Open main menu

Armen Sarkissian (Armenian: Արմեն Վարդանի Սարգսյան;[note 1] born 23 June 1953) is an Armenian politician, physicist and computer scientist, who currently serves as the incumbent President of Armenia.[1] He served as Prime Minister of Armenia from 4 November 1996 to 20 March 1997 and previously was the country's (longest-serving) ambassador in London since 1998. Sarkissian assumed the presidency on 9 April 2018.[2]

Dr. Armen Sarkissian
Արմեն Սարգսյան
Sarkissian armen profile.jpg
4th President of Armenia
Assumed office
9 April 2018
Prime MinisterKaren Karapetyan (Acting)
Serzh Sargsyan
Karen Karapetyan (Acting)
Nikol Pashinyan
Preceded bySerzh Sargsyan
5th Prime Minister of Armenia
In office
4 November 1996 – 20 March 1997
PresidentLevon Ter-Petrosyan
Preceded byHrant Bagratyan
Succeeded byRobert Kocharyan
Ambassador of Armenia to the United Kingdom
In office
1998 – 8 April 2018
PresidentRobert Kocharyan
Serzh Sargsyan
Prime MinisterArmen Darbinyan
Vazgen Sargsyan
Aram Sargsyan
Andranik Margaryan
Serzh Sargsyan
Tigran Sargsyan
Hovik Abrahamyan
Karen Karapetyan
Succeeded byArmen Liloyan (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1953-06-23) 23 June 1953 (age 66)
Yerevan, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Nouneh Sarkissian
OccupationPolitician, physicist, computer scientist

He was also one of the co-creators of the Tetris-Wordtris game.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Early career and EducationEdit

Sarkissian graduated from the Yerevan State University Department of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia and the National Competitiveness Council of Armenia.

From 1976 to 1984, he was assistant then associate professor of Physics at Yerevan State University. In 1988 he established and subsequently became the Head of the Department of Computer Modeling of Complex Physical Phenomena at the same university's Department of Theoretical Physics.

He later became a visiting research fellow and eventually a professor at the University of Cambridge.[10][11]

Political careerEdit

In October 1991, Sarkissian established the Armenian Embassy in London, the first Armenian diplomatic mission in the West. In addition to his diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom, he went on to become Senior Ambassador of Armenia to the European Union (EU), to Belgium and the Netherlands, Luxembourg and The Vatican. In 1995-1996, he was the Head of Mission of Armenia to the European Union.

Sarkissian was appointed Prime Minister of Armenia by President Levon Ter-Petrosyan in November 1996, serving for 4 months until resigning on 20 March 1997, being succeded by Robert Kocharyan. The official reason for his resignation states that he resigned due to the need to get treatment for a serious illness, however there is some speculation that a dispute with Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan was the real reason for Sarkissian’s resignation.[12] After serving as Armenian Prime Minister between 1996 and 1997, he was appointed as Special Advisor to the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and as a Governor of EBRD from 1998 to 2000.

He was re-appointed Armenian Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1998 and served until he was elected president on April 9, 2018.

Armen Sarkissian was also one of the directors of Eurasia House.[13] and Vice Chairman of the EastWest Institute. He held many honorary and executive positions in a number of international organizations including Member of Dean's Advisory Board at Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard University, Dean's Advisory Board at Harris School of Public Policy Studies at University of Chicago, Board member of International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), the International Economic Alliance and Global Leadership Foundation. He was an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary and Westfield College (now Queen Mary University of London).

He was a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law.

Since 2013 he has served on the board of trustees of the International School in Dilijan, Armenia. In January 2018, he received Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's offer to be the ruling Republican Party's nominee in the country's first presidential election since the 2015 constitutional reforms.[14]

President of ArmeniaEdit


President Serzh Sargsyan on 19 January 2018 recommended the candidacy of Sarkissian, for President to be supported by the ruling Republican Party during the 2018 Armenian presidential election. He also enjoyed additional support from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation bloc as well as from the Tsarukian Parliamentary bloc.

He was elected president by a majority of the National Assembly on 2 March 2018 with 90 votes in a 105-member House.[1] Sarkissian was the only candidate in the election.


Sarkissian was inaugurated on 9 April 2018. The inauguration ceremony took place at the Karen Demirchyan Complex in Yerevan.[15][16][17] After the ceremony, he visited the Yerablur military pantheon, and laid a wreath at the monument with Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan.[18]


Sarkissian meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On inauguration day, the government led by Karen Karapetyan resigned and parties in the National Assembly had a week to put forward their proposals for prime minister.[19] Former president Serzh Sargsyan was unanimously nominated by the members of ruling parties in the National Assembly on 16 April, and was confirmed as prime minister on 17 April.[20] However, Sargsyan's election as prime minister was met by large-scale protests, and he resigned six days after taking the office.[21] Karapetyan was subsequently appointed to serve as acting prime minister.[22] On 8 May 2018, Nikol Pashinyan was elected prime minister by the National Assembly in a 59–42 vote.

Sarkissian visited Tbilisi on 26 May 2018 in his first official foreign visit to participate in the centennial celebrations of the founding of the Democratic Republic of Georgia.[23] During his visit, he held talks with his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili as well as held meetings with Bidzina Ivanishvili and Sauli Niinistö.[24][25]

Sarkissian with Emmanuel Macron during the opening of the Aznavour Center.

In June 2018, Sarkissian proposed changes to the constitution to balance the President's power with the Prime Minister's power.[26] On the eve of the centennial anniversary of the end to First World War, Sarkissian told the Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen in an interview said that he would say the following to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in regards to the Armenian Genocide:[27]

First, I would tell him good morning Mr. President, I think we have an issue to discuss together. You are the President of Turkey and I am the President of Armenia. My family, my grandparents are from Erzrum, Van and Bitlis and there is a history behind my own family. Why not start talking about the relations between Turkey and Armenia? Why not speak about our individual stories?

While visiting the Kazakhstani city of Almaty in May 2019, he said that his country could become an "international financial center" and can become a "cooperation bridge between Eurasia and EU". He said his remarks at the 15th annual Eurasian Media Forum, of which he is a co-founder.[28][29]

Personal lifeEdit

He is currently married to his wife of 36 years, Nouneh Sarkissian (born 1954), a researcher at the Matenadaran. Together, they have 2 adult children. Besides Armenian and Russian, two languages that Sarkissian grew up speaking, he also is fluent in the English language due to his time in the United Kingdom. Until December 2011, Sarkissian held British citizenship.[30] As of April 2019, Sarkissian has a net worth of over 3 million Euros (over 1,600,000,000 in Armenian Drams).[31]



  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland 1st degree - (15 September 2017)[32]
  • St. Gregory the Great Award (1997) - bestowed by Pope John Paul II.
  • St. Gregory the Illuminator medal (2008) - the highest honour of the Armenian Apostolic Church - by Karekin II, Catholicos Patriarch of All Armenians of Holy Etchmiadzin.



  1. ^ His surname is also rendered as Sargsyan. As director of Eurasia House, he uses the spelling Armen Sarkissian, which is the French transcription of his name in Russian (Армен Саркисян). On former Soviet passports, the Russian names were usually transcribed to Latin alphabet using a French transcription system since French was the language used on it as the diplomatic language.


  1. ^ a b "Armen Sarkisian (No Relation) Elected Next Armenian President". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  2. ^ "Armenia lawmakers elect president as leader eyes 'super' powers - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2018-03-02. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  3. ^, Wordtris – Credits
  4. ^, Video Game Title: "Wordtris"
  5. ^, Wordtris (SNES)
  6. ^ "Tetris-Wordtris co-creator nommed for Armenia president's post". Panarmenian.Net. 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  7. ^ "Potential presidential candidate Armen Sarkissian presents story behind creating TETRIS-WORDTRIS".
  8. ^ "eurasia » Armen Sarkissian". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Former Cambridge Professor to become candidate for Armenian President | News | The Cambridge Student". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  11. ^ "Armen Sarkissian | World Economic Forum". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  12. ^ "Armen Sarkissian: Scientist, ambassador, prime minister, businessman".
  13. ^ "eurasia". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  14. ^ Source "Armen Sarkissian elected fourth President of Armenia - Panorama | Armenian news". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  15. ^ "Armenia President-elect expected to take oath of office at Yerevan sports, concert complex". 2018-03-19. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  16. ^ "Armenia's new president to be sworn in at Demirchyan sports and concert complex". 2018-03-20. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  17. ^ APA IT. "Presidential inauguration held in Armenia". Archived from the original on 2018-06-13. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  18. ^ "President Armen Sarkissian visits Yerablur Pantheon | Public Radio of Armenia". 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  19. ^ "Armenia's Ruling Party 'Open' To Opposition Candidates For PM". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  20. ^ "Lawmakers Approve Sarkisian As Armenia's PM Despite Countrywide Protests". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  21. ^ Hairenik (2018-04-23). "Breaking: Serge Sarkisian Resigns as Prime Minister". The Armenian Weekly. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  22. ^ EADaily. "Karen Karapetyan to be Armenian acting prime minister". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  23. ^ Tbilisi: 15 Jul 2018, 20:34 EN (2018-05-25). "Armenian President visits Georgia to join May 26 celebrations". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  24. ^ 09:09, 26.05.2018 (2018-05-26). "Armenia President in Tbilisi, meets with Georgia ex-PM (PHOTOS)". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  25. ^ Source "President Sarkissian meets with his Finnish counterpart - Panorama | Armenian news". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  26. ^ "Armenian President: Yerevan Lacks Constitutional Balance". 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Sputnik. "Президент Армении предоставил Пашиняну доказательства" (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  31. ^ Sputnik. "Армен Саркисян потерял миллионы? Что мы знаем о доходах и имуществе нового президента" (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  32. ^ "ՀՀ նախագահի հրամանագրերը - Փաստաթղթեր - Հայաստանի Հանրապետության Նախագահ [պաշտոնական կայք]". Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Armenian President awarded Italy's Order of Merit".
  35. ^ "President Sarkissian Honored with 'Statesman Award' in New York -".

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Serzh Sargsyan
President of Armenia
Preceded by
Hrant Bagratyan
Prime Minister of Armenia
Succeeded by
Robert Kocharyan