April 30, 2014

Contact: Taniel Koushakjian
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (202) 393-3434


Washington, D.C. - With Members of Congress and the Armenian Assembly of
America (Assembly) weighing in, the White House has agreed to release the
Armenian Orphan Rug for public display as early as this fall, reported the

The Assembly welcomes this development as a previous one-day exhibition of
the carpet planned at the Smithsonian Institution last December was
cancelled. According to a letter from National Security Advisor Antony
Blinken to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) last year, `Loans from the White House
collection are made for fully developed exhibits, not for one-day private
events.' The Assembly expects the Armenian Orphan Rug to be prominently
displayed to the American public this year.

News reports surfaced about Turkish pressure on the White House last year
and the cancellation of the event, which led to an outcry by Members of
Congress, including Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), along with Reps. Adam
Schiff (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA), who spearheaded a letter to
President Obama signed by over 30 Members of Congress calling on him to
release the rug.

With the Coolidge rug unavailable, the Assembly launched a campaign to
display the Armenian Orphan `Sister Rug.' Since then, the sister rug has
been displayed in Boston, Massachusetts and Boca Raton, Florida, and was
planned to be displayed at an event on Capitol Hill with Congressman Schiff
in March, but was postponed due to a snowstorm.

`I'm extremely touched,' Dr. Martin Deranian told the Assembly upon
learning the news of the decision to display the Armenian Orphan Rug. =80=9CI
have faith in the American government, that it will do the right thing in
the end,' he said. Dr. Deranian authored the book `President Calvin
Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug.' `I appreciate the work of our
elected officials in Washington as well as the Armenian Assembly for
helping to secure this commitment,' he said.

In 1925, Dr. John H. Finley, editor-in-chief of the New York Times and
vice-chairman of the congressionally chartered Near East Relief
organization presented a rug made by orphans of the Armenian Genocide to
then President Calvin Coolidge. The rug was made in appreciation of
America's generosity in aiding the survivors of the first genocide of the
20th Century. As previously reported, the carpet was displayed at the White
House in 1984 and 1995, but not since, an issue which the Assembly has
raised with successive Administrations.

`The display of this tangible expression of gratitude for America's
humanitarian intervention to save the survivors of the Armenian Genocide is
a positive development,' stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest
Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and
awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt
membership organization.


NR: # 2014-026

Photo Caption: Dr. Martin Deranian (3rd from right) with the Armenian
Orphan Sister Rug at the Assembly's Annual Holiday Briefing in Boston,
Massachusetts. December 5, 2013.

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