YEREVAN—The ruling Republican Party of Armenia on Thursday nominated Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Great Britain and former prime minister Dr. Armen Sarkissian as its candidate for president of Armenia, the election for which will be held on March 2 by the National Assembly.
The announcement by the party ended a week-long speculation by the press in Armenia and chatter that dominated social media.
Under Armenia’s new constitution, the president is elected by the National Assembly and will occupy a more symbolic leadership position in the country, with the prime minister becoming head of state.
Dr. Sarkissian met with President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation) on Friday and expressed gratitude for the trust that the Republican Party of Armenia has expressed in him with the nomination.
Saying he needed time to consider the nomination, Dr. Sarkissian also added that he would like to meet with political forces in Armenia, as well as civil society representatives, business leaders, non-governmental organizations and lay citizens of Armenia before accepting the nomination. He also expressed the desire to meet with the leadership of Artsakh and the Diaspora.
“I believe the 4th President of Armenia must be an accomplished and bright individual, must be trained politically and ready, but not politicized. He must be able to organize dialogue between different political powers, as well as for the goal of decreasing tension between various social classes, if necessary. He must be able to honorably represent Armenia abroad, to know the Diaspora and be able to unite the Diaspora of Armenia,” President Sarkisian said on Friday.
“As you said, it is very important that I have the chance to meet with different political forces in both the Parliament and outside of it, the political parties before I make a decision. I would also greatly want to meet with the scientific, scholar, public, charity organizations, business circles, labor circles who represent the wide circles of the society. Of course, I would definitely want to meet with the leadership of Artsakh, and certainly meet with structures representing the Diaspora, organizations or individuals and then make my decision. In any case, your offer is a great honor for me Mr. President,” Ambassador Sarkissian told the president.
Born in Yerevan on June 23, 1951, Dr. Sarkissian graduated from the Yerevan State University’s Department of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics.
Dr Sarkissian is Vice Chairman of East West Institute and holds honorary and executive positions in numerous international organisations, including Member of Dean’s Advisory Board, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Dean’s Advisory Board, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago; Board Member of IREX; International Economic Alliance; Global Leadership Foundation (headed by former President of South Africa F. W. De Klerk) and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary & Westfield College, London University; the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia,National Competitiveness Council of Armenia, and others.
In 1997 His Holiness Pope John Paul II bestowed the St. Gregory the Great Award to Dr. Sarkissian. In 2008 he received the highest honour in the Armenia Church, the St. Gregory the Illuminator medal, from His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos Patriarch of All Armenians in Holy Etchmiadzin.
From 1976 to 1984 he was a professor of Physics at Yerevan State University and subsequently Head of the Department of Computer Modeling of Complex Systems at the University’s Department of Theoretical Physics. In 1984 he became a Visiting Research Fellow and later professor at the University of Cambridge.
In October 1991, Dr. Sarkissian established the first Armenian Embassy in the West in London. In addition to his diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom, he went on to become Senior Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Europe (Deputy Foreign Minister) and concurrently represented Armenia as Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and The Vatican. In 1995-96 he was Head of Mission of the Republic of Armenia to Europe. He was reappointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1998.
Dr. Sarkissian was the Prime Minister of Armenia from 1996 to 1997. He has served as Special Advisor to the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Develop-ment and as a Governor of EBRD from 1993-2000.
Against the background of a decade-long, dynamic diplomatic service and leadership, in 2000 Dr. Sarkissian established the Eurasia Centre at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. Under his leadership, the Programme implemented a series of very successful projects, such as the Eurasia Business Executive and Leadership Programme for young business professionals in the Eurasia region.
Dr. Sarkissian has advised the CEOs and Corporate Boards of large global companies, including BP, Alcatel, Telefonica, Finmeccanica, Bekaerd, and others.
Sarkissian is senior advisor to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is the founding President of Eurasia House International in London.