FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal — On November 7, 2013, members of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) joined His Excellency Armen Yeganian, Ambassador of Armenia to Canada, His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Locum Tenens of the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Church, representatives of various Armenian-Canadian community organizations, and members of the Manitoba Armenian community, to witness the signing of a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) and the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute (AGMI) of Yerevan, Armenia.
The MOU was signed by Mr. Stuart Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of CMHR, and Dr. Hayk Demoyan, the Director of AGMI. The agreement will create opportunities for sharing knowledge and expertise between the two museums, and for cooperating in the promotion of human rights. On this occasion, Dr. Girair Basmadjian, President of the ANCC, stated: “The signing of this MOU is another important step in ensuring that the CMHR accurately reflects the history, scope, and significance of the Armenian Genocide. It is vital for the CMHR to consult with experts in this field, to ensure that museum visitors are presented with a complete and comprehensive picture of the Armenian Genocide and of the Republic of Turkey’s continued denial of its crime against humanity.”
The Garabed Family
Also present at the signing of the MOU were Mr. Jack Garabed and Mr. David Garabed and their families. Jack and David are both sons of Harry Garabed (Garabed Haroutiounian), an orphan sponsored by the Salvation Army’s Manitoba Division in 1923 to come to Killarney, Manitoba, to escape the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. Jack spoke about the importance of including the Armenian Genocide in the CMHR, so he could finally understand what his father had been through before he made it to safety in Manitoba. Jack noted proudly that Harry now has 65 descendants in Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, all of whom are successful, productive members of Canadian society. Harry Garabed’s story highlights how Canadian efforts to save one life so many years ago have benefited our nation immensely, and how the Armenian Genocide is woven into the fabric of Manitoba’s history. The ANCC has been working with the CMHR to secure the rightful inclusion of stories like Jack and David’s in the museum, and to ascertain that the CMHR properly reflects Canada’s humanitarian efforts during the Armenian Genocide.
ANCC and CMHR: Collaborating for Over Ten Years
Since the initial proposal of a museum dedicated to human rights, the ANCC has been intimately involved in efforts to guarantee that the history of the Armenian-Canadian community, including its decades-long campaign against Turkish denial, was properly recognized. The ANCC has remained in constant communication with the CMHR, with the objective of including substantive Armenian content in the museum. The ANCC has also joined forces with the CMHR to ensure that such content is displayed in a respectful and appropriate manner. In recognition of the ANCC’s work, the CMHR officially invited ANCC members to witness the MOU signing ceremony and to tour the museum’s construction site.
Parliament’s Recognition of the Armenian Genocide
Dr. Vatche Chamlian, Vice-Chair of ANCC, stated: “The museum’s announced opening in 2014 coincides with the tenth anniversary of the House of Commons passage of M-380, legislation by which the Canadian Parliament officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The exposition in the CMHR of the Armenian Genocide alongside other crimes against humanity will complete and emphasize the value the Canadian government ascribes to rendering a sense of justice not only to Armenian-Canadians, who have a long history of making their voices heard in support of human rights, but also to the Armenian nation as a whole.
Mr. Shahen Mirakian, director of the ANCC, added, “The CMHR is making available testimonial archives and resources related to all crimes against humanity. The ANCC will continue its efforts to safeguard the prominence that the museum affords to the Armenian Genocide. I would like to thank Mr. Murray and all the museum staff, particularly Mr. Clint Curle, the Director of Stakeholder Relations, for inviting us to participate in this important event and for allowing us to see the museum as it nears completion. We are very proud to have done our part to stand with the museum and are delighted to see that it is on track to be open to all Canadians in the very near future.”
For further information:
Mr. R. Robert Kouyoumdjian
Tel.: (514) 265-4602
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Armenian-Canadian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.
Le CNAC est l’organisation canado-arménienne des droits humains la plus large et influentielle. Collaborant avec une série de bureaux, chapitres et souteneurs à travers le Canada et des organisations affiliées à travers le monde, le CNAC s’occupe activement des inquiétudes de la communauté canadienne-arménienne.