For more than a decade, I taught an area studies course at the Foreign Service Institute that focused on Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. My students were US diplomats, military staff, and government workers headed to assignments in the Caucasus. Several classes focused on the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the First World War, and Armenia.
One of the major episodes in this period was the 1915 Armenian Genocide, a topic that remains highly contested. On April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities rounded up hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and public figures in Constantinople and sent most to an early death. They then repeated the process with virtually the entire Armenian population of Eastern Anatolia: force-marching thousands into ambushes and starvation, and leaving survivors in the Syrian desert.
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Alex van Oss chaired Caucasus Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, in Arlington, Virginia, from 2002-2014, after a career in journalism and public radio broadcasting.