TORONTO, Canada—Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans and Gomidas Institute director Ara Sarafian, will be in Toronto on March 12 for the book launch of Evans’ book Truth Held Hostage.
The event will consist a reading of excerpts, Evans’ reflections as a former U.S. diplomat to Armenia and his motivation for writing the book, followed by a moderation discussion with Evans and Sarafian.
Truth Held Hostage chronicles Evans’ diplomatic career, his growing experience with Armenians and the Armenian Genocide recognition issue, his eventual decision to publicly use the term “genocide” that led to his dismissal, and how he believes the U.S., Turkey, Armenia, and the international community need to move forward. The book was published by the Gomidas Institute in 2016.
A veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador John Evans gained notoriety in 2005 by publicly dissenting from the stated policy of the Bush and previous administrations on the 90-year-old issue of the Armenian Genocide and using the term “genocide.” He was dismissed from his post as a result and forced into early retirement, although not without a fight over the issue in the U.S. Congress.
The event is organized by the Armenian National Committee of Toronto (ANCT) and the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society “Klatsor” chapter.
Born in Virginia, Evans studied Russian history at Yale University and later pursued his doctoral studies at Columbia University before serving for the US foreign service in various capacities in Iran, Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union, and with NATO from 1972 to 1989. He then served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Prague (1991-94), and as Consul General in St. Petersburg (1994-97). He was then chosen to lead the OSCE Mission to Moldova, an international mediation and peace-keeping mission, during the Danish, Polish and Norwegian OSCE chairmanships (1997-99). On June 25, 2004, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and was sworn-in as the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia on Aug. 11, 2004. He served within that capacity until he was dismissed in 2006, due to his explicit support for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Sarafian is the founding director of the Gomidas Institute in London, which sponsors and carries out research and publishes books on modern Armenian and regional studies. Among the institute’s book publications are English translations of Armenian texts related to the Armenian Genocide. Additionally, Sarafian has published Talaat Pasha’s report on the Armenian Genocide and he has edited a critical edition of The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916, commonly known as the Blue Book (originally published in 1916 by British historians Lord James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee), as well as a Turkish edition of the book. He has also collaborated with the Hrant Dink Foundation.