Dr. Armen Souren Sahakian
September 22, 1933 – July 4, 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 bachelors degree at Michigan State University and after attaining his Geology PhD 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.
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 and 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 28th 2018 he was able to conduct 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 4th July 2020, at home and 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 live in Los Angeles and the Palian family (of his late brother Leon) reside in Washington.
The funeral service will take place on Wednesday, July 15 noon at St Yeghiche Church, Cranley Gardens, London, England. It is with deep regret that owing to the current restrictions, the cemetery service will be private.