Funds to be raised for construction of Armenian Genocide Museum in Argentina - Professor Nélida Boulgourdjian releases details
YEREVAN, MARCH 26, ARMENPRESS. The Museum of the Armenian Genocide which is being constructed in Argentina will raise awareness on genocide among the people, will teach the new generations and will draw the attention of different structures on the Museum.
Professor Nélida Boulgourdjian, responsible for the issues of the Armenian Genocide Museum in Argentina, head of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Foundation, gave an interview to ARMENPRESS, releasing details from the construction program of the Museum.
-Mrs. Nelida, there were reports recently that the Buenos Aires City Hall approved the construction of the Museum of the Armenian Genocide. But if I am not mistaken, the groundbreaking ceremony of the Museum took place several years ago. There were even talks on the active construction of the building and the opening dates. Can you, please, clarify what process is going on?
-The Foundation of the Armenian Genocide was created in 2008 with the mission of building a museum of the Armenian Genocide and of the Armenian presence in Argentina. Its promoters are Arq. Juan Carlos Toufeksian, Dr. Nélida Boulgourdjian and a group of persons with the same ideas. Since then they made the steps before the Argentine State to obtain the property because they consider that the history of the Armenians in Argentina does not belong only to the Armenian community but to the Argentine society as a whole, of which the descendants of Armenians (third and fourth generation) are part. After arduous efforts, at the national level, in the Legislative and Executive Power and at the level of the city of Buenos Aires, they obtained in 2014, a place of 433 square meters, from the city government, meters, located at the corner of Gurruchaga and Jufré, a few blocks from the Armenian Church and Armenian institution, in the heart of Armenian community life.
The Foundation sought that the assignment should be confirmed by law. For that reason, from that moment they worked in that sense, without starting with the construction of the museum. Finally, on February 28, the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires gave the property by law.
-At what stage is the construction of the building of the Genocide Museum? What works have been carried out so far?
-As explained, we wanted the confirmation by law before the starting of the construction. Besides, during that time the architects and the rest of the volunteers prepared the project and made contacts to interest people in the project. This year, we will begin with the construction for which we will begin to raise funds.
- What works are being done for the collection of exhibits? What are the collection sources of the exhibits?
-So far we have collected photographs that the Armenians brought to Argentina and others that were taken here and that are part of the exhibition we prepared. We presented the first exhibition in 2015 and since then we expanded and presented in different editions (each edition extends the previous one) in official places, such as the Senate of the Nation, the Legislature of the city, etc. Related to the sources we have personal documentation and institutional documentation.
For the library we collected ancient books that people are donating and new books from our own library (Juan Carlos and Nélida) that will be donated to it.
We have also some object that the refugees brought with them.
In this moment we are thinking in this project. One floor is the reception, bookstore, and library. First floor: exhibition rooms, 2 classrooms. This is our idea in this moment but in the following week we will take some decisions.
-What is the importance of the construction of the Museum and what are the expectations from the activity of this structure? What functions the structure is going to carry out?
-The mission is rooted in the idea that through the lessons of the Armenian Genocide we will work to promote human dignity and prevent other genocides.
The vision is concentrated in the idea that the museum will serve as a memorial to the 1500000 Armenians killed under Turk regime; will raise awareness of genocide focusing on the Armenian genocide; and will train the new generations about the consequences of not accepting the other as different from ethnical, religious and political point of view.
-To what extent the Museum can contribute to the prevention of future crimes against humanity?
-Our work focuses in the contribution to a construction of a more committed society. Even facing the history of genocidal injustices perpetrated in the Holocaust, in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur, we don’t lose hope that teaching the next generations on this subjects, things will change.
All our job is for the prevention of future crimes against humanity if that is possible!
-In one of your interviews, you stated that the Museum’s program is directed not only to the Armenian community, but also the Argentine society. You even said that the Argentine students will have an opportunity to visit the Museum for free. Are there any programs aimed at drawing the attention of the Argentine society to the Museum?
-We did not change that goal. Now we are concentrated in the museum but we are very interested in capture the attention of the authorities of the Argentine schools of the city, and different corporations, universities, etc.
-Are the approximate opening dates of the Museum already known?
-We don’t know for sure, but we hope in two years.
Interview by Anna Gziryan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan
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