On October 6-7 of this year, the Hrant Dink Foundation and Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society organized a joint academic conference entitled “Critical Approaches to Armenian Identity in the 21st Century: Vulnerability, Resilience, and Transformation” in Istanbul.
On that very day, the media gave extensive coverage of the event. During the conference, thirty reports were made presenting the results of theoretical or practical researches. The reports could be made in Armenian, English or Turkish. Immediate interpretation was provided. After each speech, the speakers had the opportunity to answer the questions from the audience. The reports included the presentation and discussions on the identity concept in general, as well as the issue of the Armenian identity in the Diaspora and in Turkey, in religion and literature. The Hrant Dink Foundation will publish the full report on the conference in a special volume in the future. After the release of the book, the experts will have the opportunity to thoroughly and clearly examine the capacity and value of the submitted researches.
Before having this chance, it should be clearly confirmed that the accomplishment of this academic conference in itself contained a deep symbolic meaning, and created apparent satisfaction among the participants, especially during the meetings and consultation outside normal working hours. Indeed, the memory being one of the main identity creators, and the chosen location - Istanbul, being the actual birthplace of literary Western Armenian and having a glorious past of national activities, not only made the theme of the conference substantial but also subjective. In such atmosphere, the scientific approach and the inner world could create a framework for free dialogue on the basis of equal rights. It was also pleasant for guests to be in an absolutely pan-Armenian environment. There were representatives from Armenia and from the communities of western and eastern Diaspora, and, naturally, from Istanbul and other parts of Turkey.
The Hamazkayi Society has been directly communicating with Istanbul Armenians for years. The The conference on Armenian identity, organized in cooperation with the Hrant Dink Foundation, was the first initiative. The result is very encouraging. Surely this cooperation will be continuous and many other successful events will be organized.
Central Executive Board of Hamazkayin
Beirut, October 24, 2016