March 2, 2012 Vardanants Day Lecture Marks Opening of Armenian Exhibition

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Levon Avdoyan (202) 707-5680
Contact: Members of the media can find downloadable images from the Armenian exhibition in the Library’s online pressroom at

Kevork Bardakjian will deliver the 16th Annual Vardanants Day Lecture, titled “Scribes, Compositors and the Mind in the Making: the Armenian Script and the Creation of an Armenian Literary Identity.”

The lecture will be held at noon on Thursday, April 19 in the Northeast Pavilion of historic Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but seating is limited.

Bardakjian will be joined by Levon Avdoyan, the Library’s Armenian and Georgian area specialist in the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, who will discuss “The Continuity and Change of an Armenian Identity in the Digital Age.” Avdoyan is curator of the exhibition titled “To Know Wisdom and Instruction: The Armenian Literary Tradition at the Library,” which opens April 19 and will be on view 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through Sept. 26 in the South Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The exhibition, which commemorates the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing, is part of the Library’s continuing celebration of books.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library of Congress will publish an exhibition catalog titled “To Know Wisdom and Instruction: A Visual Survey of the Armenian Literary Tradition from the Library of Congress.” This 100-page softcover book with 75 images is available for $25 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library of Congress Shop,, (888) 682-3557.

The exhibition and catalog have been made possible through generous grants from the Dolores Zohrab Leibmann Fund, the Dadian Fund of the Library of Congress, Roger Strauch and Julie Kulhanjian Strauch, the Vartkess and Rita Balian Family Foundation and the Sami and Annie Totah Family Foundation.

Kevork Bardakjian is the Marie Manoogian Chair of Armenian Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has lectured and published extensively on Armenian language and literature and has recently been elected to the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

The Vardanants Day lecture series was created to explore and present all aspects of Armenian culture and history. It is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (May, A.D. 451), which was waged by Armenian General Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against invading Persian troops who were attempting to re-impose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. As a religious holiday, it also celebrates Armenia’s triumph over forces of assimilation.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at


PR 12-046
ISSN 0731-3527