UBC Theses and Dissertations
North American nurses' transnational relief efforts during the Armenian Genocide of 1915 -1923 Yacoubian, Hrag
During the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, nurses from the United States of America and Canada traveled to Turkey, Armenia and the surrounding region to render humanitarian assistance to the victims and survivors of the Turkish atrocities. Yet, there is inadequate knowledge on the important roles these nurses played and their experiences and motivations are not fully understood. This thesis aims to add new historical knowledge to existing literature about transnational and humanitarian relief work by North American nurses, to shed light on larger social trends and human experiences and to expand our historical understanding of the Armenian Genocide through their encounters with victims, refugees and orphans. This thesis explored the past editions of the American Journal of Nursing, the Canadian Nurse and The Globe from 1915 to1923. The findings revealed that North American nurses were significantly involved in humanitarian and relief efforts in very difficult circumstances during the Armenian Genocide. They were functioning under mostly secular organizations, such as the American Red Cross, and the Near East Relief, yet often they were significantly influenced by their Protestant Christian backgrounds. Despite the tremendous hardship encountered, many nurses chose to remain in Turkey and to serve those in need of their relief efforts. US and Canadian nurses worked together and in close proximity and their humanitarianism was transnational in nature. In addition to relief work, the nurses established nursing schools and hospitals, which served both as source of help and new resources for education and employment for Armenian survivors. The thesis concludes with recommendations for future studies involving documents to expand upon the beginning of the understanding North American nurses’ involvement and the meaning of transnational relationships during the Armenian Genocide.
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