NAASR Lecture to Focus on Armenians, Assyrians in Iran’s Urmia Region

  • Written by:

By Contributor
BELMONT, Mass.—On Thurs., Nov. 14, Dr. Nicholas Al-Jeloo will give a lecture entitled, “Armenian and Assyrian Cooperation and Co-Habitation in Iran’s Urmia Region,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) in Belmont.

Dr. Al-Jeloo’s illustrated lecture represents an all-too-rare opportunity to learn about the inter-twined history of the Armenians and Assyrians of the Urmia region. A great deal of information and research has enlightened our understanding of Armenians from Isfahan, Iran; however, little information exists in English about Armenians living in other parts of Iran, including Armenians in Tabriz, a prosperous and important urban community. Much of the information about Armenians on the Urmia plain comes from Assyrian memoirs and histories.

Like the Assyrians, who were largely based in villages throughout the Middle East, the Armenians of the Urmia plain led agrarian lives for much of the 19th century. While the church institutions remained separate and the communities maintained separate languages, there was considerable intermarriage, dual language understanding, and cooperation on many fronts—commercial as well as political. The Minassian family, for example, who held the wheat wholesale market, married into an Assyrian family from Golphashan, one of the richest towns of the Urmia plain.

Dr. Nicholas Al-Jeloo is an Australian-Assyrian whose high-quality photographs have been used in art and history books about the Middle East, such as in Christoph Baumer’s The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity (I.B. Tauris, 2006). He received his Ph.D. in Assyrian/Syriac studies from the University of Sydney this year and holds an MA from Leiden University.

For more information about this program, call (617) 489-1610 or e-mail hq@naasr.org. NAASR is located at 395 Concord Ave., Belmont.