing Chairman Hovannisian Passes Baton to American University Professor Simpson

January 18, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian National Institute’s (ANI) Academic Council shaped its 2002 agenda in December during its annual meeting in Washington, DC, highlighting a year in which ANI marked its fifth anniversary and completed a major phase of retrieval of archival evidence of the Armenian Genocide from around the world. ANI will now turn its attention to examining its collections and developing publications designed to reach a wider audience.

Dr. Richard Hovannisian, long-time Academic Council Chairman and a noted authority on the Armenian Genocide stepped down, passing the baton to Council member American University Professor Chris Simpson. With his expertise in the field of electronic communications, Simpson will lead the Council as it focuses its attention on developing new technology to make ANI’s archival documentation accessible to scholars researching the Armenian Genocide.

Among ANI highlights for 2001 was the retrieval of a major collection of some 6,000 documents from Armenia and the establishment of the online capability to effectively search the new database. Research was also initiated in the Vatican archives. In conjunction with its archival documentation, ANI is also collecting photographic records.

ANI’s Legal Department continued to expand its legal research and analysis by reviewing and examining a large number of archival materials, some containing Ottoman and Turkish laws, providing evidence of a well-organized plan to seize and confiscate Armenian assets.

ANI remains committed to the full-time study, research and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide through its legal research and analysis, promotion of scholarship, outreach, fundamental research and documentation, education and publication programs.

ANI Board of Governors Chairman Robert A. Kaloosdian, who was also in attendance for the Council meeting, congratulated newly-elected Council Chairman Christopher Simpson “for the expression of confidence in you demonstrated by the ANI Council.”

Simpson is a professor of journalism and public affairs at American University’s School of Communications in Washington. He is the author of four books concerning genocide, international human rights law and national security as well as numerous articles in journals and professional publications.

Kaloosdian thanked Dr. Hovannisian for his unstinting leadership on the Academic Council, calling him “a bridge from our history to our reality.” He added, “Under Richard’s guidance, ANI has registered one successful year after another.”

Dr. Hovannisian was recently honored by the Armenian Educational Foundation as one of the country’s most distinguished scholars of Armenian Studies. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and has received many international awards for his scholarship, including two honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Roger Smith of the College of William and Mary was elected as a new member of the Council.

In addition, members of the ANI Academic Council had their terms extended and adopted a rotation procedure for council membership. Attending the meeting were Richard Hovannisian (UCLA), Robert Melson (Purdue University), Claire Mouradian (National Scientific Research Center, Paris), William Parsons (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), Christopher Simpson (American University), Roger Smith (College of William & Mary), Robert A. Kaloosdian (Chairman, ANI Board of Governors), Rouben Adalian (ANI Director) and Jacob Toumayan (ANI Director of Legal Affairs).

The Armenian National Institute, founded in 1997, is dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Visit its Web site at