April 9, 2015 Carnegie Endowment Fellow to Deliver Vardanants Day Lecture At the Library of Congress
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Levon Avdoyan (202) 707-5680
Susan B. Harper will deliver the 19th Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture at the Library of Congress at noon on Thursday, May 7, in the Northeast Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Titled “American Humanitarianism in the Armenian Crucible, 1915-1923,” Harper’s lecture will feature historical photographs from the Library’s collection as well as those of other institutions.
Harper is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where she is researching the history of American philanthropy in the Near East. Harper was previously senior officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, executive director of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion and lecturer in History, Literature and Expository Writing at Harvard University. She received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree and doctoral degree from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
Harper’s publications include “In the Shadow of the Mahatma,” a critical biography of V.S. Azariah of Dornakal, the first South Asian bishop of the Anglican Church. Her lecture on Mary Graffam, an American missionary in late Ottoman Turkey, was published in the proceedings of a conference held at the Library of Congress in 2000.
To complement the lecture, selected items from the Library’s collections will be on display from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, May 8 in the Jefferson Building’s Northeast Pavilion (Room 220). They will include Armenian language materials, prints and photographs, manuscripts and maps.
The Vardanants Day lecture series is sponsored by the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division. It is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (451 A.D.), which was waged by the Armenian General Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against invading Persian troops, who were attempting to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. As a religious holiday, it celebrates the Armenians’ 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, publications, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.