The Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State in cooperation with the Gomidas Institute (London), and the Leon S. Peters Foundation present “Remembering the Armenians of Bitlis,” an exhibit to be open from March 30 to April 30, 2014, at the Henry Madden Library, Massis Post reports.
A special opening reception to highlight the exhibit of rare photos, documents, and maps from the Bitlis area will be held from on Sunday, March 30. Immediately following the reception Ara Sarafian of the Gomidas Institute will present a talk, “Down and About Bitlis: An Exhibition on Bitlis Armenians on the Shores of Lake Van (March 1-2, 2014).”
On March 1-2, 2014, the Gomidas Institute with the support of the Armenian Studies Program at FresnoState, held an extraordinary exhibition in Tatvan, on the shores of Lake Van, entitled “Bitlis Ermenileri” (The Armenians of Bitlis). This event was part of the Gomidas Institute’s “bridge-building initiative” which was started in June 2013 to build contacts between Armenians, Turks, and Kurds.
The Bitlis Armenians exhibition was based on key ethnographic maps and photographs depicting the Armenian presence in the Ottoman province of Bitlis before 1915. These were the result of extensive academic research at the ABCFM Archives (Houghton Library, HarvardUniversity), Mt. Holyoke College Archives (Mass.), AGBU Nubarian archives (Paris), and the Ottoman Prime Ministry Archives (Istanbul). The exhibition was shown at the TatvanCulturalCenter with the support of the local mayor’s office as well as several other organizations in Bitlis and surrounding areas.
This exhibition was the first such event in eastern Turkey and was attended by a whole spectrum of people from students and workers to local politicians and members of the Turkish Parliament. The Turkish Human Right’s Association (especially its committee against racism and discrimination) supported the event and sent three of its members to attend the opening.