Shushan Karapetian on campus
Shushan Karapetian, director of USC Dornsife’s Institute of Armenian Studies, hopes to launch an Armenian language program and an Armenian studies minor. (Photos: Meg Aghamyan.)

Preserving threatened languages and cultures among top priorities for new Armenian studies institute leader

As Shushan Karapetian takes the reigns at the USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies, she hopes to answer a question many Americans with immigrant roots fear to ask: How do I pass down a language and culture I only half know?
ByMeredith McGroarty

In the early 20th century, as World War I ravaged much of the world, the Ottoman Empire began systematically persecuting and killing Armenian citizens. The Armenian genocide witnessed the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians, and those who fled to find refuge formed diaspora communities all over the world.

The largest of these diasporas — more than 200,000 people — now calls Los Angeles home. And for the past two decades, the Institute of Armenian Studies at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has been fostering research and collaboration that examines the social, cultural, educational and political issues facing the community.

With L.A. being home to the most Armenians outside of Armenia, there are many first-, second- and third-generation immigrants seeking to establish or maintain ties to their heritage, says Shushan Karapetian, the institute’s new director.

Read More