The Evolution of the Assyrian Flag

Date: August 13, 2021

Did you know that the current Assyrian flag is a relatively new design?  The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) proposed a competition for a new flag in 1968 and, in 1974, ultimately chose the one that we recognize today.  It was designed by George Bit Atanus of Tehran, Iran.  After that, the design quickly spread among Assyrians throughout the world. 


Labeled Design by: Brian Banyamin


You can learn the history of the adoption of the Assyrian flag just by skimming through different issues of the Assyrian-American magazine, the Assyrian Star. 


It appears that beginning in the May/June, 1967 issue of the Assyrian Star, an ad for the Assyrian American Educational Association begins showing up on the back cover of the magazine.  However, starting with the November/December, 1970 issue, this ad begins to depict an Assyrian flag next to it.  This particular Assyrian flag was created by Assyrians in the early twentieth century, and was eventually adopted by the newly-formed Assyrian American National Federation (Assyrian National Federation at the time) in the 1930s.  The ad on the back of the Assyrian Star’s November/December, 1970 issue (depicted below) explains what the flag’s colors meant.  The three stars on the flag represented the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Syriac Orthodox Church. 



The January/February, 1971 issue’s ad is in color, giving you a better idea of what the flag looked like. 



Starting in the January/February, 1972 issue of the Assyrian Star, the star of Shamash begins to consistently appear on the magazine’s front cover.  Since the magazine is called the Assyrian Star, this makes sense.  The star matches the one that eventually shows up on the current Assyrian flag. 


Beginning in May/June, 1973, the Assyrian American Educational Association’s ads on the back cover of the Assyrian Star start to offer people the option of purchasing an Assyrian flag.  Since these ads predate the current Assyrian flag, they were most likely selling flags with the older design. 



On page 2 of the September, 1975 issue of the Assyrian Star, you can find a drawing of people holding a flag that looks very similar to our current flag. 



The front cover of the January, 1976 issue of the Assyrian Star officially announces the new Assyrian flag’s design. 



The front cover of the September/October, 1981 issue of the Assyrian Star depicts the 1981 Miss Assyrian winner holding a modern Assyrian flag.  Page 10 of that issue also depicts other people holding a modern Assyrian flag. 



The next two photos come from the March/April, 1982 issue of the Assyrian Star.  The two photos show many elements found in the modern Assyrian flag. 





Finally, beginning in January/February, 1983, the Assyrian Star stops placing the Assyrian American Educational Association’s ad (the one selling the old Assyrian flags) on the back of its cover.  Below is a photo of what shows up on the back of the January/February, 1983 issue instead. 


The back cover of the March/April, 1983 issue falls in a similar vein. 



Thus, by looking through the different issues of the Assyrian Star magazine, we can see that it did not take long for the Assyrian community to adopt the new Assyrian flag. 



By Esther Lang 



“About Us.” Assyrian American National Federation (accessed March 3, 2021). 


Ashurian, Homer. “Assyrian Flag.” Assyrian Universal Alliance. March, 1999. (accessed March 3, 2021). 


Assyrian Star. (accessed March 3, 2021). 


Assyrian Star, May/June 1967. 


Assyrian Star, November/December, 1970. 


Assyrian Star, January/February, 1971. 


Assyrian Star, January/February, 1972. 


Assyrian Star, May/June, 1973. 


Assyrian Star, September, 1975. 


Assyrian Star, January, 1976. 


Assyrian Star, September/October, 1981. 


Assyrian Star, March/April, 1982. 


Assyrian Star, January/February, 1983. 


Assyrian Star, March/April, 1983. 


“Flag of the Assyrians.” Wikimedia Commons (accessed March 3, 2021). 

Remembering the Honorable Homer Ashurian

Date: August 3, 2016

The Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation family is deeply saddened by the loss of the Honorable Homer Ashurian, who passed peacefully in Chicago, IL on Saturday, July 30, 2016. He was a central part of the AUAF for nearly thirty years, and will be sorely missed.

The late Homer Ashurian was born and raised in Urmia, Iran. He graduated from the University of Tehran with Masters Degrees in Archaeology and Assyriology. In 1958, he became a curator for the National Museum of Iran. Then in 1963, he went on to serve as the principal of two high schools in Tehran.

Five years later, he was part of the committee that established the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) in France. During this time, Ashurian also served as the editor for two Assyrian magazines, titled Kirkha (“the scroll”) and Shvila (“the way”), both published in Tehran.

In 1975, Homer Ashurian was elected to serve as a Congressman in the Iranian Parliament, giving a voice to the Assyrian people. He served honorably until the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

He ultimately found himself resettling in the United States with his wife, Suzy, and his two sons. Though far from home, distance did little to stop his efforts to secure a better future for his people, both in the homeland and in the diaspora. He joined the AUAF Board of Directors in 1987. Those who knew and worked with him here recall his total commitment to the organization’s mission and to the community. His experience and his knowledge of Assyrian history was highly respected by staffers and community members alike, many of whom viewed him as a mentor.

He had a forceful commitment to improving the lives of Assyrians in the homeland, as well as helping Assyrians in the United States through the challenges they faced with resettlement. Current Member of the Board Juliana Jawaro worked with Ashurian for many years and remarked, “We cannot thank him enough for his generosity demonstrated through the time and effort he dedicated to the AUAF.”

Young Assyrian activist Rose Youhanna posted a tearful tribute to Ashurian, writing, “I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to work with him through the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation. Rabi Homer was instrumental in countless AUA projects and endeavors, not least of which was my internship in The Hauge in 2013.”

The list of the Honorable Homer Ashurian’s accomplishments and contributions would fill many pages. Even those who did not have the opportunity to work with him are very familiar with his reputation, his work, and his legacy. As Fr. Dr. Sharbel Bcheiry of the Syriac Orthodox Church said on his passing, “His dedication and work will always be remembered and appreciated.”

Ashurian dedicated his broad intellect and his boundless energy to a singular cause: Assyrians. Though he is no longer with us, his legacy will live on—both in our mission at the AUAF, and in the hearts of all the people who have had the pleasure of working with him. We are grateful for his service.

Funeral arrangements have been set for the late Homer Ashurian. He will be laid to rest on Thursday, August 4, 2016. His funeral services will be conducted at Assyrian Christian Church located at 3300 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue in Chicago, IL. Burial services will follow at Montrose Cemetery located at 5400 N. Pulaski Road in Chicago, IL. A luncheon will be held in his honor following the services at 2:00pm at the Assyrian National Council of Illinois building located at 9131 Niles Center Road in Skokie, IL. The public is welcome to attend his services.