Without the shelter provided by emigration, Assyrian culture faces erasure.
Crises throughout the 20th century prompted the indigenous Middle Eastern community of Assyrians to migrate from their historical homeland to countries like Jordan, Sweden, Germany, and the United States. Most Assyrians live in Diaspora now, and the recent wars in Iraq and Syria have contributed significantly to their displacement; 40% of Iraqi refugees are Assyrian. The majority of the community resides here in the United States and Mass Humanities funded a 2005 lecture series and exhibit at Boston Public Library that put their emigration stories in historical context.
Immigration and Adjustment: Assyrian Family Records was the first public project in the United States to study the history of Assyrian Diaspora. Scholars drew upon primary sources—photographs, documents, and oral histories of six families—to detail the century-long period that included the Assyrian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, through the Islamic revolution in Iran, to present-day emigration triggers like the Iraq War. Several lectures were held in September of 2005 and the exhibit was timed to open in conjunction with the annual Assyrian American National Federation Convention that year.