Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute (AGMI) has launched the project “The Star of the Near East Relief”. The project is dedicated to the mission and legacy of the world largest relief campaign of the United States of America during and after the WWI, which is unfortunately ignored and forgotten nowadays in the American memory and current politics. It is noteworthy that the legacy of the Near East Relief became a role model for subsequent world-wide relief operations.
Director of the AGMI Dr. Hayk Demoyan says in this regard: “We proudly can say that the collection of the Armenian genocide museum comprises hundreds of unique and rare original photos, documents, memorabilia and other items related to the history of the American Near East Relief. Within last 7 years AGMI collection has been enriched with amazing museum quality items. The story of the Near East Relief is another unique episode in the world history when hundreds of Americans were working on the territory of the Soviet Union before both countries officially recognized each other. But first of all the story of the Near East Relief is a powerful history of philanthropy and amazing mobilization to help others living thousands miles away from the American continent.”
AGMI has scheduled several commemorative events for the centennial of the Armenian genocide and the Near East Relief in 2015. First and foremost the core of the project will be the travelling exhibition of 36 units for worldwide presentation accompanied with original items and multi-language catalogues. Besides a photo exhibition depicting the sites of former Near East Relief orphanages, release of memorial postcards and stamps are also in the schedule. Memorial events dedicated to Henry Morgenthau, the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, who inspired the American humanitarian involvement in the Near East are on the schedule as well.
Deputy Director of the AGMI Lusine Abrahamyan who currently is one of the curators of the project mentions that “the history of the relief during and after the genocide yet is another proof of the scale and consequences of the unprecedented preplanned genocide the whole world was dealing with. The relief provided by the American people and American government played a crucial role for saving tens of thousands of lives at the beginning of the 20th century. And this is a fact supported by ocean of evidence.”
Currently the collection of the Armenian genocide museum-institute has more than 700 museum quality items related to the American Near East Relief Committee including posters, postcards, fundraising booklets, stamps, pins and medals, as well as diaries of relief workers, memoires of the orphans, orphanage items and personal belongings. Almost 500 original photos related to the Near East Relief activities make the collection of the AGMI one of the world’s largest owners of the Near East Relief materials.
Travelling exhibition on the American Near East Relief is one of twenty travelling exhibit projects AGMI plans to launch for worldwide display within 2015-2016 covering all episodes of the Armenian genocide carried out by the Ottoman Turkish government at the beginning of the 20th century.