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Panel at Ramapo College to Discuss Islamicized Armenian Women and Orphans in Turkey as a Consequence of the Armenian Genocide

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 26, 2014

(MAHWAH, NJ) – The Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey is sponsoring a panel discussion on the experiences of the children and grandchildren of the women and orphans who were Islamicized during the Armenian Genocide. These individuals are today increasingly reasserting their intertwined religious and ethnic identities as Christians and Armenians. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at Ramapo College on October 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees Pavilion. The program is possible in part due to the generous support of the Armenian National Committee-New Jersey.

The program, entitled Islamicized Armenian Women and Orphans and the [Re]emergence of Armenian Identities in Turkey A Century after the Armenian Genocide, will cover a broad range of perspectives. The panelists will develop, through narratives, interviews, photos and personal histories, a framework for what constitutes new Armenian identities in light of the increasing prevalence of Islamicized Armenians reclaiming their former heritage.

Panel members include:

  • Ishkhan Chiftjian, who teaches at Hamburg University, Germany. He will focus on genocide, language and collective identity. He is the editor of two books, Voices from Germany and New Voices from Germany, both in German. The books include interviews with and articles by German scholars about the Armenian Genocide.
  • Rakel Dink is the widow of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist and activist Hrant Dink. She will relate her own experience growing up in a family of the Varto clan. Although never forgetting its Armenian Christian roots, the clan escaped persecution by assimilating into the surrounding Kurdish population.
  • Elyse Semerdjian, associate professor of Islamic World/Middle Eastern History at Whitman College. She will expand on the findings of her acclaimed book, Off the Straight Path:  Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo. She will explore the connections between ethno-religious persecution and the subjugation of women and Islamic law in the Ottoman Empire as it relates to the collective memory of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey and Syria.  
  • Marc Sinan was born to a Turkish-Armenian mother and a German father. His grandmother, Ani, was “Islamicized” during the Armenian Genocide. Appearing on international concert stages since his youth, Sinan is a much-admired guitarist and composer. He will speak about how his music and that of others relates to the experience of Islamacization during and after the Armenian Genocide.

For more information, visit the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at or call 201.684.7409 to reserve a seat for the event.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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