The three-day international conference titled Children and Nation: Forcible Child Transfer and Genocide Convention through Historical and Contemporary Lenses
, was held from May 14 to 16 2023.
The conference was opened with a welcoming speech by AGMI Director Harutyun Marutyan, who said “There is a well-known phrase: ‘Children are our future.’ It’s a wonderful concept. However, this fact is not only known by people of good will, but also by leaders of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. In the case of totalitarian regimes, such as the Young Turk and Nazi regimes in the 20th century, they either carried out the mass extermination the young generation of the people targeted or tried to assimilate them into their ranks.”
Felix Berry, coordinator of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and Genocide Scholar Donna-Lee Frieze, a representative of the Contemporary Histories Research Group of Deakin University, Australia, the co-organisers of the conference, welcomed the attendees. They both said that they were happy that this conference was taking place, as it had been planned to be held in 2020 but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had been postponed.
Then Edita Gzoyan, AGMI Deputy Director for Scientific Work made a speech, emphasising that, although the international community had said no to genocides in 1948, we are still witnessing them even now: “A genocide by attrition is taking place against the Armenians of Artsakh today, before our very eyes. Unfortunately, the international community does not make adequate assessments, nor fulfils its obligations to prevent genocide, giving the perpetrator the opportunity to act freely. We must always keep the genocide issue at the centre of attention through conferences such as this, also reminding the international community about it.”
More than twenty specialists in genocide studies and related fields from Armenia, the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Spain participated in the conference.
The first day
of the conference comprised three sessions, in which ten reports were presented. Debórah Dwork, director of the Centre for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity at the City University of New York and Holocaust survivor Max Arian were the keynote speakers.
The second day
of the conference comprised three sessions, with eleven reports being presented.
For more detailed information on the presenters and reports see: https://childandnationconf.am
The participants also visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial, toured the Armenian Genocide Museum and became acquainted with the temporary exhibition called “Melkon could not be Nejib... Forcible child transfer during the Armenian Genocide” on the same day.
On the third day
of the conference participants summarised its results. It was decided, with the participation of the conference speakers, to create a special research group to continuously study various issues related to children during mass violence, have annual meetings and discussions and also organise international conferences. The main centre of the research group is to be the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.