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Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia will Speak at Wilson April 20

Posted: April 13, 2010

4/13/2010 As part of its Global Citizenship Speaker Series, Wilson College will welcome John Evans, former U.S. ambassador to Armenia, who will discuss “The Armenian Question: on Tuesday, April 20. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will held at 6:30 p.m. in Brooks Complex auditorium.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 13, 2010
CONTACT: Cathy Mentzer, Manager of Media Relations
Phone: 717-264-4141, Ext. 3178
Email: cathy.mentzer@wilson.edu

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – As part of its Global Citizenship Speaker Series, Wilson College will welcome John Evans, former U.S. ambassador to Armenia, who will discuss “The Armenian Question: on Tuesday, April 20. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will held at 6:30 p.m. in Brooks Complex auditorium.

Evans served as ambassador to Armenia from 2004 to 2006, but departed on September 10, 2006, in the wake of differences with the George W. Bush Administration over the issue of the Armenian Genocide. A source of ongoing controversy, the action was carried out by the Turkish Empire during and just after World War I, and involved the systematic destruction of Armenians living in the Turkish, or Ottoman, Empire at the time.

The start of the genocide is recognized as April 24, 1915, according to the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The center states that on that date, “300 Armenian leaders, writers, thinkers and professionals in Constantinople (now Istanbul) were rounded up, deported and killed.” Also on that day, “5,000 of the poorest Armenians were butchered in the streets and in their homes,” the center says.

When the destruction ended, a total of 1.5 million of the 2.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed, according to the research center. However, the modern Republic of Turkey denies the word “genocide” is an accurate description of the events and its denial has led to friction with the United States and other nations.

Wilson College has a unique connection to Armenia through benefactor Hagop Bogigian, an Armenian immigrant who frequently visited the college in the 1920s and ‘30s. His family in Turkey was devastated by the Turkish actions against the Armenians.

A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, Evans has a bachelor’s degree in Russian history from Yale University and a earned a doctorate from Columbia University before joining the U.S. Foreign Service. Early in his career, he served in Tehran (1972-74), Prague (1975-78), in the Executive Secretariat and Office of the

Secretary of State (1978-80), in Moscow (1981-83), at the U.S. Mission to NATO (1983-86), and as Deputy Director of the Soviet Desk (1986-89). His role in coordinating the American response to the Armenian earthquake of 1988 earned him a medal and statement of appreciation from the Armenian government of that time.

In 1999, Evans returned to Washington, D.C., and assumed direction of the State Department’s Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia, winning a Meritorious Honor Award and the C.I.A. Director’s Exceptional Performance Award. From May 2002 until his appointment to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, he directed the Office of Russian Affairs.

Evans speaks Russian, French, Czech and some Farsi, and has studied Eastern Armenian.

Wilson’s Global Citizenship Speaker Series began last October, when the college hosted Chinese-born human rights activist Dimon Liu. Dr. Stephen Biddle, a defense policy expert, spoke in February about the United States strategy in Afghanistan. Retired foreign service officers Bill and Pamela Kiehl spoke on April 7.

“The speakers’ series highlights Wilson College’s commitment to a global citizenship initiative

that includes efforts to offer programs to increase awareness of global issues within the Wilson community and in the Chambersburg area,” said Dr. Mary Hendrickson, Wilson academic dean and vice president for academic affairs.

For more information, contact Wilson Media Relations Manager Cathy Mentzer at 717-264-4141, Ext. 3178, or cathy.mentzer@wilson.edu.

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Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a liberal arts college dedicated to the education of women. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Chambersburg, Pa. Wilson offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 areas and a master’s degree in education. The college’s 2009-10 enrollment in both the College for Women and the Adult Degree Programs is 838 and includes students from 20 states and 18 foreign countries. Wilson is committed to environmental sustainability and to preparing leaders who will serve their communities and professions effectively.

Last Updated: June 30, 2011