Remembering Dr. Armen Sahakian

Dr. Armen Souren Sahakian (1933-2020)

Armen Sahakian was born in Baghdad, Iraq in September 1933 to his mother Margaret and father Souren. After some turbulent years for them between Baghdad and Beirut, the family including his younger sister Madeleine, settled in Tehran, Iran in the early 1940s. Their older brother Leon was to join them later. As a young man growing up in Tehran, Armen was an active student at the American Missionary School. He would look back upon this time very fondly.

Armen obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Michigan State University. After attaining his Geology Ph.D. from Harvard University, he met his wife Nairi (née Karapetian). Immediately after their wedding in 1967, they started married life in New York, soon afterwards to be posted to London in his role working for Conoco. In 1969 their son Haik was born and subsequently in 1972, their daughter Ani.

With more than 40 years experience working in the oil industry, he held senior management positions in business development and international petroleum negotiations. Among the companies and institutions he worked for included Conoco, OMV, Partex Oil and Gas and the World Bank, where he served as petroleum advisor on the Oil and Gas Division’s financed petroleum projects. Most recently, he concluded his career as Vice President of business development for Heritage Oil.

His career took him across the world, from the tribes of Guinea Bissau to the Artic Circle in Siberia. His passion for books and classical music accompanied him along the way.

Armen served the community as chairman of the Armenian Church Council of Great Britain (1988-1992) and throughout the years continued to be active, in particular as a member of CRAG (Committee for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide).

On May 28, 2018 he conducted the unveiling of a statue of his grandfather, Avedik Sahakian (Hayr Abraham), Parliamentary President of the First Independent Republic of Armenia, to commemorate the centenary in his grandfather’s very birthplace of Stepanavan, Armenia. In addition, in recent years he fulfilled his dream of bequeathing his rare book collection to the Matenadaran Museum in Yerevan to ensure it can be enjoyed there for generations to come.

Armen Sahakian died after a short illness on July 4, 2020 at home surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Nairi, his children Haik and Ani, his sister Madeleine Minassian and his grandchildren Lori, Raffi and Kate. The Minassian family lives in Los Angeles and the Palian family (of his late brother Leon) resides in Washington, DC.

The funeral service will be taking place on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 12pm at St. Yeghiche Church, Cranley Gardens, London, England.  

It is with deep regret that owing to the current restrictions, the cemetery service is private.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.


  1. Marash Girl remembers the first day she learned of you, Armen. Her good friend Judith told her about a very handsome young Armenian man who was studying in the Graduate School at Harvard University, living in a private apartment complex on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. You were a roommate of Judith’s friend (although Marash Girl doesn’t remember the friend’s name). Judith said she wanted me to meet you because you were a good-looking, intelligent young Armenian man, and therefore was inviting you and her friend to the Jolly-Up — a dance/mixer for young Radcliffe women to meet young Harvard men.

    Judith introduced us. You were so handsome with dark, wavy hair. You asked me to dance, and I accepted, and as we danced, I learned that you were Tashnak. Naive as I was in those days, I remember saying to you, “I’m so sorry, Armen, but I won’t be able to date you because you’re Tashnak.” . . . not that you had given me any hint that you would ever want to invite me out on a date.

    Years later, I learned that you had been very good friends with my husband, Levon. And still later, you and your family visited us at our summer cabin in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and at Mt. Tom Greenhouse in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and more recently, you came to Boston on business and visited our family in Newton, Massachusetts. I think that was the last time we were together. It was then that I took you to visit the editors of the Armenian Weekly and the Armenian Mirror Spectator. I knew they would be interested in writing about your visit to the United States, and they were.

  2. I met you in DC a few times,we were introduced by your brother Levon, a good friend of mine. God rest your souls.

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