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This sixth annual lecture pays tribute to the New England women and men who from 1894 to 1919 at Faneuil Hall heard about the atrocities taking place against the Armenian minority of the Ottoman Empire, and spoke passionately about the urgent need for intervention. Relief workers, missionaries and diplomats including US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau gave eyewitness accounts. Prominent Bostonians, among them Julia Ward Howe, William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. and Alice Stone Blackwell, heard these accounts and were moved to action. The American Red Cross launched an international mission with Clara Barton bringing aid to the Armenians, the first time that a US-led organization established a base in another country. With the founding of Near East Relief in 1915, known today as the Near East Foundation, Americans embarked on the largest international humanitarian effort of its time, raising $117 million in funds and needed supplies. Among the Bostonians leading this great undertaking was James L. Barton, the first Chairman of Near East Relief.  This was America's first international human rights movement. (Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris)


Date & Time:  Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 7:30pm  (Doors open at 6:45pm)

Place:            Historic Faneuil Hall, Boston



Welcome to Faneuil Hall

Carolann S. Najarian, MD, philanthropist, author of A Call from Home and editor of Avedis’ Story: An Armenian Boy’s Journal                             

Call to Action: 1894-1919
Historical Perspective

Peter Balakian, Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor, Colgate University; author of seven books of poems and four books of prose including Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize and The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, winner of the Raphael Lemkin Prize


A history play by award-winning playwright, Joyce Van Dyke, commissioned for this lecture. Directed by Judy Braha


Call to Action: 2015

Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East & North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch


Free and open to the public


A reception follows at Millennium Bostonian Hotel

On Exhibit - Near East Relief Posters: “They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief



About the Najarian Lecture on Human Rights at Faneuil Hall 

Inspired by the New England women and men who gathered at Faneuil Hall, this annual lecture on human rights at Faneuil Hall has been endowed by K. George and Dr. Carolann S. Najarian in honor of Dr. Najarian’s father “as he taught so many about the need to pay attention, spot injustice and speak out wherever and whenever it occurs.”

Just as these brave and noble witnesses gave voice to those in crisis and mobilized the gathering of Bostonians at Faneuil Hall which was to spark a nationwide response, it is our hope that this annual lecture will serve to refocus our attention on the critical human rights issues of today, inspiring us all to meaningful action.

The endowed lecture is a public program of Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway.