WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today was joined by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in introducing bipartisan legislation that seeks to affirm the facts of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian Genocide and honor its 1,500,000 victims by authorizing funding for Armenian Genocide education programs through the Library of Congress. Introduced on the heels of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, the Armenian Genocide Education Act provides for activities including local, regional, and national workshops and teacher trainings in conjunction with genocide education centers, engagement with independent schools, and a teacher fellowship program to cultivate leaders in Armenian Genocide education.
“For far too long, the world closed its eyes and chose to ignore human suffering, ignore persecution, and ignore the irrefutable facts of the Ottoman Empire’s barbarous massacre of the Armenian people. Such denialism not only flew in the face of our basic commitments to root out hatred and advance human rights everywhere, but gravely undermined our efforts to ensure that such atrocities never happen again,” Chairman Menendez said. “As we introduce our bipartisan Armenian Genocide Education Act, we affirm our commitment to acknowledging the truth and to the Armenian community worldwide, including in Nagorno-Karabakh. Only through learning about the darkest moments of the past can we hope to secure a brighter tomorrow.”
“As the saying goes, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ The American people have a proud history of recognizing and denouncing the Armenian genocide and have provided relief and a new home to many who survived this campaign of mass extermination. Now, it’s important that our next generation have access to educational resources that teach them about these horrors with the hope that we can work together to prevent similar suffering in the future,” said Senator Blackburn.
Today’s introduction follows from Chairman Menendez’s decades-long fight to honor the memory of those who perished during the Armenian Genocide, calling for a U.S. foreign policy that reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. Menendez pushed to secure formal recognition in every session of Congress from 2006 to 2019, and in November 2019, Menendez took to the Senate Floor every week to pursue adoption of the resolution. After being blocked each time by a Senate Republican, Menendez vowed to keep returning until denialism were defeated. On December 12, 2019, the Senate unanimously passed Menendez’s Senate resolution affirming the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide. Chairman Menendez also led his Senate colleagues in calling on President Joe Biden to become the first U.S. president to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, which he did in 2021.
The Armenian Genocide Education Act was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.).
Find a copy of the resolution HERE.