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The Foundations of AGBU

Raymond Kévorkian

Dr. Kévorkian describes the origins of AGBU and the circumstances that motivated its founders.

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October 2016


The Foundations of AGBU

Historian Raymond Kévorkian explains the beginnings of AGBU and the circumstances that motivated the impressive cadre of founding members who established the organization over one hundred years ago. The largest non-profit Armenian organization in the world today, AGBU was founded in 1906 on the heels of the Hamidian massacres in Ottoman Turkey. The organization’s visionaries sought to improve living conditions for rural Armenian communities who found themselves in severe socio-economic conditions and under threat of forced migration. A decade later, with the complete destruction of Ottoman Armenian communities during the Genocide, AGBU shifted its focus to adapt to the overwhelming humanitarian needs of refugees and survivors in newly forming Armenian diasporan communities all over the world.


Dr. Raymond Kevorkian is a French Armenian historian and author of The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History. His writings and research focus on the events of the Armenian Genocide, its impact on the surviving Armenian communities across the diaspora and in the formation of the Turkish state. For many years, Dr. Kevorkian served as the director of the AGBU Nubarian Library in Paris. In 2010, Dr. Kevorkian received the Presidential Award from Armenian President Serge Sargsyan in recognition of his enormous contributions to Armenian studies. He is a member of Société de Géographie, a board member of International Association for Armenian Studies, and a foreign member the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.