Organized and hosted by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) with respect and gratitude for Prof. Hovannisian’s immeasurable contributions as a scholar, mentor, and leader.
This audio-visual presentation, featuring rare archival material, photographs and video clips, sheds light on the massive life-saving impact of the Near East Relief and more specifically, the Kerr family, on a generation of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Responding to horrific eyewitness accounts and urgent pleas for help, the U.S. mobilized an unprecedented campaign of humanitarian assistance led by the Near East Relief (NER) and given legs by a small army of relief workers who risked their lives to help the destitute survivors in distant, dangerous lands. Among the volunteers was Stanley Kerr, a young biochemist in the U.S. Army who, learning of the opportunity to join the relief effort, in 1919 boarded a ship to the crumbling Ottoman Empire.
The boundaries between the Iranian and Armenian worlds were porous in many ways. The Armenian presence in Iran is attested from the Achaemenid centuries to the present. Although the Armenian Iranian community has decreased significantly since the nineteenth century, it still constitutes the most significant Christian element in Iran, finding means to preserve in large measure its religion, language, and traditions and to navigate between Armenian and Iranian identities.