A monument will be built on the California State University, Fresno campus to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in April 2015.

The Campus Planning Committee approved the monument, which will be funded through private contributions to the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, an umbrella association established to plan a variety of commemorative events for the anniversary.

The monument will be erected near the east end of the campus Rose Garden. Designed by Fresno architect Paul Halajian, its principal components will be nine columns arranged in a circular pattern and angled inwards. The nine pillars represent the six provinces of historic Armenia, Cilicia, the Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia.

The columns will gradually descend in height around the circle, with the first measuring 19 feet high and the last 15 to underscore the significance of the year 1915. An incomplete halo will be set above the columns, symbolizing both the fracture left by the Genocide and the unity of the Armenian people.

The material used will be béton brut, an architectural concrete left unfinished or roughly-finished after pouring, and an indigenous stone from Armenia called tufa.

Fresno State Armenian Studies Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian said the memorial and the Centennial observance have three themes:

  • Commemoration and remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
  • Education about genocides throughout the world.
  • Inspiration from the lives of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide have inspired future generations with their contribution to the countries where they took refuge.

Dr. Sergio La Porta, Fresno State Armenian Studies professor and chair of the Genocide Centennial Committee, said the 100th anniversary is a significant moment for Armenians all around the world.

“As Fresno is one of the largest and most active Armenian communities in the Western Hemisphere, I think it resonates particularly strongly here,” said LaPorta. “It is home to a proud and resilient Armenian community and is an especially poignant place to commemorate those who died in the Genocide and those who toiled afterwards to insure that we would have a much better world to live in.”

As many as 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the period 1915-1923 at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government.

For more information, contact the centennial committee at agcfresno@gmail.com.

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