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Testimony of the Righteous in the World

There is Always an Option to say 'Yes' or 'No'

The seminar in Padua, Italy

The seminar in Padua, Italy Gariwo

Seminar in Padua, Italy
November 29th 2001

Morning, 10am
University of Padua, Aula Magna

Opening Remarks
Padua Authorities
Giuseppe Zaccaria
Pro-rector of Padua University
Gabriele Nissim President of the Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Committee


Antonia Arslan Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Committee
The publication of the proceedings of the international conference "There is Always an Option to say 'Yes' or 'No'. The Righteous against the Genocides of the Armenians and the Jews"

Boghos Levon Zekiyan University of Venice
Pietro Kuciukian International Committee of the Righteous for the Armenians - Memory is the Future)
The figure and work of the Turkish publisher Ayse Nur Zarakolu, Istanbul

Svetlana Broz Committee for the Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide, Sarajevo
The figure and work of general Jovan Divjak, Sarajevo


Ayse Nur Zarakolu will receive the «Padova per i Giusti» award, assigned by the Padua City Council, and the Comitato Internazionale dei Giusti per gli Armeni award assigned by Ardavast Serapian, President of the Fondazione Stefano Serapian

Jovan Divjak will receive the «Padova per i Giusti» award assigned by the Padua City Council


Ayse Nur Zarakolu
Jovan Divjak

Afternoon, 3pm
University of Padua, Aula Nievo


Gabriele Nissim Historian, Milan
The reason for our search for the Righteous in all genocides

Stefano Levi della Torre Essayist, member of the Executive Council of the Jewish Community in Milan
The Righteous in the Jewish tradition

Julia Dobrovol'skaja University of Venice and Catholic University of Milan
Lev Razgon and his memories of seventeen years in the GULags

Sergio Rapetti Translator and publishing consultant
Good and Evil in Varlam Shalamov


Rationale behind the choice of general Jovan Divjak

For his part in the defence of Sarajevo, especially during the siege by the Serb army, for his firm stand against ethnic cleansing, and subsequently for his fight for justice and human rights in support of the victims of hate, the weak and the persecuted from whichever side of the ethnic and political divide; for his struggle to safeguard a multi-ethnic state in Bosnia-Herzegovina and lastly for his commitment to the creation of the Foundation to rebuild Bosnia-Hersegovina through education, which supports child victims and orphans of war, regardless of their ethnic or religious origins, providing them with economic aid, scholarships and training for the job market, right through into adulthood.

Rationale behind the choice of Ayse Nur Zarakolu

At the recommendation of the International Committee of the Righteous for the Armenians, and in the context of the projects promoted by the Department for Cultural Affairs of the Padua City Council and by the Committee for the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide, the Padua City Council and the Fondazione Stefano Searpian have awarded their prize to Ayse Nur Zarakolu.

This prize recognizes her commitment to human rights through her publishing work in Turkey, a commitment made along with her husband Ragip, at their own personal risk. It also recognizes her efforts, in her own country and abroad, to promote awareness of the historical, social and cultural plight of the ethnic minorities living within Turkey's borders and, specifically, that of the Armenian minority. Ayse Nur Zarakolu and her husband have dedicated numerous publications in Turkish to the subject of the 1915 genocide of the Armenian people perpetrated by the government of the Young Turks. In particular, the prize acknowledges Ayse Nur Zarakolu's active testimony of the Armenian genocide provided by the translation into Turkish, the publication and distribution of fundamental foreign texts on the subject.

29 November 2001

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Conference "You can always opt for Yes or No"

Testimonies by World's Righteous - Padua, Palazzo del Bo


Remember the past in order to build a future

The International Committee of the Armenian Righteous. Memory is the Future was founded by Piero Kuciukian in order to commemorate those who went against the genocide of 1915. The title emphasises the function of the memory, which is not a nostalgic look back in history, but a a clear sense of the past to build a future without making old mistakes.
The memory has many solutions and presents conflicting results, either positive or negative depending on how it is treated. Reflections on the previous events help us to understand the present, which means to search for the coordinates that allow us to interpret new situations with awareness of the dangers or opportunities that are triggered by certain mechanisms such as cultural, social and individual. The experience of the genocides of the twentieth century, the phenomenon of totalitarianism, resulted in the devastating world war, the balance of power during the Cold War, provide very precise indications on the geopolitical hegemony and humanitarian frifts to be avoided, while the example of the Righteous, their varied efforts on behalf of the persecuted, the demand for freedom, independence of thought and the instance of the defense of human dignity, are to be taken to avoid the pitfalls of arrogance, denial of truth, the rejection of diversity, closing the other, unilateral decision.

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