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In Memoriam: George Bournoutian, Prolific and Dedicated Scholar

George Bournoutian (1943-2021)

BOSTON, MA – The National Association of Armenian Studies & Research (NAASR) joins with scholars and friends all over the world in mourning the passing of an esteemed colleague, Prof. George Bournoutian (1943-2021). While wishing to honor his stated wishes that no outpourings of sentiment follow his death, out of respect for his enormous contributions we offer this brief appreciation and extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

George Bournoutian was born and raised in Isfahan, Iran. Over the course of a long and productive career he published more than thirty books as author or translator which have been translated into many languages, and he taught at UCLA, Columbia University, Tufts University, New York University, Rutgers, University of Connecticut, and only recently retired after many years at Iona College.

Among his publications are The Khanate of Erevan Under Qajar Rule; A Concise History of the Armenian People; The History of Vardapet Arakel of Tabriz; Two Chronicles on the History of Karabagh; The Travel Accounts of Simeon of Poland; Jambr; The 1823 Russian Survey of the Karabagh Province: A Primary Source on the Demography and Economy of Karabagh in the Early 19th Century; A Brief History of the Aghuank Region; The 1829-1832 Russian Surveys of the Khanate of Nakhichevan; and Armenia and Imperial Decline: The Yerevan Province, 1900-1914.

George Bournoutian with Nancy Kolligian and Marc Mamigonian after a lecture in 2009

In addition to his writings, George was a prolific lecturer, giving innumerable talks including many for NAASR over the years in Belmont and all over the U.S. and Canada. He was also a world traveler and led NAASR’s first Armenian Heritage Tour in decades in 2006 to the Republic of Armenia and Historic Armenia.

In 2008, he enriched NAASR’s library immeasurably when he transferred his huge scholarly library, the Ani and George Bournoutian Collection, which has become a cornerstone of the Mardigian Library. NAASR, in turn, was proud to support his work through grants for several of his publications.

George Bournoutian with fellow 2006 NAASR Armenian Heritage Tour travelers George Krikorian, Nancy Kolligian, Judy Kolligian, Van Aroian, Mary Aroian, Bob Bejoian

Former NAASR Chairman Nancy Kolligian recalled that George “was an outstanding scholar who electrified the room when he entered it. I will remember going to Armenia and Historic Armenia with him on our 2006 NAASR trip—we had such a great time.” Current Chairman Yervant Chekijian remembered Bournoutian as “totally committed to the honest exploration of Armenia’s history

NAASR Academic Director Marc Mamigonian remarked that “George was warm, opinionated, unfiltered, brilliant, hilarious, and utterly indefatigable. He was always in the middle of a book project and excited about the next one. While it is difficult to accept that there will be no next book, no one can say that George Bournoutian didn’t get the most out of life, and he leaves an incredible legacy.”

Anyone who ever met George Bournoutian or heard one of his lectures could feel his energy and boundless vitality. Those qualities will endure in his huge scholarly output, which will continue to enrich us, and in our memories of him as a friend and a scholar. He will indeed be missed.

FLArmenians Participate in ANCA-ER 6th Annual Banquet

Mahwah, NJ – Earlier this month, Florida Armenians (FLArmenians) Editor Taniel Koushakjian joined over 300 Armenian-Americans for the Armenian National Committee Eastern Region’s (ANCA-ER) 6th annual banquet. Mrs. Nora Kzirian, a former FLArmenian, served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies, as the community honored Armenian studies luminary Dr. Richard Hovannisian, and Artsakh rights champion her ladyship Baroness Caroline Cox.

Dr. Hovannisian and Taniel Koushakjian

Dr. Hovannisian and Taniel Koushakjian

National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Director of Academic Affairs Dr. Marc Mamigonian gave a moving introduction about Professor Richard Hovannisian, this year’s ANCA Vahan Cardashian Award recipient.

Dr. Hovannisian, a professor of Armenian and Near Eastern Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), is a pioneer of Armenian studies in the United States. He has authored many books and edited and contributed to at least a dozen other works. In 1987, he was appointed the first holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA.

“I’m deeply honored and thankful to the ANCA for considering me worthy of receiving this award. Vahan Cardashian remains a champion and a symbol for the Armenian people. I feel very satisfied after my long career, and I feel rewarded that I’ve had more than a half century of wonderful experiences in the classroom teaching generations regarding Armenian history and identity,” Hovannisian said.

Ms. Virginia Davies, who sponsored FLArmenians’ participation, introduced Baroness Caroline Cox before presenting her with the ANCA Freedom Award.

Baroness Caroline Cox and Taniel Koushakjian

Baroness Caroline Cox and Taniel Koushakjian

“Speaking in the British parliament is a place to give voice to the voiceless, to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. … I would like to say thank you to the Armenian people, who in that holy land of Artsakh have formed that front line of faith and freedom for the rest of the world. We who live in freedom, we who call ourselves Christian, owe you a debt of gratitude for holding that front line for us. With all my heart, I thank you,” the Baroness said.

Baroness Cox has visited Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh 78 times to date, many of them during the war with Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, and is planning on at least two more visits in 2013. Working with the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), she helped establish the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre in Stepanakert in 1998, which has become a leader in providing care and rehabilitation for those with physical or mental disabilities.

Among the dignitaries in attendance were Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Garabedian of the Armenian Catholic Exarchate of America; His Excellency Ambassador Garen Nazarian, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations; Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Co-Chair of the Armenian Caucus; Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Mr. Levon Filian; Armenia Fund USA Chairman, Mr. Khoren Bandazian; and many prominent community benefactors.