On the initiative of the Comité du Souvenir français de Bron, a conference on the importance of remembrance in nation-building was led by writer and essayist Philippe Olagnier. The conference took place in Bron on Friday, June 2, 2023, and was attended by the Mayor of Bron, Jérémie Bréaud, the President of the Comité du Souvenir français de Bron, Yves Peysson, local councillors, and various other personalities.

Passionate about historical memory, the transmission of knowledge, and the history of genocides, Mr. Olagnier also focuses on the study of women’s rights and secularism, regularly publishing in eight national journals.

In this lecture, the first of its kind in France, Mr. Olagnier recounted the ongoing work of remembrance throughout France’s contemporary history. He emphasized that the duty of remembrance has several dimensions, including being a unifying force, a gesture of respect towards the elderly, and indispensable for the transmission of values.

 Mr. Olagnier encouraged the public, particularly the younger generations, to read and embrace the national narrative shaped by Jules Michelet. He underscored the importance of memory pedagogy in France and the significance of transmission. He also stressed that if the shared narrative were to vanish, individuals would seek to create their own national narratives, leading to the rise of identitarianism.

During the lecture, Mr. Olagnier condemned current trends such as “wokism” and “cancel culture,” which tend to erase or distort historical facts. He warned that mistreating history would result in the decline of a nation. The conference concluded with an enlightening quote from Georges Bernanos: “Civilizations are mortal, civilizations die like men, and yet they do not die like men. Their decomposition precedes their death, instead of following ours.”

Following the conference, Mrs.  Lydia Markosyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Western Armenia, commended the high quality of the event. She emphasized that the duty of memory is intrinsically linked to every state structure, and any attack on this memory is an attack on the foundations of a state.

At the end of the conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Western Armenia, Mrs Lydia Markossyan , praised the high quality of the conference and stressed that every state structure was inextricably linked to the duty of memory, and that any attack on this memory was an attack on the structure of a state. 

Mr. Sabuncu Freddy of the Centre National de la Mémoire Arménienne also took the floor to thank the lecturer and point out that, just like personal and family memory, the memory of history was universal and should be passed on to younger generations. A memory that must not be forgotten, because repeating the mistakes of the past had not taught us a lesson. Mr. Sabuncu spoke of the plight of the Christians of the East, and in particular that of the Armenians in Artsakh, who needed to be supported in order to preserve centuries of civilization, culture and tradition.