FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST JULIAN MCBRIDE TALKS ABOUT HIS NGO AND FIELD WORK IN GREECE
Julian McBride, a native of Lawrence, NY is a former United States Marine and a forensic anthropologist. He currently is the director of the Reflections of War Initiative (ROW), which is an anthropological NGO whose mission is to tell the stories of the victims of war worldwide who never get their voices heard. The ROW Initiative started out as an independent study under Prof Argie Agelarakis of Adelphi University where Julian decided to turn it into a full non for profit. Julian co-founded this NGO alongside Jarand Dragvik, Amberly Jaycox, Rebecca Holmquist, Vlad Verba, Nicholas Cosmo Jr, John Salica, and Michelle Aslanyan.
What makes this NGO so unique is that they use art to tell the stories of the victims of war to paint a bigger picture in the heads of its viewers of how devastating human conflict can possibly be. “When someone hears or sees a violent conflict on tv, they are at first shocked, but a week later, they’ll forget all about it; but when you draw an image of a victim, it sticks in that person’s head for a while to wear they want to ask what was the story behind it,” says Michelle Aslanyan, current VP of Operations. “This is something I always wanted to do my entire life, to do something bigger than myself” Julian says. “The horrid conditions of the people of Afghanistan while I was deployed there, the shrines of the victims in Greece, they all hit me hard. No one truly knows their stories. Everyone in this world should be more than just a statistic, and it’s my goal to try to show the world that every human life is equal.”
Under Dr. Anagnostis Agelarakis, department chair of anthropology at Adelphi University, Julian attended a field anthropology school in Crete, Greece at the site of the ancient city of Eleutherna. It was here where Julian not gained experience as a field anthropologist, but also was inspired to hold a conference on the victims of genocide later that year. The conference was titled “Genocides Unrecognized,” which focused on the Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, and Native American Genocides. “I’ve learned a lot about those Genocides through independent research and through my sponsors and colleagues Aris Tsilfidis, Peter BetBasoo, and Sofia Kostos.” Aris Tsilfidis is the co-founder of the Greek Genocide Resource Center and co-editor of the book “The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey.” Peter BetBasoo is the President and founder of the Assyrian International News Agency and Sofia Kostos is a renown poet and mentor of Julian.
“All of the work we do, aside from the artistic reflections, are based on scholarly and quantitative research methods,” which Julian credits the Criminal Justice program and Sociology Department of Adelphi for teaching him these methods. The work the ROW Initiative conducts is continuous, as they also plan to focus on the victims of war around Africa, the Middle East Southeast and Southwest Asia, the Balkans, Latin America, and the indigenous tribes worldwide, who have been ignored throughout history. The next field expedition of the ROW Initiative will be conducted by VP of Operations, Michelle Aslanyan, who will head to Armenia to establish the correlation and history of Syrian refugees in Armenia, as Syrians also took in Armenians during the Genocides of 1915.
Julian also credits Dr. Stephanie Lake, department chair of the criminal justice program at Adelphi, Dr. Ann Pederson, superintendent of the Lawrence School District, Christina Wease, Veterans advisor at Adelphi University, Eleni Sakellis, executive editor at The National Herald, Kathleen Kuzda, and Ariel Barrera as his biggest mentors who inspire him to continue pushing. “This isn’t the end of the line. Until the world comes together for global recognition for the millions who have perished, this work will be continuous, even after I’m gone.” To see more of the ROW Initiative’s work, visit www.rowinitiative.org and https://m.facebook.com/ReflectionsOfWar