The Armenian Institute (AI), London, recently received a wholly unexpected phone call from a popular independent British record label. Young Turks, representing artists such as the xx, Jamie xx, FKA Twigs, and others, was about to announce the change of its name to Young on 6 April 2021. As their representative explained to AI Director Tatevik Ayvazyan, they had come to realise more fully the implications of the name’s associations with the Armenian Genocide, and wanted to disassociate themselves from it. They also wished to make a donation to a UK Armenian organisation and approached AI.
This change and donation is welcomed by AI as a generous gesture towards recognising the genocidal violence of the historical Young Turk regime. This brave decision was driven by the company itself, and sets an important example for all organisations worldwide which have adopted hurtful names and symbols. AI hopes this example encourages other organisations to pause for thought and be encouraged to take similar steps to recognise the pain and offence caused.
The donation to the Armenian Institute will support its activities and programmes, including two events held in April commemorating not only the Armenian Genocide, but also remembering our neighbours, fellow victim Assyrians and Greeks, as well as the Yezidi Genocide of 2014.
The Armenian Institute is based in London and explores contemporary diasporan life through research and the arts. Seeking to build bridges with neighbours, past and present, it provides events and a supportive platform to explore differences, connections, and challenging issues. During the Covid period, AI has increased its online outreach to welcome participants from around the world.