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Armenia and the Armenians: A History of Political Strife


A landlocked country the size of Maryland nestled in the Caucasus mountains, Armenia today is surrounded by five countries, two hostile (Azerbaijan and Turkey) and three ‘friendly’ countries (Georgia, Iran and Russia). Armenia continues to be victimized by one neighbor or the other. Of the six million Armenians worldwide, half live in Armenia and half form a significant and active global diaspora. Before the term genocide was coined, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically massacred by the Ottomans as part of an effort for ethnic cleansing, resulting in what became a Soviet Republic that lasted for close to 70 years before re-emerging as an independent nation.

 In this seminar, participants will learn about the ebb and flow of the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding the Nagorno Karabakh district—and why a quarter of the historic Jerusalem is Armenian.

Instructor Biography

George Kassis was born and raised in Syria before moving to Lebanon to attend the American University of Beirut and embark on a career with the United Nations where he met his American wife, Jill. They had parallel professional careers, which took them on tours of duty to Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen before being transferred by the U.N. to New York. Upon his retirement in 2009, George and Jill moved to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where they continue to enjoy the pleasures of the Ocean State.

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