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AHI Book Presentation Commemorates 94th Anniversary of Smyrna Catastrophe
October 20, 2016—No. 46 (202) 785-8430

AHI Book Presentation Commemorates 94th Anniversary of Smyrna Catastrophe 

WASHINGTON, DC —The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a noon presentation to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Smyrna Catastrophe in Asia Minor that featured Professor George Topalidis, adjunct professor, Center for Greek Studies, University of Florida, Oct. 11, 2016, at Hellenic House. 

Professor Topalidis presented his research findings on early 20th-century emigration from the Ottoman Empire to the United States. Previously, he has presented his findings at the Modern Greek Studies Association Symposium in 2013 and at the West Coast Consortium for Hellenic Studies Conferences on two occasions over the past two years.  

“It is important to commemorate the Smyrna Catastrophe because it is a vivid reminder of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, and it gives us pause to think about similar atrocities and human rights abuses that occur today,” President Nick Larigakis said.  “Professor Topalidis’s extensive research, from which an impressive online database was created, helps to correct further the distortions of historical truth promoted by contemporary Turkish governments not just for Greek Americans; but for a global audience.”

The creation of an online database by Professor Topalidis and his colleagues offers a unique blend of the most recent innovations in digital history with a tried and true historical methodology, allowing users to virtually follow the journeys of hundreds of immigrants who embarked on the long and dangerous voyage to the United States. The database was compiled by analyzing different patterns of migration from the Ottoman Empire to the United States during the first quarter of the 20th century, collecting various lieux de memories (sites of memory), such as an early 1900s artillery shell; and conducting hundreds of interviews with the descendants of immigrants.

Professor Topalidis graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2012 with a M.A. in History. He is currently an adjunct professor for the Center for Greek Studies, and a research historian at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and for the Center for European Studies, at the University of Florida. His interests include immigrant identity, and immigrant memory.

Following Professor presentation, President Larigakis moderated a Q&A session and offered closing remarks. 

Watch Professor Topalidis’s presentation:


The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.



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