Last weekend, Fresno State officially began construction of a new monument dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. The monument, the first marking the Armenian genocide on any college campus, is expected to be completed by April 24, 2015, the 100th anniversary of the start of the genocide. Attendees included heads of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church and Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, as well as local politicians and members of the local community.
The Fresno Bee reports that Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said, “Our primary mission (at Fresno State) is education, which is also at the core of this project. We’ve had a rich history of involvement by Armenian students, faculty, alumni and friends–we wouldn’t be a great university without them.”
Fresno State Armenian Studies Coordinator Barlow Der Mugrdechian added that over 1.5 million Armenians were killed between 1915 to 1923, starting with the Ottoman Turkish government’s program entailing the arresting and executing of hundreds of Armenian religious, academic and political leaders.
The monument, designed by architect Paul Halajian, will be construced of stone and concrete, with nine pillars to indicate the six provinces of historic Armenia, Cilicia, the Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia. Atop the monument will be an incomplete halo, to show the suffering of the Armenian people but also their unity.
The Fresno area boasts a large Armenian community. Many of the Armenian communities around the world began as a result of flight from the genocide a century ago.
Image: Armenian Genocide memorial in Syria, now destroyed by ISIS/File