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Armenian Genocide 101

I never heard of the Armenian Genocide. Why didn’t I learn about it in school?
My Armenian grandparents never talked about how they survived the Armenian Genocide. I have so much to learn.

These are recurring sentiments expressed during my "Who She Left Behind" book tour, which serve as a driving force for me to advocate for education and awareness. Fortunately, there's a positive shift in the educational landscape, with more emphasis placed on teaching about the Armenian Genocide, thanks to the efforts of elected officials and various Armenian advocacy groups. Moreover, there's a growing push for education on other genocides, such as those in Cambodia, Guatemala, Native American history in the U.S., Rwanda, and the Holocaust.

One notable organization leading this charge is The Genocide Education Project (GenEd). GenEd's mission is to support educators in teaching about human rights and genocide, particularly focusing on the Armenian Genocide, through the development and distribution of instructional materials, access to teaching resources, and the organization of educational workshops.

The concept for GenEd arose from the absence of academic instruction regarding the Armenian Genocide, the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians (constituting half of the Armenian population on its historic homeland) by the Turkish government of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1922.

GenEd highlights key points for easy reference:

  • The Armenian Population in the Ottoman Empire.

  • Other groups, such as Greeks and Assyrians.

  • Committee of Union and Progress (“Young Turks”).

  • Leadership: the “Three Pashas”: Talaat Pasha, Enver Pasha, Djemal Pasha.

  • Kurds, and ethnic group who also lived in the Ottoman Empire.

  • 1.5 million Armenians killed.

  • The end of an Armenian presence in their historic homeland.

  • The destruction of Armenian cultural and historical sites and landmarks throughout the Ottoman Empire.

  • Diaspora, or dispersion, of Armenian genocide survivors across the world.

Compounding the challenge is Turkey's ongoing denial of the genocide and its efforts to dissuade other nations from recognizing it. Since 1994, the U.S. president has issued a commemorative message on April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Turkey has at times made concessions to prevent the use of the term "genocide" by the president. In 2019, both houses of Congress passed resolutions formally acknowledging the genocide. On April 24, 2021, President Joe Biden referred to the events as "genocide" in a statement released by the White House.

GenEd believes that for future generations to effectively combat and prevent genocide, today's youth must gain a deeper understanding of its causes, circumstances, consequences, and ramifications.

I encourage you to take action and educate yourself and others. Through the publication of "Who She Left Behind," I've been honored with the privilege of contributing to education one reader at a time. Together, let's strive to make a difference in acknowledging and understanding these historical atrocities.


Read why the Forget-Me-Not flower is the symbol of the Armenian Genocide here.


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