Pope Francis Receives President of Armenia

His Excellency Mr. Armen Sarkissian

Pope Francis President Armenia
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and wife, Nouneh Sarkissian, meet with Pope Francis © Vatican Media

This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience the President of the Republic of Armenia, His Excellency Mr. Armen Sarkissian, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, appreciation was expressed at the development and strengthening of bilateral relations between the Holy See and Armenia, a country of ancient Christian tradition, according to a statement by the Vatican Press Office.

The parties went on to focus on other matters of international and regional policy.

The Armenian president was born on June 23, 1953, in Yerevan. He graduated from the Department of Physics of the Yerevan State University (1976); completed post-graduate studies at the Chair of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics at the YSU and was awarded a scientific degree of the Doctor of Science (1978). After, he served in several research and scientific roles.

In 1991, he was appointed Chargé d’affaires of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom, later was appointed the Ambassador of Armenia to the UK and served in that capacity until 1996.

In 1992-1996, Dr. Armen Sarkissian was Armenia’s Senior Ambassador in Europe, Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Holy See, and the Head of the Mission of the Republic of Armenia to the EU.

In 1996-1997, he served as Prime Minister of Armenia. 1998-2000, Dr. Sarkissian was reappointed as Armenia’s Ambassador to the UK and the Holy See.

In 2000-2013, he was a Special Advisor of the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Governor of EBRD, Founding President of the Eurasia House International, Founder and Director of the Eurasia Centre at the Cambridge University Judge Business School, Chairman of Global Council on Energy Security (WEF Forum), Vice Chairman, Emeritus of the East West Institute (EWI). He also became the Founder of the High Power Annual Conference at the Cambridge University Commission, member of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (Chair of Energy Security), the Founding President of the British-Armenian All Party Parliamentary Group, Board Member of the Global Leadership Foundation (GLF), member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago; John Smith Trust member, London, UK; Board Member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Founder of the Yerevan, My Love Benevolent Foundation, etc.

In 2001-2013, Dr. Armen Sarkissian was Senior Advisor to the British Petroleum, Alcatel, Telefonica, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and other multinational corporations.

In 2013-2018, Dr. Armen Sarkissian was Armenia’s Ambassador to the UK.

On March 2, 2018, Dr. Armen Sarkissian was elected President of the Republic of Armenia by the National Assembly of the RA. The inauguration of the President-elect took place on April 9, 2018.

Armen Sarkissian authored multiple scientific articles and publications related to theoretical physics, astrophysics, computer modeling, political science, and transition economics. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.

He is married to Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian. The couple has two sons and three grandchildren.