Zoryan Institute’s webinar “Absent(ed) Presence”: Exploring Lost Heritage of Ancestral Land is now on YouTube!

16 Feb 2024

February 16th, 2024: The Zoryan Institute’s webinar with Dr. Aysenur Korkmaz “Absent(ed) Presence”: Exploring Lost Heritage Ancestral Land is now available online!

Among the scholars and community members that attended the webinar was Professor Allen Whitehorn, Professor emeritus Department of Political Science & Economics, Royal Military College of Canada, had this to say:

Dr. Korkmaz provides thoughtful insight into existential journeys and encounters of genocide survivors and their descendants when they visit their lost ancestral lands. What they discover are fractured memories and fragments of sacred sites. It is mostly an “absented presence” set amidst the current inhabitants.

For those who are interested to learn about Indigenous people worldwide who have lost their homeland and cultural monuments, they will find this webinar of great value. This webinar provides a thought-provoking discussion on the transformation of heritage sites that have been subjected to cycles of state-sponsored destruction, confiscation, and architectural alteration, and explores how these material spaces shape the descendants’ experience of their ancestral homeland.

Cultural heritage protection in International law instruments, as  the 1954 Hague Convention, and international organizations, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provide hard and soft law instruments prohibiting cultural heritage destruction in situations of armed conflict and times of peace.

Dr. Korkmaz’s presentation underscores that genocide is not solely about destruction, but resilience and survival. By examining life and what remains after genocide, this talk highlights how spaces that could be perceived as mundane to an outsider, become spaces of significance, “housing another set of lives.”


Ayşenur Korkmaz is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam (NIAS). She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, European Studies. She is also a graduate of Zoryan Institute’s Genocide and Human Rights University Program and longtime friend of the Institute.