Updated: May 5, 2022
Washington, D.C. - Upon learning that the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture, is hosting an event at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) urged the nation’s premier cultural institution "not help advance Azerbaijan’s genocidal actions against the Armenian people." In a letter to the leadership of The Kennedy Center, including President Deborah F. Rutter and Chairman David M. Rubenstein, the Assembly highlighted the fact that Azerbaijan, with the full and open support of Turkey, launched a relentless war against the Armenian people in the Fall of 2020, wherein 100,000 people were forcibly displaced from their homes, "while hospitals, schools, and churches were destroyed by ballistic missiles, cluster munitions, incendiary white phosphorus bombs, and drone strikes." It is "more than ironic that the country that used cluster munitions and landmines against a civilian population and thwarts efforts at mine clearance in Nagorno-Karabakh is asking the United States for demining assistance," Assembly Co-Chairs Van Krikorian and Anthony Barsamian stated. The Assembly Co-Chairs also cited the human rights abuses and war crimes committed by Azerbaijan highlighted digitally by The Program on Peacebuilding and Human Rights (PBHR) at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR). In addition, the Co-Chairs referenced the European Parliament’s condemnation of the destruction of Christian Armenian cultural heritage. Such actions clearly invoke The Kennedy Center's statement on social responsibility, which deplores "tragic and senseless acts of violence," thus making this Azerbaijan-sponsored event all the more troubling. "We are certain that The Kennedy Center does not want to be associated with this kind of behavior and this truly unfortunate situation,” the Co-Chairs concluded.
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 non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.