For nearly thirty years, Homer Ashurian was one of the key figures involved with the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation (the ACF today). Did you know that he was also a museum curator and former member of Iran’s Parliament?
Homer Ashurian was born in the village of Charbash in Urmia, Iran in 1936. Because of his love of Assyrian history, he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and a Master of Arts degree in Assyriology from the University of Tehran. Using the skills from his degree, he became the curator of the Museum of Anthropology in Tehran in 1958. A few years later, he became the principal of two different high schools in Tehran.
Ashurian worked tirelessly for his Assyrian people. In 1968, he served as one of the co-founders of the Assyrian Universal Alliance organization. He also helped edit two Assyrian magazines from Iran called Kirkha and Shvila, and became active in several other Assyrian organizations in Tehran as well. In the 1950s, he co-founded Seeta Supreta D’Ulime Attoraye, also known as the Assyrian Youth Cultural Society of Tehran, with others including Dr. Ashur Moradkhan, William Piroyan, Daniel Grisby, and Albert Khorshid. Seeta Supreta D’Ulime Attoraye published hundreds of Assyrian books, many of which are currently available at Chicago’s Ashurbanipal Library. Not only did the organization publish books, but was also a type of Assyrian think tank that helped promote the Assyrian language and culture. The organization was active until Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979.
In the mid-twentieth century, Iran decided to add an Assyrian representative to its Parliament. Homer Ashurian became one of these representatives in the late 1970s. However, chaos soon ensued in Iran, first with the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and then with the subsequent eight-year war with Iraq. Because of the instability of the country, Ashurian and his family decided to leave Iran in 1984.
Once in Chicago, Ashurian remained active in the Assyrian community. In 1987, he joined the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation’s Board of Directors, and served on the Board until his retirement in 2015. He worked tirelessly to make sure that the AUAF assisted as many Assyrians in the Chicago area as possible. In addition to his work with the AUAF, Ashurian joined the Aramaic Bible Translation team, which is a long-term project to create a new translation of the Bible into modern Assyrian. Ashurian passed away in 2016, but his legacy lives on at the ACF.
By Esther Lang
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Talia, Helen. “Rabi Homer Ashurian to Receive the Mesopotamian Achievement Award.” Mesopotamian Night. April 18, 2013. https://mesonight.org/rabi-homer-ashurian-to-receive-the-mesopotamian- ashurian achievement-award/ (accessed February 12, 2021).