This Week in Armenian History

Birth of Babken Harutiunian (March 4, 1941)

Historian Babken Harutiunian had a prolific career as researcher and educator, and made important strides in the study of Armenian ancient and medieval history and geography during his prolific career as a scholar and educator.

He was born on March 4, 1941, in Yerevan. After graduating in 1958 from the School No 72 “Hrachia Adjarian” with golden medal, the same year entered the Faculty of History of Yerevan State University, and graduated in 1962 with a diploma of excellence. After following graduate studies between 1963 and 1966, in 1968 he defended his first Ph.D. dissertation about the history of the region of Vayotz Dzor, in Siunik, from the ancient times to 1045. His second doctoral dissertation, “The System of Administrative Political Division of Greater Armenia according to the ‘Atlas’ (western and southern lands),” was defended in 1993.

Harutiunian taught at YSU for more than forty years, starting in 1969. He was dean of foreign student affairs in 1970-1971, and between 1972 and 1977 he studied and graduated from the section of distance studies at the School of Law of YSU with diploma of excellence. He was chair of the History department (1993-2007) and, simultaneously, head of the chair of History of Armenia’s Neighbor Countries (1997-200). He became head of the chair of Armenian History from 2003 until his death. He was also director of the Press of Yerevan State University (1985-1988). He also taught at the Institute of Armenological Studies of Hamazkayin (Beirut, 1993-1994) and the University of Michigan-Dearborn (1995-1996).

The distinguished academic received the title of professor in 2005 and the next year was elected corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He was designated academician-secretary of the Academy in 2007-2008 and for many years was vice-president of the council conferring scientific degrees at the Institute of History of the Academy.

In a span of almost fifty years, the scholar produced more than 500 works, including monographs, articles, maps, papers, and reviews devoted to manifold issues of ancient and medieval history of Armenia and the surrounding region, as well as of historical geography. His research was characterized by fresh approaches and new insights into the problems under consideration. Among his many books, he authored the two-volume “Historical Atlas of Armenia (2003 and 2008). He was also the editor and coauthor of the second volume of the “National Atlas of Armenia” (2008) and one of the coauthors of the trilingual atlas “Republic of Nagorno Karabakh” (2009).

Professor Harutiunian earned various distinctions, including the gold medal of YSU, the “Albert Schweitzer medal,” the “Catherine the Great” medal from Russia, and the “Golden Eagle” medal from Germany. In 2006 he was conferred the “Movses Khorenatsi” medal by the government of Armenia and three years later received the title of Emeritus Worker of Science of the Republic of Armenia.

He passed away on February 26, 2013, in Yerevan.