October 31, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC - Armenian National Institute (ANI) Board of Governors Vice Chairman Jirair Haratunian told an audience of more than 100 educators plus members of the local Armenian-American community October 8 that the current problems and circumstances in the Balkans and in the Middle East are the direct consequence of the outcomes of World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

Speaking at an event organized by The Facing History and Ourselves Foundation and sponsored by the Westchester Holocaust Study Center, Haratunian said, “It was under the cover of World War I that the Armenian Genocide of 1915 took place and Turkey has still not taken responsibility for that action by the Ottoman Turks. The Armenian Genocide must be viewed within that context.”

“National and ethnic problems were not resolved satisfactorily after the war and today's problems, particularly between Israel and Palestine, and in the Balkans all have their roots in the circumstances following World War I,” he added.

Haratunian, a former senior Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Information Agency, was one of several panel members at the event, held at Manhattanville College. The discussion was designed to assist educators in Holocaust and Genocide studies with ways to present the Armenian Genocide in the context of contemporary events.

“The educators who attended expressed an extraordinary interest and enthusiasm in presenting the Armenian Genocide, particularly as a precursor of the Holocaust and the genocides that followed,” Haratunian said.

The Facing History and Ourselves Foundation assists students in finding “meaning in the past and recognize the need for participation and responsible decision making.”

Last April, it featured ANI's Armenian Genocide educational materials on its Web site in time for commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24. The lesson plans, for students in grades 9-12, discuss topics such as “Individual Identity and Collective Memory,” “Under the Cover of War,” “The American Ambassador in Constantinople” and “Nation Building and the Armenian Genocide.” Each topic contains activities, recommended books on the subject and suggested questions and exercises to engage the students on the issues.

The Armenian National Institute is dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Please visit the ANI Web site: