This video is the recording of the screening and discussion event featuring the background and founding of Neighbors in Memory. It was hosted by Brandeis University’s Samuels Center for Community Partnerships & Civic Transformation. The two-and-a-half hour event included presentations by Gonca Sönmez-Poole, Prof. Lerna Ekmekcioğlu and Dr. Ohannes Kılıçdağı and was followed by a question and answer period with the addition of educator Laura Bilazarian-Purutyan and artist Apo Torosyan, two of the subjects profiled in the videos screened during Sönmez-Poole’s presentation.
Neighbors in Memory (NIM) virtual event – “From Natural Disasters to Political Repercussions” (April 2023)
This zoom presentation of April 14, 2023 was based on the devastating earthquakes that hit Southeastern Turkey and Northeastern Syria on February 6, 2023 and explored the political ramifications of such natural disasters as reflected in the relations between Turkey and Armenia. With the help of three panelists with backgrounds in political sciences, international conflict transformation and development, the event hosted by NIM founder Gonca Sönmez-Poole, searched for answers to the following question: Could the February earthquakes in Turkey usher in what could be called an “earthquake diplomacy” with Armenia since both countries have shown support to each other in times of crisis in the past. Soli Özel from Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Dr. Anna Ohanyan from Stonehill College in the United States and Dr. Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan from Eurasia Partnership Foundation-Armenia presented their comments and their perspectives on the present situation in Turkey, Armenia and on the potential future relations of both countries.
Johann Trollmann and Garbis Zakaryan are two individuals who never met and yet share a common passion for the sport of boxing. Trollmann, a Sinti, died in a German concentration camp toward the end of World War II. Zakaryan, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent died a hero’s death, wrapped in the flag of Turkey two years ago. What did these two boxers share beside their love of boxing? How did their minority status affect the direction of their lives? Was their resistance and rebellion manifested in the way they approached their profession? This zoom presentation of March 13, 2022 explored the life stories of Trollmann and Zakaryan through the perspectives of authors Jud Nirenberg from the United States and Emina Temel from Turkey. Garbis Zakaryan’s two sons Kaspar and Arto were among the attendees. The discussant for the event was Prof. Fatma Müge Göçek from the University of Michigan. Hosting and moderating the event was NIM founder Gonca Sönmez-Poole. NIM’s Outreach and Events Coordinator Gina Leow served as the co-host.
This is a screening and presentation by Neighbors in Memory (NIM) on the subject of the most recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh. It was held on zoom on April 10, 2021 with Professors Anna Ohanyan (Stonehill College, Easton, MA) and Hurst Hannum (Professor Emeritus of International Law at the Fletcher School, Medford, MA) speaking on the role of the international community in preventing the wars in NK/Artsakh. Select video pieces from the 44-day war in fall 2020, as well as the one back in 1994 were screened for framing the discussion and the q and a session. The event was organized and hosted by NIM founder Gonca Sonmez-Poole and was attended by a diverse group of participants attending from both coasts of the U.S. as well as from Europe.
Neighbors in Memory virtual discussion on racism (Black History Month 2021)
Neighbors in Memory held a presentation and discussion on racism on the occasion of Black History Month on February 28, 2021. Speakers were Father Yeprem Kelegian (Pastor in the Armenian Church of America from 1973 to 2015) and Reverend Jim Fripp (Minister to Men at the Concord Baptist Church of Boston). The 90 minute event was moderated by Gonca Sönmez-Poole and attended by a diverse audience.
NIM Hrant Dink Commemoration (2021)
This virtual discussion on the zoom platform was held in memory of Hrant Dink, the Armenian newspaper editor/columnist who was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007 by an extreme nationalist. Besides paying the ultimate price for speaking truth to power about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, Dink had always called for more transparency, more openness and more dialogue between the world’s Turkish and Armenian communities. Neighbors in Memory remembered his legacy by holding a meeting about the nature, benefits and challenges of dialogue. Over 30 participants from different parts of the United States and Europe met virtually on January 17, 2021. They listened to Varduhi Balyan participating from Istanbul and talking about her experience while filming her documentary Dialogue in a Basket. The thirty-minute film explores the relationship which developed between Balyan and her neighbor Fatma hanım (Ms. Fatma), while chatting and commiserating about their lives during the city’s lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic.
The two-hour zoom event included an eighty-minute long Q&A session and was moderated by Gonca Sönmez-Poole.
A screening and panel discussion on Armenian-Turkish relations took place on April 11, 2018 at the Capitol Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts. Documentarian Gonca Sönmez-Poole screened three short videos clips and hosted a diverse panel of Turkish and Armenian community members based in and around Boston.
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