For immediate release
Chicago (22 January 2017) – Grand Opening of the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center
The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center (AMPHRC) opened its doors to the public for the first time of its permanent office and research center, located at 801 W. Adams Street, Suite 230 in Chicago, this Sunday. Numerous community leaders, friends, and supporters were in attendance to celebrate the grand opening. The traditional blessing of the space was performed by His Grace Demetrios of Mokissos.
The research center, established as a nonprofit in January 2011, has as its mission to preserve and disseminate information concerning the history of the genocide of the Greeks and their expulsion from their ancestral homelands in Anatolia, i.e., Asia Minor, Pontos (the region around the Black Sea) and Eastern Thrace. Unlike the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks, the Turkish campaigns to eliminate the other Christian populations, especially Greeks and Assyrians, are far less known. The Center aims to provide a resource to rectify this, both by making available primary and secondary materials to scholars, teachers, and students, and by developing curricular materials and other educational outreach efforts.
George Mavropoulos, director of AMPHRC, said, “Our goal is to raise awareness of events that affected the Greek communities at the time, but also to inform local and international policy makers and human rights activists who shape strategies, particularly in terms of equality for minority groups and religious freedom for Christian and Greek communities.”
Board member Anastasia Giannakidou, professor of linguistics at the University of Chicago, and daughter of refugees from Pontos and Eastern Thrace, explained that ”this is the first facility of its kind in the US and it will provide access to the collection of books and archival material donated to the Research Center by the late Dr. Harry J. Psomiades.” These materials, which form the core of the center’s holdings at present, consist of about 1000 volumes on Greek history, Asia Minor, Pontos, and Eastern Thrace. Prof. Giannakidou emphasized also that the genocide destroyed the continuous 3000 year presence of Greeks in Anatolia. To this day, Turkey refuses to recognize the genocide.
Also speaking at the opening were board members and collaborators Vicky Stavropoulos, Anastasia Spiridis Skoupas president of the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago, Maria Davis, Jim Ascott, Ann Lousin, professor of Law at the Marshall School of Law, Andy Zemenidis, Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and Jason Merchant, professor of linguistics and former associate dean of the humanities at the University of Chicago. We were also very pleased to welcome Dr. Laura Calamos Nasir, Executive director of the National Hellenic Museum.
Prof. Merchant stressed that “the excellent work of the Center in providing resources to scholars and students, but also in educational outreach efforts, will benefit not just the descendents and relatives of the Greek Christian victims of these events, but also, and just as important, those who today unknowingly continue to benefit from these expulsions and murders, and the rest of the world, who confront ongoing similar efforts to eliminate ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians, in the name of horrific exercises in tyranny.”
For more information, please visit the website www.hellenicresearchcenter.org