Assyrian Remembrance Day Closing Program Event

August 7, 2022
2:00-4:00 p.m.
Snider Recital Hall, Stanislaus State

In commemoration of Assyrian Remembrance Day (Assyrian Martyrs Day), the Tell Our Stories exhibition hosted a closing program on August 7, 2022. This event was free and open to the public, and video from the program will be made available shortly. 

​The event program and video highlights are shared below.

Assyrian Remembrance Day Closing Program

  • 1:00-2:00 p.m.: Special viewing of the exhibition with exhibition curators  (University Art Gallery)
  • 2:00-4:00 p.m.: Assyrian Remembrance Day Program (Snider Recital Hall)
  • Song performance by Beneil Betyousef
  • 5:00pm: Exhibition viewing featuring special collection of paintings by Nenous Thabet

Welcome remarks:

  • Carmen Morad, Moderator
  • Ator Dina Bakoz, Central California Assyrian Student and Youth Association
  • Alex Kurkal, UC Merced Assyrian-American Club
  • Welcome video from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

Presenters include:

  • Hannibal Travis, Professor of Law and Genocide Scholar
  • Shabnam Samuel, Author
  • Nora Lacey, Director of the Assyrian Arts Institute
  • Nenous Thabet, Assyrian-Iraqi Artist 
  • Kathy Sayad-Zatari, Exhibition Manager


About Assyrian Remembrance Day

Assyrian Remembrance Day (Assyrian Martyrs Day) takes place on August 7 of each year to honour Assyrians lost to genocide, atrocities, and persecution. The date itself commemorates the start of the 1933 Simele Massacres in Iraq, in which the newly-independent Iraqi state killed approximately 3,000 Assyrians across northern Iraq, including in the town of Simele, where several hundred unarmed men, women, and children who sought protection in the police station were brutally murdered. Assyrian Martyrs Day was first designated in the 1970s. 

Carmen Morad's opening remarks. 

About the Speaker:
Carmen Morad is the host of the Modern Assyrian Program at the Assyrian Global Network. Carmen is an advocate for the Assyrian community and believes in civic engagement to empower the future. She was appointed to the CSU Stanislaus and city of Turlock Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and served on the Stanislaus County Equal Rights Commission and currently serves as a Commissioner for the city of Modesto. Carmen co-founded the Assyrian Wellness Collaborative to ensure the well-being of the Assyrian community by a partnership with Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and  Recovery Services Prevention and Early Intervention to have timely access to services.


Shabnam Samuel speaks about her grandmother, an Assyrian genocide survivor who ultimately found refuge in India, and the lasting impact of the genocide on her grandmother, as well as Shabnam's own life. 

About the Speaker:
Shabnam Samuel is a writer, coach, social media trainer, and the founder of the Panchgani Writers’ Retreat, an international writing retreat based out of Panchgani, India. As a writer, Shabnam has been writing ever since she can remember. Her powerful memoir A Fractured Life was published in 2018 and her essays have been published online in Brain Child Magazine and Your Tango Shabnam is also a business coach and she mentors with the Empowered Women International in Alexandria, Virginia, an organization that helps train low-income, immigrant, and refugee women on how to be successful.

Nenous Thabet shares his experiences as an Iraqi-Assyrian artist who lived under ISIS. With performance from Beneil Betyousef. 

About the Speaker:
Nenous Thabet is a sculptor and artist who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Mosul. He learned the art of sculpting and drawing from his father, Thabet Mikhail, and has participated in art shows and competitions across Iraq. He has worked with his father in creating mny artistic monuments, most notably the monument of the Church of Salvation in Baghdad, the monument of the girl of Umm al-Rabeein in Mosul, the statue of the Virgin Mary in the city of Tahra, which Pope Francis visited in Baghdida, the statue of the return in Baghdida and many other works. 

Beneil Betyousef is a musician, singer, and producer, who was born in Urmia, Iran, and began playing drums when he was 5 years old. He writes his own music in Assyrian and Persian, and sings in five languages. He is performing with Ilbron Sorisho on the keyboard.

Program Support

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit California Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and program do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

This project is also made possible with the support of the Assyrian Arts Institute and the Assyrian Studies Association. 

Updated: August 31, 2023