Social Democrat Hunchakian Party marked 125th anniversary

To mark the 125th anniversary of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (SDHP) over 200 participants attended an academic conference with 11 prominent historians titled, “Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Throughout History.” The conference, which was hosted by Woodbury University on Oct. 27, was organized by the Nor Serount Cultural Association and the Armenian Educational Benevolent Union with co-sponsorship by the Richard G. Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA [established by the Armenian Educational Foundation], the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan, Dearborn; and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). The academic conference is a part of a series of events to celebrate 125 years of the party’s contributions to the Armenian people, Armenian Cause and strife.

Harut Der Tavitian (Chairman of the Nor Serount Cultural Association) presented the opening remarks for the conference, with over 700 followers online via live webcast, welcoming the audience, including dignitaries such as H.E. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate; Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, former Primate; Reverend Joseph D. Matossian, Armenian Evengelical Union; the Honorable Grigor Hovhanissian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles along with Consul of the Republic of Armenia Mr. Artak Galstyan, and Archpriest Fr. Datev Tatoulian.

Moderating the first segment was Prof. Sebouh Aslanian who introduced Prof. Hratch Tchilingerian with his talk titled “From End of Empires to the Global Age: Issues and Questions in Armenian Political Ideology and Strategy,”  Rev. Dr. Abel Manoukian discussed “The Founders: Their Formative Period as University Students” and Prof. Gerard Libaridian presented his talk titled, “At the Origins of the Social Democratic Hunchakian Party: Problems and Paradoxes.”

The second session, moderated by Prof. Houri Berberian, included the following speakers along with their papers; Prof. Vahram Shemmassian “Absolute Monarchy”: The Hunchakian Revolutionary Episode in Armenian Musa Dagh during the 1890s, Dr. Garabet Moumdjian “1895 to 1914: The Relations of Armenian Political/Revolutionary Organizations with the Young Turks” and Prof. Kevork Bardakjian “Ideology and Literature: The Mother Party and Some of Her Literary Children.”

Moderator Prof. Ara Sanjian led the third session which included Prof. Richard Hovannisian and his paper titled “The Hunchakian Party and the First Republic of Armenia,” Mr. Aram Arkun with “The role of the Hunchakian party in post WWI Cilicia,” and Prof. Ara Dostourian’s “The Labor & Political Work of the SDHP of the Eastern U.S.A. in the Context of the Worldwide Hunchakian Movement.”

The fourth and last session moderated by Prof. Gerard Libaridian included Dr. Vartan Matiossian disucussing “The Hunchakian Party in the Armenian Communities of South America: An Outline of its Early History,” and Prof. Ara Sanjian speaking about “Khrushchev, Karabagh and the Hunchakians: A Documented Journey in the World of Oral History in-Progress.”

Closing remarks were provided by SDHP Central Committee member Mr. Harry Sarafian who ended the day-long conference with reflections of the party’s activities from the past, present and aspirations for the future. He stated that the SDHP is keen to return to its roots and promote social democratic principles in Armenia, where unfortunately ideological discourse is nonexistent today. He concluded that the current state of the Armenian nation is a major concern and thus it is crucial to learn from our history, learn from the mistakes, as well as successes, in order to obtain the Armenia that we all aspire to attain.

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