CAIA delivered a series of three events to launch its UK Armenians & WWI project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The first event saw Katia Peltekian, the CAIA’s guest speaker and project contributor open with a presentation at the Wiener Library for the study of Genocide and Holocaust on 12 May 2016. Katia is an archivist and journalist and a lecturer at the American University of Beirut, she has compiled 2 volume books on reports from British newspapers from 1914 to 1923 about the on-going massacres, annihilation and destruction of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
Her extremely informative talk coupled with her presentation detailed various quotes, articles and reports from The Times and The Manchester Guardian from the beginning of the century. It covered a wide range of topics relating to the massacres in the Ottoman Empire and the generous humanitarian and relief efforts of the British people. Katia’s engaging talk generated lots of interest from those present, and a lively Q & A took place. The event ended with CAIA thanking Katia and her in turn generously donating her two-volume book and posters from the period to the Wiener library in appreciation of them hosting the event. CAIA hopes to continue to cooperate with the Weiner Library during the course of the project
The second event involved Katia Peltekian delivering an interactive engaging workshop and sharing her methodical research skills to younger members of the Armenian community by running ‘History Research and Investigative Methods’ at Hayashen’s Youth Club on 13 May 2016.
The event attracted such interest from the wider community that we opened the doors to all ages and therefore a lovely collaboration of all ages was present. The evening ended with light food and refreshments and discussions around the table.
Finally, on 15 May 2016, the UK Armenians & WW1 project was formally launched at Hayashen’s Monte Melkonian Hall, a fitting setting in tribute of those killed during the WW1.
CAIA’s CEO Misak Ohanian opened the event, talking about the importance of preserving the memories of the generation touched by WW1 and the relevance of the project to today’s Armenian community and wider society. Misak said, “This project is as much part of British social history as Armenian history.”
We were privileged to have in attendance with Katia Peltekian, Fr. Vram representing the Armenian Church in UK, Rupa Huq MP for Acton & Central Ealing, and project contributors, volunteers, and members of the general public. CAIA’s Project Co-ordinator Tatevik Ayvazyan presented an overview of the 21 month long project with a presentation detailing the work plan and its various stages, stressing the important role of volunteers and individual Armenian families to participate in helping compile and share their memories.
Rupa Huq MP expressed her support of CAIA, the project and wider Armenian community. Fr. Vram followed stating that even the smallest piece of information sometimes can be of extreme importance in the context of its impact, in teaching and educating people. After his encouraging words, Ft Vram blessed the buffet meal/refreshments for all those present. The informal networking session that followed enabled those present to talk, share ideas and stories.
(Left to right: Journalist/Educator Katia Peltekian, Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central & Acton, Vanita Nichols Apprenticeship Manager at London Borough of Ealing, Tatevik Ayvazyan, CAIA’s HLF Project Coordinator, Alyson Wharton-Durgaryan, University of Lincoln, School of History and Heritage, CAIA CEO Misak Ohanian, CAIA Member & Director of ADIAN Consulting Robert Gevargiz, and Vice Chair of CAIA Vahe Paklayan)
Copies of Katia Peltekian’s two-volume book and wartime posters were also available for purchase and viewing. Katia closed this event with a few final words and thanked the CAIA and HLF for giving her the opportunity to visit London and share her investigations about Armenians in the British Press during the early part of the 20th century.
We are very encouraged and excited by the enthusiasm in the community relating to this project, bringing a diverse group of people (Armenian and non-Armenians) sharing an interest in heritage and family memories.