Zoryan Institute

The Zoryan Institute is a non-profit organization and registered charity in both the United States and Canada that serves the cause of scholarship and public awareness relating to issues of universal human rights, genocide and diaspora-homeland relations. This is done through the systematic continued efforts of scholars and specialists using a comparative and multidisciplinary approach in accordance with the highest academic standards.


In the late 1970s, a small group of Armenians, absorbed with questions about their history, their identity, and their future as a nation, came to the conclusion that there was a crucial need for a place to think critically about their reality. These individuals, propelled by deeply felt intellectual concerns, and compelled by a strong desire for change, set about conceptualizing an institution which would provide a forum for free and critical thinking about contemporary issues affecting their people, through a process that is, scholarly, analytical and objective. Among its primary goals would be for them to express their history in their own voice and define themselves (and not let others define them).

In 1982, the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The co-founding members were Garbis Kortian, Gerard Libaridian, and K.M Greg Sarkissian. They were joined by Tatul Sonentz-Papazian and Levon Sarkissian to incorporate the institute as a registered non-for profit (501(c)3).

In 1984, The Zoryan Institute of Canada, Inc., was established by co-founders Varouj Aivazian, Gerard J. Libaridian, and K.M. Greg Sarkissian. They were joined by Albert Bakos and Zaven Sarkissian to incorporate the institute as a registered charity.

Zoryan also had offices in Los Angeles and Paris in the 1980s and 1990s.


The Zoryan Institute has two official divisions[1]: The International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies[2] and the International Institute for Diaspora Studies.

Projects and Program

Genocide and Human Rights University Program:[3] The mission of the Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP)[4], hosted in partnership with the University of Toronto History Department[5], is to encourage a new generation of scholars to engage in research and publication in the field of Genocide and Human Rights Studies.

This annual graduate-level course is taught by 13 leading experts in their fields over a 2-week period and incorporates genocide theory, history, sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology and international law. The GHRUP provides participants with the intellectual framework to understand the numerous, complex, and often emotional issues related to genocide. An examination of several major case studies of genocide including the Armenian Genocide, the Jewish Holocaust, and the Rwandan Genocide among others, provides the foundation for comparative analysis while specific case studies and special themes vary from year to year.

Students come from all over the world to participate in this structured forum to explore universal questions relating to human rights and their gross violations.

Dialogue for Reconciliation

The Zoryan Institute, through its ongoing research and publications in the field of universal human rights[6], aims to add to the pool of resources and educational materials that help create dialogue between people in conflict. To date the Institute has focused on the following:

Turkish - Armenian Dialogue Indigenous Peoples of Canada - Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada


Zoryan Institute's conferences aim to enhance public understanding and influence public opinion and policy-makers regarding current social and political issues. The Zoryan Institute strives to provide new perspectives on vital issues, using the highest academic standards, while highlighting contested questions, and encouraging new paths towards ideas, sources and understanding. The Institute presents its themes in comparative and interdisciplinary modes and the speakers come from a wide range of disciplines with many different perspectives and expertise. These include historians, social scientists, legal theorists, policymakers, and journalists.

Oral History and Archiving[7] The Zoryan Institute houses a large quantity of reference and archival material, including monographs, periodicals, microfilm, photographs, memoirs, personal correspondence, official documents, etc.

Oral History The Armenian Oral History Collection is one of Zoryan Institute's earliest and most transformative projects. It began in 1983 when it became evident that time was running out for the generation of Armenians who had firsthand accounts of the genocide. This project consists of a collection videos tapes containing carefully prepared oral history interviews with over 800 survivors of the Armenian Genocide, making it the largest collection to date. The interviews elicit invaluable details about the genocide as well as the life of the Armenian people before the Genocide.

Launched in November 2016, the Syrian-Armenian Refugee Oral History Project offers new generations the opportunity to understand, interpret, and make history relevant through intimate recollections of Armenian culture told by those on the front lines of war and displacement. This collection serves to define, provoke, and reconstruct the Armenian culture, memory, and dialogue in the 21st century.


The Institute holds a large quantity of reference and archival material, including monographs, periodicals, microfilm, photographs, memoirs, personal correspondence, official documents, and oral histories.


  1. ^ "About Us | Zoryan Institute". Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  2. ^ "genocide-studies". genocide-studies. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  3. ^ "genocide-studies | About the Program". genocide-studies. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  4. ^ "Our Work | Zoryan Institute". Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Department of History | University of Toronto". history.utoronto.ca. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Our Work | Zoryan Institute". Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Our Work | Zoryan Institute". Retrieved May 19, 2019.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 42°25′01″N 71°09′22″W / 42.417°N 71.156°W / 42.417; -71.156