Syracuse native Robert Koolakian comes home to speak on Armenian independence movement in Nov. 27 Syracuse Symposium presentation
Syracuse native Robert Koolakian comes home to speak on Armenian independence movement in Nov. 27 Syracuse Symposium presentationNovember 15, 2007Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Syracuse native and distinguished author, historian and social advocate Robert G. Koolakian will return to his hometown to speak on Tuesday, Nov. 27, as part of the 2007 Syracuse Symposium, presented by Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Koolakian’s visit is co-sponsored by the SU Library.
Koolakian’s presentation, “Struggle for Justice: Central New York’s Link to the Quest for Armenian Independence,” will take place at 4 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, located on the first floor of E.S. Bird Library. The event is free and open to the public; parking is available in the University Avenue Garage for $3.50. A reception will follow at 5 p.m.
In conjunction with Koolakian’s lecture, two exhibitions of historic photos and other archival material will be on display: Nov. 19-Jan. 16, 2008, in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), located on the sixth floor of E.S. Bird Library, and Nov. 26-Jan. 16, 2008, in the Panasci Lounge in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center. Gallery hours at the SCRC are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays (excluding holidays). Gallery hours in the Panasci Lounge are 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (excluding holidays).
Koolakian, a 1966 graduate of SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, is the author of the forthcoming book “Struggle for Justice: A Story of the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia, 1915-1920,” published by the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. The book is a unique account of the beginning of the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia, as told through the surviving papers of Koolakian’s grandfather and two of his friends, all accomplished Armenian Americans from Syracuse.
These men served as liaisons between local and national organizations concerned with providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire. When, in 1915, the massacres escalated into genocide, these organizations, with the support of President Woodrow Wilson, began to focus on Armenian independence.
Throughout his career, Koolakian has been involved with a wide range of historical and research projects around the nation. Within the Syracuse community, he was an ex officio director and development advisor to the Syracuse Canalport, a pilot outdoor-indoor, inter-organizational historic preservation study completed in upstate New York from 1976-78. From 1975-78, he worked extensively on the regional and state level in lobbying for the creation of the Hanover Square Preservation District, Central New York’s first historic district designated on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. He has since had primary involvement in much of the district’s historic and archeological research.
Widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the life and works of Thomas Alva Edison, Koolakian was instrumental in organizing the Syracuse University Audio Archives and the Thomas Alva Edison Re-recording Laboratory dedicated to the development of various techniques in the recovery and preservation of early recorded sound.
The Syracuse Symposium, presented by The College of Arts and Sciences, is a semester-long intellectual and artistic festival that celebrates interdisciplinary thinking, imagination and creation. This year’s theme is “Justice.” For more information on symposium events, visit http://symposium.syr.edu.