Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study hosts program to commemorate the genocide 100 years ago.

The Drew Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study is presenting speakers, music and a poster display to commemorate the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, which took place 100 years ago.

The memorial event will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 27, at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts. It is free and open to the public.

Among those speaking will be Susan Vartanian Barba, a New Jersey resident who plans to share her father’s testimonial of witnessing the death of his father, brother and other family members when he was a child during the genocide. She said her father survived a fire and a shooting, and hid in a river and in a village to escape soldiers who were killing Armenians.

“He experienced near death over and over again,” she said.

Besides Barba, Neery Melkonian, an independent art writer, researcher and curator, will share a visual history of the genocide over the last 100 years and show how visual records of the genocide have changed over the decades along with public opinion.

Zulal, the a cappella trio, also will be performing. Zulal takes Armenia’s village folk melodies and weaves intricate arrangements that pay tribute to the rural roots of the music while introducing a sophisticated lyricism and energy.  The trio celebrates the trials and joys of old Armenian village life. The trio has performed at the Getty Museum, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and New York’s Symphony Space.

Though it took place between 1915 and 1923, during and after World War I, the Armenian Genocide remains a controversial topic even today. The Turkish government maintains that the death of the Armenians occurred during battle, not as a systematic massacre. Pope Francis, in a recent mass, called the event “the first genocide of the 20th century,” which prompted the Turkish government to call home its ambassador from the Vatican.

Several organizations are working as partners with Drew University to promote the event, including Kean University, The Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest, New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, Temple B’nai Or and Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, Chatham United Methodist Church and St. Mary’s Armenian Church in Livingston.

The evening is being underwritten by the David M. Gurland Memorial Music Fund; Katherine Brown, director of Drew’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program; and Joyce Reilly, a member of the Holocaust Center’s board, in memory of her mother.

For more information about the event, contact the Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study at 973-408-3600 or ctrholst@drew.edu