Oneida Dispatch, NY
Dec 31 2007


Best-selling author and poet recognized
12/31/2007

Professor Peter Balakian accepts the Movses Khorenatsi Medal, one of
Armenia's highest civilian honors.

HAMILTON - As a young student, Colgate University professor Peter
Balakian's curiosity about his family roots led him on a personal and
intellectual journey. Balakian has spent decades unraveling his
Armenian ancestry and, in the process, educating the world about the
atrocities of the Armenian genocide.

Now, the Armenian government is recognizing Balakian, the Constance
H. and Donald M. Rebar Professor in the Humanities and professor of
English at Colgate.


During a ceremony in November at the embassy of Armenia in
Washington, D.C., Balakian was awarded the Movses Khorenatsi Medal.
The medal - one of Armenia's highest civilian honors - is presented
to individuals for their prominent contributions in the fields of
culture, arts, literature, education and humanities.
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"I feel honored that President Kocharian has honored me in this way
and I hope that my work will contribute to an ongoing body of
knowledge about the Armenian genocide," Balakian said.


Ambassador Tatoul Markarian lauded Balakian's literary
accomplishments along with his active position and leadership on
Armenian issues.


"His books preserve for us and the entire humanity the record of the
tragedies, the challenges and the perseverance of the Armenian people
in the most tragic chapter of our millenniums-old history," the
Ambassador said.


Balakian is the author of eight books including 'The Burning Tigris:
The Armenian Genocide and America's Response,' which was a New York
Times Notable Book and Best Seller.


His award-winning memoir, 'Black Dog of Fate,' chronicles the sudden
awareness of his ethnicity - "the story of a boy growing up
bewildered by some of the ambiguous signals he's receiving from his
elders who are trying to repress the trauma of the past."


In his remarks, Balakian discussed the remarkable resilience of the
Armenian people and stressed education as the key to progress.


"It is gratifying to be able to say in 2007 that we have educated
significant chunks of Europe, North America and the Middle East about
who we are and what our history has entailed," he said. "If you asked
Armenians in 1970 if we would have transmitted our history into
popular consciousness, into the curriculum, into the news of the day,
I think they would have dismissed you as a dreamer."


Balakian was also recently awarded the Emily Clark Balch Prize for
poetry from The Virginia Quarterly Review. The prize honors the
single best poem or group of poems published during the previous year
by the magazine.


The professor's poems "World Trade Center/Mail Runner '71," "World
Trade Center/Mail Runner '73," and "World Trade Center/Black
Holes/'74" appeared in the summer 2007 issue and will be part of
Balakian's book of poems he is currently working on.


The prize comes with a $1,000 cash award.

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From: Baghdasarian