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By Mariette Minassian-Okhanes

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm, the Organization of Istanbul Armenians Cultural Committee organized a lecture and documentary film screening with Mr. Aris Nalci, Former editor of  “Agos” weekly and Program Editor of IMC TV.

After the welcoming and thank you speech by Chairman of OIA Cultural Committee Dr. Ohannes Kulak Avedikyan, the screening of the film started which told the story about 44 passengers, who traveled 36 hours between Armenia and Turkey like a big family and in the same bus.

The main objective of the film was to shed some light on the challenges faced by the Armenian immigrants who come to Turkey through Georgia and to raise awareness about the problems related specifically to the journey between Armenia and Turkey.

Following the film screening, Dr. Avedikyan read Mr. Nalci’s biography, expressed his thanks to Chairman of OIA Board of Trustees Edvin Minassian, Esq., to the President of OIA Executive Committee, Mr. Raffi Marukian, Cultural Committee members, Garbis Sarafian, Ohannes Sabuncu, Ladies Rita Sabuncu, Talin Sarafoglu and Liza Gayda for their help and efforts.

The guest lecturer was invited to the podium who gave explanations about Armenia and Turkey.. two closed countries, two distant neighbors. Throughout history, those two nations have shared the same land. Nowadays, though living side by side, they ignore each other said Aris Nalci, the filmmaker and project coordinator of the documentary film that traces the lives and stories of the passengers and drivers of buses that travel between Yerevan and Istanbul every week. Because of the closed border between the two countries a one way trip takes 36 hours and goes through Georgia. He talked to the attendees about Erhan Arik a photographer with whom Mr. Aris performs shootings, having the following motto; that if he will write about something he must see it.

The lecturer talked about his stay in Armenia and his visit to Lebanon. He referred to the current status and issues involvingchurches, schools and other community foundations/organizations in Istanbul and emphasized the uplifting point that the Armenian youth are following in the path of the late Hrant Dink’s and keeping his legacy alive.

The audience was given an opportunity to enter into a  question and answer dialogue with the guest speaker of the evening.

OIA Board of Trustees Chairman, Edvin Minassian, Esq., presented a gift on behalf of OIA to Mr. Nalci.

Proper reception followed the lecture, as well as photography session.

We would like to mention that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Shant” Student Association hosted the upcoming Armenians and Progressive Politics conference titled “Armenian-Turkish Relations: The Road to Justice” on October 3-4, 2014 at Occidental College in Eagle Rock in which Mr. Nalci participated. Also, he was among a distinguished line-up of speakers from Armenia, Turkey, Europe, and the United States examined Turkey, the media, Turkish-Armenian relations, and genocide reparation at the Armenians and Progressive Politics (APP) conference held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Sept. 26-27.

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