‘Remembering Genocide’ Symposium Hosted by Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion to Examine the Turkish Empire’s Atrocities Against Armenian Christians 100 Years Ago

March 12, 2015

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Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321
WACO, Texas (March 12, 2015) — “Remembering Genocide” — a symposium marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide that left some 1.5 million people dead when the Ottoman Turkish Empire decided to annihilate Christian minorities — will be held at Baylor University on March 16 and 17.
The event, hosted by Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR), will feature lectures by poet/writer/academic Peter Balakian, Ph.D., the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of Humanities at Colgate University and author of “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response”; Thomas Farr, Ph.D., former American diplomat and director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs; Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor and co-director of ISR’s Program on Historical Studies of Religion; and Nina Shea, human rights lawyer and advocate of religious freedom worldwide.
During the genocide, while the Turks chiefly targeted the Armenians, they also attacked other ancient Christian communities, among them the Assyrians and Maronites, and exiled millions of Greeks.
“These events established the concept of genocide on the global stage, probably inspiring Hitler,” says co-organizer Philip Jenkins. “That genocide also raised issues that, tragically, remain vigorously alive. Still today, Christians around the world are subjected to persecution and savage violence. And although Muslims are often the perpetrators of such acts, they are by no means the only culprits.”
Lecturers will examine such policy questions as what other countries can do to prevent persecution, what impact United States legislation has made on religious freedom globally, whether new communication technologies have assisted or harmed the defense of religious freedom and how the danger of persecution has affected the church’s call to mission.
The symposium schedule is:
March 16 (Kayser Auditorium, Hankamer School of Business, 1428 S. Fifth St.)

  • 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Peter Balakian

  • March 17 (Treasure Room of Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library, 710 Speight Ave.):
  • 10 a.m.: Thomas Farr
  • 1 p.m.: Philip Jenkins
  • 2:30 p.m.: Nina Shea
  • Symposium sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, call 254-710-7555.


    Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

    Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.