On August 14, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Dean Steve Kay announced the appointment of Salpi Ghazarian as director of USC Dornsife’s Institute of Armenian Studies (IAS) at a gathering of the IAS leadership council and supporters. In addition, Kay appointed Armenian studies scholars Richard Antaramian as the Turpanjian Early Career Chair in Contemporary Armenian Studies and assistant professor of history, and Richard Hovannisian as adjunct professor of history.
Established in 2005 as part of the long partnership between USC and the Armenian community, the institute is structured as a multidisciplinary center of learning and research.
Ghazarian begins her post on Aug. 18. She arrives from the think-tank and advocacy group Civilitas Foundation, where she was founding director. Managing a team of 60 professional and support staff, Ghazarian helped introduce a new culture of civic activism to Armenia’s struggling democracy by establishing and expanding the foundation’s programming to include civil society strengthening, Internet media, and research and publishing.
Antaramian will be the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Early Career Chair in Contemporary Armenian Studies. He brings with him a vast knowledge of Armenian history and culture. He was recently awarded his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan with a dissertation titled: “In Subversive Service of the Sublime State: Tanzimat, Consolidating Jurisdiction, and Armenian Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1844-1896."
Hovannisian will take a leading role in advising USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education in its efforts to integrate nearly 400 interviews of Armenian Genocide survivors into its Visual History Archive, a collection of 53,000 testimonies of the Holocaust and other genocides.
The Armenian interviews were recently given to the USC Shoah Foundation by the Armenian Film Foundation, and represent the work of the late Dr. J. Michael Hagopian, an Armenian Genocide survivor who filmed the interviews in 16mm between 1968 and 2004. Testimonies from the collection will begin to be integrated into the Visual History Archive by April 24, 2015, the centennial of the historic event.
Hovannisian is a Guggenheim Fellow and has received many honors for his scholarship, civic activities and advancement of Armenian studies. He is also the cofounder and three-time president of the Society for Armenian Studies.
“Salpi Ghazarian has a stellar background — both personally and professionally — to lead USC Dornsife’s Institute of Armenian Studies,” Kay said. “Every year there is an average of up to 1,000 Armenian Trojan students. Under Salpi’s direction and with the expertise of Richard Hovannisian and Richard Antaramian, the institute will continue to play an integral role in our mission to provide students and researchers with the tools they need for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of Armenia’s past, present and evolving future.”
Since its founding in 1880, USC has educated thousands of Armenian Americans who have gone on to distinguished careers in business, government, the arts and the professions. The institute offers courses in Armenian studies and has organized major community events, international conferences, symposia, exhibits and concerts. On Sept. 28, 2014, the institute’s achievements will be honored with an anniversary gala in Los Angeles.
Charles Ghailian, chair of the institute’s Leadership Council noted how fitting it is that these appointments come just as the institute is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
“The Leadership Council is grateful for the work of all those who supported, served and invested in the institute in its first decade, and now, continuing the partnership between the university and the Armenian community, we are committed to a new decade of innovative programming,” Ghailian said. “We welcome Richard Antaramian, Salpi Ghazarian, and of course Richard Hovannisian, and on Sept. 28 we will focus on that future.”