On October 13th, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) welcomed historian and author George Bournoutian for a public lecture. Bouroutian divided his presentation into two parts, with each focusing on a combination of Armenian, Iranian, and Russian history.

Part one dealt with the murder of Russian diplomat Alexander Griboyedov in Tehran and the sending of an Iranian prince with a letter of apology and gifts to Tsar Nicholas. The Iranian mission traveled through Armenia, Georgia, and Russia. Bournoutian discussed how the travel journal (in Persian) is an important document of the geopolitical conditions of the Caucasus and Russia in 1829, immediately following the Russia takeover of eastern Armenia from Iran.

Part two concentrated on the very rare Russian surveys of the khanates of Sheki (1819), Shirvan (1820), Karabagh (1823) and Yerevan-Nakhichevan (1828-1832) in describing the population, land tenure and taxation of Transcaucasia during the Iranian domination.

George Bournoutian was born in Iran in 1943 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1964. He received his Ph.D in Armenian, Iranian, and Russian history from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1976, after which he taught as a visiting professor at a series of institutions including Columbia University, New York University, Tufts University, UCLA, Rutgers University, University of Connecticut, and California State University at Fresno.

He is currently Senior Professor of History at Iona College in New York. He is the author and translator of 30 books and 3 dozen scholarly articles. His Concise History of the Armenian People (in its 6th edition) was the first comprehensive one-volume history in English and is used in many universities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It has been translated into Turkish, Arabic, Spanish, Armenian, and Russian. A Japanese edition is due at the end of this year and a Persian translation is in the works.

Bournoutian’s doctoral research was conducted at the Matenadaran under the late Dr. Papazyan during an IREX Fellowship in Armenia from 1973-1974. He visited Armenia for the first time in 1968 and has continued to do so more than 20 times.