A message from our Director Dr. Shushan Karapetian. 

2023 has been a pivotal year, both for the Armenian world and for our Institute, which focuses on examining the contemporary Armenian experience. We witnessed the complete ethnic cleansing of Armenians from the Armenian homeland of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), after an illegal blockade that brought the population to the brink of famine. In the face of warnings and expert opinions that a “genocide by starvation” was unfolding, the international order stood by in silence or with hollow words as a democratic state was forced to dismantle under gunpoint. On our very own campus, the USC Annenberg School hosted the Turkish Ambassador, at the same time as Armenians were being emptied out of Artsakh with Turkish support.

I never imagined that in my first year as director I would need to write an op-ed about the role of disinformation and Armenophobia in the ethnic cleansing of my kin, or newsletters with resources for other academics on the catastrophic situation in Artsakh, or letters of protest to my own university administration about sacrificing historical truth in the name of freedom of speech. I’ve learned quickly that educating up, across, and down are all parts of the job.

2023 was a year of transition and transformation at the Institute as I took directorship in January. I had anticipated an intentionally quiet year – one dedicated to deep thinking, thoughtful discovery, and extensive reflection. My goal was to craft a new vision and mission for the Institute to amplify its activities and impact. The catastrophic developments in Artsakh devastated me, my entire team, and the Armenian world at large. They also crystallized why we exist as a research institute, and the urgency and relevance of our work.

In the midst of unprecedented challenges, the Institute’s research, activities, and programming continued at full force. I am proud to share some of the highlights of our work.

In 2023, the Institute:

  • Hosted, cosponsored, and participated as speakers, panelists, and experts at more than 70 conferences, lectures, seminars, and workshops
  • Expanded its oral history archives with 140 new interviews capturing Armenian life stories – that’s more than 420 hours of recorded footage
  • Presented original research at 17 academic conferences across North America, Armenia, and Brazil
  • Held 6 capacity-building academic workshops at the USC Tacori Center in Armenia
  • Published original research in peer-reviewed publications on the contemporary Armenian experience
  • Amassed more than 13,000 podcast downloads and increased our social media presence with 361,000 views on Instagram alone
  • Focused on our students by co-sponsoring 12 events with the Armenian Students’ Association, granting scholarships, and advising on several student research projects
  • Engaged more than a dozen USC student workers by giving them the opportunity to work with and create primary source materials, develop real-world skills, and become part of the research community at the university

Of course, not all our work can be quantified – our daily activities, partnerships, collaborations, mentorships, and impact on students cannot be captured in numbers. A more comprehensive, detailed report of the Institute’s activities in 2023 will be available on our website in the new year, along with my new vision and mission statement.

As we conclude this transformative year, I extend my heartfelt thanks and warmest wishes to our supporters, partners, and friends.