Dr. Melanie O'Brien to Keynote National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening in Sydney

By Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee | Sunday, 24 March 2019

SYDNEY: The Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee (AGCC) of Australia has announced that the Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Dr. Melanie O'Brien will keynote the National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening in Sydney, marking the 104th Anniversary of the Genocide of the Armenians and other Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

This annual event, to be held at The Concourse in Chatswood on Wednesday, 24th April 2019, is regularly attended by approximately 1,000 members of the Sydney Armenian community, religious, political, NGO, media, diplomatic and academic leaders from across the country.

Dr. O'Brien is a Senior Lecturer of International Law at the University of Western Australia, teaching International Humanitarian Law, Public International Law, and Research units. Her research examines the connection between human rights and the genocide process. She has conducted fieldwork and research in Armenia, Argentina, Austria, Cambodia, China, Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

As the second Vice-President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), Dr. O'Brien co-convened the 2017 IAGS conference at University of Queensland, serving on the Editorial Board of Genocide Studies and Prevention 2013-2017. She is an admitted legal practitioner who has previously worked at several Australian universities; the National Human Rights Institution of Samoa; and the Legal Advisory Section of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. She is the author of Criminalising Peacekeepers: Modernising National Approaches to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (2017, Palgrave).

Dr. O'Brien's keynote address at the National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening is titled "Social Death: The Armenian Genocide and Cultural Destruction", where she will be speaking to photographs she has personally taken of specific sites of Armenian heritage that were destroyed, proving that targeting religion and culture is as much a tactic of genocide as physical destruction.

"We are very fortunate to have one of the foremost scholars of genocide, who happens to be Australian, addressing our National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening this year," commented Hratch Loussikian of the AGCC. "Dr. Melanie O'Brien's research and angle is a fresh outlook on how the act of genocide continues beyond the initial physical destruction."

The National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening on Tuesday, 24th April 2019 is scheduled for a 7:00pm doors opening for 7:30pm start. The programme will also feature other speakers, as well as cultural acts and audio-visual presentations.

The event is organised by the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, and the Armenian Evangelical Church.

The member organisations of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee are the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Hamazkaine, Nor Serount, Homenetmen, Tekeyan, Armenian Relief Society, Dkhrouni, AGBU Youth and the Armenian Youth Federation.

NOTE: Flyers and full line-up of all Armenian Genocide Commemoration Events will be released by the AGCC in Sydney and Melbourne over the coming week.